SWP seals expulsion of US organisation
This ?Open letter? by the International Socialist Organization (USA) rebuffs in detail accusations of sectarianism levelled by the SWP leadership. Nevertheless, in sects, conformity of thought is all. As can be seen from the IST resolution, the split between the SWP and its former US co-thinkers is now complete
Comrades, on July 5, the International Socialist Tendency will vote on a resolution to expel the International Socialist Organization (US) from the IST. The vote is merely a formality. The decision to purge the ISO - and this term is used with care - was made by the leadership of the SWP some time ago.
In February 2001 - before any split in Greece and before Ahmed Shawki had even been invited to speak in Athens by DEA - the SWP CC wrote to the ISO informing us that it chose to recognise six former ISO members as members of the IST in the US.
Since then, the SWP CC has vigorously campaigned against the ISO - both inside every group in the tendency and to the world, in what amounts to a sectarian rant against an organisation that has been an integral part of the International Socialist Tendency since it was founded in 1977. The SWP has conducted an ever shifting campaign against us for a simple reason: we did not accept everything that emanated from Britain as gospel. Worse, our experience and ideas on a number of questions proved to be at odds with those of the CC. This is apparently unacceptable behaviour and is incompatible today with membership in the IST.
This campaign began in the aftermath of Nato?s war in Serbia, and resulted in a meeting of the British SWP CC and the ISO?s steering committee at ?Marxism 99?. That attempt to paint us as sectarians unwilling to conduct joint work with others failed. At the international meeting in November 1999, some members of the CC initiated efforts to foment a split in our leadership. This also failed. In the spring of 2000, the SWP leadership circulated an open letter over the heads of our steering committee and directly to our membership. But they failed to win any significant support. Finally, by October 2000 six ISO members out of a membership of 1,000 signed up with the SWP?s factional intervention.
The International Socialist Tendency that once proudly proclaimed itself as different from various toy-Bolshevik ?internationals?, which claimed that it was not an international, but a tendency composed of autonomous groups united around the politics of international socialism, has become a mere shadow of its former self. It is now characterised by a high degree of commandeerism and political amateurism. But it now can no longer cover for its repeated and systematic failure to accept or understand the 1990s - or the present. The perspective developed by the SWP over the latter half of the 1990s - summed up in the phrase the ?1930s in slow motion? - and the political and organisational conclusions that were derived from this view, have been a disaster in Britain and internationally.
Rather than face up to this fact, the SWP has zigzagged blindly. Instead of encouraging a debate on these questions which would have strengthened the tendency, it has pursued a policy that has created split after split. Each split is justified by an immediate tactical turn. The split in tendency groups over the last few years includes France, Turkey, New Zealand, Belgium, South Africa and Greece ?.
The SWP tried to give a theoretical gloss to its penchant for splits in an embarrassing article by Alex Callinicos posted on the SWP?s website. But the idea that every turn requires a split - a policy justified with various references to the Bolshevik tradition - is just nonsense. Not to put too fine a point on it, it shows a complete (or wilful) ignorance of the Bolshevik tradition that we stand in.
What Trotsky wrote in 1931 against Stalinist monolithism remains valid for us today: ?This unanimity is represented as a sign of the particular strength of the party. When and where has there yet been in the history of the revolutionary movement such dumb ?monolithism?? ... the whole history of Bolshevism is the history of intense internal struggle through which the party gained its viewpoints and hammered out its methods. The chronicles of the year 1917, the greatest year in the history of the party, is full of intense internal struggles, as also the history of the first five years after the conquest of power; despite this - not one split, not one major expulsion for political motives??
Because of our relative size and historical relationship to the tendency, the SWP was not able this time to conduct its ?international work? in the same manner in which it has grown accustomed - quietly and behind the scenes, and with little information to the rest of the tendency as to why things went so wrong. This time, the SWP leadership has been compelled to orchestrate a campaign, complete with lies and slander, in preparation of a vote for our expulsion at an international meeting. How IST representatives vote on this question will help determine the fate of the tendency.
