Talk:International Socialist Organization

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/Archive 1

Financial Information[edit]

I'm editing this entry to include information on the organization's finances. All of the information was PUBLICLY available prior to being posted, and as the Center for Economic Research and Social Change is registered with the IRS as a non-profit organization this is relevant and useful information. All of the information in this section will be factual and untainted by criticism or support for the organization. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sysoctopus (talkcontribs) 18:10, 16 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I've tagged the section as lacking in references and as original research. My reasons:
  • A full citation is needed for the claims about the IRS forms. Where can they, or reference to them by a reliable source, be found?
  • WP:OR allows the use of primary sources, but only with context established by reliable secondary sources. Of course, at the moment, there is no source for the info, but I strongly doubt that a reliable secondary source will be found. Tax return information does not generally show up in Wikipedia articles unless there is reason to believe it is notable - as a random selection compare the Amnesty International, CAMERA, and Center for American Progress articles - and no reason is given why the info in this section is notable.
Kalkin (talk) 15:00, 17 February 2008 (UTC)[]


Thank you for your patience with the recent edits I made to the International Socialist Organization entry. I have now provided links to the CERSC website as well as the 2006 IRS 990 tax form for the organization.

I believe this information to be highly relevant as the ISO tries to obscure this publicly available information from its critics (opponents on both the left and the right of the political spectrum) as well as its own members. As a former member for over two years I can attest to this. The Center repeatedly denied my requests for financial information as a dues paying member of the ISO and it only recently came to my attention that this is publicly available information.

People have a right to know where an organization that claims to represent the working class attains its funding. Mercifully, I have not highlighted the hypocrisy inherent in its source of funding, but the organization has published articles in the past that have been critical of Philip Morris among other corporations, yet they continue to invest in this firm.

This is also information that should be made available to party members who are continually called upon to sell literature on behalf of the organization, which generates a great deal of revenue for the Center, but are not paid for their efforts. Instead, a select few party organizers profit, as I have outlined in my proposed edits. Members of the ISO are also pressured (on pain of ostracism or even expulsion from branch meetings) into paying 10% of their total income to the Center in the form of membership dues.

I feel that we would be doing both opponents and members of the ISO a tremendous service by allowing a section on financial information to exist in the Wikipedia entry. I have put forth no criticism or propaganda in my edits, only a few basic facts. The way to a clear view of any political organization's true nature is often found by following the money trail. Imagine, for instance, an entry on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign that made no mention of campaign finance matters or funding. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sysoctopus (talkcontribs) 01:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I appreciate your careful attention to objectivity in your edits and your willingness to research sources, but I still think the financial information section is a pretty clearly original research. You provided three links, of which:
  • The first,, appears to be broken - I get a 404 Not Found error;
  • The second, the CERSC website, does not appear to have, at least on the front page to which you linked, any information about finances;
  • The third,, is a link to a PDF which is apparently a scan of the 990 form but which is hosted on a free file sharing site, the latter being a far from reliable source.
As I suspected, there does not appear to exist any reliable secondary source to establish context or notability. You provide various arguments for the relevance of the information; if some credible source outside Wikipedia was to publish those arguments, the information would certainly belong in the article, but absent that, it does not. Wikipedia does not, because it cannot, attempt to include every true fact; it is an encyclopedia based on the compilation of information from external sources, and must rely on them to determine which information is notable as well as what is true.
For the record, I am an ISO member. (I will make a few more comments addressing off-line issues in response to your cross-post on my talk page.) Given that you also have personal history at stake here, and we do not seem to be on the verge of coming to an agreement, it might be best if we could get comments from one or more uninvolved third parties. As a temporary compromise, I suggest leaving the section in the article, but leaving a WP:OR template at the top of it. Feel free of course to respond here. Let's wait a day or two and see if anyone else is watching this, and if not, we can make efforts to search out third parties.
Kalkin (talk) 04:37, 18 February 2008 (UTC)[]


I appreciate your attempts at objectivity as well as your willingness to admit a vested interest due to the fact that you are actually a party member. It sounds as if your experiences with party leadership have either been nonexistent or directly opposite to my own.

While your apparent honesty strikes me as noble, and I feel certain you are a decent enough fellow, I must express skepticism over the prospect of any ISO member, regardless of her/his amount of ethical fiber, being allowed to supervise this entry. That's like hiring Winona Rider as head of store security, giving Dracula keys to the blood bank, or appointing Henry Kissinger chair of the 9/11 Commission. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sysoctopus (talkcontribs) 05:24, 18 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Criticism Forbidden?[edit]

It is the right of the ISO to forbid criticism within their organization if that's the kind of organization they want to form, but the ISO does not own wiki. If their henchmen delete the criticism again, they should be banned from editing the entry, as they have already reverted edits more than 3 times.

Also, compare the ISO entry, to for instance, the ICFI. In that article, every decision throughout the entire organization's history is subject to criticism or discussion and opposing views. Yet in this article, all criticism is deleted by busy-bodies who have nothing to do but erase all trace of discussion.

