An interesting read:
A reply to the ISO’s Sherry Wolf on racial politics and the killing of Trayvon Martin
By Joseph Kishore
19 April 2012
The recent World Socialist Web Site article, “The killing of Trayvon Martin and racial politics in America,” by Joseph Kishore, elicited the following response from Sherry Wolf, a member of the International Socialist Organization and associate editor of International Socialist Review. Below we publish a reply by Kishore.
“Thank you for providing socialists with an especially crude example of vulgar Marxism in the hands of rank sectarians. I’ve circulated it to members as a useful example of lunk-headed indifference to racism in the name of socialism — a gem of pseudo-Marxist inanity!
“P.S. Please help resolve a debate. Is your inability to grasp the ISO’s 35 years of unbending opposition to the Dems a result of colossal idiocy or just garden variety mendacity?”
Dear Ms. Wolf,
Thank you for sharing with us your opinion of my recent commentary on the racial politics practiced by the ISO and other pseudo-left organizations. We are pleased to learn that you are carefully reading the World Socialist Web Site, which places you among the approximately 40,000 readers who access our publication each day.
You denounce us as “rank sectarians” who practice “vulgar Marxism.” Coming from you, this double-barreled denunciation is a compliment. In the political world that you inhabit, “sectarianism” denotes the fight for the political independence of the working class from big business parties on the basis of a socialist program. And what makes our Marxism “vulgar” in your eyes is the Socialist Equality Party’s insistence that class, not race, gender or sexuality, is the essential analytical category and decisive social basis of revolutionary politics.
You go on to decry our “lunk-headed indifference to racism in the name of socialism.” This is simply a slander. Socialists have never denied or ignored the existence of racism. However, the historic position of the socialist movement has been that the struggle against racism and all forms of oppression must be based on the fight to unite all workers, on the basis of their common class interests, against the capitalist system. The identity politics of the ISO—which bases itself on varied disaffected but, nonetheless, relatively privileged sections of the middle class—serves to divide workers. It is a form of politics that facilitates an orientation to and outright collaboration with the Democratic Party.
This brings me to your letter’s postscript. You ask whether our “inability to grasp the ISO’s 35 years of unbending opposition to the Dems” is “a result of colossal idiocy or just garden variety mendacity?” The answer, Ms. Wolf, is neither. In describing your organization as a left appendage of the Democratic Party, we’re basing ourselves on well documented political facts.
You can rant and rave as much as you like, but there are hundreds of articles on the ISO’s web site that document its role as an apologist for the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. The ISO mediates its relations with the Democratic Party through its connections with the trade union bureaucracy, the reactionary and well-heeled civil rights establishment, the innumerable “left” think tanks and NGOs, and countless left-liberal journals such as the Nation, for which you yourself write.
In the case of Trayvon Martin, the ISO is attempting to present his murder as a racial issue—an approach opposed by Trayvon’s parents—for the most crassly opportunist reasons. As the 2012 presidential election approaches, the ISO sees an opportunity to connect opposition to racism with support for Obama’s reelection.
This operation is already well underway. At an April 11 meeting sponsored jointly by the ISO and Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH coalition—under the banner “Trayvon Martin & The Fight Against The New Jim Crow”—Rainbow-PUSH representative Jeanette Wilson called on everyone “to go vote in the polls in November” for “progressive”—i.e., Democratic Party—politicians. Your own speaker, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, adapted herself to Jackson’s reactionary politics. Her presentation did not contain a single reference to “class,” the “Democratic Party” or “Obama,” and concluded by denouncing the “rich white men” who run the country.
The ISO is merely continuing the pro-Obama line that it pursued in the last presidential election. In 2008, the ISO campaigned for Obama and cheered his election, as documented in detail by David Walsh in an essay published on the WSWS. The ISO hailed Obama’s election as a “transformative event” that would mark an end to “the right-wing agenda that dominated US politics for the last three decades.” Of course, the exact opposite has occurred, as the WSWS predicted at the time. Obama is overseeing a historic attack on the democratic rights and social conditions of the working class—black and white, immigrant and native-born.
As with all middle-class opportunist organizations, the politics of the ISO is mendacious. Socialist rhetoric serves only to mask a politics that is entirely in the orbit of the Democratic Party. Ill-tempered denunciations of the World Socialist Web Site cannot hide this basic fact.
