The SWP/ISO fight--and the intervention of the internet

Ben Seattle Left-Transparency at SPAMLeninism.org
Sun May 21 16:11:13 MDT 2000


Hi everyone,

I am forwarding my comments on the SWP/ISO fight from another
list.  One of the key issues, at this time, is the impact of the
internet in shaping the outcome of this conflict.  I have joined
Louis' list temporarily--in order to post this.  I will stay
subscribed for the next 24 hours in case there is any follow-up
discussion.

Ben Seattle
----//-// 21.May.2000
www.Leninism.org

Information wants to be free
to serve the working class !

-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Seattle <left-transparency at Leninism.org>
To: ONE Marxist <marxist at egroups.com>
Date: Sunday, May 21, 2000 12:12 AM
Subject: [marxist] The SWP/ISO fight--and the intervention of the
internet


Hi everyone,

Ethan asked about the SWP/ISO fight.  I was also asked about it
off-list in connection with my view that the internet will
unleash forces that will lead to the extinction of sectarianism.

What follows is a somewhat sketchy and impressionistic account
based on my reading/skimming of the ISO-SWP-IST list and the
March 20 ISO Internal Discussion Bulletin which has been posted
on the internet.  Readers are hereby warned that my account may
be inaccurate, distorted, misleading or colored by my own
experience or prejudices.  I am also attaching, as an appendix,
two postings:

(a) the most useful document to come of this so far--Parts 1 and
     2 of the "Notes for a Platform of the Opposition" which
     appears to be written by members of the SWP and ISO who
     are opposed to the secret and unprincipled maneuvers of the
     leaderships of both the SWP and the ISO, and
(b) an email from a representative of the ISO steering committee
     instructing all ISO members who may be subscribed to the
     opposition list to immediately unsubscribe from a "pointless
     internet exchange".


Our story so far
----------------

The Socialist Workers Party of Britain (SWP) and the
Internationalist Socialist Organization of the US (ISO) are
mother-daughter parties that are part of a grouping of
organizations calling themselves the International Socialist
Tendency (IST).  The IST has always been controlled by the SWP
which is headed by Alex Callinicos and, until his recent death,
Tony Cliff.  All disputes of this sort have a long history going
back, essentially, to the big bang about 12 billion years ago.
But, based on what I have read so far, we can trace this story
back to a request of the ISO to find out what had happened to
tens of thousands of dollars that had been collected for the
benefit of international organizations in the IST trend that had
"suddenly evaporated".

Hence the current round of events may have started as an inquiry
concerning missing organizations and missing money.

>From that point, as many readers might guess--the conflict
escalated.  The SWP apparently responded (it appears at any
rate--they deny it--and the documents themselves strongly suggest
this but do not prove it) by demanding that the ISO kick out of
its leading body the guy who had been too insistent in asking
forbidden questions.  The ISO refused to do this and the SWP
responded, essentially, by declaring war.

The precipitating issue, therefore, was whether or not the SWP
controlled the ISO.  If the SWP can tell the ISO who can be in
its leadership--then the SWP controls the ISO.  But apparently,
in its own way, the ISO leadership had other ideas.

The "war" of the SWP against the ISO--and the ISO's actions to
defend itself--were carried on in secret--as is the custom in the
unprincipled sectarian/reformist swamp that makes up most of the
organized left.  Rather than make criticisms of one another
public so that they could be discussed and debated by their
respective memberships--the leading bodies of both organizations
steadily escalated matters while keeping their own rank and file
members entirely in the dark.

The SWP accumulated a "dossier" of supposedly grave mistakes that
the ISO had made (ie: failing to mobilize more than 20 people to
come to the anti-WTO demo in Seattle last November--and minor
tactical differences concerning work in the movement against the
war of the big bully of the world (US imperialism) against the
little bully of the Balkans.  I don't have any position on these
supposed errors of the ISO.  I don't know if these things were
real errors or not--and I do not care.  It is clear the SWP only
raised this nonsense because the ISO wouldn't shut up and kept
asking about the fate of missing organizations and tens of
thousands of dollars.  Everyone who has a lot of experience in
the left knows that this kind of dirty unprincipled maneuvering
goes on constantly.

