Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 27, 2019

A reply to Paul Le Blanc on the ISO crisis

Filed under: democratic centralism,ISO,Lenin,sectarianism — louisproyect @ 4:53 pm

Paul Le Blanc

Rumor has it that the ISO is all set to dissolve itself, a consequence of the membership’s wholesale rejection of a leadership that had covered up the rape carried out by a leading member. He has been expelled and the old guard leadership, including Sharon Smith, Ahmed Shawki, Lance Selfa, Paul D’Amato and Joel Geier, have all resigned. Some speculate that the ISO membership will join DSA en masse. If that takes place, it will be a tragedy. In my view, the best of all possibilities would be for them to reconstitute themselves organizationally in the spirit of their Canadian comrades, whose March 21 communication can be read on the ISO website:

We’re concerned that some people will respond to the ISO’s crisis by jettisoning revolutionary socialist politics and/or the effort to politically organize around them in some way. This letter doesn’t address the range of challenges with which you are grappling at this difficult moment. We write at this time to argue a single point that we think is important: the tendency to jettison socialism from below politics and organizing is increased when people mistakenly believe that the “Leninist” way the ISO has long organized itself — using what we call the micro-party model — is an essential part of revolutionary socialism.

A day later, the ISO posted a letter they received from David McNally, a leader of the Canadian group, that had been sent to them in 2009. It advised them to break with “Leninism”:

As I see it, the necessity of “a new left for a new era” forces all of us to confront — and break with — the legacy of the micro-party approach. At its heart the micro-party perspective consists in believing that building a small revolutionary group is in essence the same thing as constructing a revolutionary party. Fundamentally, then, this perspective involves a simple syllogism:

    • There can be no socialist revolution without an authentically revolutionary party;
    • Our group is the custodian of the authentic revolutionary tradition;
    • Therefore, there can be no socialist revolution without our group (i.e., building our organization is the key to constructing a mass revolutionary party)

Rather than address the really crucial questions — how is the left to rebuild practices, organizations and cultures of working class self-mobilization so that a working class vanguard might actually be re-created, and a meaningful party built in its ranks — real social-historical problems get reduced to questions of building the small group: recruiting more members, selling more papers, creating new branches.

Essentially, the Canadians were making the same recommendation I had made here on March 20th. Of course, I doubt that my article would appear on the ISO website even though it makes exactly the same points: “One of the side-effects of the rape crisis in the British SWP was a re-examination of Leninism, the poorly understood organizational model embraced not only by the ISO, the British SWP but just about every other group on the left that has a schematic understanding of the Bolshevik Party.”

In 2011 or 2012, I began funding a website called The North Star in honor of the network that Peter Camejo founded in the early 80s. Edited by someone who preferred to remain anonymous (although his identity was an open secret), it became a pole of attraction for ex-members of the ISO who were advocating the same organizational principles as the Canadians. In addition, some of them were trying to cleanse the ISO of sexual abusers. The disgraced ex-leader Sharon Smith characterized their efforts as slander.

Perhaps if the editor at the time had been more stable politically (now he is an anonymous Sandernista), he would have been able to create a pole of attraction for people leaving the ISO. You can get a feel for the affinities between North Star and the ISO’ers at the time from a blogpost on Red Atlanta that had been started by an ex-ISO’er from the Renewal faction whose criticisms have now been adopted by the new ISO leadership.

To summarize my story in very brief, I was booted out of the ISO in February alongside my comrades in the (now officially disbanded) ISO Renewal Faction. During the course of our hard-fought factional struggle within the ISO, members of the Renewal Faction discussed a number of articles critical of “Leninism” and socialist sects. To mention a few pieces in particular, at the height of the factional fight, we passed around and debated Hal Draper’s “Toward a New Beginning” (1971) and “Anatomy of the Micro-sect” (1973), as well as a number of more recent documents, including Scott Jay’s “On Leninism and anti-Leninism.”[2] Naturally, these pieces helped us make sense of the stultifying, undemocratic environment within the ISO and our experience of being ostracized and defamed by the leadership and their loyalist followers. Notably, since being purged from the ISO, members of the Renewal Faction appear to have adopted differing views on the subject of Leninism – and, for that matter, Trotskyism, as well. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that our experience has led us all to develop profound critiques of the party-building approaches adhered to by socialist sects like the ISO.

