Rump Unity heads back to the future

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Tue Sep 10 16:39:40 MDT 1996

Over on left-unity Per M has lost his innocence. All the talk about votes
and consultation and following democratic principles boils down to this:

>>From owner-left-unity at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU  Tue Sep 10 19:59:15 1996
>From: "Per I. Mathisen" <perim at>
>Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 19:42:50 +0000
>Subject: The way forwards
>Dear friends;
>I have been away for two days.
>The first thing I noted getting back on was a substantial
>stream of unsubscribing list subscribers. This list is going
>down the drain. And I know why. This is what I will try to
>describe below, and describe what I have done to remedy this
>The reason is quite obvious, actually. People tell me
>about it every day, people who quit. They are fed up about
>all this "Malecki business". They are fed up about all the
>discussions on charters. They came here to discuss
>left-unity, regroupment, marxist organisation, critical
>studies of leninism, the future of sane socialism from below
>and all the rest of the stuff, not get drawn into a
>long-winded factional war with sectarians.
>Indeed, many of the people we had assembled before we
>started this list, there were more than 20 of them, have
>left this list. We did not want the list which some other
>people on this list have been advocating. We did not want a
>repeat of the Marxism1 list.
>I am not advocating that we should only allow in people who
>argue the same conclusion. Actually, I say the opposite:
>That is mostly irrelevant. What we want restrictions on, is
>whether or not we are asking the same questions. We haven't
>been. We wanted to discuss the future of broad parties on
>the left, how to construct them and how not to. Not if.
>This list is not a political party. Those who have
>understood that little after all the attempts that have been
>forthcoming to explain this, should leave the list; because
>we are not going to transform it into a political party,
>Those who have wanted the poisonous disruptor known as
>"Robert Malecki" to be on this list, are wanting a
>qualitatively different list than we wanted originally. I
>fear we did not adequately state this in the beginning;
>state that we wanted a list where questions were asked from
>*our* point of view, not from the point of view of the usual
>loud-mouthed sectarians who fill various newsgroups and
>mailing lists on the net with their mindless chatter.
>The most recent proposals for how to run the list,
>including both the charter and some proposals for
>discussion threads to run, are getting quite good, in my
>humble opinion. However, until now we have been discussing
>which way to take. I think we were quite clear about from
>what view we wanted questions to be put when we created this
>list. However, some people who were not part of the
>pre-discussion have been agitating for a different course, a
>course which I think leads in quite a different direction
>than the one we wanted it to.
>I partly blame myself for this happening. I should have
>foreseen this, if not when the list was created, then before
>I sent out my advertisements. We should have anticipated
>this. Now we have learnt, but we need to deal with the
>problems at hand: which direction to go. And we need to
>commence our travel *now*, or the list will be no more.
>I am tired of all this. So are those who have left this
>list. If they are to return, we need to proceed to
>*constructive discussions*. To do this, we need to have
>sorted out which path we want to travel, from which
>perspective we want to discuss - that is, if we want to have
>a flamewar across the abyss of political difference which
>parts critical marxists and sectarians, or real discussions.
>I have no doubt what I want, and it happens that I am
>moderator of this list, and not by coincidence. I won't
>allow this list going down the drain, which it is now, and
>it is my responsibility to see to that it shouldn't be.
>The only conclusion I can reach of the above is the
>expulsion from the list of the "PO" address and of "Hugh
>Rodwell", both who have been advocating having the
>disruptors "Malecki" and Ben Burgis on the list, and have
>shared a sectarian and small-party elitist view on party
>building, quite contrary to the approach of us who founded
>the list in the first place.
>The expulsions has been put into effect immediately.
>As to charter, I think we should keep a thread going -
>please identify it clearly - on discussing charter content.
>I believe some changes should be made to avoid sectarians
>entering the list again under disguise of being allowed to
>do so by the list rules.
>We should, if possible, agree on its content, and if not,
>vote for different proposals. I think Luciano would make a
>good vote-taker. I suggest we set a deadline next Friday for
>this discussion.
>Also, I suggest we set a temporary deadline on Saturday next
>week for incoming contributions on the Transitional
>I am sorry that this problem has been solved
>administratively rather than politically, and not only
>administratively, but rather undemocratically and hastily so
>too. But I think it had to be done, and now. Those who
>cannot live with these decisions should leave the list.

This behaviour is not a re-run of marxism2, it's worse. Lisa's unprincipled
retrospective rigging of the rules was a charitable act by Mother Teresa in
comparison with Per M's hatchet job as moderator. Lisa at least held to
stated principles in relation to my suspension and re-admission. We both
knew where we stood. But this latest performance by Per!

No warnings.

No consultation.

No vote-taking.

No suspension.



At least they didn't have Marxism in the list title.

So press forward, lads, to a discussion with

No opposition

No party

No programme

No centre

No head

No strategy

No future.

Louis P, you can come back now, all is forgiven. The swamp is just as wet
and sticky as you like it. No threat of draining any more, no nasty
principles to firm up the squish, no bracing blast of dissent. The air is
as still and stagnant as the fluid. Enjoy.



PS I would naturally object to this stupid and vindictive decision if I
didn't know better.

The list owners are in complete and arbitrary command. The use they make of
this power lays bare their lack of political principles.

As we have been told many times before, Spoon lists are neither political
parties nor responsible elected bodies. Left unity has done a good deal of
huffing and puffing about democratic formalities, but it's all been chucked
overboard without a second thought when it has come to even the slightest
crunch. Sheer hypocrisy.

I say stupid decision, because if Per had had any sense he would have
capitalized on the perceived hostility towards my person generated by Louis
P and Doug H and a couple of others by booting me and making a great
hullabaloo about 'disruption' or some such. The continued presence of PO
would have given the appearance and some slight legitimacy of open
discussion and tolerance to the rump unity list.

But Per was too desperate to think. He had to strike at the organized
Trotskyists most rooted in the classical tradition of proletarian
revolutionary work, intent on building an internationalist party with a
cadre loyal to the precepts of workers' democracy and disciplined

So now the hermetically sealed off Rump Unity list will be a 24-carat
hall-marked Menshevik discussion circle, whose petty-bourgeois intellectual
milieu can bend and waver to the blasts of bourgeois public opinion in
total freedom. No "sectarian" straitjackets here, no sirree! Only
"anti-sectarian" straitjackets!

Cheers again,


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