Reply to Alex Trotter and Tim Wolforth

TimW333521 at TimW333521 at
Sun Oct 29 09:46:51 MST 1995

It is my understanding that the Marxism List is not the personal possession
on any one of the participants on the list.  I am afraid Louis seems to
believe that he has some proprietary interest in the List.

The nature of any list is really defined by all who participate in it.  For
this reason any democratically run list will contain threads which some
people find beyond their scope of interest.  For instance I personally find
MIM so far removed from the serious left I feel very much a part of that I
ignore exchanges with the group.  Yet I am quite interested in the thinking
of C of C people, Solidarity people, academic Marxists, Leninists interested
in serious discussion, Religious socialists, pacifists, etc.  All the above
and more are part of this list these days.  I say good!  

Louis appears to be on a kind of censorious binge that I find disturbing.

For example, I consider myself a Marxist and thus I have a great interest in
a list devoted to Marxism.  However, I am not a Leninist these days nor are
many who participate on this list.  I do not consider Marxism and Leninism to
be identical.  This is also a rather broadly held view among Marxists. 

I do not consider Marxism utopian.  Marx, to his credit, devoted an extremely
small portion of his writings to his vision of the future society.  This
vision was drawn from (1) a shared vision with other socialists of his day
(the utopians) (2) the experience of the Paris Commune.  Lenin summarized
this vision quite well in State and Revolution.  Then in practise he
proceeded quite differently.  This I believe is FACT.

Now we can assess these facts three ways: (a) unique circumstances forced
Lenin to abandon his vision, circumstances which will not be repeated in
future revolutions; (b)  The vision was only so much propaganda and the real
interest of Lenin all along was to achieve state power and install a powerful
state dictatorship under his control; (c) the vision was simply not
realizable, given the nature of modern society.

I believe  (c) is worth exploring.  This would suggest a Marxist "revision"
of a small pportion of Marx's views based on the experience of the Russian
Revolution as well as the further develop of technology and urbanization
since then.  This seems to me to be an appropriate topic for discussion on a
Marxism list.

Bosnia is another matter.  There are many Marxists the world over who feel
that the Bosnian Muslims have been subjected to genocide from the Bosnian
Serbs.  It is reasonable to conclude that IF such genocide has taken place,
those who opposed stopping it have to bear some responsibility for what has
happened.  It is, of course, also reasonable to reject this line of argument
and conclude that those who propound it are objectively giving succor to
world imperialism. 

 I do not consider myself a supporter of imperialism and you do not consider
yourself a supporter of genocide.  Perhaps the discussion would proceed in a
more  objective fashion  if all sides refrained from making judgements as the
"objective" meaning of opponent views.  I apologize for any polemical
excesses on my part.

I urge you and all participants on this list to read the front page article
in Sunday's Times on genocide at Screbrenica.  I know there were some on the
list who questioned the use of the term "genocide."  They MUST read this
article and then reconsider. The killing of 6,000 unarmed men because they
were Muslims can be called nothing else.

Of course there was really nothing Louis Proyect or myself could have done at
the time to prevent this slaughter.  However, Clinton, UN leaders, and
European leaders could have stopped it.  I, for one, believe they have a
level of responsibility for what happened!

Some have objected to "equating" this slaughter with that of the Jews during
WWII.  There is no question that the Holocaust was on an immeasurably grander
scale.  Yet, there is an equation:  it was the same kind of event even though
of a far lesser scale.   Do we only react to genocide when its victims are in
the millions?

Now what does this have to do with a Marxism List?  If "Marxism" has been
transformed into an academic pursuit hermetically sealed from the lives and
deaths of real people, then it has nothing to do with it.  If we speak of the
Marxism we find in the writings and lives of Marx and Engels, then it
couldn't be more relevant. 

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