Unfortunately, the North Star was just too weak organizationally and politically to have served the kind of regroupment efforts seen during the breakup of the SWP in England that went through the same kind of crisis. Perhaps the most viable remnant of the large-scale exodus is Revolution in the 21st Century that has been superseded to some degree by the Corbynista movement. I suspect that if the ISO transforms itself into a model similar to the Canadians, it will be under the same kind of pressures from the Sandernistas.

When I noticed that Paul Le Blanc had written a long article titled “Reflections On Coherence And Comradeship” on the crisis in the ISO that did not go too deeply into the specifics, I decided to write this reply. Since Paul and I were both members of the American Socialist Workers Party, we were both used to the experience of a party imploding. After being expelled in the early 80s, he became part of the Bulletin In Defense of Marxism group (BIDOM) that hoped to persuade the SWP to return to the road of Cannonism. At the same time, I became part of Peter Camejo’s North Star Network that shared David McNally’s perspectives.

I am not sure when Paul became an ISO member but it did not take him long to become a leading spokesperson on Lenin within the group. As a member of BIDOM, Paul wrote a very good book in 1990 titled “Lenin and the Revolutionary Party” that made effective criticisms of the sectarian approach of groups like the SWP but that remained wedded to the Cannonist model. In fact, leading SWPer George Breitman advised Paul to write such a book since it would help to make sense out of “what went wrong”.

When I got on the Internet in the same year that Paul’s book came out, I began writing a series of articles inspired by Peter Camejo’s North Star orientation but that were much more grounded in a reading of early Soviet history and the emergence of “Zinovievism” as an organizational model shared by virtually every “Leninist” group in existence, including the ISO.

Before long, my articles must have attracted some interest in the ISO since Paul spent virtually an entire chapter in his 2014 “Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine” answering me. The book is a collection of articles written by Paul to shore up the Leninist foundations of the ISO, including one similar to the one responding to me in the book that can be read online. I can’t be sure how close it is to what appeared in the book but for what it’s worth I respond to what’s in the book here.

Needless to say, I was curious to see if Paul’s latest article contained the same old defense of Leninism as the group he belonged to appears ready to leave it behind.

Unfortunately, Paul seems wedded to the past:

Focusing on the matter of organizational structures for a moment, it occurs to me that the old and much-maligned and sometimes grotesquely distorted term democratic centralism continues to make a considerable amount of sense.

I am absolutely opposed to the follow-the-leader interpretation which tells us that some central authority (the wise leader, the top cadres, the central committee or whatever) should be the brain that does the thinking and gives the orders — after which we should “democratically” discuss it all and then carry it all out as disciplined little soldiers. That is the opposite of the actual democratic centralism I believe in — a phony “Leninism” associated with pretentious clowning and the organization falling flat on its face (to paraphrase Lenin’s Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder).

All this is well and good but it does not really address the dynamic that exists in such organizations. The “wise leader, the top cadres, the central committee or whatever” emerge out of the subsoil of groups that are constituted on the basis of the organizational model that goes back to the Bolshevization Comintern of 1924 in which Zinoviev’s schemas were ordained as “Bolshevism”. It had the unintended consequence of turning such parties’ key leader into a demigod, whether it was Jack Barnes or Bob Avakian. Even in the case of groups that were fairly sane, it meant that an Ahmed Shawki or a Alex Callinicos had enough unchallenged power to cover up a rape.

I should add that democratic centralism does not lead to sexual attacks but it does facilitate cover-ups when and if they occur.

Paul continues:

If the organization has a full, democratic discussion regarding actions to be taken and makes a decision (determined by majority vote) — then the organization carries out the decision that was democratically decided upon. If the decision is to support a strike action, or an antiwar action, or an antiracist action, then no comrade is to work against the action.

