meeting 14th april: class struggle in world war II

A meeting of the Birkbeck discussion group*, with a lead-off by David Broder.  From 7:30pm on Thursday 14th April at Room 254, Birkbeck, Malet Street (Goodge St. tube). All welcome.

The Second World War was the greatest crisis in the history of capitalism. For six years the system of states was in chaos as rival
imperialisms fought each other for control. Many communists hoped that the disaster of war and the discrediting of the ruling class would provide an opportunity for revolution. Yet the democratic bourgeoisie  emerged from 1945 stronger than ever.

Continue reading “meeting 14th april: class struggle in world war II”

issue 18 of the commune

The October issue of The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see PDF or use the list of individual articles as they are posted online.

Contact us at if you would like to buy a printed copy (£1 + 50p postage) or set up a subscription. (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international.


lib dems to slash council services – David Huckerby reports on Sheffield council, which has announced 8,000 lay-offs

french workers fight for their future – A Rebetiko article on the 3-million strong days of action against a two-year rise in the pension age

progress for UCL cleaners – Greg Brown reports on a partial victory for the Living Wage campaign

‘not one train left the depot’ – Millie Wild speaks to a worker involved in the Madrid Metro strike

ed miliband is no ed militant – David Broder is unimpressed with the left’s reactions to the Labour leadership contest

deadlock in venezuela vote – Claudio Testa explains the weaknesses and remaining power base of the Chávez government

Workplace and local reports

fire brigade: will london burn? – job losses set to hit fire cover, ‘frontline’ staff and support workers alike in London Fire Brigade

cuts to hit hard in peckham – Sharon Borthwick reports on the impact of the crisis in Peckham and the changing social composition of the area

on the picket line at sandwell waste depot – report from a recent strike action by refuse workers near Birmingham


reports from september 11th conference ‘from meltdown to upheaval’:

– working group on organising ongoing struggles

– working group on community and voluntary organising

– working group on ‘is the university a factory?’ – by Sebastian Wright

are the cuts necessary, and does it matter? – Oisín Mac Giollamóir responds to a debate on whether UK capitalism ‘needs’ to make the cuts

unison stirred by government cuts onslaught – Matt Mansfield reports on an anti-cuts conference in Glasgow staged by Unison

where does resistance come from? – Sheila Cohen reviews Workplace Conflict: Mobilization and Solidarity in Argentina by Maurizio Atzeni

big flame: doing things a different way – Sophie Walker and Joe Thorne revisit the experience of 1970s revolutionary socialist feminist group Big Flame

Our network and events

the commune: a view from the periphery – a letter from Martin Bashforth, from York, on the potential and role of The Commune

political platform of our network

the commune around britain

women at the cutting edge…

the commune issue 17

The September issue of The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see PDF or use the list of individual articles as they are posted online.

Contact us at if you would like to buy a printed copy (£1 + 50p postage) or set up a subscription. (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international.


spectre of communism haunts china’s rulers – Adam Ford on the recent strike wave

solidarity with the miners’ strike in ukraine – by Chris Kane

demo to support berns salonger cleaners – an IWW member writes on recent solidarity initiatives with migrant workers in sweden

is UNISON ready to fight the cuts? – a UNISON branch official looks at the state of the union as it gears up for major confrontations with the government

Life at work

a “zero hours” contract… for thousands of hours – Jack Staunton writes on his work in a government market research call centre

‘the security is to keep us in!’ – Sharon Borthwick reviews Rivethead, a ‘book of tales from the assembly line’

Strategies for fighting the cuts

building a movement against cuts – by Steve Ryan

nothing will be like it was before – Tom Denning writes on strategies we need and strategies we don’t

no escape from theory – Oleg Resin revisits the 1970s ‘state debate’ and questions the nature of public services

the ‘social wage’ and the hackney nurseries campaign – Camille Barbagallo and Nic Beuret look at how the cuts axe is falling, and why

proposed principles for anti-cuts movements – a motion by Dave Spencer to The Commune’s upcoming conference


from meltdown to upheaval – an assembly on the crisis and how we organise hosted by The Commune, 11th September

the commune around britain – details of local groups and forums

women at the cutting edge – Feminist Fightback meeting on the crisis, 30th October

