Tag Archives: criticism

Reflections on ISO Critique: Response to Readers

We received a critical message regarding our piece on the SFSU occupation from a commentator named “Alejandra.”

"Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it." - Paulo Freire

"Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it." - Paulo Freire

As self-reflection and self criticism is just as important as criticism of others, we take these types of comments seriously and hope to continue receiving them from leftists in response to what we post on here.

Just to be clear, folks who participate and post on this blog work in coalition with ISO members (and various other tendencies we have written about) in movements against budget cuts and justice for Oscar Grant.  Our criticisms and reflections never preclude working together with these groups in the real world.

Here is the message we received from “Alejandra” (our response follows it)

Alejandra:

i´m not a member of the ISO, but i think it should be noted that this AS response fails on many accounts.

if you argued that what made Nov. 20th at Berkeley a success was a synthesis of the General Assembly with direct action, then why wasn´t the SFSU occupation proposed to a general assembly? do you acknowledge the turnout at SFSU in support of the occupation was pretty damn small? why can´t direct actions be done via the process of mass democracy (one person, one vote)?

The occupiers undercut the actual general assembly process at SFSU by making a unilateral decision. but rather than acknowledge this, you simply evade the question.

moreover, you pose a total strawman concerning democracy. nobody has every claimed that democracy means “every person has to approve something before it happens.” ridiculous! in the real world, a democratic process means a majority rules vote. couldn´t there and shouldn´t there have been a discussion and debate and vote on the occupation? if you don´t agree there should have been, you have the obligation to explain why.

lastly, it is a terrible means of debate to respond to a mild criticism with the inflamattory comparison of Corrigan´s critique and the ISO´s. what a great way to cut off discussion! if it´s true you are trying to learn from experience and not be sectarian, why have such a derisory tone and approach to other groups that,whatever your differences may be, are working in the struggle against the budget cuts?

despite all the talk about moving beyond the problems of the left, it seems to me that AS is mired in some of the worst old traditions: sectarianism and ultraleftism.

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Reflections on ISO Critique:  Response to Readers

I.  Possibility of Repression

II.  Democracy:  Theoretical Confusion

III.  Politicization

IV.  “Sectarianism” vs. Criticism

V.  Conclusion

Comrade Alejandra, first of all your response is very much appreciated!  In the spirit of comradely criticism, I’d like to point out where it’s problematic.  Primarily this emerges in two ways: a total lack of consideration for the possibility of repression and underlying theoretical confusion over the nature of democracy.  These problems, and the conflict between our two approaches in general, are important questions for this struggle; it would be much appreciated if you would continue to engage. Continue reading

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