On the other hand, if a majority of comrades in the organization have a specific position regarding a philosophical question, or an understanding of history, or a specific political analysis, there is no reason why dissident comrades cannot openly, publicly state their own views, if they have them. Nor are they prohibited from expressing disagreements with the leadership or with majority decisions on other matters as well, even publicly.

Once again, this sounds reasonable but in practice it goes by the wayside. Groups such as the ISO, the American SWP, Progressive Labor, the CPUSA are all characterized by ideological homogeneity. A new member will tend to hold the teachings of the masters close to his breast. I say that from experience going through indoctrination in the SWP back in 1967. You read something like “In Defense of Marxism” early on, which defends Trotsky and Cannon against Shachtman, Burnham and Abern. For a young, new member to say in a study group that such debates have little bearing on current society takes more nerve than anyone can muster, including someone like me. I only began to think for myself after leaving the SWP in 1978.

In order for true democratic centralism to work, a party has to have what might be considered a minimal program today. Instead of wrangling over when the USSR became capitalist or remained a “workers state”, it should focus on the basics such as ecosocialism, building militant trade unions, free speech rights such as the kind that the IWW fought for, abortion rights, GLBT rights, Black liberation, etc. Marxist principles should underpin the party’s campaign around such issues rather than tailing after the Democratic Party. If a group of 4 to 5 hundred Marxists staked out such an approach, who knows how far it can go?

Other than Paul’s attempt to revive the dying patient called democratic centralism, the rest of his article makes many good points and is worth reading.

 

 

17 Comments »

  1. Lou, I’m having trouble grasping how you differ with Paul – on one hand you criticize his “attempt to revive the dying patient called democratic centralism” but on the other you say “In order for true democratic centralism to work, a party has to have what might be considered a minimal program…” How is that different from Paul’s 2 paragraphs quoted just above? (I do get that you are less sanguine than Paul in that DC “sounds reasonable but in practice it goes by the wayside.”)

    Comment by Fred Murphy — March 27, 2019 @ 9:57 pm

  2. Fred, Paul’s article is mostly about issues other than “democratic centralism”. If you look at the article he wrote on “Leninism is Unfinished”, the differences will be obvious: http://socialistworker.org/2013/02/01/leninism-is-unfinished.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 28, 2019 @ 12:05 am

  3. Instead of wrangling over when the USSR became capitalist or remained a “workers state”, it should focus on the basics such as ecosocialism, building militant trade unions, free speech rights such as the kind that the IWW fought for, abortion rights, GLBT rights, Black liberation, etc.

    It’s probably too obvious, but it may be important in addition to a correct focus on the “basics” to form cadres that can be a living presence in people’s lives–a credibly non-corrupt (and not rapist) body of activists whose physical, speaking, responsive reality can counteract the illusions fostered by the metastasized TV that seeks to replace reality in the lives of “consumers.”

    This has nothing to do with Baudrillard or any of that sort of thing BTW… . People need to feel a certain safety in numbers before they cast off the familiar–without that, many will continue to wallow in the lies spewed forth by the Right (including the so-called “center,” which IMHO is a wholly owned subsidiary–eg Master Beto Robert Kennedy O’Rourke.)

    Those illusions, like the imagined love of an angry God, are comforting if the world is otherwise comfortless or simply too threatening.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 28, 2019 @ 12:49 pm

  4. I am old enough to remember Gabriel Heather a pursuivant of the news on radio in the late thirties and forties. He would start off each broadcast during WWII with the phrase “There’s good news tonight”. When reading about the forth coming dissolution of the ISO, which would be more a mercy killing, than a dissolution. I harken back to Gabriel Heaters catch phrase “There’s good news tonight”. Another very minor impediment along the road to socialism is about to be tossed into the garbage pail, now if only Barnes and the SWP would follow suit, I would have my best week in years. I realize that in itself is not a great week for many but I am old and don’t get around much anymore.

