[Marxism] A preliminary thought on the debate within the ISO
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Feb 16 10:44:23 MST 2014
I am writing this now mainly as a note to myself but thought it would be
At the bottom of the one-sided faction fight between the permanent
leadership grouped around Shawki is tension generated by the disjuncture
between the revolutionary projections of the leadership group and the
failure of any kind of real breakthroughs in terms of numerical growth
or political influence. On both sides there is an acknowledgement that a
kind of stagnation has set in.
I doubt that there is anything that the ISO can do--based either on the
majority or minority's prescriptions that can change this. It is an
observable characteristic of "Leninist" groups that they have a
life-cycle. Sometimes the contradictions generated in the final stages
of the life-cycle can lead to an implosion, like the American SWP. In
other instances, the group just sputters along just above or just below
a certain number. My guess is that the ISO's number is between 800 and a
1000, large enough to serve as a pole of attraction for young people
trying out being a Leninist revolutionary until it is time to raise a
family and settle into a career.
Small groups such as these tend to burn people out. A thousand people
are capable of heroic self-sacrifice for maybe 5 to 10 years but after
that reality sinks in. America is not likely to have a socialist
revolution any time soon.
Another type of politics is possible. Instead of having 1000 people
running around like hamsters on methamphetamine, you can have 10,000
people or even a lot more sharing the load. This means that people will
be able to raise families and do all the other things that normal people
do and still be politically active. The American SWP decided that this
would be like becoming Jerry Rubin marielitos and went on a campaign to
reduce their 2000 strong group to the 120 it is today.
If the ISO leaders were really smart, they'd use their human capital and
their experience to serve as a catalyst for the broader left party we
desperately need. Ahmed Shawki paid lip-service to this idea a year or
so ago but I am afraid that he and his lieutenants are constitutionally
incapable of making a turn that will benefit them and the rest of us.
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