More about that relativ

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters quilty at philos.umass.edu
Fri Oct 7 08:14:50 MDT 1994


Paul Cockshott wrote:
| A person's views on this are likely to be influenced by experience.
| My vehemence on the subject comes from experience of mass working class
| struggles in Scotland over the late 80s and early 90s. I was one of the
| founders of the Anti-Poll Tax Union there. This was the most successful
| civil disobedience campaign in British history, and in Glasgow, the
| city where I was mainly active, we ended up with over 50% of the
| population refusing to pay tax, with working class estates becoming
| no-go areas for sheriff officers intent of poinding peoples furniture,
| and when the campaign spread to England it culminated in the Poll Tax
| Riots that were a key factor in bringin Thatcher down.

This might be characteristic of the mistake I think Cockshott makes
in his line on the relation of academics to radicalism.  I
understand his reasoning in several other posts to be that academics
are per se not radical insofar as they do not have a revolutionary
*effect*.  I.e. it matters not what opinions they espouse if those
opinions are not realized.  There is certainly a correct insight
about "armchair radicals" in this, but I don't think that is enough.
I think one way to see this is with the Anti-Poll Tax Union
Cockshott mentions participation in.  I quite agree it was a radical
movement, but insofar as it "brought Thatcher down", it replaced her
with Major.  This isn't a terribly radical *effect*, IMO.  Although
the particular regressive tax is repealed, the welfare state is
still demolished.  Judged purely on its successes, the Anti-Poll Tax
movement would appear only moderately reformist.  But I think one
has to look at more than that.

Yours, Lulu...

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