As part of its "war" the SWP started to cultivate selected and
sympathetic ISO members.  It told them how the ISO leadership had
screwed up and suggested that changes were necessary.  I can't
prove this of course--but I glanced at the documents and I have
been around the block.  The ISO quickly caught wind of what was
going on.  The ISO leadership had to defend itself--or be
replaced by people who were more understanding of the needs of
the mother party.  Hence, to defend itself, the ISO was forced to
circulate to its members the March 20 Internal Discussion
Bulletin--which included the threats and accusations that the SWP
and ISO had made to one another.  The Internal Discussion
Bulletin was really intended to remain internal.  At the top it
says: "Given the sensitive nature of this material, it should not
be left for copying at a copy center."

And in pre-internet days such a bulletin most likely _would_ have
remained internal.  But that was then.  This is now.

The response of what appears to be the best and the brightest of
the ISO members (ie: the most dedicated, principled and
clear-sighted) was two-fold: On the one hand they were disgusted
by the unprincipled nature of the efforts of Callinicos and Cliff
to control the ISO.  More than this, however, they were disgusted
by how their own cowardly and unprincipled leadership had been
keeping them entirely in the dark about important political
criticisms and sectarian warfare that should have been discussed
openly in the light of the sun.

The internet vs. sectarianism
----------------------------

Members of the ISO, in order to effectively oppose the
controlling atmosphere within the organization that frustrates
discussion of the decisive issues (ie: threats, expulsions, etc)
set up an open discussion list at Topica.com (a commercial list
host similar to eGroups) and invited everyone in either the ISO
or the SWP (or any related organzation) to participate.  They
sent out invitations to every ISO-SWP-IST email address they
could get their hands on.  They posted the "internal" discussion
bulletin on a web site.  They operated thru Yahoo and Hotmail
pseudonyms to avoid retaliation and expulsion.  In short--they
made use of something that is new in the world--a weapon that has
been handed to revolutionaries by the course of ordinary
bourgeois development--the internet.

The leaderships of both the SWP and the ISO, which had been
carrying on (and are still carrying on) a war against one
another--suddenly found a common enemy and a common cause--to
organize their members to complain to Topica.com that the
opposition email list should be shut down.  Topica received at
least 23 complaints from both the ISO and SWP and closed down the
opposition list.  Why did Topica do this?  Commercial list hosts
are _extremely_ sensitive to anything that can be intepreted as
"spamming".  Many of the complaints noted that they had received
unwanted email soliciting them to join the opposition email list.
And unwanted email is very close to spam.  The opposition list
was killed.  The internet, however, interprets censorship as
damage and simply routes around it.  You might as well try to
stop a river with a big rock.  The next day the opposition simply
set up a new list at eGroups.  Already they have more than 100
members.

I have checked out the list.  (Anyone who wants to subscribe can
simply send email to ISO-SWP-IST-subscribe at egroups.com )  I live
and have been active for years in the US--and have never had a
great deal of respect for the ISO.  But I am impressed with the
level of maturity and consciousness that I have seen on the list.
There have been, in my view, certain minor mistakes made.  The
internal bulletin should have been scrubbed of last names and
phone numbers prior to being posted.  Such an oversight may be
used by the ISO-SWP leaderships to try to discredit the
opposition.  Also--the archives of the opposition list are not
currently open to people who are not subscribed.  In my view it
would be better for the archives to be open to public view--to
friend and foe alike.  But, I want to emphasize, these mistakes
are relatively insignificant.