Just because they have more free time to delete edits, does not mean that readers of wikipedia should receive incomplete information. Please address the problem of ISO henchmen on wikipedia! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, 27 December 2006 (UTC)[]

I removed the note about criticism from the current revision of the page. For full disclosure, I'm an ex-member of the ISO with no particular axe to grind. I think that a healthy criticism section is well deserved, but the WP entry on the ISO shouldn't become a gripe-fest. There are sites with information critical about the ISO that you could use as sources for a better developed critique. As long as it's presented with NPOV and sourced well, I think it's worth going over what should be in a criticism section. Cadriel 11:24, 18 October 2007 (UTC)[]
I'm not sure why it's assumed that the removal of rants, rumors and general distaste is considered the work of ISO henchmen. Try to assume good faith here. I have removed several items that are unsourced accusations or simple ideological rants. They are a socialist organization, and it can be safely assumed that those who are anti-socialist have the predictable feelings on the matter. If there are particular, sourced and factual notes about activities of the ISO – say their work in USAS, the Green Party and Nader campaigns – then by all means include this and link it. But these entries are not bulletin boards for debates. The internet has plenty of room for that. I don't believe criticism is forbidden, just that a distinction should be made between such criticism and rants, rumors and other endemic problems. Consider it a challenge to do well.In the Stacks 14:30, 18 October 2007 (UTC)[]
The recent attempt at "criticism" of the front groups & the ISO's conduct in the Green Party is a model of how not to do this. I'd have nothing against a substantiated note that CEDP or CAN are considered front groups by many on the left - these aren't uncommon opinions. But please source them! This is an encyclopedia, not a rumor chat. Cadriel 12:37, 20 October 2007 (UTC)[]
I added a note about CAN being considered a front group with a reference to one of the articles that I see referenced relatively frequently about the question. If anyone has any other sources, it'd be a good addition to the article. We should be as fair as possible here: there ARE people who consider the groups the ISO works with, particularly CAN and CEDP, to be front groups, but Wikipedia isn't about validating either pro- or anti-ISO points of view. Cadriel 17:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Relative size of the ISO[edit]

Someone's been putting up claims about the ISO being the "largest revolutionary socialist organization" in the United States. I don't think this is inaccurate, but people who want it in the article should provide a source. It's not as if there is no writing about the ISO that could be referenced, and this has to be a two-way street for good and bad things that people want to include. Cadriel 10:56, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Without a criticism page, this entry is unbalanced[edit]

Without a criticism section this entry is basically one big ISO plug.

ISO people -- and, heck, non-ISO people -- should not be allowed to simply remove the criticism section if they disagree with it.

There should also be links to critics of the group. I have added several, though the bulk of the links are still to official ISO sites.

I also question the "events" section -- seems rather like an advertisement for the group.

Rarrr 09:51, 5 June 2007 (UTC)[]

EDIT: Lovely. Busy reverters keep removing links to critical material on the organization, sometimes anonymously and without comment. Why is a link to a critical site not appropriate for an article on a controversial organization? The wikipedia article on scientology, for example includes a good deal of discussion of critics as well as a number of links to critics. Why should this entry link only to official ISO/ISO-related sites and one newspaper article (the link seems to be dead but somehow I suspect it wasn't critical of the ISO)?

Rarrr 20:56, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[]


If a criticism section were added to the descrpition of ANY leftist group (not just the ISO) wiki's servers would crash under the sheer voume of sectarian B.S. that got posted. There are plenty of places to vent spleen at (insert most hated group)--let's not make wiki one of them.

--ADF —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2008 (UTC)[]

This page seems no more than a rather fluffy piece of PR for the ISO. The criticisms that have been removed (latching on to other causes, entrism, lack of internal democracy, cultishness, etc.) are quite justified and legitimate although the aggressive tone of some entries may have been a bit inappropriate. As a former member I found some of the criticisms to be spot on...

But it really is in keeping with the ISO's anti-democratic nature and inability to accept criticism (usually just vehemently dismissed as "red baiting") that this page reads like an advert.

Velocipete 09:03, 26 July 2007 (UTC)[]

Is this really a debating board about the ISO, or an entry on what they are? Virtually any group or individual can be tarred with accusations. To claim the ISO is "anti-democratic", for example, would be difficult since I've never heard even the reference to them actively attempting to stop anyone from doing anything ever. To be one thing instead of another (say a Trotskyite student group) isn't "anti-democratic" – it means they have defining principles. So the logic of including pejoratives as "critcism" seems as if it would turn this into little more than a debating board about the organization. This entry is fairly informative and to the point. If there are legitimate, published criticisms of the ISO, then I would have no objection to their inclusion. Note: that doesn't mean disinformation and internet slag.In the Stacks 15:11, 26 July 2007 (UTC)[]

This is a joke. The ISO figured prominently in many instances of stopping people from doing many things they simply don't agree with. The group has fascist/totalitarian tendencies. I've added some of the controversies and will continue to do so. Matt Sanchez 12:45, 31 July 2007 (UTC)[]

Unbalanced Page[edit]

I've added a couple of the prominent and national controversies surrounding the ISO. This page was too heavy-handed pro-ISO, as if the group had no controversy. Matt Sanchez 12:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)[]

While I don't think its neccessarily bad to put those controversies on this page, they are relatively minor given the national scope of the ISO (and the fact that it has existed for 30 years) and do not justify taking up half the article (give or take). It is also questionable that someone involved in the other side of the controversy would be the one posting about it...hardly seems neutral to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 4 August 2007 (UTC)[]

Fair use rationale for Image:Fp banner.gif[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Fp banner.gif is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to ensure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 21:23, 13 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Added fair use rationale for this article to image page. Kalkin (talk) 03:23, 14 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Revert warring over "funding" section[edit]

I'm glad that more editors have taken an interest in the funding section, but could editors please refer to the talk page debate above that I have already had with Sysoctopus on this issue when making changes? Kalkin (talk) 23:36, 20 February 2008 (UTC)[]