Our network, the left and theory

potere operaio: the last firebrands – Martine Bourne reports on one of the recent London forums on communist organisations past and present

a syndicalism for the 21st century? – Sheila Cohen draws the lessons of the 1910-14 Great Unrest for a modern understanding of workers’ democracy

for creative and critical thinking on the left – Permanent Revolution’s Eleanor Davies calls for joint forums and a culture of openness

is marxism just too abstract?

by Nathan Coombs

The following commentary is in response to a forum organized by The Commune and the Marxist-Humanist Initiative, held in London on July 5, 2010.  This involved a talk by Anne Jaclard, “You Can’t Change the Mode of Production with a Political Agenda,” followed by a talk by Andrew Kliman, “The Transformation of Capitalism into Communism in the Critique of the Gotha Program.” Both talks can be read here.

In 1965 Louis Althusser opened his famous paean For Marx with a withering reflection on French theoretical culture at the time. He bemoaned the fact that ‘we have spent the best part of our time in agitation when we would have been better employed in the defence of our right and duty to know’.[i] The result of which was ‘the stubborn, profound absence of any theoretical culture’; whereas, he claimed, ‘Marxism should not be simply a political doctrine, a ‘method’ of analysis and action, but also, over and above the rest, the theoretical domain of fundamental investigation’.[ii] For this task Althusser saw as indispensable the role of intellectuals committed to necessary theoretical work.

Plato: an 'abstract' proto-communist?

Continue reading “is marxism just too abstract?”

reply to debate on ‘recomposition’

Leo and Mark of Bristol Commune reply to our recent debate on the way forward for our network.

In the May issue of The Commune it was suggested that our small network take the next step and constitute itself as a ‘league’ by converging with other small groups into a more unified organisation.  It is unclear as to why the proposal is being made.  Undoubtedly the formation of organisations can contribute significantly to the development of class struggle but they still have to be rooted within the political and economic context.

Any step up in communist organisation can only come from an increase in struggle in which the organisation is firmly embedded. Currently, The Commune is very marginal to the class struggle as a whole, so the form of our organisation needs to reflect that situation. The organic development of an organisation means that it is not only linked to the level of class struggle and political consciousness of the class but that it is also linked to our own lives as communists in struggle. While we share the vision of a pluralist, democratic communist organisation, we question the wisdom of focussing a substantial part of our energy on building such an organisation at this time. Continue reading “reply to debate on ‘recomposition’”

we lack resistance to the present

by Nic Beuret

There have been a number of articles in recent editions of The Commune posing the question of what sort of organisation Indeed, many in the radical left have returned to questions of organisation as a result of the decline and dispersal of the protests and projects of the ‘networked’ anti-globalisation movement.

Somewhat surprisingly there is a great deal of agreement across the radical, conservative and traditional political spectrum that the purpose and function of political organisation is to produce propaganda, agitate, debate and discuss. That is to say, the left wing version is of a form of politics that is stuck in a loop of producing pamphlets, newspapers and websites, and hosting debates and conferences. Continue reading “we lack resistance to the present”

beyond resistance day school, saturday 19th june

We have finalised the timetable for tomorrow’s ‘Beyond Resistance’ summer school. Click here for full timetable. Late changes include the addition of speakers involved in higher education struggles and the campaign to defend Hackney nurseries. The opening session will feature Ansar Ahmed Ullah, a secular Bengali activist involved in fighting recent English Defence League provocations in Tower Hamlets.

Registration starts from 10am. The venue is the WEA at 96-100 Clifton St, London EC2. All welcome. Click here to buy advance ticket – pay £5 if waged or £3 for concessions, and click here for map of venue.  See below for a list of sessions, follow links for more information on each session. Continue reading “beyond resistance day school, saturday 19th june”

‘not another communist group!’

Oisín Mac Giollamóir replies to recent discussion on the way ahead for communists.

