John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

How did Communist parties handle issues of internal discipline and democracy in Lenin’s time? The recent intense discussion within the British Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) and beyond has heard claims that the SWP rests on the traditions of democratic centralism inherited from the Bolsheviks.

John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Some extended thoughts about Stephanie Bottrill, the woman who committed suicide because of the bedroom tax.

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the killing of Blair Peach by the police. David Renton looks back at Blair Peach’s life as a poet, trade unionist and committed antifascist

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Bunny La Roche of RS21 on Nigel Farage's visit to Kent

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Financial Appeal

We're up and running! An appeal for funds to kickstart the IS Network

Financial Appeal

IS Network steering committee minutes - 1 December 2014

Present: Simon, Steven, Sam, Kris, James

Apologies: Jenny, Kelly

1. The situation in the International Socialist Network
The IS Network has suffered a series of resignations. There was a lengthy discussion about what the cause was and what the best way forward might be. 
Steven will draft an article for the website about recent events and future plans for the network.

2. Bulletin for the National Members' Meeting
Steven is collating the next bulletin, including several pieces already published elsewhere. It will be out by the end of the week.
The deadline for second bulletin is 20th December, and the steering committee should encourage people to write.

3. National Members' Meeting
NMM venue is sorted out now. The meeting will take place two weeks after the national rs21 meeting.

4. Forums and working groups
We agreed to try and focus on producing a discussion in the revolutionary theory forum. Report from the LU working group. Acceptance that some of the forums and working groups are not functioning. 

5, Face to face IS Network SC meeting - Sunday 7th December, 6.30pm, Central London
Open to all members as usual, agreed to specifically invite anyone who wants to to come along.

Minutes of Steering Commitee 09/11/14

Present: Steven, Kris, Jake, Hazel, Kelly, Sam, Simon, James

Apologies: Jenny

  1. Reports and actions

  • Women's meeting 29 November 
    Venue will be at the Chadwell healthy living centre
    We will email out the details and information about the meeting to the ISN membership. We will also ask pubs to put it on the website.
    We have money for travel costs so members from the north can afford to travel to London.
    We need people who do not identify as women to offer to run the crèche. 

  • Birmingham
    There is a joint ISN/Plan C branch in Birmingham. Not been any successful meetings yet, but hopefully some of the problems will be resolved and the branch can begin to function. There will be a discussion soon on Left Unity. 

  • London branch meeting - 22nd November 
    Meeting on capitalism and mental health is now a joint ISN/rs21 meeting.
    Marchmont community centre is the new venue for the event.

  • Joint rs21/ISN Bristol socialist caucus meeting 
    Successful meeting and film showing, lots of new people.

  • UCL rent campaign
    30th October there was a student assembly meeting about the problems of accommodation for students. Campaign has been launched, is quite successful at bringing in radical students across Camden. ACTION – Jake to set up a forum for students and people involved in “youth work”.

  1. Working with rs21

Steven reported on a possible meeting with rs21 and more collaboration around some joint work. 
It would be good to discuss joint initiatives in advance so that planning for them is more focussed.

  1. Arrangements for NMM

ISN changed date of meeting to the 24/25th January. Still clarifying which venue we can use.
The three conveners will come up with a proposal for the NMM (agenda, etc) to discuss at the SC. 
Discussed ideas for the NMM and what it should focus on. 

NOTE: First deadline for bulletins is the first of December. Members should be clear what is a resolution for voting on and what is a “think piece”.If it is a motion then please can members ensure that the paragraphs are numbered. 

  1. Functioning of Working Groups/Forums

Left Unity, Climate Change, Anti-racism and anti-fascism and Trade Unions working groups should be able to report and discuss their activities and future plans at the NMM.
Social movements, revolutionary organisation and socialist-feminism forums are getting established. Need a report from Tim on the forums.

Discussed the issue in the publications working group when a member of the group didn't want a pamphlet published. SC discussed what the powers and responsibilities of the publications working group is. 

ACTION: SC will ask for the Publications Working Group for a “constitution” to decide what its powers and parameters are.

ACTION: Agreed for Kris and Steven to clarify for the working groups that they should/can write an article for the bulletin.

ACTION: Sam's article to go on the website

  1. Left Unity

There will be a meeting of ISN members before the LU conference. LU working group to organise.

  1. How the SC is working

Agreed to have another face to face meeting in early December.

  1. AOB

Discussion on getting the Exchange up and running again. Who would be involved and how would we pay for it? Possibly have a special issue of the Exchange as a relaunch on the subject of socialist-feminism or on “what does it mean to be working class today?” People interested in trying to relaunch the journal should discuss it and report back next week.


