Second Status Report

Hans Ehrbar ehrbar at
Sun Aug 25 10:18:45 MDT 1996

Since Friday's "intermediate summary", the spoon collective
received a number of additional proposals and requests for lists in
the marxism space.  If you want to make your own proposal, please
submit to

     marx-administration at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU

Here is a listing of these additional proposals, which also includes
some proposals generated by members of the spoon collective itself:

  * marxism and literature (fiction, from the poetry of Blake to the
    novels of Ursula Leguin)

  * marxism-intro (newbies can discuss with patient marxists on an
    anonymous basis)

  * marxist political economy

  * marxism and the national question (given the internecine wars created
    by the break-up of the Soviet Union and its area of influence, and
    given the continuing nationalist struggles in Africa, Ireland, etc)

  * a specialized list about accumulation, imperialism, and ideology,
    finally resolving the Luxemburg-Bernstein debate.

  * a list about Marx's Capital --- interpretations, critiques, developments

  * Marx, Foucault, and Gramsci

Besides, Zeynep made a proposal of 6 lists, and Louis G a proposal
of 4 lists.  Both proposals are appended below for those who have
not seen them yet.

The spoon collective is in the process of sorting out how many
different list proposals we really have.  But we still solicit more
proposals, and we also want to hear from people who would be willing
to moderate those lists, since a number of proposals came without a

We also received messages expressing general agreement with our project,
and support for a list wich trashes the post-modern fluff heads.

In a separate posting to marxism, Zeynep made a very constructive
critique of the whole conception of our proposal.  If we want an
organic whole to emerge, we must plan it as an organic whole.  Most
importantly, several voices on the marxism list argued that a list
which is open to discussion of everything is needed, similar to the
present marxism list, but with the essential difference that there
should be a set of formal rules.  The vision of an on-line
international journal of marxism was conjured up which allows a fast
and intensive debate as in marxism, but with formal rules which exclude
repetitions, perhaps restrict the number of postings by every
individual, and with an infrastructure which allows for articles to be
posted in foreign languages with assigned translators, an excellent
archive which can be searched by key words, and the option of digest
lists which select only certain topic areas for those who only want to
follow certain topics.

In other words, instead of a broadening by fanning out into several
different lists, this would be a deepening which allows one single
list to carry a heavier load of substantive debate.  Both approaches
can be complementary, and the spoon collective is taking this approach
very seriously.  We are thinking hard about what would be appropriate
ground rules for such a broad list and invite everyone who wants to
discuss the modalities of such a list to subscribe to the marxism
list, where this debate originated.  Send a message with the following
text in the body

subscribe marxism

to majordomo at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU


As promised above, here is Zeynep's proposal of a number of particular

From: Zeynep Tufekcioglu <zeynept at>
Subject: New lists
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 16:44:01 +0300

Here are a few proposals:

1. Theoretical & practical aspects of organisation
[Forms of struggle, Leninism, vanguardism, the valid and the obsolete, etc.]

This forum could hold a discussion for discussing various theories about
organisation; consider some specific cases of left/revolutionary/marxist
etc. organisations; theory and practice of political pedagogy & interaction
with the working class; concepts as democratic centralism, collective
centralism; the role of social-democrat parties, etc.

2. Theory of the state, globalism and internationalism
[The restructing of the nation-state, low intensity warfare,
multi-nationals, finance-capital, the thirld-world and [under]development,
fascism, etc.]

This forum can debate what globalism means; its impact; the nature and the
function of multi-nationals; the role of the finance-capital; the evolution
of the nation-state under globalism; specific developments in the
first-world, the third-world; forms of the bourgeois state (concepts as
democracy, fascism in today's world); global power blocs and hegemony; low
intensity warfare; foreign debt problem; etc.

3. Restructuring the struggle in an era of neo-liberalism
[Crisis theory, neo-liberalism, the working class on the verge of the 21st
century, trade-unions, new employment structures and methods, the role of
peasantry, etc.]

This forum can debate the current economical situation; neo-liberalism or
flexible accumulation; theory of crisis (overproduction, underconsumption,
fall of profitability), the structure of today's capitalism and theoretical
concepts & practical aspects; de-industrialisation; growth of the service
sector; flexible employment (part-time work, subcontracting, quality
management and just in time techniques, the indvidiual contracts); the class
alignments and the social structure in the first-world and the third world
(urbanisation, inner-cities, peasantry, lumpen proletariat, the "classical"
proletariat); the role and function of the trade-unions; environment and
capitalism; etc.

4. National/ethnic question and the class struggle
[the surge in ethnic politics and struggles, class politics & the national
question, nationalism in the third-world in the first-world, etc.]

This forum for the rise of the ethnic sensitivities and struggles, specific
manifestations (Ireland, Kurdistan, East Timor, Tamil, Euskada..);
tribalisation (Bosnia, Rwanda); the growth nationalist right & fascism; the
rise of nationalism in the first-world (and its impact on the working class
struggle); the fall of third-world nationalist/development oriented ideology
(Peronism, Baath, Nasir, the non-aligned movement,..)

5. Ideology, culture & marxist politics
[the mass media, consumerism, identity politics, new mediums as the
internet, theory of ideology & politics]

Here, the debate could include the role and function of the mass media;
post-modernism and post-modernity; information age; the internet; the nature
of bourgeois electral politics; fragmentation; the current forms of "thought
control"; consumerism; atomisation; individualism; collective identities;
theory of ideology; theory of politics; space & time; class politics;
methodology, marxism and science; etc.

6. The Soviet Bloc & Socialism
[A theory of transition, lessons from the Soviet experiment, problems of
socialism, planning, etc.]

This forum can debate various theories of socialism, transition,
post-capitalism, central planning, market socialism, the Soviet experience,
the post-Soviet world, the current experience in the ex-socialist countries,
Cuba, Nicaragua, etc.

I suggest that all these be moderated to allow a productive, structured
debate. Flame-wars and over-repetition should be cautioned against but not
forbidden in a strict sense so as to stifle the debate. A Marxist discussion
list can't and shouldn't expect a noncommittal attitude from the participants.

I'm not sure about the technicalities, but I prefer a democratic process for
choosing, removing moderators, and for expulsion from the list. Also, a
panel of moderators instead of a single moderator seems more appropriate.




Finally, here is Louis G's proposal of 4 lists:

Date: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 15:14:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Louis R Godena <louisgodena at>
Subject: New lists[?]

Dear list members;  May I suggest the following?

(1)History & Science:
Encompassing the development of modern thought in the natural sciences from
a Marxian perspective

(2)Problems of Modern Communism:
Analysis of the transitions from Actually Existing Socialism to
post-Communism in eastern Europe and Asia.     Stalinism as a model in
underdeveloped societies.    Neo-Communism in the 21st century.

(3)Marxism & Culture:
A discussion of Marxian concepts of culture from Lukacs and Gramsci down
through the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer,  and Marcuse) and into our
own era (Pierre Bourdieu,  Louis Althusser and Raymond Williams).
Aesthetics,   Art and Literature,  Structuralism,  Hegemony, etc.

(4)American Marxism:
Revolutionary prospects in the contemporary United States.    American
'exceptionalism'.    Political character of the working class.    Working
class culture and its discontents.    Marxism and its roots in "mainstream"
American political history.    History of the American Left.

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