The charges against the ISO
The SWP?s ?case? against the ISO, such as it is, has been constructed on a mountain of lies. We have been accused of everything from ?failing the test? of the 1999 Kosovo War, to ?failing the test of Seattle,? to engaging in thuggery against ISO members, to authoring splits in other IST organisations. In fact, it has been hard to keep up with the changing stories as they have flown out of Callinicos? e-mail box1....
The charges stated in the SEK/SWP resolution presented to the July 5 meeting are a perfect example of this school of falsification. We will take them up one by one.
Myth: The ISO ?has failed, despite repeated promises, to produce its contribution to the proposed international debate.?
Fact: ISO representatives have argued our case at four international meetings (at ?Marxism 1999?, the 1999 and 2000 international tendency meetings, and the specially convened May 2000 meeting). We have written voluminous exchanges that have been circulated to the tendency. (Unfortunately, we fear that in many cases much of this material was not distributed to the tendency memberships by their respective leaderships.) Our views on all of the disputed questions - from the ?1930s in slow motion? to the ?90-10 formula? to ?anti-capitalism? - and the documentation of our practice is well known.
Comrades can also now read a full statement of our perspectives in Ahmed Shawki?s article ?Between things ended and things begun? in the June/July ISR at www.internationalsocialistreview.org. In fact, when the SWP central committee wrote the letter announcing the SWP?s break with the ISO (see ?Statement on relations between SWP (GB) and ISO (US)?, March 12 2001), it asserted that, ?The differences [between the ISO and the IST] were thoroughly debated at two tendency meetings in May and November 2000, at both of which the ISO?s position was overwhelmingly rejected.?
Now the SEK and SWP dredge up the rather flimsy charge of our failure to submit a document to the ISJ as grounds for our expulsion. This is nothing more than a scholastic debating point and an absurd grounds for casting the ISO out of a tendency of which it has been a member since its founding in 1977. Before last year?s meeting of the IST in May, we wrote to Callinicos proposing a formal debate of the questions and also raised the ISO?s attending the upcoming SWP party council. Callinicos wrote back rejecting our suggestions:
?. ?I?m surprised that you should say that several ISO comrades are ?planning to attend the party council?. I?m sure that you would expect us to ask to be invited to any comparable ISO event such as your national committee meetings: surely the same courtesy should apply to us. What is the purpose of your wishing to attend the party council? The issues between the two organisations will have been fully aired at the international meeting; the party council will focus on SWP perspectives after the London elections, on building the anti-capitalist mood after May Day, and on building the biggest possible campaign in defence of asylum-seekers.?
Callinicos forgot to mention, or perhaps didn?t remember, that he was set to introduce a major session at the party council devoted to the debate with the ISO. Two ISO comrades put in slips to speak during this session, where Ahmed Shawki was given four minutes to respond, and the other comrade was not called on. Then at the SWP conference in November 2000 Callinicos gave another lengthy presentation, this time announcing his intention to ?save? the ISO. Again, Ahmed Shawki was given three minutes to respond.
Far from being ?unwilling? to debate our views, the ISO has published numerous and extensive discussions, related not just to general perspectives but specifically to the question of the global justice movement. The International Socialist Review magazine published two special issues devoted to the global justice movement last year. The ISR also ran an issue devoted to the Nader campaign, including an interview with Nader himself and a major article that, to our knowledge, first generalised the idea that the new radicalisation can be described as ?the birth of a new left? - which we?re happy to see is the theme of this year?s ?Marxism?.
Socialist Worker has published special features for each major demonstration of the global justice movement, as well as supplements to relate to the anti-death penalty movement, the new struggle around civil rights and police brutality, the Nader campaign and the protests against Bush?s inauguration. The list of prominent figures in the movement interviewed in Socialist Worker is simply too long to list, but let a few names suffice - Dennis Brutus, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Kevin Danaher, Boris Kagarlitsky, Medea Benjamin, Njoki Njoroge Njeh?, Manning Marable, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Moore and Alexander Cockburn. And we are pleased to report to the tendency that SW has produced its first ever Spanish-language supplement for the anti-FTAA demonstrations in April. It sold several thousand copies, including at the bi-national demonstration at the Mexico-US border.
