Questions for Ethiopian Cdes re:EPRP

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Sun Dec 12 20:47:27 MST 1999

Title: Re: Questions for Ethiopian Cdes re:EPRP
Greetings Comrades,
    The groups response, Ghebremichael Woldeselassie, was quite interesting to
me.  I'll take their comments directly to me and leave the bulk of their
comments alone for now.
Ghebremichael Woldeselassie
Now, Ato Doyle.  No we do not eject anyone, since we are not a party, but a
group of firm friends who trust one another because of long experience.  We
have different views, different social backgrounds and different levels of
education. But we stick together because of our "particular situations"!  
Maybe you find that hard to understand.  We are for social production of use
values - that is enough for us at present.  We need to discuss how to do
that in the Horn of Africa, which is split into a hundred, or more,
divisions - it is Africa.  Clearly, we are not from all ethnic groups, but
for us to engage in expulsions over minor matters would not bode well!
What does the word Ato mean?  It is nice you are friends and can trust each
other.  And I can understand some of your wanting to not get trivial about who
is present in your group or on this list and who isn't.  Let me just give some
personal information.  I haven't been doing these e-mail lists for long (a
little more than a year).  I was participating on the LBO (Left Business
Observer) list awhile back and I was kicked off.  I at first thought I had left
voluntarily, but it turns out I was given an "indeterminate vacation".  I feel
kind of like you characterizing removing Jamal, that the cause for my ejection
from LBO was trivial, or to be more clear that I had no recourse in a
substantial way from LBO  for being removed when I was reacting in a way that is
consistent with who I am to what I felt was provocation and disrespect to me for
no cause.  But on the other hand I was enraged by my treatment, and I felt my
anger was totally useless to be spent in such a way.  I still feel that deep
anger with the persons who disrespected me.  My anger prevented me from that
point on from being friends with people I would be on the list with.  And so I
decided it was justice that I leave that e-mail list.  This list also doesn't
need my anger disrupting the talk back and forth.  That is fair enough.  If I
can't participate without being able to control my feelings, I ought to move on
to some place that is more friendly, right?
Secondly these lists are small, and fragile.  Fragile in the sense that a series
of writing attacks on other people's words that can't be resolved in a "moderating"
way can destroy the depth of the conversation.  The people who run the lists are
not acting as a party either.  Rather they have some experience as individuals,
more than mine certainly, of how these forums work over time but they are just
individuals with rather sketchy rules they enforce.  I don't think this is like
a party at all in the classic Marxist sense.  Your postings have been
interesting, but keep in mind what makes these forums work is the exchange of
e-mails in a public forum.  People get really hot under the shirt collar about
what they really think and believe.  The arbitrariness of some of the membership
rules has to do with dealing with individuals running these lists.   If you
notice for example someone just left this list complaining about name calling.  Name
calling?  What is so wrong about name calling?
When these lists get larger where a few individuals can't read everything to
make moderating work successfully, and the fighting over meaning and
understanding reaches subtleties that are to hard to break down into individual
responsibility there will be a time when the role of the individual moderator
will cease to function as it does here.  Perhaps sometimes Lou is too hasty, or
the opposite too lenient.  He has tolerated me, when I was kicked off LBO.  He
might be much more lenient than LBO.  But at this point things are much looser
than a party system allows.  And that is important to keep in mind.
Finally you didn't respond to my bringing up an anarchist whom I think is
interesting to consider.  Not Jamal's points which were argumentative and
shallow, but someone who functioned in the recent past in the U.S. and what his
anarchism really meant.  In that man's context we could easily examine for
example positivism which many in the U.S. left spend a lot time of fighting, and
for which this anarchist was directly and centrally related to in his career.  We
could consider many things about this man which are well beyond what anarchist
groups are capable of generating at the present time in the U.S.  I think.  I
could be wrong.  But you didn't follow my lead.  That happens to be the trouble
with these lists.  One puts things out but there is not fundamentally personal
control over the direction of the public conversation except as the moderator
asserts some social control.  So all my effort went to nothing.
Doyle Saylor

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