Vlad the Impaler

Vladimir Bilenkin "achekhov at unity.ncsu.edu" at ncsu.edu
Wed Sep 25 22:14:25 MDT 1996

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> Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 23:11:07 -0500
> To: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
> From: dhenwood at panix.com (Doug Henwood)
> Subject: Re: Vlad the Impaler
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> At 10:10 PM 9/25/96, Vladimir Bilenkin wrote:
> >             Doug is dead.
> I hope that's an intellectual judgment and not a death threat.And if it
> is, let's have some objective measures of intellectual death. Who engages
> the real world of the present, and who mouths slogans of the 1930s?
> I'm really serious in asking this - what the hell has happened to your mind
> over the last several months, Vlad? I'd say it's turned to mush, but dust
> may be more accurate.
> Doug	

Don't be silly, Doug. In classical rhetoric this figure is called epistrophe,
repetition of ends. But I did not mean empty rhetoric. What you've said is
called political philistinism. We have to make allowance, of course,
for parochialism of American political culture, but only to a certain limit.
If the political experience of the epoch of proletarian revolutions is dead
for you, then you are dead as marxist politician.

I am not serious, you say. You are.  The only and the last time I believed
you might be was two days ago when you "seriously" asked me to say something
serious about our present.  I did. It took three fucking hours to translate
it. And it contained more than you have written for this list in three
years. I wrote about a concrete situation of class struggle in Russia today,
in which the meaning of political experience that we shorthand by names Lenin,
Trotsky, Stalin is crucial. Russian workers and their enemies alike fight
with and for the meaning of these names. Were you so "serious" as to read what
I wrote? Did you have anything "serious" to say about what I wrote?  Did you
agree or disagree with me? Enough. From now on I am going neither to expect
anything serious from you nor be serious toward you.


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