All these publications are available from our websites. Yet we are still charged with having failed to argue our case. Indeed, throughout this debate, there have been no references to what we actually say in our publications.
In reality, it?s the SWP that is afraid of an open debate. It has tried - quite successfully, it appears - to quarantine the rest of the IST from the ISO. What other purpose can we ascribe to Callinicos? May 25 2001 note to tendency organisations encouraging them to reject the ISO?s invitation to attend the 2001 Socialist Summer School? This is not the action of an organisation that is confident in its ideas and practice.
Callinicos and other members of the British CC have spent quite a bit of time lobbying other organisations to break with the ISO and to vote to expel us at the July 5 2001 meeting. Callinicos devoted more than one half of his talk at a publicly advertised meeting at the German organisation?s Rosa Luxemburg Tage to an attack on the ISO. Most of the audience had left the room by the time Callinicos finished his remarks. In the run-up to ?Marxism 2001? Chris Bambery gave a members-only meeting to the French organisation laying out the SWP?s case for our expulsion (where, we are told, he made the absurd claim that the ISO opposed taking down the perimeter fence in Quebec).
At neither of these meetings did the organisation?s leadership invite us to attend to present our case. ISO members who attended the Rosa Luxemburg Tage received only a few minutes? rebuttal to Callinicos?s 30-minute tirade ...
We are willing, no matter what the outcome of the IST meeting, to debate any comrade from the CC or from SEK on these questions. Indeed, we challenge the SWP to organise such a session at ?Marxism? - on their own terms, with their own party members there to ensure that their position is well represented. Of course, arranging such a meeting might create one or two organisational problems. But as comrades who remember the many ?Marxisms? of the past well know, such debates and discussions have been organised quickly on questions of political importance.
The quarantine has also extended to our joint work with other tendency organisations. For months in the preparations for the anti-FTAA demonstrations, our East Coast organiser worked closely with IS Canada members in Quebec. We proposed on several occasions joint meetings with IS Canada to plan our tendency?s intervention in the events. The IS Canada refused ...
Unfortunately, this policy now extends to the most basic questions of international solidarity. While IST comrades from Canada, Australia and New Zealand collaborated with us on efforts to obtain the release of the 32 detained foreign activists in Indonesia, most IST groups never responded - most seriously, the SWP.
Myth: ?The steering committee?s failure to make a priority of mobilising for the biggest anti-capitalist demonstration in North America, at Quebec City on April 20-21"; and the ISO opposed the direct action to take down the perimeter fence in Quebec.
Fact: The entire ISO mobilised in three countries (US, Canada and Mexico) to participate in protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas. In Quebec City, more than 100 members - not ?mobilising less than 30?, as claimed in the IS Canada?s report of the event, nor Callinicos?s more generous 60 ?ISO members and supporters?, claimed in his May 25 2001 letter to the tendency - took part in all of the week?s events, from the teach-ins to direct action ?
Nor was our mobilisation that weekend limited only to the issue of the FTAA. ISO trade unionists participated in the biannual conference of Labor Notes, the main rank-and-file activist network in the labour movement. More importantly, we helped to organise - and spoke from the platform of - the Emergency Mobilisation for Women?s Lives in Washington DC. This demonstration of 15,000 marked the first major mobilisation of domestic opposition to Bush?s rightwing agenda.
And, far from counterposing the two demonstrations, we initially argued with the National Organization for Women (NOW) to change the date of their demonstration and, after that failed, we proposed and got Njoki Njehu, head of ?50 Years is Enough?, to speak from the platform, in an attempt to bring the two struggles together.
