IMHO Attempts to Usurp Shared Principles

On June 3, the Marxist-Humanist Initiative (MHI) published a letter sent to members of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization (IMHO) stating both our agreement with their statement of principles and our acceptance of their invitation to join with this new organization made in the March 4 announcement of their formation.

On June 6, we received this e-mail message signed “The International Marxist-Humanist Organisation”:

Dear MHI,

We wish to inform that you are not members of the IMHO. Nobody becomes a member of an organisation just by declaring themselves a member. The IMHO is not a regroupment initiative; nor is it an attempt to rebuild links with people who have proven that they are incapable of behaving in a comradely manner, as seen in the MHI’s recent public attack on us.

While anyone is welcome to attend our July 2 public forum on the centenary of Dunayevskaya’s birth, any effort to force one’s way into our conference the next day without a invitation would be an aggressive infringement on our democratic right to assemble and function as an organization.

—The International Marxist-Humanist Organisation

Needless to say, we were quite dismayed by this message, and responded on June 9:

Dear International Marxist-Humanist Organisation,

You write that we “are incapable of behaving in a comradely manner, as seen in the MHI’s recent public attack on us.” We are quite perplexed by this statement. The only thing we’ve written about IMHO is our public statement of last week, which announces our joining with it. The statement doesn’t attack IMHO, or even criticize it. It highly praises IMHO.

You write, “Nobody becomes a member of an organisation just by declaring themselves a member.” True, but one can join with an effort by being invited to do so and accepting the invitation. That’s what we’ve done.

All who agree with IMHO’s statement of principles have been invited to join with it, and your invitation isn’t accompanied by any other conditions. So, if we were to refrain from joining with IMHO, the impression would be created that we do not agree with these principles. We cannot allow that to happen. We cannot allow the particular groups within IMHO that refuse to cooperate with MHI to monopolize the principles shared by MHI and IMHO.

The unsupported hypothesis that we intend to crash the conference, by force no less!, is baseless and false. Having joined with IMHO, we wish to participate in the normal fashion.

We look forward to an honest discussion of the above issues.

Comradely regards, Marxist-Humanist Initiative

At this time, we have received no direct response to our June 9 e-mail. On June 10, the U.S. Marxist-Humanists published on the homepage of their website a single line “Clarification,” attributed to the “International Marxist-Humanist Organization”: “Despite some recent claims to the contrary, we are not affilitated [sic] with the New York-based Marxist-Humanist Initiative.”

Again, as stated in our June 9 e-mail, those who agree with IMHO’s statement of principles were invited to join with it. If we were to refrain from joining with IMHO, the impression would be created that we do not agree with these principles. Moreover, we cannot allow the particular groups within IMHO that refuse to cooperate with MHI to monopolize the principles shared by MHI and IMHO. And, again, we call for an honest discussion of the issues.

The future of Marxist-Humanism is by no means assured. Forging the broadest unity possible among people and groups that have expressed agreement with some basic Marxist-Humanist principles is therefore urgently important. As part of our continuing effort to achieve this goal, we intend to provide an analysis of, and fuller response to, the latest turn of events in the near future.

Executive Committee of Marxist-Humanist Initiative

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