Response to Philip (should WWP and ISO merge?)
LouPaulsen at attbi.com
LouPaulsen at attbi.com
Tue Nov 19 14:22:38 MST 2002
A few days ago, in a post which I don't have access to at this particular
moment, Philip Ferguson argued that WWP and ISO had no business being separate
organizations, that the issue of whether Cuba is socialist or capitalist is
not so important that it should divide us, and that we should merge. Forgive
me if I have the nuances wrong.
Since Philip is not a fool and is often right about things, I have been
thinking about this for a few days, and trying hard not to reject it
reflexively. However, I continue to disagree.
There are of course many reasons for not merging which are NOT good reasons:
minor collisions and arguments about tactics and the resultant residue of bad
feelings, suspicion, etc., on both sides; the fact that we have too much to do
right now to think about such organizational folderol (this is true, but it's
not a reason not to have a perspective); the fact that however little we in
WWP would want to do it, I guarantee you that ISO would want it much less, so
it's not even worth discussing (this is also true, but it's still not a reason
not to have a perspective); and the fact that we might be in the minority
after the merge.
I could also say that, since Cuba is a short boat ride from here, and since
there is a Cuban immigrant community here, and since the U.S. is the architect
of the blockade, and militarily occupies a portion of Cuban territory, and has
imprisoned the Five and is expelling diplomats and sends in spies and
terrorists and is continually holding Cuba under the gun, and since for these
reasons the issue of Cuba is continually before the eyes of the left here,
therefore a correct position on Cuba is simply more important here than it is
where you are, Philip, and a bad position is less excusable, and compromise
would just be a betrayal.
However, this would lead us into an argument over "how important is the Cuba
issue?" which would be hard to quantify. I could also say that the Cuba issue
is just one of many points of disagreement that I could have cited.
But I don't think this is the best way to approach the question, because in
fact we should not, in fact, build parties by creating long programs and
recruiting only those people who will pledge allegiance to them point by
point. We should, in fact, be rallying the nascent revolutionary trend. Or -
to pose it much more correctly - we should be PART of a GLOBAL rallying of the
We in the U.S. have a particular responsibility to be nonsectarian. But this
nonsectarianism has to be GLOBAL, not only local. We have to always and at
all times be listening to the voice of the masses, not just the voice of the
workers here, not just the oppressed communities in the U.S., but the voice of
the billions of the working classes of the entire globe. Some Chicago
politician said once that "all politics is local." That's THEIR politics.
Since our inception, WWP's orientation has been that "all politics is
global." This is not just a preference, not just a matter of style, not just
a footnote, but it is in fact, for us, a crucial strategic principle. Perhaps
THE crucial strategic principle for Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. in this
It is absolutely dangerous for leftists in the US to ignore this principle,
particularly, I may say, those leftists who are part of the oppressor
nationality. Being tends to determine consciousness, after all. Our being is
that we are in the imperialist center, our lives are generally a hundred times
better off than in the countries subject to U.S. imperialist super-
exploitation, and we are surrounded by an all-encompassing mechanism of
rewards for compromise and punishments for revolutionary internationalism. If
we become isolated from the movements of the oppressed, here in North America
AND worldwide, and from the real international struggle for socialism, we are
destined to irrelevancy and failure.
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