The fact that we are able to intervene simultaneously in many different arenas is a strength, not a weakness. Compare the ISO?s mobilisation on April 21-22 to Left Turn?s - only three of whose members got up the energy to travel to Quebec City. No one from Left Turn?s closest branch to Quebec City (New York) managed to attend the Quebec City demonstration. Might it be said that Left Turn ?failed the test of Quebec City??
Finally, the idea that mobilising for an abortion rights demonstration - when abortion is a key flashpoint for building an opposition to Bush - raises a question of principle. Since when is mobilising for a fundamental demand of women?s liberation a diversion from other pressing political questions?
Myth: ?The steering committee expelled on trumped up charges a minority within the ISO who came to agree with the resolution passed by the IST in May 2000.?
Fact: The ISO steering committee expelled these members because they continued factionalising after they were outvoted at the convention, lowered or refused to pay dues, and convinced other members to quit the ISO. After the convention, they boycotted branch meetings and sales of Socialist Worker and continued to operate as a faction, refusing to work with, or under the direction of, the local and national leaderships. They refused to meet with our leadership, tampered with our website and declared themselves hostile to the ISO even while their appeal was pending. These members were given a right to appeal the steering committee?s decision. The ?appeal? they wrote included this line: ?We therefore demand that this disciplinary action be completely repudiated, although it has now become impossible for us to rejoin the ISO, unless and until it is able to resolve its differences with and resume its place in the International Socialist Tendency.?
These former members made a mockery of the appeal and the ISO appeals committee upheld their expulsion. Their appeal document, and the appeals committee decision, was distributed to the ISO membership by our national office. Throughout this dispute the ISO has made sure to distribute all documents to our membership - unlike other groups in the tendency who now feel they can vote to expel the ISO from the IST without their own memberships knowing the issues involved. Nevertheless, before their appeal was even completed - Callinicos and Bambery, writing for the SWP central committee on February 15 2001, told the ISO steering committee: ?We wish to make it clear that we regard these comrades as members of the IS Tendency and that we will provide them with such help as we can.? In other words, the SWP recognised another IST group (of six people) in the US weeks before the Greek organisation split and the SEK/SWP charged the ISO with the crime of recognising a splinter group in Greece.
Myth: ?The steering committee privately encouraged and publicly supported a breakaway faction from the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK).?
Fact: Aside from the SWP?s hypocrisy on this question (outlined in the point above), this charge is again absurd. First, the ISO is charged with ?privately encouraging? a split in Greece. How the charge of ?privately encouraging? a split can hold any credibility is beyond us. More to the point, the main proof of this charge (now that all references to Ahmed Shawki?s alleged role in writing the DEA?s split document have been dropped) is Ahmed Shawki?s acceptance of an invitation to speak at the founding conference of the International Workers Left. We attended the conference for the simple reason that, after fending off two years of SWP fabrications about the ISO, we do not accept the judgement of the SWP on questions of the tendency. Therefore, we sent a representative to the DEA conference to investigate the ?facts on the ground? for ourselves. And for this we were effectively expelled from the IST. If we ?publicly supported a breakaway faction? from the SEK, we had a lot of company - 11 other far left organisations in Greece, including a representative of the Greek section of the Fourth International.
The roots of the crisis
The roots of this crisis in the tendency are the failure of the SWP?s perspectives over the last decade - perspectives that were imposed on the rest of the tendency to disastrous effect.
The SWP leadership characterised the 1990s as the ?1930s in slow motion? - prolonged economic crisis, a sharp rise in class struggle, the rise of the far right and the rapid growth of revolutionary socialist organisation. Cliff put the case emphatically following the French public sector strikes of 1995: ?The situation there [in France] is extremely volatile, with very big strikes going on at the same time as support for the right. When Blair comes to office here we will see similar volatility. There will be a race between the far right and the far left to win workers to their politics.? In 1999 Cliff went even further, declaring: ?Capitalism in the advanced countries is no longer expanding? so that Trotsky?s Transitional programme, ?that ?there can be no discussion of systematic social reforms and the raising of the masses? living standards?, fits reality again? (Trotskyism after Trotsky pp81-82).
