ISO criticism of DSP & reply

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Aug 2 09:06:59 MDT 2003

At 03:55 PM 8/2/2003 +1000, Peter Boyle wrote:
>David Glanz, a leader of the International Socialist
>Organisation of Australia, has written an article critiquing
>the DSP and its perspectives on the Socialist Alliance in
>the Discussion Bulletin of the International Socialist
>Tendency, the international organisation to which the ISO is
>affiliated. It's printed in Number 3, June 2003, and is
>available on the IST web site: <>.

I took a quick look at the Cliffite response to the Mandelistas and then
the exchange between Glanz and the DSP. Just some thoughts off the top of
my head.

It should not come as any big surprise that the honeymoon is over between
the British SWP and the French LCR. Although both groups tend to operate
similarly in the mass movement, there is too much ideological baggage that
would prevent fusion or even increased collaboration. The Cliffites charge
the Mandelistas with adapting to ATTAC (probably true) while the
Mandelistas accuse the Cliffites with running the British antiwar movement
more or less like the WWP runs ANSWER. They also accuse the Cliffites with
the bureaucratic expelling of the American ISO. The Cliffites blame
everything on the ISO, of course.

Meanwhile, David Glanz's article is filled with all sorts of ideological
boilerplate about "socialism from below" and the danger of supporting
middle-class guerrillas--just the sort of thing that I hear on the
alt.politics.socialism.trotsky newsgroup all the time and that has about as
much appeal.

Lorimer's reply is filled with self-justifications of exactly the kind you
would expect.

Back in 1981 or so, when I was first rethinking a lot of these questions
about how to construct a vanguard, I picked up a copy of Playboy Magazine
for the interview they were running with the Sandinistas. (I had *no*
interest in naked women--trust me.)

When Playboy asked them to explain the Miskito fiasco, Tomas Borge said
something like this that has stuck in my mind ever since:

"Well, we screwed up. That's the only way to describe it. We sent people to
the Atlantic coast who were arrogant and racist and we are paying for our

I  had never heard anything like this in the American SWP and frankly you
will never find anything like this in the exchanges alluded to above. For
groups that have not broken with a schematic understanding of Leninism, it
is virtually unheard of to see oneself in such a self-critical and
objective manner. Of course, by the same token unless they learn to dump
the "Leninist" baggage (Zinovievist really), they will never develop the
kind of mass following the FSLN enjoyed.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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