Matt, Steve, and Ralph

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sun Nov 19 06:14:06 MST 1995


I am concerned by the machismo tone of Matt D's post about 
Steve McDonald. The terms of abuse about Steve being little. What 
evidence do we have of that and what does it have to do with the 
question? Are we shapist? And if so how does this help the unity
working people?

The references to Steve being a crying baby:
I hope Steve feels he has the right to cry when it feels 
appropriate to him. I cried when I first realised my father 
had Alzheimers disease. But Steve was not crying in this sense.

The reference to diapers. You have the wrong comrade in nappies. It
is Ralph who is anally incontinent, in fact anally aggressive. A 
statistical word search for words associated with genitals and 
orifices would substantiate the point. 

I must ask Matt if there is something else fuelling him I have
missed. Is Steve McDonald, a lurking anti-Marxist who is a threat to 
the list?  Is Matt afraid that Ralph may get expelled?

Neither Ralph nor anybody else can be expelled from this list. Until
Ralph himself decides that he can no longer post with self-respect, 
his violently offensive language may go on.

It is this machismo that is the problem. 

(?male) Marxists should have thick skins perhaps for themselves, 
but the issue is what about other visitors? There are probably many 
selection factors leading to the marked underrepresentation of women
on this list, and we should not flagellate ourselves about all of them.
But where something can be done let us try to do it. This heavily
gender and genital orientated type of abuse is quite a turn off, but
probably differentially so for women who are not acculturated to 
be desentised to this type of power struggle.

There is no dispute that Ralph can make valuable contributions. At his
best his use of English is superb. But like some exotic Falstaff 
character, larger than life, lovable and impossible, each time he 
appears to consider repentance, he slips again.

He symbolises the resolution of political differences by the most
violent means, and uses the most penetrating and insulting language to 
do it. As someone who opposes Stalin in words, he embodies the 
attitude of mind. He claimed a year ago that it was pure fantasy and 
quite separate from reality to enjoy the dream of Farrakhan being 
burned at the stake. 

It is not separate from reality. His idealism thinks he has to try to
demolish Farrakhan in his mind. The issue is not Farrkhan, whom none of 
us can change, but the 800,000 men who went to Washington and how to 
get into dialogue with them so that on the basis of their material 
experience they may change their minds. That can only be done by a 
dialectical process of unity and struggle, not by a blotting out
with violent images and words anything with which you do not agree.


A month ago the digest carried this contribution that appears to 
refer to Carl Davidson. 

From: Ralph Dumain <rdumain at igc.apc.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 23:21:11 -0700
Subject: Re: Left Racism vs MILLION Man MARCH

The orangutans refer to -you-, you pseudo-radical piece of shit.  You
must be a Maoist monkey.  You in DC, white 'bro?  Come to my house
and see how long you live.

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This is a direct invitation to physical violence. 

Carl Davidson may no longer be subscribing.

It is ironic that Ralph subscribes through Peacenet, with no 
obvious blush for his self-respect.



Ralph cannot be expelled for violent language for which perhaps he 
should have his mouth washed out as much as Steve McDonald according
to Matt. But if Steve McDonald decides he is going to take 
responsibility of meeting fire with fire he has the right to do so, and 
risk the consequences, including, I admit, responses by Matt D, which
seem to me to be very one sided, but which Matt, of course, also has
a right to make.

I would suggest the role for the rest of us is to clarify how
differences over issues about which subscribers feel passionately,
should be handled, and how posters should be helped to see that it is
counterproductive often to present yourself as so indiscrimatingly
hostile. If you do, I suggest you have your blood pressure checked.
If nothing else will convince Ralph, I would point out that all of 
this, could be a health hazard, from the point of view of the narrowest
self-interest. 


Chris, London.

Co-moderator (inpersonal capacity)




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