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

Manchester SWSS disaffiliation and resignation letter

How do you recognise a dissident Marxist? This term is used to refer to people who did not treat their socialism as an inherited canon of knowledge, but at each moment were willing to think their politics anew.’
Dave Renton

SWSSIt is with a great deal of disappointment and a slight sense of demoralisation that the University of Manchester Socialist Worker Student Society would like to make public our decision to disaffiliate from the SWP, with those of us who were members of the organisation now resigning. Many of our reasons for this will come as no surprise to those who have followed the party’s fortunes in recent months and do not need in depth explanation. Yet at the risk of sounding self-indulgent we would like to take this opportunity to make a few basic points both relating to why we are leaving and what we plan to do next.

It goes without saying that the recent mishandling of allegations of rape and sexual harassment against a leading comrade have weighed extremely heavily on our decision. Nothing further needs to be said on the case itself. Those in the know will be aware of places online where they can find much better informed opinions than any we could offer.

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A response to SWSS notes: the National Student Meeting

SWSSOn Saturday 23 March the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) finally answered the calls for a national student meeting. The students themselves up and down the country have been demanding a national meeting to deal with the unravelling crisis the SWP is undergoing. Many of those that called for the student meeting wanted to develop a strategy to keep student members in the party and active after the demoralisation, intimidation and verbal abuse they’d suffered in the run up to and after the first conference in January 2013. The failure of the Central Committee (CC) to call this meeting earlier in the year has resulted in the loss of several SWSS groups (Leeds, Queen Mary’s, Brighton and Sussex, Hull, Kent) and the collapse of many others into inactivity.

Normally, when a national student meeting is called, we aim to get as many students as possible to it, but not this time. This time we were limited to two delegates per university (presumably so we couldn’t make the CC cry - which has apparently happened at previous student meetings) which meant there were less than 30 students representing SWSS nationally. The day was broken into 3 relatively short sessions; General Perspectives, Marxism Festival and NUS Conference.

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Leeds SWSS: statement of disaffiliation

SWSSIn response to the recent crisis engulfing the SWP over its mishandling of rape allegations, Leeds University Socialist Worker Student Society would like to announce our disaffiliation from the organisation.

We feel this step is necessary because of the party’s inherent sexism and bureaucratised democratic structure, which has also historically subordinated the role of Socialist Worker Student Society. The treatment of dissident voices within the party and subsequent bullying and intimidation of young members has made our continued affiliation untenable. Add a comment

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Sussex and Brighton SWSS

SWSSFollowing yesterday's Special Conference, we the undersigned members of Brighton and Sussex SWSS have decided to resign from the Socialist Workers Party. The experience of recent weeks has been profoundly disheartening to us all and we cannot reconcile those experiences with the fundamental tenets of women's liberation (feminism). We do not make light of this decision; however, we cannot continue as members in good conscience. We extend our solidarity to all those comrades who continue to defend the best of our tradition in the organisation and reaffirm our commitment to the cause of international socialism - fighting capitalist oppression in all its shapes and forms. We will continue to be active on our campuses and in our community, building campaigns alongside our comrades inside the SWP and elsewhere in the movement.

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King's College London SWSS Statement

SWSSSince the beginning of term, a number of students have raised concerns with members of our SWSS group over the way that recent allegations of sexual assault and rape have been handled by the Central Committee (CC) and Disputes Committee (DC). We feel that it is incumbent on us to respond to these concerns.

As a SWSS group we share many of the concerns that have been raised, and expressed our views at the recent SWP conference. The woman involved, comrade W, has made it clear that she does not want the case itself to be reopened. However, it is absolutely necessary that the SWP reviews its procedures and learns from mistakes made. The Central Committee should have been at the forefront of fighting for these changes. We condemn them for failing in this duty. We also condemn their refusal to acknowledge the political impact that this issue has had on our ability to intervene in class struggle. It is vital that the SWP now works to correct this mistake. As a SWSS group we are arguing for this in our local branch.

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Further Education (FE) SWSS members' statement

SWSSAs FE SWSS members* we would like to make public that we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the recent handling of very serious accusations against a leading member of the SWP Central Committee (CC).

The SWP is in crisis. Over the last month, our reputation as the best fighters on the left has been dealt hefty blows. It is time the straw man arguments the CC has consistently used since November are dispensed with and the CC acts to stop the inevitable demise of our organisation; at the centre of these arguments is the report of the Disputes Committee, a mere two fifths of conference delegates approved the Disputes Committee report, a vote at conference that tends to be unanimous. Despite the wish of the Central Committee at the end of Conference for the matter to "remain closed" it was never to be so, even before a full transcript was released in sectarian blogs.

All members of the SWP should take these suggestions to their branches and argue for a special conference through the mechanisms in place to keep the party democratically accountable.

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