Another one bites the dust

Even before SWP comrades gather in London for their annual conference, the central committee has sacked Martin Smith as national secretary and replaced him by Charlie Kimber. Peter Manson looks at an organisation in crisis

The leadership of the Socialist Workers Party must be hoping against hope that its January 7-9 annual conference will be totally different from last year’s messy affair. Then conference was dominated by the factional battle between the Martin Smith-Alex Callinicos leadership and the right-moving opposition of deposed leader John Rees and his close allies, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham. Within months Rees and co, together with his entire Left Platform grouping, walked out of the SWP to form the Counterfire organisation.

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Letters

Nuclear tinderbox; Kurds protest; Irish solidarity; Distortion; Witless leaders; Low numbers

Best wishes

Robbie Rix is encouraged by the many comrades prepared to support us financially

Jailbirds, extremists, and white power rock

Maciej Zurowski argues that state bans only serve the ruling class. There must be freedom ... even for bad music and offensive lyrics

Haunted by ghosts

The death of Mary Rosser has opened up a can of worms. Sammy Hollingworth wonders why leading CPB members have such a strained relationship with the past

Paradox of an anti-Stalinist

Gareth Evans reviews Philip Bounds's 'Orwell and Marxism: the political and cultural thinking of George Orwell' IB Tauris Publications, 2009, pp253, £46

Plenty of choice, but no choice

James Turley looks at the unappetising range of candidates in Oldham East and Saddleworth

Don't give in to the slurs

Eddie Ford defends Clare Solomon against the rightwing press and its AWL outriders

Scabs and vengeance

Lessons must be learnt from the whole Tommy Sheridan episode, writes Sarah McDonald

Old thinking and new bottles

Paul Greenaway asks what the liberal media see in Laurie Penny and explains why Alex Callinicos is talking sense

Weekly Worker 847 is also available in PDF format