    Comment by Michael Tormey — March 28, 2019 @ 7:51 pm

  5. FYI: my review of Paul’s book from 2014. My guess is that Louis agrees with much of it. https://newpol.org/review/what-thing-called-leninism/

    Comment by Jason Schulman — March 31, 2019 @ 8:28 pm

  6. Just read Marxmail postings re the end of ISO. It’s too fucking bad. Coincidentally, I’ve spent a few scarifying days watching the Jerry Springer shitfest that passes for commentary on the Counterpunch Facebook page. Judging by the names, I’d say that a significant number of these assholes really are Russian assets. What a mess–it’s useless,

    Coming up in the elevator in my building on Friday, I mentioned the Trump debacle to someone I know slightly who promptly lurched into a wildeyed rant about how the left is to blame for everything and the democrats have to eliminate the left. I assume he means Sanders, of course. But brace yourself–those people are ready to kill.

    Absent the ISO, there isn’t a single Marxist org. in the DC area that I personally would consider joining. It’s a desert.

    I’ll only add this–I don’t think the Russian meddling in the 2016 election was decisive, although it certainly happened. But the real harm being done by Russian agents is their infiltration and destruction of the demotic Left in this country. This is a true disaster–and may lead to an upsurge of actual fascism eventually.

    There are going to be a lot of suicides in the coming months and years.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — April 1, 2019 @ 11:44 am

  7. The problem is that organizing is only one half of the problem, protecting what you are organizing is even more important. We are clearly living in a police state. It does not respect any of its own laws at any level, whether private or public. We live in between the dictatorship at our work to the dictatorship that our bosses and owners bought. All that protects us is plausible deniability (i.e demoralizing the mad scientists and engineers who make them WMD’s) and more importantly our respective impotence. Wrangling about how revolutions fail and parties are corrupted IS NOT A WASTE OF OUR TIME. However much liberals love to see us play whack-a-mole chasing after one single issue after another achieving some brief and token success that is rapidly perverted and destroyed, this is clearly a waste of precious time. Whether it is done consciously like Obama and Sanders does or unconsciously as thousands of well intentioned activists do, either way this path is litter with failures over the past 100 years.

    What the hell else do we do but ecosocialism, free speech, blah, blah, etc… reformism. And when we don’t do reformism we are doing lesser of two “evilism”. The ISO was famous talking the minimum possible about anything revolutionary and everything possible about reformism. Except for misleading unions the ISO did nothing but write and talk about what they wrote. Lately they branched out into identity politics and supporting imperialism in Syria just like their Democratic party parent party. You can throw in the Democratic Socialist conveyor belt party right in the middle of that relationship, sucking in sister parties like Socialist Alternative.

    You don’t go into a gunfight with a knife, but what you are advocating is marching in butt naked holding nothing more than your shriveled up genitalia to defend the masses.

    Write about the new apparent honcho of the party Jesse Sharkey. Who appears well named. Besides the yellow dog contracts he negotiated, well established moderation on police brutality and collaborations with the Democratic party, has a trophy wife in charge of the ISO’s most important to their finances Haymarket publishing firm. Mrs. Fain’s father is the Zionist multi-million CEO of Royal Caribbean Richard Fain.

    Brecht would love this “Sharkey”:

    “Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
    And it shows them pearly white
    Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
    And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
    Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
    Scarlet billows start to spread
    Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
    So there’s never, never a trace of red”

    Comment by Richard Allen — April 2, 2019 @ 6:48 pm

  8. Lately they branched out into identity politics and supporting imperialism in Syria just like their Democratic party parent party.

    Yeah, everybody knows that writing articles blaming Assad for sarin gas attacks can be traceable to George Soros and the Lubavitcher Hasidim.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 2, 2019 @ 9:59 pm

  9. Does it feel good being a Capitalist fig leaf. Its funny how liberals like yourself alway sneer from their respective privileged positions. Do the Gods ever change their respective fig leafs? But they do!!! I remember trying to have a normal conversation with the once holy than thou Shawki at one their cult gathering called a conference. He stood stolidly like an Olympian God disdaining to talk to anyone except as part of an audience. The moral of the ISO story is that you had better do a better job at creating dissension and dissolution if you want to keep your job and its associated privileges. The ISO only sin was to pretend to be a revolutionary party. Masses are awakening it is a very dangerous time for our fat, aging and greedy slave masters. We all know the truth Shawki, Smith, etc… were always nothing more than clever agent provocateurs.