As anyone who even glances at the statistics will know, this was not the case. The US economy alone expanded by one-third in the 1990s. Unemployment in Britain and France dropped to its lowest level in more than two decades. Blair?s election was followed not by ?volatility?, but by the lowest level of strikes on record. His was the first full-term re-election ever for Labour. Of course there is disillusionment and bitterness with Blair, reflected in part by the abysmally low voter turnout. This created the opening for an electoral challenge from the left. But the situation bears little resemblance to the explosion in struggle repeatedly predicted by the SWP leadership in 1997.
Then, SWP branches were instructed to hold branch meetings on the June 1936 mass strikes in France that followed the election of the Popular Front government. There was an explicit prediction of similar developments in Britain. Can anyone seriously argue today that this perspective was correct? More to the point, has the SWP leadership ever bothered to reassess this mistaken perspective?
As Lenin said - and Cliff always emphasised - revolutionaries should not fear to make mistakes. The danger is failing to admit and correct them. Tragically the SWP leadership has never done this - even though its catastrophist perspectives led to a massive decline in its membership. The SWP years ago stopped its claim to have 10,000 members (such figures are no longer given, not even in internal tendency meetings). By contrast, the ISO has in the last decade grown more than fourfold to more than 1,000 and our influence has grown as well. Our magazine has moved from quarterly to bimonthly, and Socialist Worker will go weekly in the autumn. To be sure, we have many problems and shortcomings that must be addressed, as do all revolutionary organisations. But the SWP only looks foolish on the left in the US and internationally when it denounces us as an 'ossified sect'. The SWP has tried to use its factional attack on the ISO as a distraction from own failed perspectives.
Unwilling to come to terms with its failed perspective - with its catastrophism - the SWP leadership has pushed a series of organisational formulas to try and solve its problems. You can put pond water in wine bottles, but it won?t taste any better. The party moved first to small branches, and then to still smaller ?campaigning branches?, in the desperate hope that this would somehow lead to growth.
Now in an internal document (published in another organisation?s newspaper [Weekly Worker June 21 - ed]), the CC states: ?We have abandoned the old party branches, which only involved a minority of comrades, because these have often been in practice sectarian barriers to our wider intervention?. This is a stark admission of failure. Yet it still does not come to terms with the SWP?s underlying crisis of perspectives. On the contrary, the SWP hasn?t take responsibility for how its drive to impose its perspectives on other groups in the tendency led directly to splits in half a dozen countries.
Now, the SWP-SEK motion for the ISO?s expulsion from the tendency prominently mentions the resolution adopted by the IST in May 2000. That document - which we voted against - called for the very same organisational formulas that the SWP now claims are ?sectarian?. The May 2000 resolution also put the tendency representatives on record as opposing the concept of ?cadre members? - yet the SWP?s own conference documents in November 2000 specifically called for training cadre. Will anyone argue that the SWP should be expelled from the tendency for violating the tendency?s resolution?
When the ISO-US assessed our work in the 1990s, we recognised that we had adjusted our perspectives to take account of the economic boom - and that the ?30s in slow motion? analogy didn?t fit this situation. Given the obvious reality of the boom, we did not expect this to be controversial. Yet the SWP leadership clung to the ?1930s in slow motion? slogan as a sectarian shibboleth in its relentless factional war on the ISO. But as far as we know, it wasn?t good enough for the Socialist Alliance or other political work - and it didn?t even rate a mention in the SWP?s recent perspectives documents. Nor did it figure in the party?s dissolution in Scotland into the Scottish Socialist Party.
