Official version?

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Fri May 31 15:01:48 MDT 1996

Knife writes:

>>Anyway, within a couple of weeks, we got hir to make a clear written
>>policy that everybody gets in the info sheet when they sign up.  The
>>policy was also announced on the list at the time a couple of times, so
>>Malecki knew he was breaking the rules when he did it.  I thought it was
>>obvious that he wanted to get kicked off!

Hands up every Marxist that's never broken a rule!

Everyone who's gone to school knows the routine of oppression: single out
'ringleaders', make an example of them 'pour encourager les autres', and
blame the victims.

The policy and the rules of m2 are clear enough now, and totally
self-contradictory. On the one hand there's the content aspect -- anything
and everything to do with Marx, the honest rough-and-tumble of committed
and heated exchanges -- and on the other, the style -- dinner jackets in
the drawing room before dinner, and no mention of where we come from or
where we got the money, so to speak, on pain of ejection. Narcissus fell in
love with his own face in the pool, but died because he didn't realize it
was his own -- he didn't question where the pretty fizzog came from!

Robert violated the style rules (which were in fact made up as things
developed, and made up largely to be able to exclude him) and got done.
Style rules. Same thing happened to poor old BodySack. Same thing happened
to me. Rahul went too close to the fence and got a jab from the cattle prod
to remind him of his place. The content (how best to discuss Marxist
issues) came into direct collision with the style.

The terrible way the whole business was handled, and the extreme narrowness
and one-sidedness of the rules underline the character of m2 as a
discussion circle light-years from a free and democratic forum for the
discussion of any and every Marxist concern of relevance to present-day
society. Which isn't to say there's nothing useful on it.

Knife waxes self-ironic:

>>And even then the evil moderator, the Baronness cackling in the torture
>>chamber, said that "execution" was only temporary, and if anybody wanted
>>to come back, all they had to do was say the magic words "I can live with
>>the policies of this list" and POOF they would be resurrected.

Not exactly. 'Live with' is too vague. You can live with cockroaches if you
have to. The essential thing is agreeing to abide by the rules. No-one can
look into your head or heart and claim to know what's going on there.
Anyone can check you're sticking to the rules, if the rules are clear

>>One of the undead has in fact done this.

Quite a lot of the many subscribers to m1 are also subscribers to m2.
Anyone care to work out what percentage of m2 is made up of the undead?

Interesting that it is taken for granted that anyone subscribing to both m1
and m2 automatically 'belongs' to m1. Indicates a big inferiority problem.
Since the two groups are hermetically sealed off from each other, there
should be no problem in admitting parallel priorities. Discussions on m1,
even if the subject is m2, have absolutely nothing to do with discussions
on m2, and vice versa.

>>Hse just had to push it to the limit to see
>>what it would take to get the moderator to use that axe, and then decided
>>hse wanted to talk to people on marxism2 after all and could drop the
>>hassling and pestering about trying to make every possible rule be spelled

Several people noted that the response of m2 to complaints about potential
censorship was in fact to institute actual censorship.

Just for the record, since Knife speculates about my motives, I wasn't
'pushing it to the limit' to provoke an axing. I didn't want to get axed. I
wanted to discuss the principles on which a Marxian discussion group should
be run. The clash of principles on the issue led the powers-that-be to use
their power to exclude me. By excluding me (as by earlier excluding Robert
and BodySack) the powers-that-be clarified their own position and

I didn't particularly want to 'talk to people on marxism2', what I wanted
was to discuss certain issues of Marxism on as broad a basis as possible,
including ideas that could be contributed by subscribers to m2.
'Conversation' is mere style, 'discussion' focuses on content.

There's a fine dividing line between 'hassling and pestering' and
'insistence'. A lot of the talk about 'harassment' on m2 is
princess-on-a-pea stuff.

There was no need, eventually, for further insistence on getting clear
rules, as the rules had become clear enough. It had also become clear what
the chances were for 'due process' (zero) before exclusion. So now everyone
knows where they stand.

It wasn't an easy decision for me to agree to abide by the rules of m2.
They make my flesh creep. And agreeing to them lost me Robert's confidence,
which I value. But I disagree with Robert about the character of discussion
groups on the net. They're not parties with membership loyalties and
discipline. I see them as wall newspapers more than anything else. And if
there's the chance of some interesting big-character posters being pasted
up, I want to be there to read them. Not unconditionally, though -- m2 is
still on trial as far as I'm concerned.

Some of the more interesting discussions on m2 are in fact conducted by
such stalwarts of m1 as Rahul, Doug, Rakesh, Zeynep, etc etc.

For a free and democratic discussion!



PS Some joker tried to screw me by forwarding one of Robert's messages
about the 'Baroness' to the m2 moderator's personal e-mail address as if
the forwarding was from my account. The reaction was predictable. The
business was cleared up quickly enough -- as long as I'm subscribed to m2
that's the last kind of thing I'd do. It's not my style anyway, subscribed
or not. Maybe some net expert could tell us how to find out who did it?
Things get heated enough with our real postings, none of us need forgers
stirring things.

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