Debating Karl: a waste of time

Karl Carlile joseph at
Thu Jun 6 14:07:57 MDT 1996

I just want to say to the Marxism List that this piece below for which
Louis Proyect constitutes a total distortion of my views. Louis' abject
inability to develop an argument with me into something more valuable as
once again manifested itself.

During my many months on this List it is has people like Louis who fail to
facilitate the development of useful debate on it. They give off
the pretence of being serious about debate through their never ending
loquaciousness about this and that: like the proverbial honey bee buzzing
about above a field of flowers they must eventually land on some flower
or other even if only momentarily. But the one thing they will not do is
facilitate the development of debate that has promise into sustained
argument. These kind of people on the List serve as the intellectual
policemen of capitalism whose function is to contain debate in good old
Stalinist fashion. If they cannot do it in a polite fashion they will do
it with lies, sarcasm and expletives. Their purpose is to prevent the
working class from experiencing marxist theory as a means of obstructing
the emergence and development of marxism as a political force. Like the
wolf in sheep's clothing they pretend.They pretend to be the friend of
the worker by their constant bleating about how caring, active and
committed they are, unlike other mortals.

Some of them have even made declarations about leaving the List and of even
forming a new List to rival this one because some new people had joined
 who were not as unadulterated as these holy ones. These
latter day saints have been chosen by god to show us poor mortals the
way, felt that these people were the harbingers of Satan and should be
damned for all eternity. Secretly their view was that these baddies were not
going to take their little power patch over. After all they have had control for
some time now through a mixture of deceit, sarcasm, expletives, ignorance
and above all of course the silence. The latter is a very useful weapon for
these holy men of wisdom. When they dont like what they hear they preserve
a silence as means of suppressing debate.

Significantly many of these people including one by the name of John the
Baptist Proyect never left the List despite his cries that he was going to
leave; despite his cries that these Satanic agents were ruining the List.
Yet these people are still on the List and yet it has not been destroyed.

I say this to you oh Holy One who was a veteran in Vietnam and an
 experienced revolutionary in Nicaragua...and a lot of other things as well
 I'm sure while we unworhty mortals were just lay abouts talking and doin nothin.

> As I expected, Karl's reply to me was simply commentary on my own
> historical research. He includes no quotes from the parties involved in
> the fight. He provides no background from Lenin's articles preceding the
> split conference. I think it is absolutely obligatory for somebody who
> advocates "Leninism" as Karl does to have a working knowledge of Lenin's
> Iskra articles, letters and speeches from the period of 1900-1903.
> Basically, I don't really feel motivated to have a debate with somebody
> about the significance of the 1903 split whose posts are
> so barren of historical context. I find myself in the same position as I
> was in debating Hugh Rodwell about Nicaragua. When I challenged Hugh to
> produce some facts to back up his arguments, he backed off. Karl, on the
> other hand, simply keeps repeating the same thing over and over, whether
> or not they are in the spirit of historical Bolshevism rather than his
> projection.
> What is this same thing?
> Karl believes that Lenin had the correct ideas. The struggle for
> "Leninism" is the struggle to preserve the revolutionary thread of these
> ideas. Karl wants to create a new revolutionary movement. How does he
> propose this be done? He wants to create small circles of intellectuals
> who will discuss the basic ideas of Marxism in order to purge the left of
> the false ideas that permeate it currently.
> I would try to demonstrate to him that this approach has nothing in common
> with Lenin's approach. Lenin conceived of theory and praxis as being
> interlinked. The party would develop out of engagement with popular
> struggles. The program would be refined through these very same struggles
> within the context of Marxism. Karl's approach is to get the ideas right
> and then carry them out. This approach is reminiscent of the declaration of
> somebody who says they will become a capitalist as soon as they put
> together a million dollars.

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