[Marxism] Stan Goff on ISO and MFSO: Organizing in Mass Organizations

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sun May 1 07:27:35 MDT 2005

I just received this note from Stan, and I'm posting it here with his 

Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 08:17:31 -0400
From: Stanley Goff <sherrynstan at earthlink.net>


Just checked the debate.  No one has ever tried to stop the ISO from 
hawking papers at coalition meetings or at mass events.  Not once. 
The objection was from MFSO at first-timer meetings, which are NOT 
coalitions.  The question was not about anyone's 'freedom of speech,' 
but about not sabotaging the delicate work of bringing new people in 
by insisting on one's 'right' to sell newspapers to neophytes. 
Confusing the concrete instances of bad tactics (including the 
idealism and immaturity of asking for a "support the resistance' line 
for Fayetteville... where no one objected to newspapers btw) with 
prohibitions in coalitions and mass events (prohibitions that NEVER 
occurred) has muddied the water here.  No one has been red-baited. 
In fact, I just posted a widely circulated piece about real 
right-wing liberalism only a couple weeks ago.  My whole point in 
posting in the first place was to warn the ISO that some of their 
practice was setting them up to be isolated from mass organizations. 
They certainly have a 'right' to do everything they were doing 
exactly the same way, if they value that 'right' more than remaining 
connected in meaningful ways with MFSO and others.  That's thousands 
of family members, btw, thousands!! who are calling collectively for 
an immediate end to the occupation.  Of course, groups can simply 
organize smaller, more 'militant' mirror-organizations if they like, 
subordinate the group to the party line if they want to (like the RCP 
did with VVAW-AI), and the suits in DC will be delighted.  I 
guarantee it.

A bit on orientation, and I am not ascribing any particular anything 
to anyone except ourselves (at BTHN).

People I am working with are not fighting for the revolution right 
now.  Most of us don't think we are there yet, wishy-washy leftists 
that we are.  So we have this bizarre idea that the most important 
thing we can do right now is throw sand in the war machine, as much 
sand as possible, from as many sources as possible, as fast as 
possible.  We are pretty close to that war machine, and we are not 
overly concerned whether each handful thrown fits any left doctrine. 
That might be a demonstration, it might be public complaints about 
vets benefits (oh no, valorizing the military), it might be a 
stop-loss lawsuit (oh no, bourgeois law!), it might be an attempt to 
get cities and states to pass resolutions demanding the NG be 
de-federalized (oh no, bourgeois political institutions), it might be 
counter-recruiting, etc etc.  In that process,  we have never backed 
off of our core demand.. bring them home now, chauvinist slogan that 
it is, focusing on the loved ones of those who are closest to the war 
machine as its workers in uniform.  So the slogan doesn't meet the 
ideological litmus test of Sparts (one of whom launched a tirade at a 
recent event).  We don't give a fuck.  We want to mobilize people who 
are in the institution, and that's the slogan that works.  That's 
what gets the sand in the machine, fast.  Organizing has a powerful 
temporal dimension.

You can repost this if you like, so I'll add that if this war fails, 
and if this war machine is disabled by whatever means, US society 
will descend into a deep economic malaise, and then we might have the 
opportunity to say things about socialism and have people listen to 

Cheers, sister.  And thanks again.

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Monthly Review: <http://monthlyreview.org/>
* Greens for Nader: <http://greensfornader.net/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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