Fw: ISO(Z) opposes expulsion of ISO(US) from IS Tendency (fwd)

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Mon Sep 3 02:33:14 MDT 2001

Since both the split in the IST and the ISO(Z) participation in the MDC have
been discussed here, I gforward this document from the the ISO(Zimbawe):

> > A. ISO (US) Expulsion from the Tendency
> >
> > At a meeting of the ISO NCC held on Saturday 11 August 2001 the issue of
> > the expulsion of the ISO (US) and related issues of the July
> > International meeting were discussed. The meeting re-affirmed the
> > earlier NCC position in the ISO perspective paper which had been
> > produced for the meeting but was not circulated that the expulsion of
> > the ISO (US) is a major strategic blunder by the tendency.
> >
> > The expulsion of ISO (US) is a tragic and an unfortunate event for the
> > tendency as we firmly believe that the ISO has now re-oriented
> > themselves to the perspective of anti-capitalismand united front and the
> > differences that are there are not fundamental. Also the strategic
> > position of ISO being in the heart of the imperialist beast. Following
> > the work of ISO (from their publications and also the assessment that
> > was done by our comrade Tafadzwa who attended their Summer School) shows
> > the important links they have established in the Latin America that are
> > very important to our tendency as the
> > anti-capitalism/anti-globalisation/anti-neolibral mood continues to grow
> > and spread everywhere. Also for us in Southern Africa, the American
> > ruling class is now heavily involved in the events taking place here -
> > wanting to co-opt the rising movements from below by imposing sanctions
> > on Zimbabwe - the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill.
> >
> > We would also want to re-affirm our position that because of the
> > re-emergence of struggles internationally - that has seen most of the
> > small organisations in the tendency growing - there is now a need to
> > have a democratically elected and accountable international secretariat.
> > We also wish to protest against implied threats of a split in our
> > organisation over the differences on the ISO (US) issue by leading
> > members of the SWP. Further we strongly condemn the move taken by the
> > SWP and SEK to discourage all other groups of the tendency from
> > attending the ISO Summer School as this could have provided an
> > opportunity for most of the groups to access the work of ISO before the
> > international meeting. This is a hangover from the inward methods of the
> > 1980s which are no longer appropriate. (see document attached on our
> > position on ISO expulsion). However, as a democratic centrist
> > organisation, we are bound by the decision taken by the majority - we
> > accept the expulsion of ISO but at the same time we maintain our right
> > to argue for our positions in the tendency.
> >
> > B. Situation In Zimbabwe
> >
> > The crisis in Zimbabwe is growing rapidly as the regime becomes isolated
> > internationally. The bourgeoisie including white farmers and the black
> > petty bourgeoisie have now gained confidence and are now going on the
> > offensive. In the past month we have seen the white farmers, for the
> > first time, go on the offensive - the attack of farm invaders by the
> > farmers which has resulted in 21 white commercial farmers arrested and
> > the international outcry over their arrest. With the international
> > financial support of the western ruling class they are now re-organising
> > themselves with a recent conference "Crisis in Zimbabwe - A Time to Act"
> > where close to Z$40 million was used. The growing sections of the local
> > elites now calls for Serbian / Ivory Coast as a solution to the crisis
> > in Zimbabwe.
> >
> > At the same time we are also witnessing the growth of struggles by
> > workers - the health workers (nurses, doctors, radiographers) have now
> > been on strike for 4 weeks. The university students are re-opening
> > tomorrow and because of the 3000% fee increment are likely to be in the
> > streets demonstrating. These struggles mirror those also emerging in
> > South Africa with COSATU mobilising mass action on 29 & 30 August
> > against privatisation. This creates the existing possibility of a
> > regional network of the working class movement and the left and we are
> > frantically in the process of raising money for our comrades to go and
> > attend the Durban Anti-Racism conference, the September anti-neolibral
> > demonstration and production of simple educational materials and have
> > therefore launched an international fighting fund. As part of solidarity
> > with S. African workers we are organising solidarity meetings in all the
> > towns where we have got branches and a lunch hour demonstration on the
> > 30th August. As an alternative to the bankrupt neolibral Zanu PF and MDC
> > we are mobilising a radical anti-neolibral united front demonstration
> > outside the parliament when it re-opens on the 21st September with the
> > students, trade unionists and radical petty bourgeoisie especially the
> > National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) - where two of our comrades where
> > recently elected into the national executive, as part of a radical
> > slate. The current radicalisation of workers, students and the
> > unemployed has created opportunities for growth for us and we have seen
> > the birth of branches in two new tons, and student study circles (SAPs)
> > in five colleges. (see attached document or more details on our work).
