pieinsky at igc.apc.org
Thu Feb 2 19:23:18 MST 1995
Fellow Marxism list members:
I am brandnew to the list (and to Internetting). Just got a modem
and a little orientation from the gift-giver at Xmas. I found out
about this list's existence serendipitously via a re-posting from
Hans Ehrbar about his class on a BBS called (truly!) "Socialism on
Line." The SYSOP, Randy Edwards, apparently culls the Internet
for all kinds of neat, generally left-leaning materials. Everyone
on this list ought to call him sometime, if only just for the
novelty. His two numbers up in Vermont are: 802-626-4103 and
I have a pretty long Left history going back to the anti-
(Vietnam) war movement. After college at Michigan State, I
decided to help make the Revolution at the point of production and
went to work in an auto factory until I was eventually laid-off at
the beginning of the restructuring. Ten years ago I returned to
school for more degrees, something I had sworn I would never do.
But it seemed to make some practical sense--my body was physically
hurting--and I knew I needed to know more about the world in order
to do a better job of changing it. Now, while continuing to
engage in a little activism (Chiapas support work primarily), I am
focusing on writing my dissertation in early modern history at
Rutgers (New Brunswick).
The broad topic of the dissertation is the "transition question"
(feudalism to capitalism). Of course, there has already been a
lot of outstanding work on this topic. I hope to make my own
special contribution by comparing and integrating the "classical
case" in England with the case in colonial and early Republic New
I don't know if there are any other historians on the list--mostly
philosophers along with a few economists it seems which is fine; I
almost did my degrees in philosophy--but I would sure be
interested in talking about the above if anybody out there is so
inclined. I am living far away from campus now and don't have
anybody at arm's length to talk to about my stuff. It's better to
be off-campus for a number of reasons, but intellectually I'm
pretty lonely. Help!
Not having forgotten class or racial politics, I currently locate
my politics somewhere within the ecoMarxist, ecoanarchist,
material ecofeminist nexus. (I think I can see a new theoretical
synthesis emerging, albeit fitfully, within this nexus--which
holds promise for taking us beyond all the many "fragments" and
"crises".) And I write occasionally now for the theoretical
journal which situates itself in this nexus, Capitalism, Nature,
Socialism. I see there has been some discussion on the list
recently about red and green, eco-Marxism etc., although I have
not had time to study and digest it all thoroughly. People
interested should definitely check out CNS (whose editor, of
course, is the notable Marxist economist, Jim O'Connor). Also,
there's a new CNS book--the first of a number now projected--Is
Capitalism Sustainable? (Guilford Press, 1994). This contains
some of the better essays from CNS by O'Connor and others. CNS
itself is orderable from Guilford Publications, 72 Spring St., NY
NY 10012 (800-365-7006). CNS's editorial address is P.O. Box
8467, Santa Cruz CA 95061. Let's talk about some articles in it?
Another excellent recent book that comes to mind is one by Elmar
Altvater from Verso Press on the future of the market. (Full
title is long and nearly impossible to remember.) He discusses
the fall of "communism", deconstructs neo-liberalism, elucidates
the Third World debt crisis and the machinations of financial
capital as well as projecting an ecological socialism. (Has
anybody out there seen any reviews and/or good critiques of this
book?) I liked it a lot.
I think "theoretical practice" (I've just been studying Althusser)
is important in its own right. But I also think that all radical
academics need to keep in touch with the base and do what they/we
can do as organic intellectuals to aid the antisystemic movements.
With that purpose in mind, I think we need, inter alia, a slew of
bibliographies of books and other resource materials on different
issues and topics (racism, sexism, nationalism, radical thought,
etc.) and appropriate for different audiences. When specific mass
questions arise around something like e.g. The Bell Curve or Haiti
or the welfare b.s. from Washington we need to be able to put our
hands quickly on the apposite materials and not fart around before
the opening to say something in the news or to acquaintances or on
the street closes down. If we don't have the encyclopaedic recall
of a Noam Chomsky (who else does?), it seems we need computerized
references updated and ready to go. (What role could the Internet
play in this respect?--I hope to hear more soon about the Left
resources list being compiled). In the future, if there are no
objections, I may want to post some drafts of said bibs here on
this list for your judicious comments and improvements. Would
anyone like to join with me on this as a collective project???
Certainly a lot of this work has been done already. But where??
What other ideas do people have for organic "intellectualizing"?
Let's share our experiences with organizing/conducting study or
reading groups, with writing leaflets, pamphlets, books, speaking
out, with whatever worked or didn't seem to work at connecting.
Anyway, enough for now. Glad to be here. On with the show!
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