Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Dec 10 12:31:59 MST 1999

>>> Jamal Hannah <jah at> 12/10/99 12:29PM >>>

Chomsky has said that naming your philosophy after someone is very close
to being religious.


Charles: Except that Marxism is emphatically and explicitly and trenchently atheist,
anti-dogmatic and scientific. Of course, someone can say they are Marxist and not
follow this, but many people who are Marxist do follow these guides to avoid being
religious about their philosophy.


I grab whatever I like from Marx, and throw out the rest.  So do
anarchists.  If it makes you feel better, call them marxists.


Charles: That's a start. Seems I would call "them" anarchists, if that is what they
call themselves. But better they grab some from Marx than not. Trouble is if they are
saying they are "grabbing" , the likely outcome is that they will have a sloppy theory
, leading to sloppy practice. Changing the system is not as easy as it might seem

I have tons of Marxist freinds.. I live in Cambridge, MA where every left
wing group is well-represented.  I think that Marxist-Leninists should be
open to criticism when you consider their total and utter failure in the
recent past.


Charles: Yes, Marxist-Leninists should be open to criticism, and especially based on
recent utter failure. But that doesn't mean every criticism is valid. Especially, when
it comes from those with ideologies who seem to have had utter failures for not only
the recent but the distant past. Where are those anarchist successes again ? Rather
slim aren't they ?


I do not think that trying to "beat" the anarchists by stealing away young
people makes much sense. You should aim for quality, not quantity.


Charles: Yea, that's true. We need qualtity and quantity. This is a mass movement, not
a conspiracy.


You need to figure out how to unify all marxist factions, diminish
authoritarianism, strengthen democracy, and escape from dogmatism.
That is the only way the left will win. It doesnt matter what we call
outseleves, though I think naming yourself after a specific persona causes


Charles: Yea we do need to figure that out.

How about calling our philosophy Communism ?

Anyway , on the name Marxism, to an extent it is a matter of not being plagerists.
Marx , Engels and Lenin actually did discovered many of the basic principles we are
following. There is little problem of a cult of a personality now because they are all
dead. It's like recognizing that Einstein was the first to discover certain important
scientific priniciples. It is important to specifically read Marx, Engels and Lenin,
for one thing to avoid having to reinvent the revolutionary wheel


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