Archive for June, 2012

june 2012 issue of the commune – out now!

June 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Issue 30 of The Commune is now available. It features a bottom up view of the UK public sector pensions dispute, an article on how our public spaces are changing, new developments on the left and more besides.

The paper is free: click the image above to download the PDF. See below for a list of articles as they are posted online.


sparks show the way – this month’s editorial looks at the different trajectories taken by electricians’ and haulage drivers’ struggles

phony war in uk pensions dispute – a london based college worker writes about the top down nature in which the struggle is being conducted

The Left

new anti-capitalist initiative launched – Jackie Lucas sees a chance to work in the ACI but is wary of Trotskyist practices

the way forward for the left? – Chris Strafford wants communists to relate to mass movements, and reflects on his experience for the CPGB

Current Events

you can’t say that! – Ollie Sutherland was not impressed by most of the left’s approach to the London Mayoral election

deeper into essex: how you are allowed in your city – Sharon Borthwick reviews Anna Minton ‘Ground Contol: Fear and happinnes in the twenty-first century city’ and looks at how our public spaces are changing, especially in relation to the Olympics


made in rochdale: exported globally – Scumboni offers a radical defence of worker co-operatives

the paradox of internationalism from below – Barry Biddulph continues our series on the national question


dave spencer 1940-2012 – Jim Schofield remembers our dear friend and comrade


This paper is free, and we’re always looking to expand our distribution network. Would you like to share these ideas with friends or colleagues? Leave a few in your local library or café? Contact us at

To get our communist message out there, we also need money. If you enjoy the paper, the price of a couple of pints a month would be of great use to us. Email us, or set up a standing order to The Commune, Co-op sc. 089299 ac. 65317440. You can also send cheques, addressed to ‘The Commune’, to The Commune, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX

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Scottish Affairs Select Committee – Blacklisting Investigation (Live Video Link)

June 12, 2012 Leave a comment


Session is due to start around 2/2:30pm today.

“Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, is now confirmed to give evidence as the UK parliamentary Select Committee continue their investigation into blacklisting in Scotland. This will relate to the North Sea as well as construction.”

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Disabled workers in the Russian strike wave of summer 1923

June 2, 2012 1 comment

Stolen from S. Pirani, The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920-24: Soviet workers and the new communist elite (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), p.201

… a protest organized over the summer by disabled workers, who were not union members and fell outside the party’s ideologically constrained definition of workers. The several thousand disabled, mostly injured in the world war, civil war or industrial accidents, met at municipal centres (doma invalidov); those that could work generally did so in the private or municipal workshops. Cost accounting impacted on disabled people’s benefits, and on 19 July the Moscow soviet proposed to abolish free tram travel for the disabled. This drew immediate protests from mass meetings of the disabled in five of Moscow’s six districts. A threat to demonstrate outside the Moscow social welfare department’s main offices quickly secured assurances that the measure, due to take effect on 1 August, would be reconsidered. But it was not. In the days before the deadline, a disabled ‘initiative group’ was formed. Its political colouring is unclear, but it may well have included rank-and-file communists, who had previously been active among the disabled. Its representatives visited dormitories and workshops. On 30 July, with the cancellation of free travel imminent, a 400-strong demonstration was held at the social welfare department. On 2 August, the ‘initiative group’ organized a meeting and made plans to convene an all-Russian conference of disabled people’s delegates. On 8 August a further gathering demanded not only free tram transport and the replacement of individual benefits by collectively paid benefits, but also the convening of a soviet of disabled deputies and places for disabled delegates on the Moscow soviet…*

*[Footnote by the author] I have found no information about the disabled workers’ movement dated later than 8 August. It may have been repressed, or have struck a deal with the Moscow soviet.

Categories: Simon Pirani Tags: , , ,