Vanguardism and 2 Clarifictions to Hugh

CEP iwp.ilo at
Thu Feb 29 17:34:34 MST 1996

You(Hugh) wrote:
>I'll give you two examples of the LIT in action.
>One is the initiative to form international Simon Bolivar brigades
>the Nicaraguan revolution, with the task of helping the workers and
>landless to organize independent and combative trades unions. This
>succeeded so well that the Sandinistas threw our comrades in jail for
>efforts, with the aid of the USec, of course, who considered that no
>independent class organizations were needed as the Sandinistas were
>all that was needed. We were where the action was, like it or not.

    Somehow, Hugh, you got the information a little distorted.  The
    Internation Simon Bolivar Brigade *was not formed* with the task
    of "helping the workers and the landless to organize independent
    and combative trade unions."

    The ISBB was formed in 1978/79 to fight alongside the FSLN against
    Somoza's National Guard.  They did that and were very heroic.  Some
    of the streets in Managua still have the names of those
    internationalists who died there.

    The ISBB members, after Somoza and most of the National Guard fled
    the country, were active in defeating the first attempt of a
    counter-revolutionary armed revolt against the new government in

    They started to build tradeunions in the Zona Franca, later in
    Granada and Masaya. But this was a natural sub-product of its
    main reason to be formed in the first place.

    They were not *jailed* by the Sandinistas, but something worse.
    Because two detachments of the FSLN *refused* to act against the
    members if the ISBB, the FSLN invited the Panamenian National
    Guard to do so.  The Panamenian soldiers arrived in two transport
    planes and irrumped in a meeting between FSLN leaders and members
    of the ISBB (to which ISBB members were invited to *discuss* and
    instructed to come unarmed).  They Panamenian troops *kidnapped*
    the ISBB members and transported them in the planes under military
    custody to Panama.  There, they were jailed by the Panamenian
    government for a few days and expelled to different countries days

    The FSLN jailed one member of the IWL(FI) leadership who remained
    in Nicaragua for 45 days and freed him after an international
    campaign.  This was done days before the former Maoists and two
    groups of dissident FSLN members were going to reach political
    agreement with the Trotskyist to form a united organization.


>The other example was the mobilization against the British in the
>and against the Argentine dictatorship that was commanding the war
>By opening offices before the actual fall of the dictatorship, our
>was able to participate very effectively in this double mobilization.
>a policy attuned to the vanguard that worked the way it should.


    Again, you have some distorted information.  This is not an attempt
    to attack you, just to set the record straight.

    The PST (that was the name of the IWL's party at the time in
    Argentina) -- at least that is my recollection -- did not open
    PST's headquarters as such but under a disguised name.  At that
    time, though, other left groups also did the same.  The military
    dictatorship was to busy losing a war as to pay attention to these
    events.  Later, the PST made an alliance with an small sector of
    socialdemocrats and founded the MAS as a "socialdemocratic" party
    and opened up public headquarters (please, refer to the ad in
    several newspapers in Argentina at the time and to the first issue
    of the MAS's newspaper.  They operated safely under this mantle
    until was safe to do otherwise and until they decide that social-
    democracy was not a trend to follow (and a debate on the IWL's
    International Executive Committee).

    Now, my question is: what any of these two facts have to do with
    vanguardism?  IMO, nothing.  The first was an act of princippled
    internationalist action.  The second a "try-out", safe, vehicle to
    investigate the response from the dictatorship  (even though they
    wwere careful, one comrade was assasinated and couple others


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