    Funny you should mention Soros!

    The ISO has been sucking on the teats of the Tides foundation, ( a Soros bankrolled laundromat) and the Lannan Foundation, (whose capital comes from ITT and NAZI Germany)!

    Maybe Shawki or Smith, etc… had not been so greedy they might still have a party from which they can weave and spin their lies and dissension.

    This is no tragedy but a weight lifted from the backs of the Working class. I am sure that the CIA and FBI will shift this pseudo comrades to another department. Maybe they will come work for you once they recant their phony Leninist protestations. Come on give them a break you know they were lying!!!

    PS:

    Give my regards to your fellow liberal Paul Street a man whose literary gifts span the spectrum of every profanity when he stoops to have discourse with recalcitrant peasants. Well to be fair house slaves have always had trouble communicating on a man/woman to man/woman basis with field slaves. Especially when the field slaves take the effort to educate themselves.

    By the way I know that this website and you only exists to collected email addresses and potential victims for your capitalist masters.

    Comment by Richard Allen — April 3, 2019 @ 12:43 am

  10. By the way I know that this website and you only exists to collected email addresses and potential victims for your capitalist masters.

    —-

    I am giving your IP address to al-Qaeda. So, watch out for anybody with a beard down to his belly button and carrying a scimitar on your way home at night.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 3, 2019 @ 1:08 am

  11. Seems Mr Allen’s source on Sharkey, Fain, Soros, Tides, & Lannan is this: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/02/inte-a02.html . This is the US Northists’ immediate statement on the announcement today, 2Apr, that the ISO has decided to dissolve. Surprised he didn’t add what the statement says at the end about the comrade Louis addressed. (Guess there’s a previous WSWS article on where Lannan’s money is supposed to have come from.)

    Questions that need to be asked about the shattering of the ISO:

    1) will an adequate account ever come out about what has gone on since the February annual national convention? The info on socialistworker.org is too patchy, not least the 15Mar Steering Cttee letter to members, & the 19Mar Socialist Worker statement to readers. Why did largely unintended effects spiral out of control with such gusto?;

    2) why did this replacement of prominents (I say that rather than leaders) send a hurricane throughout the organisation, showing its fragility, rather than its resilience? Why did what seems to have been experienced as a breach of trust prove so catastrophic? Is this an example of a different kind of identity politics, the identification of the followers with the leaders, & the sudden realisation that they had been deceived, betrayed, causing the extinction of hope, with the organisational correlate of dissolution?; &

    3) how relevant in this rapid process are the particular psychodynamics of small professed revolutionary groups, priming members, giving them a certain disposition for when bad news arrives?

    When the revolutionary minded are a small minority, they stay together as a small group even if they act within a mass organisation. Hostile environment. Opponents, & especially enemies. Renegades. In-group/out-group. In this practical dynamic there are dangers, which need to be recognised & controlled. The worst is turning into a cult, with people doing things they never thought they would. They damage others, & become damaged themselves. Amongst self-described revolutionary groups there are quite a few systemic examples of this. Yes, it’s reasonable for an organisation to judge whether a member has had their rights infringed; but what sort of group in civil society thinks itself competent to adjudicate upon alleged serious crimes? Self-awareness, the scope of one’s competence, a sense of proportion. Staying rooted in reality.

    Proficient participation in an organisation requires practical adequacy, not just of behaviour but of psyche too: one’s thoughts & feelings also have to be up to the job. Hence the observation of controlled behaviour and group-think – and group-feel. One has to fit in. Deference, staying silent, even when harbouring doubt. The leader will soon correct things. Have to stay the course. The bad times will pass. We have the truth. We are the Party.

