ISO: INTRANSIGENT SOPHISTRY ORGANIZATION

The Japanese have an old saying that “the dog farthest away will bark the loudest.” In these first few weeks, I have heard too much barking in the entrance to the Bailey-Howe Library. This distant, but persistent barking comes from the ISO. For those who happen to be unfamiliar with this outstanding organization, the ISO is the popular acronym for the International Socialist Organization. This group claims to stand for the ideals of “revolutionary tradition of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky” to “mobilize opposition to all forms of oppression and exploitation.” The ISO believes that capitalism produces poverty, racism, famine, environmental catastrophe and war. Yet, of late I have been confused. I have been told that I can sign up for any number of bus trips to protest the War in Iraq, where students spend time on protests that for over 10 years have proven to be an outdated means to an end (most notably regarding the lack of effect is the 1999 WTO protest, even with the media coverage and graphic photos). However, all these students could get on a bus to New Orleans, where the proclaimed manufacturing of poverty, racism, famine and environmental catastrophe all seem to be in full bloom, and even just swing hammers to help some of the most impoverished in the whole nation. Why don’t students help those that they proclaim to be working in the interest of? Frankly, this is only the latest of many examples. Where are students volunteering at COTS and food shelves here in our own community? Where are students helping the various refugees and immigrants in Burlington? But I suppose that the building of trust between the oppressed and the ISO should take second place to slandering those in positions of power which you would rather have members of the ISO occupying. I personally don’t care for President Bush, but it seems that energy is only wasted trying to propagate the now-defunct concept of mass revolt instead of making a difference in your own community. I’m sure this sounds cruel and reactions to this article will label me both an apologist and a fascist, but honestly, I have seen your organization’s flaws. I have seen the na??ve freshmen brought into the organization, only to abdicate after graduation to live within “the system” on the East and West coasts. I have heard a million wasted words that could have been applied to helping the homeless within the city of Burlington. All the paper waving that I have seen over the last four years could have been used to help in a soup kitchen. Why do I proclaim such holiness? I do not proclaim it for myself, for I only claim to be the gadfly, being a cynic and critic. However, I see papers, websites and posters proclaiming the ISO to be the patron saint of charity and mercy; though there is little thought of helping those around you, spending the money used on “recreational” habits for food for the poor and using all the pride for anything useful. I only pose the question: What provides more opposition to oppression than helping the oppressed? But please, continue your barking.