The organized left, as it exists today and as it has been for
many decades, has been the anvil on which the most heroic
dedication and sacrifice has been undermined and smashed by the
most incredible stupidity and treachery.  The corruption, the
hypocrisy, the unprincipled maneuvering (the SWP/ISO war is
_utterly typical_ of what goes on everywhere) that are so
commonplace have left the progressive movement paralyzed under a
mountain of shit that can best be compared to the Augean Stables
that are part of the ancient myth of Hercules.  Hercules, per
legend, cleansed the Augean Stables with the help of a mighty
river.  Such a river exists today in the form of the internet--a
river which no one can dam and which will grow more powerful as
decade rolls after decade.

The working class will eventually build political organization
that fully serves its interest and that will strive, in all of
its activity, to raise the consciousness of all activists on
every issue that is important.  Such a political organization
will not attempt to keep its internal contradictions secret but,
on the contrary, will _broadcast_ these differences--will make
every effort to draw supporters (and the masses themselves) into
the work of sorting out the differences and disagreements that
are inevitable in any organization that is alive.

The opposition that has defied the leaderships of the ISO and the
SWP deserve our support and congratulations, regardless of any
disagreements we may have with them.  I do not know what the
outcome of all this will be in the short run.  But in the long
run the principles of openness and transparency will prove to be
invincible.  We can see, in other spheres, a battle royale
shapping up between the forces which base themselves on the free
flow of information--and the forces which oppose it.  An
important and interesting fight, for example, is taking place
within the world of music as groups like Metallica have come into
sharp contradiction with over three hundred thousand of their
most ardent fans concerning the unfettered distribution of MP3's.

The principle that "information wants to be free" is, above all,
an expression of the _increased productivity of human labor_ in
every dimension that results when human activity becomes
self-aware, conscious and capable of coordination.  As such, the
principle that "information wants to be free" will emerge again
and again to point to way forward for struggling humanity and
guide our epoch battle to end the system of bourgeois rule.

The principle that "information wants to be free" will also point
the way forward--and smash the many theoretical obstacles--to a
vision of the world which is not utopian but on the contrary is
profoundly practical--in which the world is run, not by the
bourgeoisie--but by the working class.

The leaderships of the ISO and SWP that are, fruitlessly, making
every effort to keep everything important secret--represent the
past.  The opposition that has emerged, however confused it may
be on this subject or that, and whatever may be the fate of this
particular effort--represent--in their actions--the future.

Information wants to be free
to serve the working class !

Ben Seattle
----//-// 20.May.2000
www.Leninism.org

     ========================================================
     Read "Notes of an Information Theorist"
     --------------------------------------------------------
     Watch Ben apply the tactics of "information war"
     (characterized by intelligent listening and calm,
     scientific argument) to help transform the marxism space
     into a powerful weapon against bourgeois rule.
     --------------------------------------------------------
     Archive: http://www.egroups.com/group/theorist/
     To subscribe: theorist-subscribe at eGroups.com
     ========================================================


-------------------------------------------------------------
Appendix A -- "Notes for a Platform of the Opposition"
-------------------------------------------------------------

From: Nicolai Sverdlov  <sverdlov2100 at y...>
Date: Wed May 17, 2000 0:03am
Subject: NOTES FOR A PLATFORM FOR THE OPPOSITION
        --PARTS 1 AND 2

Notes for a Platform of the Opposition
By Peter, Sean, Lucy, Lenny, Thomas, Jenny,
Sarah, David, Rashad

Note: This statement will be followed by
statements about the nature of ultra-leftist
characterizations; sectarianism and opportunism
on the electoral front; the fight to recover the
method of the Transitional Program; the question
of "High Level of Consciousness" developed in a
vacuum--without acute class struggle--and
other issues now under discussion. We will deal
in each statement with concrete proposals.

1. For a democratic Discussion /
    For a democratic International

Both the SWP and the ISO are engaged in a bitter
factional struggle. For almost a year now, they
have tried to outmaneuver each other through
meetings, mutual demands and failed
negotiations. The SWP leadership has insisted
that the IST is NOT an international and that
therefore the ISO leadership has no business
asking for information about "disappeared"
sections and money collected by the tens of
thousands to help causes and groups that have
suddenly evaporated and to maintain an
"international" apparatus that serves only the
"London Bureau."