15-16 November Left Unity national conference
29 November women's meeting
10-11 January rs21 national meeting
24-25 January possible ISN NMM.


IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes: 19-ix-2014

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes: 19-ix-2014

Present: Kris, Simon, Gary, Alison

Apologies: Jaavad, James

1. National Members' Meeting (NMM) agenda

Proposed agenda

10.00 Report back from priorities from previous meeting
10.20 Caucuses
11.40 Break
12.00 Caucus report backs
12.45 Politics and basis of the Network (content of bulletin 1 Simon and Mark pt 1+2)
13.30 Lunch
14.30 Politics and basis of the Network (content of bulletin 1 Simon and Mark pt 1+2)
15.15 Political priorities (content bulletin 2)
16.30 Break
16.45 Organising the Network (working groups meeting)
18.00 Finish

Final proposed agenda in bulletin#3. Suggestions, amendments and alternative agenda proposals welcome.

2. Ring rounds/building the NMM

Some ring rounds done - Simon to send text out to members.

Sheffield members held a discussion in the run-up to the national meeting and were joined by some Leeds/Bradford members.

3. Left Unity National Council - 20/09/2014

Proposed agenda 

1. Minutes of the June NC meeting and matters arising
2. Decisions from EC meetings for approval by NC
3. Political context discussion and campaigning priorities
4. Election sub-committee report and any related motions
5. Branch motions to NC
6. LU Wales Constitution for approval
7. Conference preparation report
8. Membership report
9. Finance report
10. Branch Development report
11. Paper from Disputes Committee
12. Correspondence

Simon is going - the main debates will be on the elections and the policy/national conference. ISN members felt that the 2000 membership figure to reorganise LU conference as delegate-based was set too low and the NC should work out how to abolish this constitutional point to free up the membership to attend the conference, perhaps as first order of business.

Simon also proposed a back up plan of calling for a two day conference, an open Saturday meeting and then a delegate only Sunday meeting.

Any alliance with TUSC means LU needs to bring up the point about rape apologists and perpetrators of domestic violence being involved in it.

4. People's Climate March Demonstration

On Sunday 21st there will be marches/protests in 148 cities across the world to coincide with UN Climate Summit in New York. There will be a march in London meeting at 12.30pm at Temple Place. 

5. Transphobia workshop

 The Transphobia workshop will be taking place on Saturday 20th from 1pm-5.30pm in the Ben Pimlott Building of Goldsmiths College, London.

6. Bulletin for NMM

Sunday 21st September is the deadline for the last bulletin.

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes (07-ix-2014)

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes (07-ix-2014)

Attending: James N, Gareth H, Javaad A, Kat B-M
Apologies: Kris S, Simon H, Luke S, Jenny R


NHS Demo Report Back
Anti-NATO Protests Report
Bulletin II
National Members' Meeting - Aggregates, Ringrounds, Emails
Transphobia Meeting

NHS Demo Report Back

Report back from the NHS demo in London, 1000 people on the demo. 20,000 at the rally. Unions supported the rally. Big speakers including Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn. Union people were present but a small minority of the overall people. Local campaign groups were involved trying to save their local hospitals.

Several IS Network members on the demo. 500 copies of the new IS Network pamphlet by Mark B have been printed. 50 or so pamphlets given out or sold during demo. 35 sent to Bristol IS Network. Remaining split between Gareth H and Mark B. Looking to take pamphlets up to the NMM in Birmingham to give out, if members can't print them out before then. We have also sent out a PDF version to the FB group.

There is a campaign called Docs not Cops, in response to the Immigration Act, comrades are involved in this campaign. Mark B and Gareth H to get in touch about where next for our action to defend the NHS.

Anti-NATO Protests

Report Kat B-M present at these in Cardiff. We will report this back to the IS Network Facebook page (technical issues prevented us discussing this during the teleconference).

Bulletin II

Bulletin 2 currently only has two pieces (update: there have been additional contributions since). We should send out guidelines about how to to contribute to the bulletin and how it all works. We may have overestimated in requesting for three bulletins and we shouldn't necessarily let this be demoralising due to the very short window each bulletin has been produced within. Should bulletin 2 merge with 3 as not enough pieces have come in? We should speak to Hazel C, because she is currently coordinating it, so we should ask her what the plan is.


We are trying to work out what our structures are and the form of the organisation will take after the next NMM. We are struggling with what the relationship is with the SC and the rest of the group, but that is something we are working out. There should be a contact point for people joining the organisation, i.e. a membership secretary. We should consider putting together a members pack, so members know what the structures are. If we're going to put in an SC contribution to the bulletin, we should suggest putting together a membership pack post-NMM and/or having a full membership secretary.

