Who's a Marxist? (was: Khrushchev's speech)

Workers World / Chicago wwchi at SPAMwwa.com
Wed Aug 4 21:08:18 MDT 1999

(With reference to my critique of the marxists.org website, Xxxzx Xyyxyz
>  If you could elaborate more it would be helpful when this matter can
>be brought up again. Can you explain the objections to Draper,
>Morris, and Pannekoek, and then to Mao, Stalin, and Dimitrov?

I don't object to them.  It's good to have them in there.  But I think that
it's "odd" to have a classification scheme for an archive of Marxist
writings, that lets in William Morris, for example, who is probably better
known as a fantasy novelist than he is as a nineteenth-century socialist,
and who is not particularly well known for Marxist analysis, and then
excludes Dimitrov, Mao, and Stalin, who were very influential practical
Communist organizers, writers, theoreticians, and world leaders, and who
used Marxist categories and theory in all their writings.  Lumping them in
with Bakunin as "non-Marxists" is just plain surreal and will confuse the
hell out of newbies.

I suppose the idea is that only "good Marxists" should be called "Marxists",
and that people with "bad Marxist analysis", in the opinion of the website
editors, should not be called Marxists at all?  That's not a reasonable way
to proceed.  Calling someone a "Marxist" is not like giving him/her the
"Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" or the imprimitur of the Catholic
Church.  It just identifies them as people who contributed to the body of
Marxist theory.  Calling them 'non-Marxists' is sort of like making a
website about biologists and then having a "non-biologists" section in which
you put people like Lamarck and Agassiz, whose theories you judge to have
been incorrect.  It's a falsification.  God knows I'm not shy about
polemicizing against people in "left" parties/currents with whom I disagree,
but I would never put together a web page labeling my opponents as

It would be much more honest if the editors would put them all in the
"Marxists" section (except Bakunin) and then write reviews/assessments of
them, and even rate their writings with zero to four stars or something.  At
least then they would be openly engaging the writers in question, and
readers of the site could agree or disagree with the editors' assessments.

Louis Paulsen
member, Workers World Party, Chicago

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