We demand to know what happened to those
sections and the money.

While we support the ISO leadership's demand
that the discussion be made public, and that an
international gathering take it upon itself to
participate in the discussion, we need to point
out the following facts:

a. The ISO leadership did not demand an
international discussion until the SWP
leadership started to actively organize a
faction inside the ISO through "Socialist
Worker" correspondents, periodic trips to the
US, and individual--and massive--contact with
ISO cadre and members.

b. Furthermore, the ISO leadership covered up the
Callinicos-Cliff activities in Canada, South Africa, Germany,
Ireland, Australia, France and other countries in which acute
factional fights provoked splits and, in many cases the
disappearance of entire sections of the movement. Never before,
while those struggles raged on, have they demanded international
awareness and participation. The ISO leadership is now reacting
to the attacks from the SWP leadership. Their demand for an
international discussion is a defensive maneuver, not a
principled stand.

c. Moreover, the ISO leadership started, more than three months
ago, to hold meetings with dissident members of the SWP both in
Britain and the US in order to counter the factional activities
of the SWP leadership.

Now, both the SWP and ISO leaderships claim that
they want the rest of the Tendency to
participate in the debate. But neither the SWP
nor the ISO is proposing concrete and democratic
steps to resolve the crisis. As a matter of fact
organizational measures are being taken to
prevent such discussion. The ISO leadership
kicked out of the organization a number of
leading members in January 2000, allegedly for
supporting the SWP leadership. In February, a
number of dissident members of the SWP were
warned and threatened with expulsion for raising
doubts about the discussion with the ISO.

Why don't the ISO/SWP leaderships call for a
delegate meeting of all sections of the IST to
discuss and resolve the differences? Why not
organize such a conference to allow both the ISO
and SWP leaderships--and the dissident factions
in each organization--to make their cases in
meetings with the leadership and members of the
different sections?

While we agree that the Tendency is not an
international, democratic centralism (both sides
of it) is a principle that should be observed.
The ISO leadership stated that the "differences
do not justify a factional struggle." We
disagree. At stake are the most fundamental
issues of building an international current, the
methodology of building our sections, the fight
against bureaucratic leaderships and the
struggle to develop a program to intervene in
the class struggle.

While the struggle between the SWP and ISO
leaderships may appear to be a fight of
personalities and a power grab operation by the
SWP, the truth is that this perception is the
result of the low political level of the cadre
and members of both organizations.


Notes for a Platform of the Opposition--Part II
By Peter, Sean, Lucy, Lenny, Thomas, Jenny,
Sarah, David, Rashad (These notes are in draft
format)

If you support these notes and would like to add
your signature to them, please send an e-mail
to: sverdlov at yahoo.com

2. For an End of the SWP-Controlled IST

It is not a secret among us that the SWP
controls the IST through controlling all the
strings of communications; by discussing one-on-
one with the leaderships of the different
sections (using its 600-pound gorilla tactics)
and by erecting themselves unto the
super-critics and ultimate judges of every and
all disputes in the Tendency.

Only when the SWP decides, are documents and discussions shared
with the rest of the sections:

"The importance of these differences, the ISO
leadership's refusal to discuss them seriously,
and the efforts it is making to turn the group's
members against the SWP leave us no alternative
but to circulate the correspondence within the
ISO and in the Tendency as a whole. We hope this
will lead to a debate that can resolve the
differences productively and strengthen all our
organizations.

"Any group that has queries is welcome to
contact me for clarification."
Alex Callinicos, March 20, 2000

Notice the style. Translation: since we could
not bully the ISO leadership completely, we are
going to add some more pressure on them by
launching a unilateral campaign against its
leadership. If we were able to convince the ISO
leadership of its errors and make them retreat,
you would not even hear about this. You are
ordered by us to only ask for clarification at
our London's Centre.

