The value of each individual

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Nov 16 09:06:13 MST 1994


Without naming names, I just want to take this opportunity to urge
members of this list to return to the kind of serious discussion that had
marked it in previous months.

I thought that in previous months participants such as Lawler, Inigo,
Keen, Cockshott, Cottrell and others had really forced me to re-examine a
lot of my basic presuppositions about Marxism. It has led me to some
rather interesting reading (LeBlanc on Lenin, Nove on 'feasible
socialism', etc.). Even when I disagreed with posts, I felt
intellectually challenged and summoned to do more in-depth analysis.

So a couple of thoughts on what I think helps to advance the discussion
on this list:

--the style we've recently seen which consists of point-by-point
rebuttals of lengthy posts, at the rate of 5 to 10 occurrences per day,
tends to crowd out other submissions. It seems like the most productive
form of discourse is when one participant takes the time to really digest
the thoughts of another and responds after a day or two. It also helps
when the commentary simply takes a representative quote from the previous
post rather than regurgitating the entire previous post.

--it helps if we avoid personalizing our counterattacks. I don't mind
sharp language. Anybody who's read Marx, Lenin, Luxembourg et al know
that sharp language permeates their writings. It just gets tedious to
hear message-posters chewing up the scenery. Let's leave histrionics to
the less enlightened.

--I think the idea of subdividing the list into topics or interest groups
might be productive and worth experimenting with. I noticed that the
writers were mostly from the cultural studies end of the spectrum and
this is not exactly what I'm interested in. Personally, I'd love to
follow up on an organized discussion about the role and impact of Lenin.
I thought that Lawler's contributions on Lenin were really stimulating
and I plan on devoting the next period of time taking a fresh look at
Lenin and then Trotsky perhaps. I would look forward to discussing and
debating with others such questions as the 'vanguard party', dictatorship
of the proletariat, etc.

Anyhow, that's my two cents...


Louis Proyect


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