This issue over the funding is ridiculous. "Sysoctupus" uses the lazy rhetoric of McCarthyite propaganda (ie. "The party operates from behind...") to try to make some sort of issue out of the ISO receiving a financial donation. Who cares? The point is that this info. is not listed on the wikipedia page of any other poitical group, it's simply pointless vandalism. If Sysoctupus continues to vandalize the entry, I would like to get this arbitrated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Andrewsplane (talkcontribs) 20:36, 21 February 2008 (UTC)[]

It isn't vandalism, in my opinion. It's criminal that our common enemy Uncle Sam knows more about the organization's finances than your own members do. Ridiculous. If this is worthless information and everyone knows about the organization's hierarchies and payments to certain key organizers, and this is really an "open and democratic" party, then why the urgency to bury this verifiable information? Sysoctopus (talk) 01:18, 22 February 2008 (UTC)[]

That language about the "party operating behind" is inappropriate. This could be worded better if this subsection on funding stays in this entry. If its decided to keep the funding information off of Wikipedia, it will still be available at the ISO entry on the Infoshop OpenWiki. Chuck0 (talk) 20:23, 22 February 2008 (UTC)[]
"certain key organizers" is a phrase you keep using, and a good example of the kind of rhetoric Andrewsplane is talking about. The group pays its full-time organizers - because they're full-time. This is hardly unique... Kalkin (talk) 16:19, 22 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I think the funding section is faulty for a few of reasons. First of all, it's original research, specifically synthesizing the tax records. Second, there's the lack of neutrality in how it's written. Finally, there's an issue of whether or not this information is notable. So I tend to agree, that it should be removed. As an aside, let's avoid accusations of bad faith. My politics happen to be the polar opposite of socialism, but my interest is in balanced articles :). On that note, I'm starting an RFC so we can get more feed back. Justin chat 04:58, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Okay, Justin – here's an accusation of good faith! lol. This is not a debate board, and I'm neither a member nor supporter of this organization. Anyone who makes an unverifiable leap from one institution's tax records to another group's alleged "operating" is intrinsically unverifiable – and really a form of harassment. Also, this ongoing claim that the ISO is the "largest" anything is specious and, as has been fairly noted totally unverifiable PR script. Please refrain from making such PR claims. If you would like to post a link to verifiable membership numbers, knock yourself out.In the Stacks (talk) 17:21, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

So, you want to talk about specious claims, Mr. Stacks? This whole entry reads like one fluffy piece of PR for the ISO. Other entries on political parties and activist groups include a section for criticism, even Amnesty International's entry, for fuck's sake. But this swarm of ISO members gangbanging the entry has time and time again buried valid criticisms on Wikipedia. The ISO is not an open or democratic entity, but Wikipedia is certainly MEANT to be.

Financial information on the ISO is available to our supposedly common enemy, Uncle Sam, but not to the organization's members. That's utterly ridiculous, and, in my opinion, so suspect and abnormal that it warrants mention in the Wikipedia entry.Sysoctopus (talk) 17:57, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Your opinion is, however, not notable by Wikipedia standards. Mine neither. A criticism section should exist if reliable sources for criticism can be found; however, unfortunately, the ISO has not had a big enough impact yet for any such sources that I am aware of to exist. If the article really reads like a fluffy PR piece, that's a problem independent of the existence of a criticism section, and more specific comments or edits to fix that are welcome. Kalkin (talk) 18:36, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I disagree. The refusal to give members publicly available information on party finances, members who provide a substantial percentage of the party's overall revenue in the form of membership dues, is abnormal and alarming. Tell me, D, Andy Splane, Mr. Stacks...tell me why the party won't just give this info to members? You seem to forget that I was also a member for nearly two years.Sysoctopus (talk) 20:54, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia isn't here to placate the members of the party. If there were a reliable source that made the accusations you do, then I would surely think it should be in the article. What's clear here, is your feelings towards the organization are anything but neutral, and while that's fine, we can't allow such non-neutral information enter the article. Now, in reading this article again, I agree it's not neutral at all. I've tagged the article as {{disputed}}. While I still disagree with the "funding" section, I also feel that there are a number of weasel words used throughout the article (struggle, dissidents, enthusiastically, et al) which need to be removed. Justin chat 22:26, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Thank you, Justin.Sysoctopus (talk) 22:46, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I've taken a shot at rewriting the article and added {{fact}} tags where appropriate. I think this article is certainly more neutral, but probably still needs some work. Justin chat 23:09, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Thanks for the edits, but I think you went a little overboard with the fact tags. The activities section had no sourcing, but most of the info in the history section could be found in the references. I've tried to clear that up a bit, and add more sources where they were easy to find. Kalkin (talk) 02:35, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Also - is there still a neutrality issue outside the activities section, or would it be appropriate to move the warning tag there? Kalkin (talk) 02:39, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I usually add {{fact}} whenever a claim is made that isn't common knowledge. In specialized articles, such as this one, I tend to think more citations are appropriate, especially when citing books (page numbers assist in fact checking). However, overall I like what you did with the article thus far. As for the neutrality issue, if User:Sysoctopus is happy with the articles current state, I see no reason to leave the {{neutral}} tag in place. Justin chat 04:30, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I like Justin's edits, but I'm of the opinion that the neutrality tag should stay put for a bit as there's still much to be done, in my opinion. Sysoctopus (talk) 05:28, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I like the tone of the new edits, although I feel some material indicating that there is external criticism would be good; I've heard many times (both from inside and outside of the ISO) that Campus Antiwar Network and Campaign to End the Death Penalty are front groups, and I think if nothing else this aspect of the ISO's work deserves mention. In the mean time, I've started cleaning up the fact tags and added a note on the new Socialist Worker publication schedule. Cadriel (talk) 11:25, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Cadriel: I couldn't agree more. Also, some mention of widespread *accusations* of event hijacking in a few high-profile instances would be welcomed. Sysoctopus (talk) 17:54, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I reverted your edits, because they break the accepted standard for article layout. As long as you can find a reliable source for a criticism section, I'm all for it. However, a "Criticisms" with nothing more than links after the external links section is poor layout. If there are notable socialists, or third party reliable sources who are critical of the group then a Criticism section is indeed warranted. Justin chat 18:21, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]
There are many notable socialists, as well as high-profile anarchists, who are critical of the ISO. This includes members of the Fourth International, as evidenced in the WSWS link I provided, a site published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). These people are fellow Trotskyites, even. Sysoctopus (talk) 18:26, 24 February 2008 (UTC)[]

