International Socialist Organization

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The International Socialist Organization or ISO is a socialist organization in the United States. It has a chapter at Columbia that is recognized by the Student Governing Board.

The organisation is plagued by rivalry between Stalinist and Trotskyist factions.

National organization

The national ISO identifies with the politics of International Socialism and the Marxist political tradition that American socialist writer and activist Hal Draper called "socialism from below". It is based in Chicago and has branches in 37 United States cities, mostly on university campuses.


The ISO at Columbia claimed 30 members in its 2007-08 SGB funding application, with a smaller number who are actual members of the national organization. Membership in the national organization requires monthly dues, which are on a sliding scale depending on income, with $20 a typical student figure. All student clubs typically exaggerate their membership in funding applications.

The ISO is most visible on campus day to day for selling its newspaper, Socialist Worker. It also sells other literature, including the Spanish-language newspaper Obrero Socialista, the magazine International Socialist Review, and books from Haymarket Press and other publishers.

The ISO was formerly recognized by the Activities Board at Columbia, but moved to SGB in 2007.

Incident involving Matt Sanchez

In 2005, Matt Sanchez, the marine and former adult film actor, argued with Monique Dols, a prominent member of the ISO, and other ISO members. Sanchez claims Dols called him "stupid" and a "baby killer". The ISO members present denied this. Sanchez officially complained to the administration about the incident and subsequently went on Fox News to tell Bill O'Reilly his version of the events.

Student opinions of the ISO

The Fed has described the ISO as "crazy", "a total cult", and "a terrorist cell". David Judd, a visible member of the ISO, told The Eye that student hostility is broad but shallow, and asserts that "we don’t tend to have trouble when we talk to people in person—the exceptions are committed conservative activists, Chris Kulawik, Matt Sanchez... We’ve worked effectively with the Democrats, despite huge disagreements. We have good relations with antiwar activists, cultural groups, the rest of the Columbia left."