marxism-digest V1 #360
booth2 at husc.harvard.edu
Tue Aug 22 14:33:38 MDT 1995
See responses below to Leo Casey's latest excrescence...
On Sat, 19 Aug 1995 LeoCasey at aol.com wrote:
> Chris Burford complains that my response to Jeff is unduly abrasive, and
> >My problem is how am I to have concurrent exchanges of a reasonably
> >rational level with Jeff.
> when I am being so dismissive.
> Our difference, Chris, is both our ability to pretend that "reasonably
> rational" discourse is taking place when the other party's postings consists
> of little more than steady accusations of imperialist lackey,
> counter-revolutionary, etc. etc. ad naseum, and our level of tolerance for
> engaging in such an exchange. For the most part, I just try to avoid such
> exchanges as unproductive wastes of time. Occasionally, the devil in me is
> drawn out to point the sheer insanity of it all -- I mean call me a
> counter-revolutionary out to discredit Leninism and Trotskyism if you want
> (frankly the last living Leninists and Trotskyists do a far better job of
> discrediting than I ever could), but what world do you live in where the
> masses are knocking down the doors to get to Trotsky's doctrine of
What world do you live in Leo? On the street, in workplaces, in
union meetings: I rarely encounter as much hostility to marxist ideas as
you constantly spew forth. Most people aren't whiny, DSA social
democrats begging the bosses for crumbs or not to hit them quite so
hard. And I haven't met anyone outside of cyberspace that wants U.S. or
U.N. intervention in Bosnia. You think you're in the real world? You
don't have a clue.
> As much as I come out of a Marxist and socialist tradition, and as much at it
> has framed my way of looking at the world in terms of power relations and
> how one might go about transforming those relations, after 25 years on the
> left and with the current real threats we face I have developed one
> fundamental political prejudice -- I have no time for the rituals of
> dogmatism designed to convince those who invoke them that the faith is still
> secure, and that the world must change to conform to the dogma. At a certain
There's nothing more dogmatic than your petit-bourgeois
eclecticism. Anyone who mentions Lenin or Trotsky is a priori "dogmatic"
in your limited world view.
point in your life, a point which for me coincides with a radical right in
> power that is attempting to undo a century of popular victories (who would
> have thought a decade ago that public education itself could be in
> question?), you take stock of where to put your limited energies. It is one
> thing to find yourself on the political margins as a matter of principle, for
> an intelligent political strategy can change that; it is an altogether
> different matter to find yourself politically marginal as a matter of
> self-investment, because marginality has become a sign of remaining true to
> the faith (and the more marginal, the more faithful.)
Yes, it's clear you lack energy. It's also clear from previous
posts that you put your faith in bourgeois institutions such as the U.N..
I'll put my "faith" in the working class every time.
> Thus, just as this list is schizophrenic, as I noted a little while back, my
> attitude toward it is schizophrenic. At times, I am drawn toward its
> challenging intellectual exchange which help me clarify my thoughts and
> sharpen my politics; at times, it appears to me as one of the last remants of
> all that self-deluding, self-destructive "Leninist party building" of the
> early 1970s. Insofar as I am anything approaching this label of masochistic
> with which you have framed me, it would involves submitting myself to the
> latter in hopes of getting a little of the former.
I was just a kid in the 70's, suffering through asshole,
narrow-minded teachers like yourself who called me a Trouble-maker,
an Anarchist, a Commie, etc... a lot like your own red-baiting. Whatever
they tried to steer me away from, I would go to. Their bullshit didn't
stop me then and it won't stop me now. I just wish I could talk to some
of your students. What a number you must do on them.
-- Jeff Booth
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