Stateside,  The Left

The International Socialist Organization (USA) Comes To an End

I missed this news a few months back, but seemed relevant when considering how British remnants of the socialist movement have stumbled from scandal to scandal.

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) had been a mainstay of left wing activism on college campuses since the 1970s. It was impossible to attend an anti-war march in the 90s and early 2000s without encountering its members carrying their well-produced signs and pamphlets. I worked for the Nader campaign in 2000 and there was some crossover between activists in his campaign and the ISO.

While the ISO never had any real power (and were far less influential than the SWP), it was surprising to see the whole organization fold in April. Part of this has to do with the return of the Democratic Socialists of America as a major force in left-wing activism here in the US, but internal structural problems were also to blame.

“The [Steering Committee] (as well as several members of the National Committee (NC) and several socialist feminist allies) received a document from a former member (FM from here forward) on March 11, detailing the ways in which the 2013 SC had badly mishandled an allegation of rape in 2013. Moreover, the document explained that the respondent in the allegation had recently been elected to our SC at this year’s convention. FM was on the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) that originally heard the case. FM’s account has been corroborated by other members of the NDC at that time who remain active members of the organization. We are grateful to FM for having taken the time to write this and reach out to us.

To comrades who are questioning whether the ISO can correct course and emerge as a more effective, diverse, and collaborative revolutionary force, we pledge honesty and hope our collective trust can be built.”

Clearly, that trust was not reestablished, and just goes to show that even a political mainstay can end swiftly and inaudibly.