MIM replies to assorted Proyectisms on gender, commitment etc.

rakesh bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sun Aug 25 15:03:50 MDT 1996


Though it is certainly time to focus on Siddharth's brilliant posts, here
is a quick reply.

>. It is based more on political positions you've put
>forward publically about the militias and related questions. Have a nice
>day.

I am sorry that I had to clarify that you could not have derived your
evaluation of my outsider stance and hidden MIM sympathies from any
personal meeting (though I must thank you for lunch). Simply didn't want
that hanging over my head (I hope you understand).  And I am troubled that
you now want to suggest that you know something more about my politics than
others  because of some relevant private message which I have sent you!
This is argument by insinuation.

Well, why don't you simply comment on everything in my post which wasn't
personal--my comment on your hero Mike Davis' very provocative idea of the
centrality of outsider consciousness to the development of class
consciousness;  my criticism of the Black Belt thesis and the unthinking
use of racial categories; my fear that in trying to "mainstream" Marxism,
the revolutionary internationalist voices  of an Alan Freeman or Guglielmo
Carchedi and proletarian exclusivist politics of a Walter Daum  may be
drowned out; my sense that the  post WWII hegemonic status of the US, now
on the wane, still poses certain problems for the building of movements
built on the direct responsibility and action of people themselves?

In terms of the militias, there is a long history (about which quite
unfortunately I know nothing)of Marxists courting right-wing militia-type
groups; I am thinking here of Paul Lafargue and Karl Rakek.  The former was
criticized by Marx himself for some such collobaration.  There is an
argument that Radek and Ruth Fisher and others incorrectly attempted to
appeal to anti-semitic movements in Weimar Germany since they were thought
to be comprised basically of misdirected revolutionaries.  Perhaps Lafargue
and Radek saw real possibilities  which could be taken advantage of,
perhaps they were mistaken.

These are real arguments.  And I don't think you can honestly conclude that
I am alienated from the working class because of my suspicion towards the
Michigan Milita, the Patriots and the Freeman--probably all lead by solid
petty bourgeois; after all, my criticism of such movements was from the
perspective of what they meant from the perspective multiethnic working
class unity. In the Village Voice, James Ridgeway argued that much of their
politics is indeed very race-coded. This is an open question; to suppress
the question, Louis, actually suggests alienation from minorities and thus
the working class!

 However, I have been emphatic that we should not buy into the hysteria
against such groups that we go along with all these blows to civil
liberties.  And I have admitted that I overstated my case to Sally Ryan in
a public post.    And isn't it strange after all that we had more
sympathetic discussion of such forces on this line than we have had of any
specific strike?

Rakesh





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