We should, of course, include critical entries. I am not at all arguing against that. However, unsigned and generic ideological attack pieces do not have a place here. They are by their nature unverifiable. There is a long, sordid history of using anonymous attack pieces to sow confusion – and one of the ways to stop that is to demand the basic integrity of using a singed name to any article. This has been discussed at some length here in the past, and in other entries of a similar nature. It is fair to say that criticism of Leninsim in general apply to the ISO in particular, but there is no need turn this into a debating society on the merits or demerits of the philosophy.In the Stacks (talk) 14:39, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Stack (may I call you Stack?),
Many of the articles linked from the information page on authoritarian Left groups are signed and verifiable. Would you rather I linked to specific articles, such as: "Their Socialism and Ours: The International Socialist Organization," by Jason Schulman, or "ISO: The Joy of Sects," by John Lacny? Sysoctopus (talk) 19:10, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]
There is no such thing as the "authoritarian left". This is an example of politics by pejorative and using Wikipedia as a bulletin board to pseudo-debate through name calling. This is not about what I think of the ISO (I am no partisan, I assure you), nor any other group. It is about bottom-line intellectual standards, which begin with verifiability. Infoshop's rumor/slander/disinfo pages do not pass muster. I am not familiar with the entire critical literature on the ISO, but where there are substantive criticisms – of course they should be listed. Why not? But rumor mongering on blogs, ideological hatchet jobs and anonymous slander sheets should not be posted. If the ISO is so wicked, then simple reporting without weasel words should be sufficient. In any case, the standards for Wikipedia are verifiability – and unsigned, unsourced generic anti-socialist rants are not that. Also, I have read the ISOnuts thing and that doesn't qualify. It's full of bald claims without even the hint of a serious study. Trying to pull and endrun around verifiablity by posting such things to third-party (unedited) sites really misses the point. Does that make sense?In the Stacks (talk) 20:30, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I think materials are to a higher standard than the tabloid "Socialist Worker," mate, and you have no problem linking to that. Sure, I know that's not what's really at issue here, but the fact remains that there are articles written and signed by former members of the ISO and those are not what I'd call rumor/slander or disinformation. Also, you seem to be telling us you're not a party member. Have you ever been a party member? I have. For two years, in a very active New England branch of the ISO. I don't see anything on the pages that doesn't resonate with my own experiences. And, actually, there is such a thing as the authoritarian Left, and the ISO proudly plays its part in it. Sysoctopus (talk) 22:08, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Again, "mate", I am neither a supporter nor member of the ISO – nor a regular reader of their newspaper. Unsigned material is not verifiable. Period. Third party hosts don't change the reality of it. This is not a bulletin board to debate the ISO, its merits or demerits. That is a conversation I have next to no interest in. So I'm sorry if you wasted your two years hawking their paper, but that has very little to do with verifiability, or Infoshop's hosting of unsigned ideological boilerplate. Post links to signed, published criticism and there is no problem on my end. For the others involved here, perhaps they can chime in.In the Stacks (talk) 22:16, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Are you trying to tell me you're an anglophobe as well? Lovely. So you claim not to support the ISO. I have to admit to being just a little suspicious of that claim; you're taking an awfully keen interest in this little squabble, just like a good branch committee member. You're clearly making the sacrifice of trying to allow the WSWS criticism to remain, in hopes of appeasing me into letting the Infoshop page slide. Funny that you take issue with the words "critique of," and insist on changing them back to "commentary on," repeatedly. Doesn't sound like you were being honest with us when you said "post links to signed, published criticism and there is no problem on my end." Sysoctopus (talk) 22:34, 25 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Again, I'm not here to debate the merits or demerits of the ISO as an oragnization. I am removing this unsigned piece of ideological boilerplate. I am not removing the other signed piece of criticism, nor will I remove any other signed, verifiable piece of commentary or criticism from ANY source. Insulting me is silly, insinuating my membership in the ISO just shows what your own issues are.In the Stacks (talk) 00:25, 26 February 2008 (UTC)[]
InTheStacks (provided you're not the Mr. Stack of ISO fame): I wouldn't say that I'd insulted you. Unless, of course, you take an accusation of being a party member as an insult. In that case, you could say I insulted you, yes. I did, of course, ask if you were an anglophobe, but that was an honest question prompted by something specific you said. I don't really care if you are--we can forget I asked. Sysoctopus (talk) 03:06, 26 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I think we need to step back here. As one of several ex-ISO members involved in this page, I admit that I'm not perfectly neutral, but I'd like to see honest and balanced criticism of the organization on the site. John Lacny's article (which was on the Infoshop page, among other places) has circulated among the left and is one of the better known ex-member critiques of the ISO. I think it, if nothing else, deserves a specific link. And I don't see what's wrong with saying that the WSWS piece is a critique of the ISO - the SEP is not shy about being polemical, to put it lightly. Cadriel (talk) 00:35, 26 February 2008 (UTC)[]

