Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri May 19 01:29:49 MDT 2000

>Given that the Bolsheviks had out most of their differences in a public or
>semi-public way, it is rather difficult to understand why our latter-day
>'Leninists' are so freaked out by such an idea.  Unless, of course, they
>aren't Leninists, but just tin-pot pretenders and
>bureaucrats-in-the-making.  Moreover, with the internet, it just seems
>downright bizarre for the sects to imagine they can behave in the same old
>It's all also an interesting comment on how technology can improve
>democracy!  One would expect the left to welcome this rather than be
>freaked by it!
>Philip Ferguson


As someone who was ground down and out of ISO in Brisbane I have given a
lot of thought to that organisation.  I put 3 years of life into it and to
be frank it saddens me that it is led by such a group of no-talent bums today.

But responsibility rest squarely on the shoulders of the late T. Cliff.  It
was he who responded to the down turn in the 80s by deliberately isolating
his cadre from the world. For example he cracked down on women's caucuses
and around the world his avatars did the same.  Here in Australia Mick
Armstrong led the charge and effectively ISO divorced itself from the
women's movement.  Mick neglected to tell us lesser mortals that he was
merely copying Cliff.  We were led to believe that he had thought of the
great strategy of abolishing the women's caucus all by himself.

Of course as the organisation progressively became more isolated it had to
increase its slander of everyone else to justify the isolation. Another
side effect of the Cliff strategy was that the type of person who rose to
the top in an organisation which was withdrawing from the world was the
classic asocial philistine. Stalin was of course the prototype here.  But
it must be said that compared with the ignoramuses who seized control of IS
in Australia Stalin was a very paragon of culture.

The sad story has no happy ending I am afraid.  As the political climate
became harder ISO responded with even more of the Cliff medicine. That is
why Armstrong was purged and Ian Rintoul crowned by the British.

>Cliff's death however may signal a different line.  The London elections
>and the united front policy may not have been very successful in terms of
>votes but it seems to have been popular with the IS cadre.  So as with
>that other historical tragic farce when the Stalinists had to reform
>themselves following Stalin's death we may be witnessing the incredible
>spectacle of the super sectarians trying to grope their way back into the
>real world via the united front.



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