> >
> > C. Marxism 2001
> >
> > Our Marxism this year is going to be held on Saturday 27 October and on
> > Sunday 28 we are going to have a regional meeting to explore
> > possibilities of building a regional network similar to the Socialist
> > Alliance in UK and Australia. We are extending our invitation to all
> > groups in the tendency to come and attend our Marxism. Further details
> > on the programme and the speakers will be send to you in the due course.
> >
> > Fratenally yours
> >
> > National Co-ordinating Committee (NCC)
> >
> >
> > Cdes herewith the Final Draft of our position on the proposed expulsion
> > of the ISO (USA) from the IST tendency. Please send you responses if
> > any, to Tafadzwa, who will be leading our delegation to the
> > International Meeting on 5 July in London. Kazuva and Bhukarin are also
> > attending. Broadly the SEK - SWP motion is to the effect that ISO is
> > splitting the tendency, - does not accept and is not organising
> > adequately around the anti-capitalsim movement and should therefore be
> > exepelled from the tendency. The ISO (USA) counter-motion is to the
> > effect that delegates should vote to oppose: (1) the expulsion o fthe
> > ISO na dsplitting of the IST; (2) re-organise the structure and work of
> > the IST; (3) persue the re-unification of groups who who share the
> > politics of International Socialism; (4) re-establish real collaboration
> > and fraternal relations within the IST.
> >
> > The Position of ISO - Zimbabwe concerning the motion on the ISO (USA)
> >
> > Fraternal greetings to all comrades attending the International
> > Meeting. After intense debate in our N.C.C. on the issue of expulsion of
> > the ISO (USA) from the tendency we have come to the position detailed
> > below. This issue has been extensively debated by our N.C.C. and cadres
> > of the organisation in two meetings and evoked great debate, a new thing
> > concerning international affairs in our organisation. At the first
> > meeting, the NCC split, with one half supporting the call by the SWP and
> > SEK for expulsion of the ISO, whilst the other half felt expulsion was
> > too harsh. We then allowed further time for comrades to familiriase
> > themselves with all the appropriate documents and also to gather further
> > information from the matter from the three principal organisations in
> > our tendency, involved in this matter, namely the SWP, SEK and ISO. We
> > received such information, verbally and in writting from all the three
> > organisations. In addition we accepted the invitation by the ISO (USA)
> > to attend their Summer Schoool and make our own emprical observations on

> > their work. We sent our National Co-ordinator, Tafadzwa Choto. On the
> > basis of the above our position is as follows:
> >
> > A. The Anti-capitalism Movement and the United Front Debate
> > The ISO (Z) fully accepts the characterisation developed by the SWP cdes
> > of the current period as seeing the emergence of a significant movement
> > internationally, broadly termed the 'anti-capitalism movement" of which
> > at an international level, Seattle was the key milestone. Further that
> > this movement although still in a minority and in its infancy offers
> > immense new possibilities and opportunities for the Left in general and
> > our tendency in particular.Furthermore, that the correct strategy of
> > dealing with this new emerging movement is the United Front, with other
> > currents on the Left and radicalised reformist groups. Even in backwater
> > capitalist societies like Zimbabwe this emerging movement is now being
> > recognised by various forces.For instance the leading bosses' paper, the
> > Zimbabwe Independent ran a long article on Gothenberg stating that this
> > wa spart of the "anti-capitalist - anti-globalisation movement" that had
> > emerged after Seattle and which was led by Torskysits and Anarchists.
> > The ruling party Zanu PF in a recent issue of its Zimbabwe News also
> > noted that the way forward for it was to "link with the movement that
> > has developed since Seattle, something which the party has not
> > adeqautely done." Today the term "anti-neoliberalism" has become
> > increasingly popular in attacking the right-wing policie sof both Zanu
> > PF and the MDC by an increasing number of students, trade unionists and
> > radicalising middle classes here, which has created a new audience for
> > our ideas, encouraging us to mobilise for a first ever anti-capitalist
> > demonstration in Zimbabwe in Aug - Sep when parliament re-opens. The
> > response so far is very good, especially from students. Indeed we
> > believe operating on these same principles, which we stumbled on in a
> > crude manner from our experiences in the reformist MDC and which
> > received full theoretical articulation int he perspectives develope dby
> > the SWP comrades, has created immense opportunities for our group,a s
> > the right-wing neo-liberal colours of the MDC have come to increasingly
> > disilluion many of its fromer and current supporters.We are on the
> > threshold of a major brekthrough in terms of numbers, influence and
> > national spread, as we have earned respect for our consistent positions
> > int he MDC and the fights we have had with its right wing leadership. In
> > the last two months, we have established mini-branches in two new towns,
> > launched student clubs, called Students Against Privatisation in three
> > colleges / univerisites in Harare and are building the basis of a
> > radical anti-capitalist united front with radical elements int he
> > natioanls tudent movement, new constitution movement and the trad
> > eunions, with a real possibility of a powrful anti-capitalist united
> > front demonstration in Aug - Sep when parliament re-opens. Now even
> > sections of the MDC national youth leadership who were histile to us
> > until recently, hace secretly come over to us to discuss building some
> > kind of alliance on an anti-liberal basis! When we plan our
> > demonstration. COSATU in SOuth Africa has also announced a two day
> > general strike against privatisation. Zambia has just had a powerful and
> > succesful two month generla strike by civil servants. So the
> > possibilities of the anti-capitalist movement beginning to develop in
> > some articulated form in this region ar eincreasingly looking real
> > possible. This is not a fantasy but an unfolding international movement,
> > which mus tinspire and excite us as revolutionaries.