I would like to reiterate that I have no issue, problem or concern with the posting of critical commentary in regard to the ISO. This is not the same as collections of sour grapes, rumors and unsourced attacks posted to (interested) third-party sites. We should all insist that unsigned and generic attack pieces have no place here. The world is full of contradictory opinions, there is no need for Wikipedia to have revert wars over this. I would also like to hear other people here editing chime in to avoid a continuing revert war. Good faith!In the Stacks (talk) 01:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Third opinion[edit]

Hey. I'm removing the third opinion listing for this page, as there's four editors working here right now. 3O is generally reserved for pages where only two editors are present. If you need more help on this, I'd recommend an WP:RFC listing. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 02:55, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Request for Comment[edit]

This request revolves around the funding section of this article. Namely, is this section relevant to the article, and if so, is it written in written in a neutral tone? Justin chat 04:58, 23 February 2008 (UTC)[]

For future RFC respondents: link. My thoughts:
  • The first paragraph is certainly relevant, as it is about the organisational structure of the subject. Perhaps an "organisation" section?
  • The further paragraphs seem very detailed to me, unnecessarily so, perhaps. It should probably be removed, as it's message seems to be along the lines of "ZOMG rich socalists". Which is not that impressive, actually.
User:Krator (t c) 19:43, 29 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Critical Links / Criticism Section[edit]

I'm moving this discussion into its own area because the "Funding" section we were discussing no longer exists. I think that the current section of critical links is a good first step toward creating a balanced and neutral section on criticisms of the ISO. I'd like to hear from the other contributors what kind of material they think would be justified by Wikipedia standards in creating a real balanced critique section, or from those who think it would be inappropriate to have one, and I think we should work out what is going to happen with the page here rather than everybody keep trying to edit it to their liking. Cadriel (talk) 11:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)[]

Regarding the Lancy critical piece (and the half dozen rants attached at the end) – where was this published and by what process was it fact-checked? I don't believe it needs a publisher to be considered verifiable, per se, but if not a standard editorial process then I have to ask by what means this can be included?In the Stacks (talk) 15:02, 27 February 2008 (UTC)[]
Lacny's piece was put up by a number of electronic distributors, including What Next, Retrogression, and various Indymedia sites. I feel that it's noteworthy (I don't agree with either the critique or the politics Lacny has taken up) because it's one of the relatively few signed and well publicized ex-ISO member critiques. Cadriel (talk) 15:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)[]
I'd like to second what Cadriel has said. Sysoctopus (talk) 22:30, 27 February 2008 (UTC)[]

The "Joy of Sects" piece has been removed from the page a few times, but there has been no discussion of it here. It is a document from an ex-member and is a widely circulated critical piece on the ISO. I think it's unacceptable to cut this out from the page by calling it "hearsay." Cadriel (talk) 22:25, 22 March 2008 (UTC)[]

Andrewsplane has been removing critical content, repeatedly, from the article without following the discussion here at all. I've asked repeatedly to bring the discussion to this talk page. I will have to move this further down the dispute resolution chain if another such revision is made. Cadriel (talk) 12:42, 4 April 2008 (UTC)[]

I'd like to second what Cadriel has said.Sysoctopus (talk)

The article that has been discussed here--the "Joy of Sects" piece by John Lacny--is a self-identified polemic against the ISO. Even the most liberal interpretation of the criteria could hardly call this an objective criticism of the organization. The anecdotal accounts Lacny offers from his three-month involvement in the Pittsburgh branch of the ISO reflect personal differences-of-opinion with the people there, and offer little insight into the ISO as an organization. That Lacny admits to harboring open hostility toward the ISO and joining with the intention of quiting further undermines the likelihood of him offering objective criticism. Unless other pieces can be found to support it, I don't see a good reason to include Lacny's article here.

At a broader level, I fail to see the justification for the neutrality flag on this article. The Wikipedia entries for the Socialist Party USA, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, World Socialist Party of the United States, Socialist Alternative (US), Communist Party USA, and the Progressive Labor Party (United States) all fail to include a "Criticism" section, yet the neutrality of none of them have been disputed. Legitimate criticisms of the ISO are welcome, but the justification for labeling this article unbalanced becomes somewhat questionable when its critics have failed to produce any valid, reputable references in the past two years.

Napzilla (talk) 22:26, 7 December 2009 (UTC)[]

Edit to Anti-Globalization Movement[edit]

I changed "The group was involved in building a number of the major protests against corporate globalization in the late 1990's" to "early 2000's" based on the citation referencing the Philly RNC protests in August of 2000 (which wasn't exactly an anti-globalization event, but the anti-globalization movement was present). It might make more sense to move it into the next paragraph if its being broken down decade by decade. Tex —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 28 April 2009 (UTC)[]


I've removed the section on funding as posted by user jtizzi. The section contains original research and is unsupported by evidence. In particular, the statement "The International Socialist Organization operates as a recipient of grants from the Center for Economic Research and Social Change who fund their magazine and yearly conference," is not supported by any citation or verified. ( <> ).

