[Marxism] Answer to an ISO'er,

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Mar 11 11:54:59 MST 2006

JD, I agree with you. But this was (one) of the problems. One wing wanted make
as a central demands the issue of Palestine and the other wanted to exclude any
mention of it at all.

I suppose one can debate the merits of having a movement called to organize and
mobilize around one issue trying to 'educate' those that show up arount another
issue. For me, though, the main issue is what people are actually organizing for
and why they show up at rallies and demonstrations: the war in Iraq. This, then,
becomes the central organizing theme, issue, etc. It is what is being debated
around the country, and if we agre with this, then the debate become easier on
how to incorporate the other issues: abortion rights, Katrina, Palestine, etc.

We were faced with this back in the 1980s when in fact we organized in San
Francisco (and I want to emphisize OUT organized everyone else) the Jobs, Peace
and Justic Coalition, which was a union based anti-war coalition bringing FOUR
issues together: The war in Cental America (meaning Nicaragua mostly), the
Fight Against South African Racism, Freezing and reversing the Nuclear Arms
race and the "Jobs", the logical tie-in to labor.

The first three issues already had MASSIVE movements behind them. They were not
something we had to educate anyone about or 'inject'. The 'debate' then came up
when left groups wanted to inject "US out of the Middle-East". There was no
segment of the population that agreed what this meant, of course, and we
challenged groups like Workers World and others to say what they mean: "End All
US Aid to Israel" instead of beating around the bush. The main point was that
this demand did not meet the consiousness of any segmant of the population. It
was simply "wish" demand, made to make *them* feel good about themselves in
standing up to Zionism or US imperialism. In other words, it was totally
ultra-left and did not meet the needs to the "movement" at the time. It was not
why people would march...or wouldn't march. In my view, it was a totally
parasitic demand meant to elevate their own groups little egos.

But we did not *reject* the issue and went out our way to "make the connections"
between what was going on with the US attack on Nicaragua and US support to
Irael, and, as it happened then, Saddam Hussein(!). We brought on Palestinian
speakers and had sections in the official program of the rallies on the issue
of US aid to reaction in the Middle East. In addition, encouraged, indeed we
*challenged* the Palestinian and other groups to build the biggest contingents,
with the biggest banners, for the marches and rallies.

This is something UfPJ *rejected* in their little sectarain dance with TONC and
ANSWER. More importantly, there was no one group, except to a limited extent,
USLAW, that sought to point out the right way to resolve all this. That could
of been the role of the ISO. But alas...

David Walters

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