[Marxism] Re The ISO and the antiwar movement

robert montgomery ilyenkova at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 16:58:45 MST 2006

LP:  Unfortunately, these final two paragraphs are in line with previous "left
opposition" statements by the comrades. While making well-deserved
criticisms of the UfPJ either explicitly or implicitly as is the case here,
there is never any concrete proposals in the ISO press about what the
movement should do apart from abstract calls to "put forward an antiwar
opposition on an entirely different basis."
There are 3 antiwar coalitions out there right now. 2 are led by rival
Marxist-Leninist sects that derive their inspiration from the late Sam
Marcy. The 3rd is led by the CP and the Committees of Correspondence, a
Eurocommunist type formation that split from the CP. Meanwhile, the ISO
leads its own formation called Campus Antiwar Network.
There seems to be a radical disjunction between what the ISO thinks the
antiwar movement should be doing and any practical steps they envision to
rectify the situation. Do they expect Leslie Cagan or the Becker brothers
to read their articles, slap their heads, and cry out, "Why didn't I think
of that."<

Actually, there are 3 so-called national antiwar coalitions "out there
right now" and a number of  local coalitions wich actually do
In Boston, Stop the Wars Coalition; in Rochester, N.Y. Rochester
Against the War; and, in the Bay area, Bay Area Against the War. In
Boston, former SWPer Dave Keil, and in the Bay area, Marxmailer Bonnie
Weinstein are builders of united front, mass action oriented, out-now
coalitions. I don't know what's currently going on in RAW, but the ISO
has, in the past, been prominent in it.
LP is right that the ISO is talking a good line, but is in practice
doing nothing to build a national antiwar coalition of the old
NPAC-type. This is frustrating and puzzling. I'm not going to say
anything else here because I hope  to draw  Elizabeth Wrigley-Field
(the ISOs point woman in CAN) or another ISOer into the open to
address the question of why they refuse to pick up a ball  that's
right in front of them and begin to work  with those forces  in the
movement who want an alternative to the pro-Democratic UfPJ, or the
hopelessly stuck, multi-issue ANSWER or its Beckerite cousin. Yes, the
ISO participates in the local coalitions I mentioned (at least in
Boston) but only in a parasitic way--  they lobby for their own
demands, publicize their own initiatives, and make sure they get a
speaker at demos. But that's about it. Otherwise, it's just CAN which
is a limited, campus-based formation by definition. Based on the
reading they've undertaken of Sheppard, one would expect that the ISO
would have made a move towards building a  democratically controlled,
politically independent coalition with a clear focus. by now. They've
got the cadre; the political savvy and the material resources. The
human material is out there waiting.

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