Ron Press's observation

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Apr 3 14:05:09 MDT 1995


Louis Proyect:

I have shared Ron's consternation but long ago gave up on the idea of
getting the graduate students and their professors who participate in this
list to take note of the outside world.

(This despite the fact that "The Contract on America" may represent a shift
in class relations unseen in this country over the last 50 years. In the
March 1995 Harper's Magazine, during a roundtable discussion by Gingrich
supporters, James Pinkerton, a former adviser to George Bush states, "The
issue is whether we go further. The issue is how to take apart the
institutions that are wrecking this country. If we simply pass the Contract on
America, which is essentially a pro-business agenda, and DON'T GO FURTHER (my
emphasis, LP), then the top half of the economy will be liberated from
government control and will prosper and the bottom half will continue to stew
in its Brezhnevian juices. And 2 more years from now we'll have an even more
radical skew--both electoral and economic--than we did in the 1980's. The moral
credibility of capitalism will be further undercut..." Now there's food for
thought for a Marxist. What does this mean for the working-class; what does
it mean for the left-wing?)

I also tend to agree with the idea that people like Joe Slovo and other
SACP leaders may possibly have a better grasp of dialectics than all of
the professional philosophers whose names keep popping up in this list.
Real evidence of dialectical materialist mastery is seen in one's ability to
shape political processes and change history. Everything else is mandarin
hot-air.

On Mon, 3 Apr 1995, Ron Press wrote:

> 1) It sometimes seems very academic. I am personally impressed by
> the depth of reading and philosophical commitment of so many of
> the list contributers. However so many quote people such as
> Bhaskar, T. Smith, and Postone. Are any of them active or have
> been active in the struggle in a practical way ? I noted Sweezy
> was mentioned. I remember his writings as being directed to the
> struggle as it proceeded. Lenin and Marx were of course involved
> personally with the practical side of struggle. Moses Kotane, Joe
> Slovo, Dr. Dadoo. Were not great theoreticians in the ususl sense
> of the word but they developed new paths, new ways of working
> which which resulted in great conrtibutions to the theory of the
> South African struggle.
>


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