[Marxism] Answer to an ISO'er

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 10 07:18:18 MST 2006

This morning I received an email from an ISO'er defending their orientation 
(surprise-surprise) that ended with the following:

"If you think we need a different strategy, I want to hear it. I do think 
the entire radical left, not simply the ISO, needs to debate these issues."

As I have tried to indicate, the strategy of the SWP in the 1960s and 70s 
is one that I recommend. No matter how hostile I am to that group's present 
and past "Leninist" posturing, they did very good work in building an 
antiwar coalition. I do have criticisms of one or another aspect of the 
work, but won' t take the time to expand on that right now. This mostly has 
to do with a certain rigidity about civil disobedience, etc.

The main thing that is lacking right now is TRANSPARENCY and DEMOCRACY. 
Decisions are made largely at the top and then presented to the movement as 
an accomplished fact. If I were in the ISO leadership, I would be thinking 
about ways to act as a midwife in the convening of a national conference 
that is as broad as possible. It may be possible for CAN to act as a lever 
to bring larger forces into motion but I am not close enough to the inner 
workings of the movement to answer that.

In addition, I would abandon the notion that the antiwar movement has to 
become a multi-issue, anti-imperialist front. I strongly disagree with any 
proposal to escalate certain demands--especially around Palestine--to the 
same level of Immediate Withdrawal from Iraq--although they certainly 
*should* be part of the demands put forward on major mobilizations.

Beyond that, it is difficult to spell out anything much more than this 
since it would involve *tactics* which by their very nature change from 
week to week. My final recommendation would be to read Fred Halstead's "Out 
Now". It is probably the best thing to have come out of the Trotskyist 
movement in the 1960s. Fred was an sailor-activist in the "Bring Us Home" 
movement of 1945 and a long-time veteran of the labor movement. I know it 
is painful to spend money on Pathfinder books, but in this case it is a 
necessary evil unless you can find it in your local library.



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