Likewise, the statement "All of the officers, directors, and trustee's listed on the 2010 990 forms are prominent members of the ISO" is original research and not supported by the given citation. The entire section as posted by jtizzi is pieced together from primary sources (like IRS forms) to tell a story that's not told by any individual source (<>)Nicole.colson (talk) 20:02, 17 June 2011 (UTC)[]

My initial revert was probably a little hasty. Sorry about that, and thanks for explaining. While primary sources, such as 990 forms, are reliable sources in some contexts, the 990 linked from the section was for the CERSC and did not appear to support the text about the ISO. And "prominent members" is certainly a meaningless phrase, in any case. Good catch. Rivertorch (talk) 05:46, 18 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Oh, I see now. They are all members of the ISO, most have written books for Haymarket, and almost all have articles published in the Socialist Worker. You are correct though. The word prominent is an opinion. I've changed that. Please work with me to correct this. I am new to editing wikipedia articles. I don't appreciate the blanket removal of this section instead of its fixing. I feel that this is politically motivated.--Jtizzi (talk) 21:22, 18 June 2011 (UTC)[]

I've deleted this new section, which is a slightly rewritten version of the "Funding" section previously deleted for lacking verification ( and constituting original research ( The slight edits do not fix these problems. The section claims a close relation which is not verified by the underlying citation, a tax form. The rest of the section consists of selective data about CERSC, not the ISO, and contentions strung together to advance a position not advanced by the cited source. This is the very definition of original research, and does not belong in a Wikipedia entry.

In general, this section on funding is out of keeping with pages for similar organizations, for example: Socialist Party USA, Communist Party USA and Party for Socialism and Liberation. It seems to me that the political motivation here lies with a single user, Jtizzi, who is continually adding this section. But in any case, I repeat: The blanket removal of this section is, as Nicole.colson and Rivertorch agree, because it violates Wikipedia practices on Verifiability and Original Research. --Alanmaass (talk) 00:18, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Alan, I enjoyed your book Case for Socialism. That said I think you and Nicole Colson (whose articles in Socials Worker on Zimbabwe I enjoy) are biased as members of the ISO. I feel you are misusing the wikipedia polices. I don't think anything I have added here is either wrong or non-neutral. I don't know much about the PSL, SP-USA, or CP-USA fiances. This addition is also not about the ISO finances but about the relationship of the ISO to the CERSC. If there was a 501(c)3 with the entire listed directors as members of any of these organizations it should be listed on their Wikipedia pages. If you have information on this you should update their pages. --Jtizzi (talk) 02:52, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Jtizzi, you have not responded to the contention that the section you, and only you, insist on adding to this page is in violation of Wikipedia policies concerning Verifiability ( and Original Research ( The first sentence of this section, which serves as the purpose for including this entire section in a page about the ISO, is not verified by the source cited. The rest of the section violates Wikipedia restrictions on Original Research. I am, indeed, an ISO member, but my purpose here is to insist on Wikipedia policies being followed on this page. I must insist that you stop using Wikipedia for what appears to be some unknown vendetta. --Alanmaass (talk) 04:15, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Alan: Maybe you can help me then. I believe that your removals are politically motivated (as you are a member of the ISO) and you are using the Wikipedia guidelines on original resources for repression of facts. I do not have a personal vendetta here but you do have an interest (not sure what) in keeping this off the Wikipeida page. If you, or anyone else would help me with this I would be appreciative. If this is in violation because of "original research" do I need to find where this has been published? It was published on various blogs but I thought that linking to the original 990 files is stronger and more truthful. I guess I could link to all the blogs... I'm new to editing Wikipedia, and to be honest, am understanding why very few people do it. The community from what I've seen is hostile.
As for the first sentence: the directors listed are all members of the ISO. I'll work on citing this tomorrow with links to stories they have written for the Socialist Worker and what not. Mr. Mass, aybe you, as a member of the ISO, can help find non-original research for this purpose. --Jtizzi (talk) 04:47, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
I am an ISO member (I notice you have not stated your own reasons for your interest in this), and, it's true, I would like the ISO page to not contain false information. Your statement that the ISO operates in close relation to the Center for Social Research and Economic Change is not supported by the source for this paragraph, which is a CERSC tax form. The rest of the section is either data about CERSC or other claims--a series of contentions that are connected only insofar as they advance a position that the underlying source, again, a CERSC tax form, does not advance. That is the very definition of original research under Wikipedia guidelines ( If you can find a reputable and neutral source to make this assertion and justify the inclusion of a section on funding that, again, does not appear on any similar page--and, no, blogs that regurgitate the same conclusions based on an imaginative reading of tax forms do not meet that criteria--than cite it. Otherwise, stop vandalizing this entry. --Alanmaass (talk) 05:24, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]

I have once again reverted Jtizzi's section on funding. The reversions by myself, and I believe also by Alan Maass, are, once again, neutral and based on Wikipedia guidelines. Unless jtizzi can cite a direct link showing funding for ISO comes from CERSC or vice-versa (or that the two organizations work in concert where funding is concerned), the information is 1) irrelevant to the page and 2) based on jtizzi's own conclusions, i.e., original research. Likewise, jtizzi has to this date produced no documentation of direct financial ties between the two *groups*--but instead continues to repost the same information in slightly modified form each time he re-edits the page in order to imply a direct connection that does not exist. Selective data about CERSC taken from tax returns and strung together to advance jtizzi's contention that there is a financial connection is not proof--nor is it verifiable. It is conjecture.

As for jtizzi's assertion: yes, I freely admit I am a member of the ISO. (I used my real name on my Wikipedia account precisely because I do not have anything to hide with my editing of this page--and you'll note that Wikipedia does not disallow such editing as long as the edits remain neutral.) Please refer to earlier discussions from 2008, under points #1 and #8 on this discussion page as to why the "information" about CERSC is not appropriate--there have been lengthy discussions of similar points. Also, please note the point made above by AlanMaass that similar information about funding is not listed on the pages of any similar far-left groups, including Workers World, the PSL, SP-USA, CP-USA, or FRSO, which thus calls into question why it should be included here.

