Why the Marxism 2 list exists

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu May 2 06:15:59 MDT 1996

On Thu, 2 May 1996, Robert Malecki wrote:

> I have nothing against people openly and clearly building moderated lists.
> But to make rules and then give people the kick in secret. Because that is
> what happened! One day i was on the list the next day poof, is hardly the
> way "marxist" stand on this question.

Louis: I have never been on Marxism 2 and have no interest in it
whatsoever. From the minute I found myself on the Marxism list, I have
campaigned for discussion that is related to real life. The idea of being
on a list that does nothing but discuss theory is very off-putting to me.

However, I can understand why some people, especially people who see this
resource as a way to complement their college education, would feel the
necessity for Marxism 2. In fact Marxism 1 was originally conceived as a
place where professors and graduate students could discuss theoretical

In time Marxism 1 evolved into a place where academic discussions and
more politically relevant discussions existed side by side. However, at
some point the list became tilted in the direction of practical politics
and many of the posts started coming from members of revolutionary
organizations or people like yourself who advocate them.

Lisa and others found it difficult to intervene in these types of
discussions and started to complain (mostly privately). When the struggle
over the PCP broke out, this prompted her and others to flee to a space
more akin to a classroom rather than a mass meeting.

I respect this desire and so should you.

You have one and only one thing to say that you keep repeating
constantly: we must form a working-class party and make socialist revolution.
This is your mantra. Unfortunately, mantras don't produce results. There
are no magical words that create revolutions, just as the phrase
"alakazam" could not turn rocks into gold, much to Faust's dismay.

So when you materialized on the Marxism 2 list and started reciting your
mantra 35 times a day, I can easily understand why you were dropped.

This place is where you can recite your mantra all day long. Nobody will
ever expel you from this space. This is where you can call for socialism
to your heart's content, denounce all those who would betray socialist
revolution, and uphold the purity of your own revolutionary record.

But some people want to run for the hills when they hear you coming. You
don't seem to get this. That comes as no surprise. If you did get this,
then you wouldn't persist in putting forth a message that is calculated
to turn people off--including Maoists, other Trotskyists and generic
Marxists like myself.

But feel free to be yourself in this space--as if you need any
encouragement from me.

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