The other shibboleth is the characterisation of the new radicalisation as ?anti-capitalist?. We have dealt with this point at length in other documents. In our view, the global justice movement is still in its early stages and has many ideological currents - which even writers in SWP publications acknowledge. Characterising it as anti-capitalist today confuses one current with the movement as a whole. It confuses the movement?s potential for its actual stage of development today. Nor does the ?anti-capitalist? label clarify the task of revolutionaries in the movement or provide a perspective to guide them.
It?s also worth noting that the term ?anti-capitalism? is practically nonexistent on the website for Globalise Resistance, an organisation initiated by the SWP. The Globalise Resistance newsletter describes itself as a publication for those ?opposed to corporate power? - not ?anti-capitalists?. Yet the SWP leadership has centred much of its attack on the ISO for our characterisation of the movement as ?anti-corporate?.
Of course, there should be room in the tendency to debate these different characterisations as our organisations intervene in the movement. Instead, we have been subjected a torrent of false accusations about our work from the SWP leadership in order to provide the pretext for a split.
International work, regroupment and the IST
The SWP leadership has proven that it is incapable of working with others in the tendency with which it has a shred of disagreement. It has fomented split after split throughout the tendency, so that in several countries there are competing, hostile organisations which share the same fundamental politics. With neither debate nor consultation, the SWP has unilaterally decided in each case which is the ?anointed? organisation. As a result, the tendency is smaller than it was at the beginning of the 1990s, not larger, as it should be.
The SWP CC made an immediate decision to consider the six members expelled from the ISO as part of the tendency, without bothering to discuss the question with us. Yet no one in the tendency has questioned the SWP?s right to make this unilateral judgement. On the other hand, our decision to consider the DEA in Greece as part of the tendency is the main grounds for our expulsion! In common language, this is called a double standard. It gives the lie to Callinicos?s claim that the tendency consists of ?autonomous? organisations that share a common set of politics. The truth is that there is no quid pro quo.
Why should the SWP have the right to unilaterally decide that the DEA is not part of the tendency? Leaving aside the fact that the ISO neither supported nor encouraged a split in the SEK. As we said - our position all along has been that these are not split questions. But why, when presented with the split, should any organisation simply take at face value Callinicos?s announcement that when an organisation splits in half one side should be shunned and the other embraced? This is a sectarian method which has led our tendency down a disastrous path.
A double standard has also been applied in relation to the SWP?s approach to regroupment. In one breath, the ISO is to be expelled for failing the test of war during the Kosovo war, failing the test of Seattle and Quebec. Simultaneously the IST is presented with a regroupment proposal with forces the SWP blithely describes as ?at best centrist?: the SSP, who ?failed the test of war? by being ?defensive and hesitant?; the FI during the Balkan War ?failed miserably to mobilise for Prague or (worse still) for Nice?!
If, as Callinicos has written, regroupment should be based on ?a shared appreciation of the significance of the movement against capitalist globalisation?, but that ?it would be sectarian to insist that we will only work in the same organisation with revolutionaries who also accept the theory of state capitalism?, then he is standing things on their head. Differences of perspective - over the precise character of the radicalisation, for example - are not grounds for organisational splits. On the other hand, principled differences - such as the class nature of Cuba or the two-stage theory of revolution - are much larger barriers, certainly not to joint work or collaboration, but to organisational unity.
The formula of unity above principle and splitting on perspective differences allows Callinicos to adopt a sectarian posture toward the ISO (and other groups no longer in the tendency but who share its fundamental politics), and a much more friendly posture toward ?centrists? who fail all manner of ?tests?. Yet, ironically, such an approach must give pause to organisations that may consider joining forces with the SWP - is it really capable of honest, open and democratic collaboration? The question is a valid one.
We believe that it is not only possible, but also necessary to both build the growing new movements and build a revolutionary organisation. We believe it is possible to have healthy collaboration with organisations with which we have principled disagreements, and organisational unity with those with whom we have ?90%? agreement (and, in circumstances of mass and rapid radicalisation, sometimes even less). This method is not sectarian, but Leninist.