For the SWP's leadership, the IST only exists as
a mechanism of pressure to use as needed for its
own purposes. Were comrades ever told who
elected Callinicos Supreme General Secretary of
the IST? No? Do you know why? Because nobody
did. We had no delegated International
conferences, no formal selection of leadership,
no formal voting by delegates of the Tendency.

In its defense, the ISO leadership complained
about not hearing about the SWP's criticisms at
the last Marxism meeting in London.  Nor, they
argued, were these differences so acute in the
various bilateral discussions between the
ISO-SWP leaderships. The ISO leadership
complained about Callinicos not calling Chicago
for over a year--which in their opinion is the
duty of the International Organizer--but it
never objected to the very existence of this
un-elected supra-leader.

The ISO's leadership also complained bitterly
about, "An utterly personalistic and
irresponsible faction fight conducted by leading
members of the SWP leadership," and declared
that, "since we have reasons to believe that the
SWP leadership has shared its assessment of the
ISO with other groups in the Tendency, we are
making this document available to those groups
as well as to the memberships of the ISO and the
SWP." (March 20, 2000)

This revealing statement shows that the practice
of the ISO's leadership is NOT different than
that of the SWP leadership. Both of them see the
IST sections--and even their own memberships--
as tools to pressure the other side in a
dispute, not as integral parts of a movement
with equal rights and responsibilities. Only
when both of them cannot agree, they appeal to a
non-organized extension of their factional fight
to the other sections of the IST by unilaterally
contacting them and making them aware of their
respective opinions about their opponent in the
fight.

The root cause of this factional and
anti-democratic and, we would assert,
anti-democratic centralist behavior is the
absence of any elected international body that
can act as the conduit for discussions, for
distribution of information and as organizers of
the discussions.

Callinicos does not act as the IST organizer but
as part of the SWP faction attacking an
opponent. The ISO response is to try to set up
an independent center in Chicago to "inform" the
IST of what is going on.

If this caricature of an organization at the
world scale were not a tragedy, it would be
laughable.

However, the ISO's leadership goes further to
explain the "informal," anti-Leninist ways of
functioning as the natural offspring of a
bureaucratic regime of which they were part.
They wrote: "we believed these ludicrous
accusations had been put to rest at a
leadership-to-leadership meeting held at Marxism
99." No criticisms--they continued--were
raised at the informal "Tendency meeting in
November." Of course not, that is the whole
idea, to resort to the back door strategy to
resolve differences.

However, did the ISO leadership raise those
differences at Marxism 99 or the unofficial and
informal meeting of the IST in November 99? No.
They remained silent, like the SWP leadership,
in the hopes of either resolving the differences
in secret meetings or by some backroom deals
here and there.

In another section of their March 20, 2000 the
ISO leadership states that "In the interest of
putting the dispute over the war to rest, we
have not previously circulated this document."
They further explained that they asked for the
fate of thousands of dollars raised by the ISO
membership that went to organizations that
either disappeared or is gone from the IST. They
were told in no uncertain terms by Callinicos
and Cliff to get lost. The ISO's leadership had
no right to ask questions about anything because
"the Tendency is not really an international"
and should just leave the details of its
operations in the hands of the "London Bureau."

Now we are the "collateral damage" of this
"carpet bombing." We only found out about these
things because it is convenient for the ISO
leadership to score a point. Of course, the
SWP's leadership needs to give a full report on
these issues as well as on what they do with
thousands upon thousands of pounds delivered to
their doorsteps every month by sections of the
IST. But the ISO leadership needs to explain why
it never disclosed these events and discussions
to the membership of its own organization and to
other sections of the IST.  If it looks as if
the ISO is just using these events as a
self-defense mechanism, that is because it is
the case.