> >
> > Thus like most in the tendency, we believe the ISO (USA) was slow and
> > reluctant in fully accepting this new perspective and was wrong to do
> > so, given the mounting evidence over the last two years.
> >
> > B. Anti-capitalism or anti-globalisation
> > Although in practise, the ISO (USA) seems to have in fact moved to
> > accept the imperatives of this new perspective, it has also been clear
> > that this has not been a full and unequivocal acceptance, as shown by
> > their continued resistance to the use of the term "anti-capitalism" and
> > the harsh treatment of their own members who wholly agreed with the
> > perspective, their own organisational indiscipline aside. We believe
> > they are wrong in insisting on using the term "anti-globalisation"
> > because they claim that this the term mainly used in the USA. Even from
> > here we have noted that the major news agencies including CNN, BBC
> > Reuters, NewsWeek and Time etc are also using the term
> > "anti-capitalists", even if it might be true that the
> > "anti-globalisation" one is the dominant one. But we can understand why
> > these bourgeois media would be reluctant to use the "anti-capitalist"
> > term, given its potential of fully capturing the fundamental underlying
> > contradiction of our society as opposed to the other term. But the fact
> > that they use it shows the extent to which the movement has developed,
> > and we as revolutionaries should seek to expand on that, rather than use
> > terms that disguise the real contradiction, lest we be accused of the
> > opportunism of tail ending the lower ends of working class consciesness.
> > Here we were initially overcautious in our use our propaganda to link
> > the ememrging struugles in Zimbabwe to the global anti-capitalist
> > movement, but when we started especially after the student
> > demonstrations agains tprivatisation, we have found tha tit has not
> > turned people away or sounded abstract. Such has been the response that
> > we are now mobilising the new labour bill campaign, around the theme of
> > anti-neoliberalism and anti-capitalism with a first ever demonstration
> > aimed for in Aug - Sep. when parliament opens. We have to be more
> > courageous and daring in these new times, and learn from our successe
> > and failures. It is in that context that the changes and chops that the
> > SWP has been exprimenting in terms of their branches should be taken -
> > On our own part, after some initial reluctance due both to genuine but
> > exxagerated security concerns but also greatly due to old habits of
> > relying on 'cadres', we have now moved to giving newer but energetic and
> > enthiastic worker comrades greater roles in our branches, and the
> > organisation has been the better off.
> >
> > C. But expulsion not the answer
> > However, after studying various literautre, held discussions with the
> > ISO (USA) leading cdes and from the empirical evidence from their 2 0001
> > Summer School, we believe that the ISO has in fact in practise moved
> > broadly to re-orient itself with the rest of the tendency over the
> > anti-capitalist movement perspective, even as it continues to
> > rethorically question it at certain levels. We believe the ISO (USA) did
> > mobilise on a united front basis on key events like Washington (April);
> > the Nader campaign; Quebec and recently Indonesia. Therefore given this
> > scenario, the relative size, experience and strategic positioning of the
> > ISO in the belly of the beast and the role they can and are beginning to
> > play in extending our influence in Latin America, we believe it would be
> > a major strategic blunder for our tendency to expell them now --- for
> > given the time imperatives of the developing movement and the
> > difficulties in building any new group we do not believe Left Turn can
> > fill the gap. Secondly we believe this sets an extremely negative
> > precedent inconsistent with the new situation internationally.
