[Marxism] Some comments on Stan Goff's post

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Sun Dec 4 08:27:43 MST 2005


Josh asks, "Isn't the disarray of the left simply a reflection of
objective conditions?  We haven't seen a major struggle in this country
since the 1968-75 period. That's almost two generations of left
activists existing like fish out of water outside of significant
challenges to capitalism."

The disarray of the Left isn't rooted so much in CURRENT "objective
conditions" as in history. The greatest splintering and fragmentation of
the Left took place precisely in the period two generations ago that you
refer to.

Josh writes, referring to a lack of conditions to test varying
perspectives, "I think that's the basis for left disunity.  I think
people in left groups are far less dogmatic than people on this list
maintain - it's just they don't see anything else working."

But often knowing what *doesn't* work can be as valuable. And what
*doesn't* work is what we're seeing being continually reproduced.

Josh thinks size does matter: "If the ISO were to grow to 2 or 3 times
its present size, for example, outstripping other groups in size at that
ratio, I think there'd be a basis for a significant regroupment of a
number of smaller organizations around the ISO." 

The ISO is plenty big enough to "regroup" with whoever it wants to. The
plain fact is as one of the members of their Steering Committee told
several of us from Solidarity during a joint leadership-to-leadership
meeting, the ISO "has not adopted a regroupment strategy." 

Josh says, "But that wouldn't be so much a coalition of factions as a
recognition that the ISO's perspective had, in the real world, proven
the most effective.  The unity would reflect a gravitation of other
revolutionaries towards perspectives that were working."

I'd like to suggest that there's more to success than attracting a few
hundred college students a year, important as that may be. The ISO seems
to have limited trade union work and no work at all among movements and
communties of Blacks and Latinos. I don't believe that is viable over
the medium or long term, and am not sure whether the ISO leadership and
more experienced cadre have focused on this.

Josh suggests, "Maybe in an area where the left is relatively strong,
say, the San Francisco Bay Area, or Chicago or whatever, some kind of
electoral campaign for city council or something like that could be
built, around a single candidate." 

The Greens already provide a vehicle for this kind of activity. 

Joaquín






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