But does the ISO leadership propose a radical
change? Does the ISO leadership favor a
distribution of all documents regularly from all
sections? Does the ISO propose a delegate
conference to resolve the differences and get an
answer to the question: where is the money? Not
at all. And that is because the foreign policies
of both the SWP and ISO leaderships are
extensions of their domestic policies. Both
leaderships APPOINT leaders, SQUASH
oppositionists, slander dissidents, and expel
tendencies and factions. Why do ISO members have
to find out about the factional struggle in the
National Committee that occurred last January
through a passing comment in a letter from the
Steering Committee to the SWP leadership?

The ISO leadership now writes that "When ISO
representatives raised these points about the
boom at past international meetings we were
accused of having a `pessimistic' outlook" and
further that "the SWP also needs to be held
accountable for its actions--its mistakes as
well as successes." But when and how was the
membership ever informed of these accusations
and that the ISO leadership was in favor of
holding the SWP accountable? Never.

The ISO leadership informs us that the SWP
demanded the removal of a leading comrade of the
organization. The SWP denies the charge. The SWP
charges the ISO leadership with having discussed
a secret document criticizing the policies of
the SWP. The ISO leadership denies the charges.
There is now emerging evidence that both charges
are correct.

The SWP DID demand the removal of a leading
comrade and that was the basis of the factional
discussion at the January National Committee
meeting. In addition, the ISO leadership DID
discuss a document highly critical of the
activities and positions of the SWP,
particularly on its newfound electoralist line.

The question remains: Why were the membership of
BOTH organizations and the IST sections kept in
the dark? Because both the SWP leadership and
the ISO leadership have the same approach to the
question of discussions. Both are allergic to
the intervention of the membership- unless they
need them at the moment of mobilizing them for
PR reasons- and both are in favor of "resolving"
differences through "leadership-to-leadership"
meetings never reported to the IST.

The ISO leadership now discloses the shameful
and embarrassing incidents related to Democratic
Party hack and Jerry Brown's chief of staff Dave
Hilliard--introduced in Britain by the SWP as a
Black revolutionary without consulting with the
American section--and that of one Christopher
Hitchens who was promoted by the SWP at the time
when this renegade was supporting the bombing by
NATO in the Balkans. Not a word of discussion
with the membership. Not a hint that this was
going on. Why? Why are rank and file members of
the IST now informed that the Greek section had
a "neutral position" during the war in the
Balkans? Why do we have to find that information
in a factional exchange with the SWP rather than
from regular international bulletins? Why do we
have to find out about the problems with a
policy on the war from the Irish, German and
French sections in a passing reference in a
leadership's letter?

In addition, why do we have to find out that the
SWP used the same method of bilateral secret
negotiations with those groups to force them to
correct their policies in a letter during a
factional struggle?

We welcome the ISO leadership's call that the
Tendency "should have some means to assess our
international work. As it stands now,
international work is completely cavalier and
haphazard." Do they propose an alternative,
democratic and representative way to do it?
Well, they wrote that "Some groups get frequent
phone calls with an official liaison from the
SWP, we get none." Is that the solution to the
Menshevik, undemocratic functioning of the IST?
To receive telephone calls from London more
often? This sounds more like the whining of a
neglected child than a proposal for structural
change.

"This is no way--wrote the ISO leadership--to
build an international Tendency with
self-confident leaderships trained to think for
themselves." This sounds pro-active, but since
we know the ISO leadership well, amounts to a
call for federative relations and a diminishing
of the SWP power. That is not a call for a
centralization of the organization based on the
democratization of its structures.

At the end of their document, the ISO leadership
makes four proposals. Number one: that the SWP
will "rescind in writing the unsubstantiated
charges." We do not understand this one. Charges
were made and the demand should be to
substantiate them. Number 2: The ISO leadership
asks that the "SWP stop all factionalism in
relation to the ISO."

The ISO has to give more details of the
factional work of the SWP in the US and should
propose a democratic method to resolve
differences in order to avoid factionalism.
Number 3: the ISO demands that a discussion will
take place with the SWP leadership "of all
issues raised" during Marxism 2000 in London.

