Urgent! American exile in danger.

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Fri Sep 13 18:57:23 MDT 1996

On Sat, 14 Sep 1996, Hugh Rodwell wrote:

> If an editor turns out to be more than just an editor, reveals himself
> (let's take Per M as an example) as an owner precisely by his power of
> arbitrary intervention to alter the statement of purpose, then we have what
> for most people would seem to be a *coup*.

Louis: Of course, Per altered the statement of purpose. He discovered that
he wasn't clear enough in the original statement. What he had in his mind
was very clear, he just did a slipshod job of defining the list to the
public. If you want to get a clearer indication of what Per was up to, I
recommend checking the web page connected to the list. There is an article
on Trotskyism and sectarianism by Hal Draper that leaves no doubts as to
what he wanted.

What he obviously didn't think through was the problem of people hijacking
the list who just want to use it as a place to "intervene". What Hugh has
trouble understanding is that for people like Per, Doug and me, this *is*
our preconvention discussion.

In the world of Marxism-Leninism, there is the notion that at annual or
semiannual conventions, the membership has a vigorous, free and open
discussion of line documents, then votes on them, and finally defends the
line of these documents *publically* whether or not one voted in favor of
them. (This is not how the Bolsheviks operated of course.)

What I am looking for in an Internet list is the type of vigorous, free
and open discussion between people who listen to each other *without*
regard for party lines.

It is one thing to defend a position with passionate conviction, as I have
done with Nicaragua, on the basis of having arrived at *my own*
conclusions. It is another thing to be leafleted by people like LCMRI, PO
and Hugh.

One of the things that I am absolutely convinced about, by the way, is
that this wonderful medium has the potential to make universal
free and open discussion among working-people possible. When I did this
radio show the other day with Local 1180 of the CWA in NY, my fellow panel
member, who designs Web pages for the union, expressed the hope that city
wide meetings of the union might some day be carried over the Internet.

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