[Marxism] clarifications on a few ISO things

Billy Thekid bill_linville2222 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 14 08:26:32 MDT 2004

Jose's post about the Socialist Worker editorial on Nader ( http://www.socialistworker.org/2004-1/501/501_03_Nader.shtml) was forwarded to all ISO members along with Alan Maas's response, also posted on Marxmail, as part of a set of documents from ISO members on Nader's campaign.  I then read through the discussion about this on Marxmail.  I found it very enlightening and some of the points have shaped my thinking on the issue.  I don't have time to weigh in on Nader.  I do want to clarify a few things.
>From Frontlines newspaper:
<If you check www.votenader.org you can find the name of a number of ISO leaders being quoted in the "More than 100 Campus for Nader" article and elsewhere. I think the <editorial he quoted is an old one (I might be mistaken, and will gladly apologize if I'm wrong) or does not reflect the actual position of the ISO on the ground.
It is true that where Students for Nader groups have formed, we have gone to some of the meetings to see what these meetings are like on the ground.  Also, we have helped with collecting signatures to get Nader on the ballot.  However, we have not decided whether to endorse him or not as an organization and take an active part in his campaign.  A thoroughgoing debate within the organization has taken place in the last couple of months, with people taking all sorts of different positions on what to make of his campaign, including some from very prominent members in opposition to the quoted editorial.  (For a taste of the debate, check out the letters section from the past couple of months on www.socialistworker.org) 
On Cuba:
Walter Lippmann says:
<Those who wish to see a more open political system in
Cuba, a broader range of political possibilities, are
<duty-bound to take action to support an end to the US
blockade of the island. The International Socialist
<Organization has no interest in this. Even the WORD
"blockade" doesn't appear in their lengthy theoretical
<exposition. They express no interest in the struggle to
end this US policy at all. Did I say "no interest"? 

<They argue AGAINST the demand to end the blockade, 
which they refer to by the sanitized term "embargo".
I reread Hector Reyes' article that Walter quotes very selectively(http://www.isreview.org/issues/30/cuba.shtml) and from which Walter presumably came up with the idea that we are against the demand to end the blockade and I found nothing that would lead one to believe that.  The article simple states that some U.S. business interests are trying to find their way into Cuba.  Having been around the ISO for a year and a half and an active member for a year, I can assure you that we are for ending the blockade of Cuba and all other imperialist sanctions, embargos or blockades (whatever you want to call them)!  I think the article took our opposition to the blockade for granted (which I guess he shouldn't have done), but it certainly didn't say we were for it.
<In the Spring of 2003, as Washington began its invasion 
of Iraq, other leftish voices began to speak out when 
<Cuba took strong action against the paid US agents who 
were active inside the country. Those voices also had
<complained about Cuba's "lack of democracy", and thus
provided a left flank for the US propaganda campaign 
<against Cuba. The ISO echoed that anti-Cuba exercise.

The very article he presumes to have read makes it clear that we are unconditionally for Cuba's right to self-determination, and are against these statements that we supposedly endorsed (i.e., we will not sign something  critical of Cuba (unlike Zinn, Chomsky and others who signed the statement of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD))in the midst of a propaganda campaign against Cuba):
   " Particularly in the current climate of aggressive and unabashed imperialist expansionby Bush and Co., whatever one’s political position on Cuba may be, a statement of condemnation, however "balanced," just serves at this moment as a "left" cover for the U.S. to crank up its pressure on the island. It is one thing to have an analysis that is critical of the regime, but a different one to issue signed public statements of criticism in the midst of the post—September 11 Bush Doctrine. That places one, willy-nilly, in the service of those working to increase U.S. influence in Cuba. That is why Glover is right. Would it have been right before the invasion of Iraq to issue a statement condemning Saddam’s horrific treatment of political prisoners, or to focus on statements condemning a U.S. invasion? But it was also on this count that the CPD erred, by issuing an analogous statement both condemning Hussein and opposing a U.S. invasion before the war–in practice making the two of them
 equal political problems. It is not a situation that calls for "balance" when you live in belly of beast.  "
This being said, we reserve the right to maintain that it is impossible for socialism to exist isolated in one country, and that workers' control over the means of production is a necessary component of socialism.  While the Cuban Revolution was "a genuine upheaval against U.S. imperialism" and should be supported against U.S. imperialism, workers within Cuba that struggle against the ruling class should receive our support.  
Hopefully, that clarifies the ISO's position on Cuba.
Bill Linville (ISO member)


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