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Notes for a Platform for the Opposition

Notes for a Platform of the Opposition By Peter, Sean, Lucy, Lenny, Thomas, Jenny, Sarah, David, Rashad

Note: This statement will be followed by statements about the nature of ultraleftist characterizations; sectarianism and opportunism on the electoral front; the fight to recover the method of the Transitional Program; the question of “High Level of Consciousness” developed in a vacuum – without acute class struggle - and other issues now under discussion. We will deal in each statement with concrete proposals.

1. For a democratic Discussion / For a democratic International

Both the SWP and the ISO are engaged in a bitter factional struggle. For almost a year now, they tried to outmaneuver each other through meetings, mutual demands and failed negotiations. The SWP leadership has insisted that the IST is NOT an international and therefore, the ISO leadership has no business asking for information about “dissappeared” sections, money collected by the tens of thousands to help causes and groups that suddenly evaporated and to maintain an “international” apparatus that serves only the “London Bureau.”

We demand to know what happened to those sections and the money.

While we support the ISO leadership’s demand that the discussion be made public and that an international gathering will take upon itself to participate in the discussion, we need to point out the following facts:

a. The ISO leadership did not demand an international discussion until the SWP leadership started to actively organize a faction inside the ISO through “Socialist Worker” correspondents, periodic trips to the US and individual – and massive – contact of ISO cadre and members.

b. Furthermore, the ISO leadership covered up the Gallinicos-Cliff activities in Canada, South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Australia, France and other countries in which acute factional fights provoked splits and, in many cases the dissappearance of entire sections of the movement.

Never before, when those struggles raged on, demanded international awareness and participation. The ISO leadership is now reacting to the attacks from the SWP leadership. Their demand for an international discussion is a defensive maneuver, not a princippled stand.

c. Moreover, the ISO leadership started, more than three months ago, to hold meetings with dissident members of the SWP both in Britain and the US in order to counter the factional activities of the SWP leadership.

Now, both the SWP and ISO leaderships claim that they want the rest of the Tendency to participate in the debate. But neither the SWP nor the ISO are proposing concrete and democratic steps to resolve the crisis. As a matter of fact organizational measures are being taken to prevent such discussion. The ISO leadership kicked out of the organization a number of leading members in January, 2000 allegedly for supporting the SWP leadership. In February, a number of dissident members of the SWP were warned and threatened with expulsion for raising doubts about the discussion with the ISO.

Why the ISO/SWP leaderships do not call for a delegate meeting of all sections of the IST to discuss and resolve the differences? Why such a conference is not organized by allowing both the ISO and SWP leaderships – and the dissident factions in each organization – to make their cases in meetings with the leadership and members of the different sections?

While we agree that the Tendency is not an international, democratic centralism (both sides of it) is a principple that should be observed. The ISO leadership stated that the “differences do not justify a factional struggle.” We disagree. At stake are the most fundamental issues of building an international current, the methodology of building our sections, the fight against bureaucratic leaderships and the struggle to develop a program to intervene in the class struggle.

While the struggle between the SWP and ISO leaderships may appear to be a fight of personalities and a power grab operation by the SWP, the truth is that perception is the result of the low political level of the cadre and members of both organizations.

Go to Part II