I suppose the first issue with the idea of a communist refoundation is the question: is it needed? Surely, there are enough organisations as it is. Surely, the real problem for the working class is not the lack of communist organisations, but rather the lack of working class militancy, organisation and confidence.

the spanish revolution was defeated: “strong principles and fine slogans do not act as a substitute for strategic thinking”

And true enough, there are enough communist organisations in Britain. There are even more than enough libertarian communist organisations[1]. So why another? There have been enough left unity initiatives, all of which have failed. So please god, not another! And why even bother with setting up another communist group when the real problem is the lack of working class militancy, organisation and confidence. What can another group do for us? Continue reading “‘not another communist group!’”

the commune issue 15

The July issue of The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see PDF or use the list of individual articles as they are posted online.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact


beyond ‘resistance’, beyond alienation

Reports on struggles

lessons of the middlesex occupation – by an occupying student

from greek crisis to european fightback? – interview with WSM member Constantinos Avramidis

holland: victory for nine week cleaners’ strike – by Willem Dekker

migrant cleaners and organising solidarity – by David Broder

sex workers in uganda organise – interview with Macklean Kyomya, Namakula Nakato Daisy and Benjamin

Gaza flotilla massacre

‘they were like hyenas in the dark’ – interview with Gaza flotilla activist Fintan Lane

atrocity stirs protest in tel aviv – by Solomon Anker

solidarity, not silence: the academic boycott debate – by Greg Brown

Labour leadership race

what use an abbott in a ‘broad church’? – by Taimour Lay

new labour in opposition – by Dave Spencer

Understanding our situation

for the right not to work! – by Steve Ryan

who benefits from cuts? – by Adam Ford

‘to act in union…’: the changing composition of the working class and the implications for class struggle – by Sheila Cohen

‘Global Commune’ debates

second global commune – by Allan Armstrong

no national solutions – by Clifford Biddulph

‘not another communist group! – by Oisín Mac Giollamóir

we lack resistance to the present – by Nic Beuret

report on the second ‘global commune’

by Allan Armstrong

The second Global Commune day school, jointly organised by the Republican Communist Network (RCN) and The Commune, was held in the Out of the Blue Centre in Edinburgh on May 22nd.  People attended from Aberdeen, Bristol, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Midlothian.

a sign at the Middlesex University occupation points to the way forward

The first workshop session, ‘After the Election, What Next?‘ was introduced by Alberto Durango and Mark Ellingsen from The Commune. Alberto emphasised the necessity for communists to be open and honest about their communism.  Workers needed political confidence to attack the labour bureaucracy. Mark pointed out that current economic crisis was far from solved. We need to clearly argue for a revolutionary alternative to capitalism and not be afraid to call for the abolition of wage labour. The question is how do we relate this abstract demand to concrete practice.

Continue reading “report on the second ‘global commune’”

the commune’s june 19th summer school – one week away

Beyond Resistance, The Commune’s summer school, is now just one week away. All welcome – buy advance tickets at link below, or pay on the door.

The event takes place from 11am-6pm on Sat 19th June at 96-100 Clifton St, London EC2. All welcome. Download double-sided A5 leaflet or A3 poster. Click here to buy ticket – pay £5 if waged or £3 for concessions, and click here for map of venue. See below for a list of sessions, follow links for more information on each session. Continue reading “the commune’s june 19th summer school – one week away”

for the right not to work!

by Steve Ryan

The recent right to work conference was apparently a great success with some 600 people attending, a demo in support of BA workers after and a call to demonstrate on 22nd June, Budget Day.

technology has not reduced the workload, but rather increased its pace

All very good, but steps towards a truly communist society surely should recognise that work in itself is not the be all and end all of life. Continue reading “for the right not to work!”

report of ‘communist organisation’ session at global commune

On 22nd May The Commune and the Republican Communist Network (Scotland) co-hosted a Global Commune day school in Edinburgh. The day had sessions on politics after the election, internationalism and communist organisation. Full reports on each to follow.

The session on communist organisation was led off by Chris Ford, who produced this paper on the subject. We then broke up into two groups for further discussion. Ellenor from Liberty and Solidarity was unable to give her presentation due to illness. Follow link for Chris’s paper, and see below for feedback at the end of the workshop. Continue reading “report of ‘communist organisation’ session at global commune”

updates on 19th june ‘beyond resistance’ summer school

The Commune’s June 19th summer school ‘Beyond Resistance’ is now just three weeks away, and we are finalising details for the day’s workshops. Below appear the blurbs for three of the planned sessions, as well as a timetable for the whole event.

The event takes place from 11am-6pm on Sat 19th June at 96-100 Clifton St, London EC2. All welcome. Download double-sided A5 leaflet or A3 posterClick here to buy ticket – pay £5 if waged or £3 for concessions, and click here for map of venue. More details shortly. Continue reading “updates on 19th june ‘beyond resistance’ summer school”