Socialist Equality Party National Secretary
Progressive “Story Telling”. Use Empathy to Draw In and Sell A Story to Garner Progressive Ideology.
Time to Dust Off the “Old” and Bring it Anew: Protesting the Protestors. Leftist Bias and Ideology exposed AGAIN.
Since WHEN does an International Group have the RIGHT to Interfere With Legislation in the United States Sovereignty?
Congressional Progressive Caucus:
The Congressional Progressive Caucus was founded in 1991 by Socialist Bernie Sanders, the mayor of Burlington, Vt., who, in 1990, was elected to the House of Representatives as an Independent. Sanders served eight terms in the House. In 2004 he won 69% of the vote against Democratic and Republican challengers. Last November, just before his election to the U.S. Senate, again as an Independent, the 65-year-old New York transplant was asked by a Washington Post reporter: “Are you now or have you ever been a Socialist?”
Sanders replied, “Yeah. I wouldn’t deny it. Not for one second. I’m a democratic Socialist.”
Some other CPC members also aren’t afraid to tout their connections to democratic socialism. “I’m a member of DSA [Democratic Socialists of America],” Rep. Danny Davis (D.-Ill.) said in 2000. “There’s an active chapter where I live. They’re basically no different than a lot of the people I know.” Former Rep. Major Owens (D.-N.Y.) is also a DSA member.
Leftist organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America, an affiliate of the worldwide Socialist International, must be thrilled at how far they’ve come. In the late 1990s, the House CPC was a 50-member minority faction in a minority party facing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution. Today the Congressional Progressive Caucus will push Socialist policies in the House—and the Senate. “A Socialist in the Senate?” headlined a 2005 CommonDreams.org profile of Sanders’ political aspirations. “If Sanders moves over to the Senate, he’ll have even more power to grill [Alan] Greenspan and the rest of the plutocrats in power.”
Despite his Independent affiliation, Sanders was endorsed in 2006 by senior figures in the Democratic Party, including Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), and Reid. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) campaigned in Vermont for Sanders.
As long as the Democratic Party was out of power, CPC initiatives were largely ignored. But caucus proposals are sure to be trumpeted as common-sense solutions in the new Congress, and Sanders’ new position in the 100-member Senate gives the CPC added clout.
Reid has given Sanders five committee assignments: Environment and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Veterans Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; and Budget.
Obama Stumps For Socialist Bernie Sanders
DSA seeks to increase its political influence not by establishing its own party, but rather by working closely with the Democratic Party to promote leftist agendas. ”Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party,” says DSA. ”We work with those movements to strengthen the party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. … Maybe sometime in the future … an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.”
Until 1999, DSA hosted the website of the Progressive Caucus. Following a subsequent expose of the link between the two entities, the Progressive Caucus established its own website under the auspices of Congress. But DSA and the Progressive Caucus remain intimately linked. All 58 Progressive Caucus members also belong to DSA. In addition to these members of Congress, other prominent DSA members include Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner, Gloria Steinem, and Cornel West,who serves as the organization’s honorary Chair.
As of March 2010, some of DSA’s most notable honorary chairs included Barbara Ehrenreich, Dolores Huerta, Frances Fox Piven (co-creator of the Cloward-Piven Strategy), Eliseo Medina (executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union),Gloria Steinem, and Cornel West.
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”
Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1940, 1944 and 1948.
The goal of socialism is communism.
Dean’s comments came in a video address in which he joked that his failure to personally attend the Party of European Socialists (PES) convention, which was advertised as a “carbon neutral congress,” was actually a smart move because he avoided flying and contributing to global warming. “We’ve saved a lot of carbon,” Dean said.
In his comments, Dean called for a “long-term global vision” for the transformation of the global economy and mentioned that disgraced Democratic President Bill Clinton had previously spoken at a meeting of the PES-sponsored Global Progressive Forum. The April 2-3 Global Progressive Forum also featured Robert Borosage of the left-wing group that calls itself the Campaign for America’s Future.
The Global Progressive Forum is also sponsored by the Socialist International, whose U.S. affiliate, the Democratic Socialists of America, includes long-time backers of Barack Obama.
“Free-market globalization alone cannot achieve social justice,” Dean told the PES convention. “What the world needs is a global New Deal.”