[Marxism] Steve Bloom: Assessing the Cleveland Conference

Arthur Rymer arthurymer at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 3 20:02:46 MDT 2008

Steve Bloom's report on the National Assembly in Cleveland 
omits a fact so important that the report is a distortion of what 
actually happened: Bloom does not inform the reader that the 
meeting voted decisively in favor of an amendment to change 
the name of the National Assembly itself to include Afghanistan 
in the name.

Bloom explains that he "did not take time to elaborate" the 
Afghanistan discussion, because "a consensus developed in the 
end." This is false. There was not a consensus on the question 
of Afghanistan. The leadership of the Assembly, including 
Jerry Gordon, Jeff Mackler, and all of Socialist Action, opposed 
the Afghanistan amendment, spoke against it, and voted against it. 
Yet a decisive majority defied the leadership and voted in favor 
of the amendment. This amendment changed the name of the 
National Assembly to include Afghanistan in the name, and 
added "and Afghanistan" to every mention of Iraq in the National 
Assembly's action proposal.

And by the way, the original motion to change the name of the 
National Assembly to include Afghanistan in the name was 
submitted by the League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP), 
which Bloom dismisses as one of the "various sects" that "came 
to disrupt and expose." The LRP did not disrupt, we did expose, 
and we exposed so well that we played a key role in winning a 
clear majority of the assembly to support our motion on Afghanistan. 
The two times that an LRPer, Jeff Covington, spoke from the floor 
against the leadership of the anti-war movement and of this assembly 
for their accommodation to the Democratic Party, his statements 
were repeatedly met with loud applause from a significant portion 
of the meeting. A number of people approached him 
afterward to thank him for his comments.

For the record, Carol Seligman of Socialist Alternative as well as 
the Freedom Socialist Party / Radical Women also supported, spoke 
for, and voted for the Afghanistan amendment. The Spartacist 
League and the Internationalist Group indeed only came to denounce 
-- the IG made the embarrassing mistake of walking in and denouncing 
the assembly for not opposing the occupation of Afghanistan, shortly 
after the assembly had just voted in favor of the amendment to oppose 
the occupation of Afghanistan. A stopped clock is sometimes right, 
but not this time.

Art Rymer


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