Challenge to Cockshott

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Aug 29 17:21:51 MDT 1995


On Tue, 29 Aug 1995, Matt D. wrote:

> Louis wrote:
>
> [very angry (sounding?) message to Paul C. deleted]
>
> Forgive me if I am failing to pick up on a (humorous? good-natured?) subtext
> to your post, but it seems to me that you're really mad at Paul.  I wonder

Louis:
I am angry at Paul. He got into a pissing contest with me on
the PEN-L about artificial intelligence. It was the sort of message I
would expect from somebody who didn't know me. I thought I knew Paul, but
I realize I didn't at all. He probably doesn't want anybody to know him.
He could have sent me some friendly e-mail saying something like, "Hey,
Lou, there's more to AI than meets the eye. Let me tell you about the
stuff I've been working on."

The last time I got into a pissing contest with Paul was when I had the
temerity to defend Irish nationalism. He lectured me like a professor and
I didn't like it at all.

My guess is that Paul is probably under 40 and is representative of the
new generation of Maoists who became enamored of Shining Path before
Gonzalo got busted. There was an article in the NY Times magazine section
some years ago about how Maoism was on the upswing in Europe because of
the "sexiness" of the Shining Path.

I should have realized that Paul was younger than me, because there are
very few 50 year old Maoists running around. I see them from time to time
at demos in NY and they are really pathetic. They are usually men,
because women with their superior intelligence would have dropped such
foolishness long ago. They are usually balding but wear a pony-tail and torn
jeans, Doc Martens, black t-shirts, what a joke. There's no fool worse
than an old fool.

I was around when Maoism first made an impact and battled in the trenches
with PLP members. Years later, I got to work with an ex-PLPer by the name
of Hari Dillon in Tecnica. Hari had spent a year in prison for leading
the student protests in San Francisco in 1967. Both Hari and I would
spend hours laughing at the foolishness of our youth. Hari was the
executive director of Tecnica at one point and did very important work
placing volunteers with the ANC.

Its a little hard to get to know Paul through e-mail. Unlike myself who
is as self-revealing as Maria Callas in the 3rd Act of Traviata, Paul
seems very wary of revealing anything of himself as a person, so I have
to rely on these constipated little messages from him. Sometimes I wonder
if Paul is a real person, or some Artificial Intelligence program running
in one of two modes: Maoist Cant or Brilliant Economic Insights.

Anyway, Matt, I'm glad you raised the subject and gave me the opportunity
to get a few things off my chest. I am still preparing a lengthy critique
of "Marxism-Leninism" but now there will be a lot less anger in it.


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