Who are you guys?

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Tue Jun 13 13:34:00 MDT 1995


So what are you trying to say? You don't find this discussion fruitful?
You can opt out and find one you like better or you can try to direct in
some constructive way in a direction you like better. Who are we? Many of
us, I surmise, are activists, scholars, and students who, in addition to
our organizing, finbd theoretical discussion of the basic concepts and
issues around which we organize helpful. We think, most of us, that Old
Karl or Old Vlad didn't settle all the issues, that there's more to
Marxism than applying it like a cookie cutter, that there are basic
problems to be thought through. And we find each other helpful in thinking
things through. Thinking isn't a substitute for organize, but the reverse
is true too.

This list won't make the revolution. Neither will my
group--Solidarity--although I think it's best best outfit around. Nor will
the ant-contract organizing I do. Nor will I make the revolution as an
attorney any more than I did as a philosopher. The working class and its
allies will make any revolution that's to be made. We all will help out as
best we can. Just now the working classes don't seem too keen onn
revolutions. Why that is is a big subject. "False consciousness"--a fancy
name for mistaken beliefs about who is on what side,. bad values (racism,
sexism, etc.), is surely part of it. You're right that preaching doesn't
help. Just now no one seems to know what would. If you do, please don't
keep it to yourself. I'm sure we'd all be happy to try something we hadn't
tried before.

In the meantime, and as well, getting straight on Marx, democracy, value,
etc. isn't the worst thing we could do.

--Justin Schwartz

On Tue, 13 Jun 1995, richard walsh wrote:

>
> I can almost picture you all now -the regulars- Justin, Jim, Joe,
> Jerry (still scoring points off each other I see- no democratic
> centralism here), Aniello (no need to struggle with English Grammar,
> use your own, and make it our problem), Chris (he's back again
> folks), Leo (nice critique of Marxist subject-object dualism, of
> course the answer was to be found somewhere else in Marx), Howie,
> Lisa, and so on....
> What is it that you all care about? The transformation to the
> socialist utopia? (No longer an inevitable process?)
> How is it to be done? By the cultivation of a
> radical socialist consciousness, to be shared  among a sufficient
> number of people, prefiguring the REVOLUTION (whether violent or
> peaceful, it's still there). How are the masses to transcend their
> situation, and attain revolutionary consciousness? It must be taught?
> Proselytise the people -tell them what's really good for them,
> eradicate their 'false consciousness'? Is that the way forward? What
> does this mailing list achieve then? Where does it all fit in the
> grand scheme of things?
>
> Surely it's all preaching to the converted? Ah, PREACHING, now
> there's a word. Endless huffing and puffing over each inflexion and
> small nuance that makes up the WORD. 'Scraffa on Value'? 'Utopianism
> versus Radical Democracy'? It's all a cloistered little world isn't
> it? Radical purity substitutes for the monastic ascetic, studying
> Marx replaces scholasticism's perusal of the Bible. Arguments aren't
> considered if they don't contain the requisite numer of '-isms', of
> 'class', of  'exploitings'. If they don't speak in the way the Word was
> written, and has been written about. It's all seems like
> speaking in tongues to me.
>
> They say God doesn't exist, that 'religion is the opium of the masses'.
> I must agree. But it looks like Religion has re-surfaced elsewhere. After
> all, it's about the projection of oneself onto an abstract, ontologised SELF.
> The Better Self. The socilaist utopia as Heaven, anyone?
>
>
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