Marxism and academia

Jonathan Beasley Murray jbmurray at
Wed Aug 17 22:38:47 MDT 1994

I am appending the information text which attempts to describe the
purpose of this list.  It is not in any sense set in stone--and I would
be very interested in ideas as to how it might be improved or altered.
However, at present the list is envisaged mainly as a fairly academic
discussion of the discourses generated by the work of Marx (and Engels).
Given that, it seems unfair to criticize those participating in the list
for doing what the list was designed to enable them to do.  The fact that
they may do other things elsewhere ("praxis") is not unimportant, but is
not necessarily the direct concern of the list, as I see it.

It seems a matter of pragmatics (if not indeed economics) that most of
those on the list are academics, or at least associated with an
institution of higher education--we/they get our internet accounts for
free.  It would seem self-defeating to "ban" academics, even if this were

Incidentally, it should also be clear from the text attached that this
list constitutes a discussion of marxism not a discussion by marxists.

Which is not to say that the relation between theory and "practice" (of
whatever kind) is not an important issue, or has not been on this
list--though it has been so more obviously recently.  However, it would
seem clear that an email list is more suited to discussion that to any
other activity.

Meanwhile, I fear that Louis has mischaracterized the nature of the
discussion on the list--or maybe he has only been subscribed for a short
while; the "Western Marxism" he described has surely not even been the
focus of discussion, let alone the sole topic.

Anyhow, I don't have time to say more right now.  However, I thought it
important to place the discussion of "m,arxism and academica" back into
this particular discursive context.


Jon Beasley-Murray
Department of English and Comp. Lit.
U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
jbmurray at


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