Triangulation- Erwin, ScottS, Me

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at
Thu Jun 29 10:06:08 MDT 1995

>Although I don't agree with Scott's suggested syllogism, I welcome
>the recent contributions from him and Erwin.
>As soon as the contradiction starts to be handled non-antagonistically
>it seems to me it adds to the range of relevance of this list.

Are you reading the same debate I am?  I admit I came in in the middle, but
from what I've seen Erwin seems to be graciously responding to the most
vicious and unconscionable sectarian attack I've ever seen in the Marxism list.

[stuff cut]

>I guess though between Scott and Erwin, there is something more. A
>sense of grudging affection in the description of the old bear mingled
>with irritation. My hunch, based really on my feeling about hundreds of
>people who seemed to me to be aligning themselves with the official
>communist party position is a sense of being controlled.
>I experienced that in the Anti-Apartheid Movement from people who would
>not openly say they were members of a communist party but would act
>in a very inflexible albeit often very sensible way that excluded
>discussion of a creative nature with other left wingers. Methods of
>handling contradictions came over as organisational.

Chris, I grew up in the US student left, and I've met people like Scott and
his "friend" in Minneapolis in much more than one unpleasant encounter.  My
opinion is that Scott is a cadre in an intensely dogmatic, highly sectarian
Trotskyist splinter group.  The rhetoric and the style of attack are classic
and unmistakeable.  Though I've never met Erwin, in fact never heard of him
until a week or two ago, I would wager that his only crime is to have been a
member of the Communist Party.  Scott took his class specifically for the
purpose of engaging him in the Stalin-Trotsky debate, and tried to hijack
the class when Erwin wouldn't fall for it.

The most serious red-baiting I've ever experienced in the US has come from
ultra-left Trotskyists.  (Well, until I started hanging with right-wing
Cubans on the Internet.  There are intriguing similarities in their thought

>I am not lumping Erwin, who I do not know, with all this generalisation,
>but just trying to get a clue as to why Scott should be so irritated that
>Erwin wore a Jesse Jackson campaign button throughout the classes. On the
>surface it does not make sense.

Yeah, and when you dig deeper it still doesn't make any sense.  I've always
thought the political line of the ultra-left was determined in the last
instance by police provocateurs.

Chris, I know you're trying to tone down the rhetoric, and maybe this post
doesn't really contribute to the effort, but I see no reason at all to let
pseudo-Communists like Scott off the hook.  His tactics do the left harm,
and he should be called on it.


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