Finally, the Center for Economic Research and Social Change notes on its website that it is a 501(c)3 organization--thus, to publicly suggest or imply a direct financial connection between the two organizations as jtizzi has several times now, could have legal implications. If jtizzi cannot prove such a direct link between the two groups (not his implications based on his personal interpretation of tax documents from one organization), it is a serious mis-characterization to state publicly and I believe would rise to the level of disruptive editing of this page.Nicole.colson (talk) 05:52, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]

A few comments:
@ Jtizzi:
  • "Prominent" is indeed opinion (although it might be acceptable if reliably sourced) but that really wasn't what I took issue with. "Members" is problematic because most political organizations have members, and someone's being a member doesn't necessarily imply anything about the organization or the person; it generally just means that someone has paid their dues and joined. If two separate organizations shared directors or employees, that might well be worth noting. That someone who is a director of one organization is a member of another organization is absolutely useless information from an encyclopedic perspective, even if the information is reliably sourced. Having said all that, I'll go ahead and note for the record that you seem to be using those 990 forms to draw inferences that aren't supported by such sources. That is synthesis, which is verboten around here. My larger point, though, is that the significance of your claims about directors and members seems dubious even if those claims can be verified.
  • It's best to comment on the edit and not the editor. Accusations of bias should not be made lightly and almost never should be made on the talk pages of articles. Various Wikipedia noticeboards exist for bringing such concerns to the attention of a wider group of editors, if you really want to do that.
@ Alanmaass: Please read the first two paragraphs at Wikipedia:Vandalism before accusing another editor of vandalism. Jtizzi's edits here do not fit the definition.
@ Nicole.colson:
  • Much of what you've said here is essentially correct. I would strongly suggest, however, that appearances of conflict of interest are almost always disruptive when there is a dispute over content. It might be better to step back and let disinterested editors sort it out.
  • Please be very careful talking about "legal implications". I understood exactly what you meant, but there are editors who might misinterpret what you said as a legal threat; the threshold for such misunderstandings is regrettably very low.
@ all three of you: Please be careful not to engage in edit warring. I'll be happy to take a closer look at the article over the next several days. Others may show up sooner. In the meantime, stop reverting one another; the world won't end if we don't get it right immediately. Rivertorch (talk) 07:08, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
@ Rivertorch: Thanks for the comments and tips. I apologize if I've overstepped. One concern I've had is that jtizzi has posted similar information on other social media (Reddit) and that his Facebook page suggests he may be a member of another far-left organization which has had disputes with the ISO. (I've tried to keep the discussion about funding and CERSC to the question of Wikipedia guidelines as opposed to a back-and-forth about who's in which organization, since I don’t find that particularly helpful.) In terms of the legality statement--you're right of course. My intent was to point out the possible implications for CERSC or the ISO, it was not intended as a threat against an editor or Wikipedia. One thing I'd like to point out in general is that it’s not as though there’s an objection to any and all mention of the Center for Economic Research and Social Change on the page. The verifiable relationship that does exist is mentioned under publications: that the International Socialist Organization does distribute the International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books--which are projects of CERSC. Thanks for your attention to the debate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nicole.colson (talkcontribs) 07:42, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]
@Rivertorch: thank you for the reasonable reply. I'm new here and will spend the time reading Wikipeida polices before making anymore changes. I apologize if I've broken any rules/norms here.
@Alanmaass and Nicole.colson: My reason for making these edits is because I came to these conclusions before joining ISO. I decided not to join for other reasons after I brought this up to a local branch and it was put to ease. I don't think the a relationship (often talked about as a widely know secret) is anything to be seen as negative and that hiding it only strokes fears of paranoia. I will read more about the Wikipedia guidelines before attempting to post though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by --Jtizzi (talk) 14:14, 19 June 2011 (UTC)Jtizzi (talkcontribs) 14:11, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]

After reading more I understand where a lot of this criticism is coming from. Maybe we can work on a consensus here. I feel there needs to be something about the CERSC and the Socialism conference. I also feel there should be a separate CERSC page. A separate page on the CERSC would offer the break in a connection between the two organizations that much of this "edit war" (didn't know there was such a thing) is about. I see my errors in presenting original research now as this is something that is controversial. My apologies for making accusations about biased editing. Let's work towards a consensus so this article is both truthful and complete. --Jtizzi (talk) 15:09, 19 June 2011 (UTC)[]

That sounds constructive. Thing is, Wikipedia isn't about truth or completeness; it's about verifiability. That sounds like a simple distinction but it really isn't. (It took me a long time to fully understand it, anyway.) Wikipedia isn't about what you know or even what you can prove. It's about what you can show others to have proved. (An oversimplification, perhaps, but not an exaggeration.) Truth and completeness are laudable goals in the abstract, but what constitutes the former will never be agreed upon by everyone (sometimes not even a clear majority) and the latter is forever just beyond our reach. The principal reason that Wikipedia has credibility as an encyclopedia is because its content is (theoretically) verifiable. If no secondary sources exist to support what you want to add to the article, then it really must be excluded. God knows, that frustrates me from time to time, but that's the way it has to be. Rivertorch (talk) 05:44, 20 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Suggestion for new topic: Socialism conference[edit]

