Fidel vs LM

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Aug 25 12:07:46 MDT 1999

Paul F.
>The problem with LM is that having hit upon the fact that the way that
>Aids in Britain was being used as a moral panic, with actual facts being
>submerged under a deluge of scare propaganda, it went on to say that
>practically everything else that the government or concerned bodies say
>on health and similar issues must also be based on a similarly
>fraudulent methodology.

Although most of the time I react to LM on a visceral level,
Birkenstock-wearing vegetarian that I am, there is a more interesting
question from a theoretical angle that I don't have the answer to, nor IMHO
has the usually sharp-sighted Paul F. addressed.

Which is the turn away from Marxism. I actually had a falling out--one of
many, I must ruefully add--with a young Marxist scholar named Scott McLemee
who is on the editorial board of Lingua Franca, and CLR James expert. His
collection "CLR James and the Negro Question" is indispensable. When I was
in the midst of a flame war with Jim Heartfield on the old
Marxism-International list, Scott informed me that he had been asked to do
a profile on LM for Transitions, a black-oriented journal edited by Wole
Soyinka. Good, I told him, it was about time for somebody to publicize the
networking with Ron Arnold, etc. In other words, I expected him to do the
kind of article that Lingua Franca eventually published, but not by him. It
was also the same sort of article that appeared in the Guardian.

Scott wasn't interested in the kind of "go for the jugular" investigative
reporting that I like to do. He was much more interested in considering
them as a legitimate Marxist current. This was only 2 years or so ago, when
they had not dissolved their party and still retained the iving arxism in
LM. He opined that their outré positions on fox-hunting, nuclear power,
etc. were within the framework of Marxism. I said--HEATEDLY--what kind of
Marxism was THAT? He came back that Marxism in the 20th century had come up
with all sorts of awful "positions"--just take a look at Pol Pot. At that
point I blew my stack at him, stating emphatically that if he couldn't tell
the difference between supporting nuclear power in Europe in the name of
Marxism, and the mass movement that included E.P. Thompson that opposed it,
then he shouldn't bother to write the article. I don't think he ever did.
In point of fact, he had just informed me that he was no longer a Marxist
and had joined the Swedenborg church as part of a retro version of "the god
who failed". Some people Scott's age are rediscovering the 1960s. He's much
more into the 1950s apparently. In the latest Lingua Franca, I should add,
he has a long profile on Ayn Rand giving the old buzzard much too much
credibility if you ask me.

All that being said, he did at the time have his finger on something which
was the question of whether or not LM was being influenced by Anthony
Giddens. Giddens, as I am sure you are aware, makes a big thing about
transcending traditional "left-right" boundaries, which translates into
taking a job with Blair when you really get down to it. So does LM, even
though they attack Blair routinely. I suspect that the LM tops, who were
very much part of the academic milieu that Giddens travels in must have
been susceptible to the same kinds of pressures and adapted ideologically.
Now, if they all had jobs as coal miners and truck drivers, none of this
would have happened. Right?

Louis Proyect


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