There Can No Provocateurs on a Discussion List.
cwellen at pen.k12.va.us
Sun Sep 22 17:05:34 MDT 1996
Greetings to all comrades from Wei En Lin
There Can No Provocateurs on a Discussion List. A Provocateur is
someone who deliberately sets out to destroy the list. The list cannot
be destroyed by anything which anyone says on the list. It can only
be destroyed by physical sabotage from outside, or political pressures
put on those who sponsor the list.
Last week the CIA home page was sabotaged from the outside. This can
happen to any web-site.
Discussions on whether the end this list, or how to end this list may be
going on elsewhere, due to political pressures.
But individuals who say "provocative" things are not to be labeled
provocateurs. The discussion list is not a MEETING which can be
disrupted. If people do not like what participant X is saying, they can
ignore him, follow another thread, start a new one, or respond to an
idea expressed earlier by someone else. No one on this list can force
people to pay attention to him.
If some members lie about their own past or their political
contributions, this is hardly relevant.
What is at stake on a discussion list is the coherence of the arguments
themselves. If Marx himself, or Lenin, were to make postings on this
list, we would not respect the postings (or should not respect them)
unless they contain cogent arguments.
If someone on this list masquerades as a revolutionary, when in actual
fact, he is a factory owner (like Owen or Engels), we should pay
attention only to the arguments.
Let us refrain from arguments based on suppositions (positive or
negative) concerning the outside activities of members of the list. It
diverts us from exploring the relevant social issues.
Wei En Lin
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