Sectarianism and liquidation
The SWP has devoted enormous time and energy in its campaign against the ISO. Simultaneously, it has been carrying out the most significant turn in the tendency?s history with scarcely the same openness. Is half a century of the development of the IST independently of the mainstream Fourth International to be liquidated - with only a fraction of the ?debate? used to drive the ISO from the IST? There is, we believe a connection between the SWP?s turn to regroupment and its attempts to expel us. Our expulsion is regularly offered up as proof that the IST has abandoned its old methods, now dubbed ?sectarian?.
Far from the ISO being afraid of debate, it is clear that the SWP wants no challenge to its authority in the IST. We believe that the current perspective and its accompanying organisational prescriptions - dissolution of branches, to name the most obvious - are mistaken. We furthermore continue to hold to the view that the current radicalisation internationally poses enormous opportunities and real problems for revolutionaries, but these opportunities can only be seized by returning to practices and methods that used to be the stock and trade of the IS Tendency. This must begin with telling the truth to our members.
In 1976, a letter from the central committee of the IS-GB urged the then IS-US to re-examine its perspective. It read in part: ?The truth is that we are still very small and weak in relation to the British workers? movement. We know it and we tell the truth to our members. Because that is the only way a movement can be built on solid foundations. To build on the politics of bluff, of chest-beating and high-pressure salesmanship is to build on sand. We are, perhaps fortunate in having an example before our eyes - the Healey organisation, the SLL/WRP, which has tried for years to build on bluff, bluster and bullshit - with disastrous results.?
That kind of realism has been lost to the politics of bluff, chest-beating and high-pressure salesmanship.
The charge that the ISO has ?set out to split the tendency? is a complete fabrication. We challenge anyone to produce evidence of this. Moreover, we can say categorically that we have urged those sympathetic to our views in IST groups not to split or leave their respective organisations. The decision to split the IS Tendency - an utterly irresponsible and unnecessary split - is contained in the resolution put forth by the SEK and SWP. We propose the following resolutions be discussed and voted on by this international meeting of the IST: By contrast to the SWP/SEK proposal, we argue for a different course that we think will strengthen and expand the influence of the IST.
We propose the IST meeting of July 5 2001 vote to:
- Oppose the expulsion of the ISO and the splitting of the IST
- Reorganise the structure and work of the IST
- Pursue the reunification of groups who share the politics of international socialism
- Re-establish real collaboration and fraternal relations within the IST.
ISO steering committee
July 2 2001
International Socialist Tendency resolution of July 5 2001
Since Seattle the International Socialist Tendency has developed an analysis of the anti-capitalist movement and of the tasks of revolutionaries within it. This was affirmed in the resolution passed at the special international meeting of May 8 2000, against the sole opposition of the International Socialist Organization (US). It was also agreed at that meeting that the debate over international perspectives should be pursued through, for example, an exchange of articles in International Socialism and International Socialist Review.
Since that meeting the steering committee of the ISO (US) has systematically violated the spirit of that agreement. In particular,
- It has failed, despite repeated promises, to produce its contribution to the proposed international debate. The ISO?s continuing political divergence with the IS Tendency is shown by the steering committee?s failure to make a priority of mobilising for the biggest anti-capitalist demonstration in North America, at Quebec City on April 20-21.
- Instead of pursuing the debate with the rest of the tendency, the steering committee expelled on trumped up charges a minority within the ISO who came to agree with the resolution passed by the IST in May 2000.
- More seriously still, the steering committee privately encouraged and publicly supported a breakaway faction from the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK) who, rather than debate their differences within the party, resigned en masse half way through the pre-conference discussions.
By these actions the ISO steering committee has shown that it does not regard its disagreements with the IST as a matter for open debate among revolutionaries. Instead, it has set out to split the tendency. This amounts to a break with the tendency, and accordingly we no longer regard the ISO as our sister organisation and as a member of the IS Tendency.
Moved: Sosialistiko Ergatiko Komma (Greece)
Seconded: Socialist Workers Party (Britain)