Given recent discussions, I'd like to suggest the following change to the page: Creation of a separate section labeled "Socialism Conference" with the text as follows: "The ISO is the co-sponsor, along with the Center for Economic Research and Social Change, of an annual conference titled "Socialism." Featured speakers at the Socialism 2011 conference include Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah, columnist Glenn Greenwald, 1968 Olympic bronze medalist John Carlos (who gave the black power salute on the medal podium), and sportswriter Dave Zirin." The section can be referenced with This should satisfy the points made by above by Jtizzi about the need for a section on the Socialism Conference, which is co-sponsored by CERSC, without adding unverifiable language about funding.Nicole.colson (talk) 09:33, 26 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Assuming the source supports it, I don't see a problem. If you put it in, I'll copyedit and wikify it later. Rivertorch (talk) 17:46, 26 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Thanks @Rivertorch. I've added the section, along with a reference to the conference website.Nicole.colson (talk) 20:21, 27 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Done. After checking out the ref, I'm a little less confident that it's 100% appropriate to mention some of the expected speakers, especially before the conference has taken place. For one thing, it carries a faint whiff of promotion or advertising. A reader might also question why certain names were selected for mention and others omitted. Not a big deal, I think, and probably will be beside the point a few days from now. (In future, I'd suggest listing a more exhaustive selection of speakers at past conferences.) Rivertorch (talk) 05:39, 28 June 2011 (UTC)[]
Thanks. I will change the list of speakers to speakers at past conferences and then update the list after the conference takes place this year with a couple of the ones from this year.Nicole.colson (talk) 19:14, 28 June 2011 (UTC)[]

Criticisms section[edit]

I've removed the "Criticisms" section that was recently posted. First, it was posted as a sub-heading under the "Socialism conference", which was not appropriate. Secondly, both citations were more than 5 years old (one was from 2000?). Finally, as a previous comment on this discussion thread noted, other left group pages on Wikipedia do not have such sections on them: The Wikipedia entries for the Socialist Party USA, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, World Socialist Party of the United States, Socialist Alternative (US), Communist Party USA, Progressive Labor Party (United States). as well as Workers World and Party of Socialism and Liberation all fail to include a "Criticism" section. Nicole.colson (talk) 22:19, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[]

Removed the same "Criticisms" section from a different spot on the web page after it was added back by the same editor, without reference to the discussion above. Please respond to the discussion on this page before editing pages with inappropriate content. --Alanmaass (talk) 22:56, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[]

Edit request on 9 September 2013[edit]

The final paragraph in the History section, beginning with "After some years with very little contact between the ISO and the British SWP, relations improved", is out of date and now inaccurate. See:

I don't have time right now to try to write up a more accurate paragraph, so either somebody else should do that or it should simply be removed. It's too bad Wikipedia has now made it a giant PITA to edit if you don't have an established account; I've lost the login to my old one which would have let me just do this myself.

Separate: China Mieville is not a member of the ISO and should be removed from the "notable members" section. I don't have a source for his non-membership (not sure how I would), but, uh, he's British, & the ISO is based in the US. Kadalkin (talk) 00:59, 9 September 2013 (UTC)[]

  • Not done As per the directions, please provide the exact wording - you should also gain WP:CONSENSUS through discussion prior to requesting the edit be performed ES&L 11:39, 10 September 2013 (UTC)[]
    • Just FTR this was me. I've since figured out how to reset my password. Not deliberate sockpuppetry!

Edit to History section[edit]

Removed allegations made referring to a faction of the group making unsubstantiated allegations of ISO leaders failing to address an alleged sexual assault by a member. The allegation is unfounded based on the material provided. WP:OR allows the use of primary sources, but only with context established by reliable secondary sources. The blog post cited does not provide any substantiation of the claim and does not fit the criteria for correctly sourced material.Nicole.colson (talk) 05:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)[]

The referenced document by the Renewal Faction cites the ISO's Pre-Convention Bulletin #19, which contains a first-hand account of the investigation of the alleged sexual assault, including local branch interactions with the ISO Steering Committee (of which Nicole.colson is a member). PCB#19 is now available online. I have restored the line and added a reference to PCB#19. RevPablo (talk) 06:36, 17 February 2014 (UTC)[]

There's still no *reliable* secondary source per Wikipedia guidelines. Likewise, this is a breach of confidentiality that puts the privacy of an alleged sexual assault victim at risk. It remains inappropriate and unacceptable.Nicole.colson (talk) 15:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC)[]

I see no reason not to include the previous language in the article, with links to the ISO faction's website and links to the convention bulletin, both of which are online. The language removed by Nicole.colson was fairly neutral; interested Wikipedia users should be able to read about this, as it is clearly a legitimate controversy within the organization and notable to the current history of the ISO.

Nicole.colson, are you the same Nicole Colson who writes for the ISO's web publication, Fumoses (talk) 20:46, 17 February 2014 (UTC)[]

I've now restored the text Nicole.colson had deleted, since I think it was clear that it was well in compliance with WP guidelines. As the larger section of which it is a part is detailing this organizational dispute, this apparently quite notable and well-sourced detail of that organizational dispute should be included, and I have restored it. If Nicole.colson is concerned that this unfairly portrays the ISO, I'm sure she or other editors can find a response from the ISO's leaders to include in this section; but simply deleting relevant information is uncalled for, and is basically censoring WP. Fumoses (talk) 14:38, 18 February 2014 (UTC)[]

It does not appear to be "in compliance with WP guidelines" and consensus does not exist to add it. Anyone continuing to add it risks violating the policy on edit warring and being blocked; please don't go down that road. Concerns about reliable sources and BLP content must be resolved first; that's non-negotiable. Hopefully, the matter can be resolved amicably here on the talk page. If not, there is a process to follow to resolve the dispute about the content in question. In the meantime, no one should be in a hurry to reinsert the material. Incidentally, this looks very much like a real-world squabble that has spilled over into Wikipedia, and that's not what Wikipedia is here for. If necessary, the article can be locked so that nobody can edit it. Let's hope we don't come to that. Rivertorch (talk) 18:30, 18 February 2014 (UTC)[]