    The ISO today. The British Socialist Workers Party, 2013. Healy’s British Workers Revolutionary Party, 1985. Small group life exhibits a distinctive psychic dimension, one with inherent dangers. Fortunately there are analyses of the psychic forces at work. I draw attention to those by Dennis Tourish, Tim Wohlforth, & Maurice Brinton (pen-name of Chris Pallis). The ideas & arguments of these three should be better known, not least by those thinking of joining such a group. Tourish was a member of the Irish Militant, 1974-85, a full-timer for six years. Wohlforth, was National Secretary of the US Healyist (later Northist) group, Workers League, until 1974; he’s been in groups since 1953. Brinton was a co-founder of Solidarity, libertarian socialists in Britain, in 1960; in his day job, a neurologist, he devised the current clinical criteria for brainstem death. These are their main writings:

    Tourish, ‘Ideological Intransigence, Democratic Centralism & Cultism: A Case Study’, Cultic Studies Journal, v.15, 1998, pp.33-67
    re-published, 2003, for an audience of ‘survivors’:
    Tourish’s new intro http://www.whatnextjournal.org.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext27/Intro.html
    the article itself http://www.whatnextjournal.org.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext27/Cults.html
    downloadable PDF’s are linked from http://www.whatnextjournal.org.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext27/Contents2.html

    two books at LibGen (social science & ‘far left’ PDF’s; it’s currently using https://booksdescr.com ):
    Tourish & Wohlforth, On the Edge: Political Cults Right & Left, M E Sharpe, 2000 (2015 by Routledge)
    [chapters on Marlene Dixon’s Democratic Workers Party, Bay Area – which, like the ISO, removed the top, then dissolved; Lyndon LaRouche; Fred Newman; Gino Perente (né Gerald Doeden); WRP; British Militant]
    Tourish, The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective, Routledge, 2013
    [sample quote: an ex-Militant interviewee said, “we knew that if we told them in advance all that was involved they would never join. I remember telling a full-timer once that I thought this new recruit we had met didn’t have any friends. He looked absolutely delighted, and told me that meant we would at least get plenty of work out of him!” (p.152); the Militant chapter is preceded by one on Enron!]

    Brinton, ‘Suicide for Socialism’, Solidarity for Social Revolution, no.7, 1979 (esp. Part 2)
    https://libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton
    as downloadable PDF, from p.10 https://libcom.org/files/solidarity-07.pdf

    Comment by it's about the argument, not you or me — April 3, 2019 @ 3:23 am

  12. Thought my longish comment would come up with my name!
    Jara Handala

    Comment by Jara Handala — April 3, 2019 @ 3:39 am

  13. Jara, first time commenters are held in a queue. From now on, your comments will go through without delay.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 3, 2019 @ 12:09 pm

  14. Ridicule and threats Is that all you are capable of, pathetic!!! I would not care one bit for you If you did not soil the revolutionary ideals of Marxism with your pedantic reformism and castrating moralizing. You are no unrepentant Marxist but an unrepentant liberal. All of you liberals just whine and nag while rendering to Caesar justifying your own cowardice and corruption on the omnipotence of the Capitalist state. At least your Pope Chomsky has the grace to call himself an Anarchist and not a Marxist. Although he in turn disgraces Anarchist revolutionary traditions as well. All of you have a common theme you counsel absolute adherence forever and ever to nonviolent resistance and hatred of any effective organization against the police state. Many of you even deny the existence of the police state and peddle the nonsense of a bourgeois democracy. In spite of the fact that every presidential election since 2000 has been wracked by obvious evidence of the most gross form of corruption and outright manipulation. We protest in metallic pens just like farm animals. Our whistleblowers are imprisoned. Our minority and poor white comrades shot down like dogs for crimes as petty as jaywalking or even in their own homes. Our unions all sign Yellow dog contracts. Yet this evil and brutal state allows pathetic and embarrassing websites, publishing misleading pseudo revolutionary slogans like yourself.

