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ISO NOTES - MAY 18 2000

Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:29:19 -0500
From: Sharon Smith (
To: ISO Notes List (
Subject: Sverdlov

ISO Notes

As many comrades already know, someone who goes by the name of "Sverdlov" has created a new list to discuss the factional situation betweenthe ISO and the SWP, as well as other issues about the IS tendency ingeneral.

He has now posted our internal documents (which are also posted on several websites) and subscribed our members on the ISO notes list to his list without their consent.

We don't know who "Sverdlov" is, but in all likelihood he is a sectarian(or a group of sectarians) on a fishing expedition. He is aiming to bait our members into giving him information (he has solicited documents,information about branch meetings and activity) and engaging in a pointless internet exchange.

Comrades should keep in mind that these lists involve small numbers of sectarians and random lefties who like to talk about the left without actually getting involved in anything on the ground. We also know thatpeople hostile to us like Solidarity and the Spartacist League are all over these lists. that means that some of the things posted on the lists arecomplete fiction designed to draw us into a fight.

No one on these lists in any way represents the periphery that we try to relate to or the broad activist left.

That is why every member should unsubscribe from this list as soon as possible. In fact, continuing to participate in the list only inflates the total number of subscribers and makes it seem as if "Sverdlov" has a bigger audience. If you would like to complain about being subscribed without your consent, you can write to "". Finally and most importantly, getting wrapped up in sectarian debate and gossip is a huge waste of our time, especially considering that Summer School--our biggest event of the year--is only a few weeks away.

No one should worry about monitoring "Sverdlov's" list (or any other left list) either. We have assigned one person in Chicago to watch all relevant lists for us, so we find out about anything that seems important on a daily basis. The comrade has been reading the lists for several weeks and will continue to do so, so there is no need to send us updates unless you hear something from outside of the internet gossip circles.

Having said this, comrades should be aware that Sverdlov has sent information out on all kinds of lists--including local USAS and Campaign To End the Death Penalty lists, not to mention every sectarian or left forum he could find. So don't be surprised if word has gotten out and people on the left in your local cities start to ask you about it.

Comrades should use their own discretion when talking to people outside the ISO about the situation. Anyone who is genuinely interested in the work of the ISO will understand if you simply tell them that relations between IS tendency groups are an internal issue.

The most important thing for us at this point is to avoid needlessly sharing information about matters which are internal to the ISO. Keep in mind that the police are undoubtedly monitoring this discussion as well. Please let us know if sectarians or others who want to talk about the internet debate show up at your meetings.

Also keep in mind that the internet debate was started outside of our group and has nothing to do with the actual debate between the ISO and the SWP--which at this point is still an internal matter. As comrades know, several steering committee members attended special meetings in London to discuss the issues involved. They have just returned and will send out a formal report to the ISO as soon as possible.

In order to avoid further unwanted communications from Internet sectarians, you should, if at all possible, change your branch's e- mail list for ISO Notes.

Please feel free to email or call the office if you have any questions or concerns, and good luck building for Summer School.

Katherine D., for the steering committee