[Marxism] Re: the ISO's unfortunate response to Stan Goff

Jack Cade jack.cade at btinternet.com
Sun May 1 06:50:18 MDT 2005

1) ISO/SWP always regard any criticism of themselves as
'sectarian'. This has been their standard response of many years.

2) They probably see Stan Goff's criticisms as a 'result', a kind
of reverse fame or at least proof that they are right.

3) The target readership of these 'party' publications is never
the wider movement in a agitational/propagandist role a la 'Where
to Begin', as you might think, but the party (SWP/ISO) members
themselves. They are the ones that need continually convincing
and reassuring. (Which is why these papers are so 'bad' when read
in the sense of being propaganda). As for taking papers where
they are not wanted or inappropriate why is anyone surprised?:
it's all SOP to them.


> Joaquín Bustelo

> The more experienced people in the ISO are, of course, more 
> sensitive to these sorts of issues when they confront them 
> directly. However, I think this reaction suggests that so 
> much of the group's functioning is structured around sales 
> leading to contacts and then recruitment, that perhaps there 
> is a built-in bias towards these sorts of mistakes. 
> And this post by Sustar and Smith as well as other 
> experiences suggest that there is a tendency, when they make 
> these sorts of mistakes, to react to criticism by defending 
> their "right" to sell their newspaper against what the 
> comrades perceive as "red baiting." 
> That would be in keeping with my experiences in the SWP, 
> where precisely the same sort of errors were seen especially 
> among the less experienced members, and there was a tendency 
> to be the same sort of reaction. And I suspect it's just a 
> tendency inherent in any propaganda league (for that is what 
> the ISO is, as was that SWP). 
> There is also something that just *feels* off in how the ISO 
> is presenting the question of red-baiting. They seem to view 
> it primarily as an attack on them *rather than* on the 
> movements they're participating in. There clearly have been 
> exclusionary pressures at work, coming from the rightist 
> direction of the majority of the UfPJ-type group leaderships, 
> made more complicated, I think, by these comrades lack of 
> tact in some circumstances.

More information about the Marxism mailing list