> > Differences such as the actual word-characterisation of the new emerging
> > movement should not constitute the basis for expulsion, just like we no
> > longer see it as appropriate to expell a member with pressing social
> > committments who fails to attend branchmeetings regularly or unite with
> > a group which does not agree on a number of fundamental issues with us,
> > as we did in the MDC or the SWP in Scotland with the SSP or Keep Left
> > with the SACP in South Africa. Thirdly, and related to this is that the
> > ISO (USA) dispute raises important and funamendal issues about how our
> > tendency is organised internationally - which we need to face up to
> > rather than take the easy route like banishment of the messenger.
> >
> > D. For a new democratic and effective international grouping
> > Whilst we disagree with the ISO (USA) on the anti-capitalism -
> > anti-globalisation characterisation, we feel they have raised legitimate
> > concerns about the way our tendency is organised internationally -
> > Indeed the tendency is run on a weak ad-hoc basis lacking in democratic
> > and tramsparent dealings of the sister organisations with too much power
> > vested in the leading members of the SWP (Britain). Disputes in or
> > between sister organisations have often been dealt with in underboard
> > manouverings that have often led to splits and tensions within
> > organisations. These are the kind of methods exhibited in the case of
> > the ISO (USA) whereby the SWP allegedly appealed to the members of the
> > ISO above the heads of its elected leadership, unilaterally cut off
> > relations with the ISO, encouraged and facilitated a splinter
> > organisation, and strongly discouraged other sister organisations from
> > attending the ISO Summer School - all effectively banning the ISO (USA)
> > from the tendency even before this international meeting. Indeed we
> > believe this meeting would have been better informed to make a decision
> > if as many comradesa spossible had been able to attendthe ISO Summer
> > School and make their own emprical assements. It is in such poisoned
> > international environment that accusations and counter-accusations of
> > formenting splits in sister organisations ahve been made and must be
> > taken in such context.
> >
> > Whilst such methods might have worked in the 1980s and early 1990s when
> > there were much fewer and smaller organisations, and less struggles,
> > such methods have become wholly inadequate for the challenges being
> > thrown by the anti-capitalist movement and can in fact becoem
> > counter-productive. One logical side effect of the growing
> > anti-capitalism movement is that there are going to be increasing
> > tensions and differences within and between the various groups of our
> > tendency over issues of tactics and strategy - ie how to best address
> > struggles, which struggles to prioririte or which organisations to enter
> > intoa lliances with and at what level. Mistakes and disputes will be
> > made if we ar ein fact ot have a dynamic relationship to this emerging
> > movement. In resolving such disputes we cannot just rush to the old
> > methods, such as splits, expulsions etc --- but are going to have
> > develop "Real collaboration and fraternal relations within the IST" as
> > the ISO cdes put it, which accept that there can be differences within
> > the tendency on tactics and strategies in particular situations and
> > countries, even as we all broadly accept the possibilities under the
> > growing anti-capitalism movement. Experience and struggle themselves
> > will make all of us the wiser. Further we need to develop a more formal,
> > democratic and transparent international co-ordinating structure based
> > on flexible principles of democratic centralism to deal with such
> > disputes just as to assist in the generelisation of experiences. That
> > way we will be able to best tap in in our various experiences even as we
> > expand our international presence as a tendency. We ourselves have
> > learnt this from our experience of entrism with the MDC int he last
> > three years. There were bitter disputes and debates over strategy and
> > tactics on our relationship with such increasingly right-wing party but
> > which still remained rooted in the working class party, both within our
> > own organisation and with international comrades, in particular with
> > Cliff and Callinicos. Experience has been the best teacher. It has been
> > heartening to see some of the comrades who for long opposed the entrism
> > or our latest perspective of opening up based on the international
> > anti-capitalist / united front one and our own experiences or some who
> > had even left the organisation, now come back with renewed energy of
> > buildingt he revolutionary alternative, as things have become clearer.
> > We have merged the stronger out of these experiences and look to the
> > immediate fututre with great hope.
> >
> > We have no doubt that the same can happen in our relationships
> > internationally, like those in our tendency like the ISO (USA) cdes who
> > had shown such initial reluctance and resistance, but are now in fact
> > beginning to move tow, as the movement grows. We must be prepared to
> > accept this just like we have been able under the regroupement
> > perspective to work if not join up, with groups with which have actual
> > major fundamental differences. Why can't we do the same within our own
> > tendency? At the same time,as part of this process we also appeal to
> > the ISO to reinstate the expelled comrades (now Left Turn). We believe
> > it is still not to late for the regroupement of our own tendency --- for
> > if we can do it amongst ourselves, the easier then it must be with other
> > groups of a different tradition.
> >
> > We thank you.
> > Shinga Mushandi Shinga! Qina Msebenzi Qina!
> > Ijambanja Against Capitalism Globally!
> >
> > National Co-ordinating Committee
> > ISO (Zimbabwe)

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