NMM - Aggregates, Ringrounds, Emails

Aggregates are being organised in London and Sheffield (who have invited Leeds/Bradford). We should report back from our aggregates via email/Facebook. These are great because people who are unable to make NMM's can still contribute and those going to the aggregates are perhaps more likely to attend the NMM.

Action: Gareth and James are coordinating ringrounds in London. Will find out the status of ringrounds for non-London members. There are concerns from some that the IS Network's conferences are too concerned with structures and not political priorities, so this is the reason for the policy-focused NMM. It was suggested that those members involved in the national members' meeting organising groups should make sure we focus on this and that we all try to write pieces on political priorities that we want to see adopted.

Transphobia Meeting

The meeting is going to be on the 20th September in Goldsmiths and is aimed mainly at IS Network members but we're aiming to bring others to it also. There are concerns about the lack of publicity of the meeting so we will talk to the coordinators and get their thoughts.

Action: Gareth to check in with Emma R re:when publicity/the fb page etc will go out.

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes (26-viii-2014)

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes (26-viii-2014)

Present: Simon, Luke, Kat and James
Apologies: Kris

1. Ring round

Kris and James are coordinating the ring round of members and supporters for the national members meeting (NMM). In the meeting we agreed a set of points that we can use in the ring round (Simon to send them to Kris)

2. Some dates for your diary

(Please let us know of any omissions)

NHS demo in London on 6th September

The final leg of the 999 Call for the NHS Jarrow to London march.

Details are:
10.00 Depart Edmonton Green
11.45 Saturday lunch in Clissold Park, Hackney
14.00 MARCH TO PARLIAMENT Assemble Unite Head office, 128 Theobald’s Road, WC1X 8TN

Left Unity Trade Union meeting - 13th September

Chadswell Healthy Living Centre, Harrison Street, London, WC1H 8JE

Plan C FFW2014 - Friday 12th - Sunday 14th September

YHA Edale
Programme and additional info:

Transphobia meeting - Sat 20th September

Goldsmiths, London

The International Fight for Climate Jobs - For a Future that doesn't Cost the Earth - Sat 20th September

London Metropolitan University

Next National Council of Left Unity - 20th September


Women's writing workshop - 21st September 

Contact Alison L for details

Left Unity branch organisers dayschool - 4th October


ISN members involved in branch organising should make sure they get booked on it by responding to the email that will be out shortly.

Strikes by Unison/GMB/Unite in local government - 14th October

TUC demonstration in London on 18th October

IS Network steering committee teleconference minutes (18-viii-2014)

ISN steering committee teleconference minutes (18/viii/2014)

Present: Kris, Kat, Simon, James, Edd, Gareth, Jenny
Apologies: Paris, Luke


  1. MAMA (Minutes And Matters Arising)
  2. Implementing agreed perspectives (Brian's point on FB)
  3. Birmingham AntiCapitalists
  4. Working groups
  5. Next meeting



Went through the last meetings minutes and action points.


2. Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union meeting (20th Sept, London)

Makes sense for us to network the conference through our trade union conference. A few Birmingham comrades have gone to Reclaim the Power (antifracking camp in Blackpool) this weekend Edd will try and get a report from them for the ISN website. Which will be some activity on the subject for the website.

Discussion about how the network organises and can develop work around particular issues. This will clearly be a major theme of the NMM. Gareth raised the idea of a possible "buddy system" to help develop more support for different areas of work.


3. Birmingham AntiCapitalists

Edd reported on Birmingham AC group - having a meeting on Friday at 4pm to report back on the ISN NMM.


4. Working groups for national members' meeting (NMM)

We need volunteers to do the ring rounds for the NMM.

Left Unity - Amendments have been produced for the draft education policy document that ISN members have seen. Simon has emailed Kate asking if the foreign policy document has substantially changed from the March policy conference.

LGBTQ/Women's caucus working together on the transphobia meeting, speaker organised and venue booked at Goldsmiths for 20th September. Time is from 1-5pm.

NHS demo/work - Gareth is coordinating with Mark B on the docs not cops campaign and general work around NHS privatisation.


5. Next meeting

Monday 25th August, 8pm

Next weeks agenda and to-do list for next week

Divided up the national members list - James
Simon to draft points to discuss with members on the ring round
NMM anti-racist/anti-fascist conference - Simon to circulate Mike from Socialist Resistance's document
Report backs from the working groups.