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REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST TENDENCY MEETING 5 JULY 2001

 

 

Over the past twenty years the International Socialist Tendency has developed into revolutionary socialist current with affiliated organizations spread right across the world. The most recent group to join the Tendency comes from Papua New Guinea.

 

The emergence of an international movement against global capitalism announced by the Battle of Seattle in November 1999 represents the ISTís greatest challenge to date.

Out of the anti-capitalist protests a new left is being born. Established revolutionary socialist organizations have to prove the relevance of their politics to this new left by building the anti-capitalist movement but also by developing a stronger Marxist current within it. Just in the past few weeks IST organizations have been prominently involved in the protests at Gothenburg, Barcelona, Port Moresby, and Salzburg, as well as in an anti-capitalist conference in Indonesia whose dissolution by the police provoked international protest.

 

After the Seattle demonstrations a serious disagreement developed between the International Socialist Organization in the United States and the rest of the IST. The ISO (US) has tended to deny the significance of the anti-capitalist movement and has only involved itself erratically in the various protests. Most recently, in April 2001, the ISO (US) gave greater priority to a 15,000-strong pro-abortion demonstration organized in Washington DC by the liberal Democratic National Organization of Women than it did to the 80,000 trade unionists and anti-capitalists who protested against the Free Trade of the Americas summit in Quebec City.

 

Differences of analysis and perspective are inevitable within a healthy revolutionary movement. Unfortunately, the leadership of the ISO (US) took their disagreement with the rest of the IST much further. First they expelled a minority whose sole crime was to agree with the analysis of the anti-capitalist movement developed by the rest of the Tendency. Then they colluded in and publicly supported a breakaway faction in the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK) that, rather than democratically debate their differences within the organization, resigned from the organization before the party conference had had an opportunity to resolve the disputed issues.

 

This behaviour, reflecting the profound sectarian degeneration of the ISO (US), amounted to a break with the IST. Accordingly a meeting of the Tendency on Thursday 5 July 2001 discussed a resolution moved by SEK and the British Socialist Workers Party proposing the expulsion of the ISO (US) from the IST. This motion was extensively debated: the three representatives of the ISO (US) were given the fullest possible opportunity to express their views (one spoke three times, the other two spoke twice). Of the 19 organizations represented at the meeting, 18 supported the resolution. Only the ISO (US) voted against.

 

The IST meeting went on to discuss the revival of the left internationally and the mobilization for the protests at the G-8 summit in Genoa on 20-22 July. It is our involvement in the new movement that will help to determine the actuality of the revolutionary Marxist tradition in the 21st century.