Chicago Indymedia :
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Who are the Real Authoritarians?

Rejoinder to "anti-authoritarians who booted socialists from book fair and call for boycott of conference.

Who are the real authoritarians?

The Midwest Matches and Mayhem anarchist gathering in Chicago billed itself as a forum where radical ideas and strategies would be discussed and debated. But at Saturday afternoon’s book fair, members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) who had paid and registered for a table were booted from the book fair in the name of anti-authoritarian anarchism. Organizers of the event, unlike the overwhelming majority of participants, demanded that organized socialists not be allowed to sell literature and discuss ideas at their anti-authoritarian event. Today, there is an email message from an anti-authoritarian anarchist on the Indymedia site calling for a boycott of the ISO’s Socialist Summer School where hundreds of militants from the U.S., Latin America, Africa, and Europe will debate politics and strategies for the current struggles.

Why the attempt to silence organized socialists and prevent political activists from hearing for themselves what socialists have to say? These anarchists are exposing the contradictions of their own ideas.

In the name of anti-authoritarianism, these anarchists defend the right of a tiny, unelected leadership to impose its authority on other revolutionaries. Many of the literature tables at the event were filled with writings by socialists, but it seems that only those who act on the arguments in those books were targeted for removal. Howard Zinn’s writings were available on many tables, yet only the ISO’s "Why You Should be a Socialist" with a foreword by Zinn and his play "Marx in Soho" touring the U.S. with all proceeds going to the ISO’s magazine were banned.

There is a new left developing out of the anti-globalization, Palestinian solidarity, civil rights and other struggles erupting in cities across the country. All of us on the left have to learn how to work together in these movements and how to debate our disagreements, not shut them down. We all have a common enemy in the capitalist system that destroys lives, the environment and our future—and if we’re serious about fighting for an alternative society, open debate is crucial. All those who want hear from activists in the Maquiladoras and Black union militants in South Carolina and who want to hear for themselves a socialist analysis of history, theory and current perspectives—including those who disagree—are welcome at the ISO’s summer school June 14-17 in Chicago. Check it out at



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