    Comment by Richard Allen — April 3, 2019 @ 12:39 pm

  15. By the way I have been banned by the SEP WSWS Northers website as you call them precisely because I called them out for being an undemocratic sect as well. I respect democratic centralism, but there must be a true democratic process within every party of that type. I looked for years and could not find anything looking like a democratic process in the SEP or their fourth International. There must be factions and opposing point of views in their publications. Maybe even elections and publishing their corresponding results. Vetting only real workers into the party should be enough protection for any real working class party. This cannot be done when the middle classes appear to be dominating all working class parties.

    I would be also nice to learn how many people are in the party and the source of their funding. Its no secret to the secret capitalist police why should it be to potential worker recruits. It is hard for me to believe that any party of WORKERS could fund a party strictly out of their own pockets. A revolutionary party depends on a revolutionary union to finance it. There is no other way to finance revolutionary activities. Modern day imperialism exerts is absolute control over society by way of their foundations. Selling books , t-shirts, etc… does not generate enough funds. And they are a bad influence on the movement as this money is typical non working class. Real workers just don’t have any money to spare.

    What is true for parties also holds true for websites. All workers have a right to know how their sources of information is financed. Websites as peaceful as this one has no excuse not to give every detail!!!

    Comment by Richard Allen — April 3, 2019 @ 1:02 pm

  16. All workers have a right to know how their sources of information is financed. Websites as peaceful as this one has no excuse not to give every detail!!!

    I am paid $4000 per month by Hukalakka Meshabob, an Albanian bitcoin dealer, to keep this website going. Ideologically, he was a Hoxhaite in his youth but today is rather eclectic, combining Murray Bookchin and Spinoza. I have no idea what he sees in my writings but the money I get from him pays for single-malt scotch and lobster, so why look a gift horse in the mouth?.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 3, 2019 @ 1:30 pm

  17. Louis, I was just surprised that commenting via wordpress it wasn’t my name that came up but some motto I had on my account.

    You wondered when Paul Le Blanc joined ISO; it was c. Oct2009:
    “Since 1992 I have been a member of Solidarity, which over the years has attracted a number of fine people who have done excellent work, although it has never proved able to sustain a membership of more than 300. I feel I have done all that I can to help build Solidarity. At this point I believe I may have more to contribute to building the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and am hopeful that the ISO can play a badly needed role in the intensification of the struggle to bring fundamental social change [. . .] The fact that the ISO is by far the largest socialist organisation in the United States today, attracting to revolutionary ideas a much larger number of young activists than any of the others, is very definitely part of the attraction of that organisation for me. I believe this is a reflection of the actual and potential relevance that the ISO has to the US political scene. I believe it is also related to a certain openness that is developing, among the ISO comrades. I have experienced this openness in regard to my own point of view”
    http://links.org.au/node/1323

    In this laudatory piece he even referred to Genora Dollinger. In fact I had commented on your blog, back in 2015, when you posted the wonderful interview of Sol you made with Nelson Blackstock. If the ISO members were this quality it wouldn’t have been the snowflake it has proved to be.
    https://louisproyect.org/2015/01/04/sol-dollinger-interview/ (first vid of three; also has your obituary of Sol)

    At Wayne there is still a ban on making public those named in the FBI reports on Flint & Detroit – although probably not even one is still alive:
    “Restrictions: RESEARCHERS USING THIS COLLECTION MUST SIGN A RESTRICTED USE FORM. NO NAMES APPEARING IN THE FBI, MICHIGAN STATE POLICE OR DETROIT POLICE RED SQUAD FILES, OTHER THAN THOSE OF GENORA AND SOL DOLLINGER, MAY BE CITED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL NAMED. NO UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL IN RESTRICTED FILES MAY BE COPIED.” (original capitalisation)
    http://reuther.wayne.edu/node/2473

    Wonder whether Le Blanc will go back to Solidarity, to Brenner, Feeley, Wald, Weissman? Anyway, guess the next issue of ‘Against the Current’ will have an article on ISO’s shattering. Maybe Suzi Weissman will address it on her Sunday KPFK radio programme, ‘Beneath the Surface’.

    Comment by Jara Handala — April 3, 2019 @ 11:40 pm


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