Why? Why not propose a full discussion in the
IST through a delegated conference from all sections?
Why insist on the nefarious bilateral agreements and
blackmail operations? And Number 4 is the most
distressing: the ISO leadership proposes a
"reorganization of International work on a more
collaborative basis." They add "Specifics are to be
worked out in discussion among members groups of
the Tendency and decided at the next International
Tendency meeting."

This statement means exactly nothing. It is not
a proposal,  just a maneuver to buy time. The
ISO leadership if it is serious about its
charges should propose concrete reforms as to
how the Tendency works. Otherwise, we are
afraid, this is just a declaration and a set of
demands to prepare the terrain for a split. The
ISO leadership knows very well that the SWP will
reject points one and two and that three and 4
do not represent a change of the situation as it
was reflected in this discussion.



-------------------------------------------------------------
Appendix B -- The response of the ISO Steering Committee
-------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:29:19 -0500
To: ISO Notes List
Subject: Sverdlov

ISO Notes

As many comrades already know, someone who goes by the name of
"Sverdlov" has created a new list to discuss the factional
situation betweenthe ISO and the SWP, as well as other issues
about the IS tendency ingeneral.

He has now posted our internal documents (which are also posted
on several websites) and subscribed our members on the ISO notes
list to his list without their consent.

We don't know who "Sverdlov" is, but in all likelihood he is a
sectarian(or a group of sectarians) on a fishing expedition.  He
is aiming to bait our members into giving him information (he has
solicited documents,information about branch meetings and
activity) and engaging in a pointless internet exchange.

Comrades should keep in mind that these lists involve small
numbers of sectarians and random lefties who like to talk about
the left without actually getting involved in anything on the
ground.  We also know thatpeople hostile to us like Solidarity
and the Spartacist League are all over these lists.  that means
that some of the things posted on the lists arecomplete fiction
designed to draw us into a fight. No one on these lists in any
way represents the periphery that we try to relate to or the
broad activist left.

That is why every member should unsubscribe from this list as
soon as possible.  In fact, continuing to participate in the list
only inflates the total number of subscribers and makes it seem
as if "Sverdlov" has a bigger audience.  If you would like to
complain about being subscribed without your consent, you can
write to "abuse at topica.com". Finally and most importantly,
getting wrapped up in sectarian debate and gossip is a huge waste
of our time, especially considering that Summer School--our
biggest event of the year--is only a few weeks away.

No one should worry about monitoring "Sverdlov's" list (or any
other left list) either.  We have assigned one person in Chicago
to watch all relevant lists for us, so we find out about anything
that seems important on a daily basis.  The comrade has been
reading the lists for several weeks and will continue to do so,
so there is no need to send us updates unless you hear something
from outside of the internet gossip circles.

Having said this, comrades should be aware that Sverdlov has sent
information out on all kinds of lists--including local USAS and
Campaign To End the Death Penalty lists, not to mention every
sectarian or left forum he could find.  So don't be surprised if
word has gotten out and people on the left in your local cities
start to ask you about it.

Comrades should use their own discretion when talking to people
outside the ISO about the situation.  Anyone who is genuinely
interested in the work of the ISO will understand if you simply
tell them that relations between IS tendency groups are an
internal issue.

The most important thing for us at this point is to avoid
needlessly sharing information about matters which are internal
to the ISO. Keep in mind that the police are undoubtedly
monitoring this discussion as well.  Please let us know if
sectarians or others who want to talk about the internet debate
show up at your meetings.

Also keep in mind that the internet debate was started outside of
our group and has nothing to do with the actual debate between
the ISO and the SWP--which at this point is still an internal
matter.  As comrades know, several steering committee members
attended special meetings in London to discuss the issues
involved.  They have just returned and will send out a formal
report to the ISO as soon as possible.

In order to avoid further unwanted communications from Internet
sectarians, you should, if at all possible, change your branch's
e-mail list for ISO Notes.

Please feel free to email or call the office if you have any
questions or concerns, and good luck building for Summer School.

Katherine D., for the steering committee

<>







More information about the Marxism mailing list