From Ken Lawrence

Michael Pugliese debsian at
Mon Dec 6 09:59:19 MST 1999

   Criticism taken and noted. Don't mean to be demeaning, to the memory the
the Rosenberg's or anyone still living and struggling.
   My interventions, are stuffed with minutia, true, when other here and
there make contributions relevant to sharpening up the old strategy/tactics
conundrums to get that "Old Mole" Marx spoke burrowing further towards the
goal of all of us, I usually agree siently, and let others do the ,"I agree,
and then restate in their verbiage the same thing.
    Finally, Ken, did that bran muffin you had for breakfast, generate the
words proffered this morn. (Attempt at humor.)
                        Michael Pugliese
----- Original Message -----
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Monday, December 06, 1999 8:26 AM
Subject: From Ken Lawrence

> [This was addressed to owner-marxism at rather than
> marxism at]
>  Michael Pugliese seems obsessed with dissecting leftwing writers'
> political genealogies, and rummaging through their personal laundry bins
> trash heaps. I think this is silly, and contributes precious little to
> political debate, although it surely flaunts his passion for minutia (when
> he's right; sometimes he isn't [I pointed out to him that he had confused
> Debbie Nathan with Martha Nathan, M.D.], and in those instances it flaunts
> his own penchant for unsupported leaps). If the aim is to boast of being
> well-read in sectarian byways, I'd say my own hobbies are more
>     Here is my alternative view. The sixties and seventies were periods of
> insurgency and activism, to which intellectuals of many colors were
> or opportunistically attracted, in hopes of joining and/or influencing the
> course of events. Some of their contributions were useful, and were
> by the mass movements. Some were attempted, and found to be wanting, but
> worthwhile experiments. Some were plainly wrong-headed, and were properly
> opposed. Some (perhaps useful as examples for the ongoing LBO-talk
> on clarity) were impenetrably obtuse, and were ignored. Some were wacky,
> were ridiculed.
>     Often early heroes were later sellouts. Sometimes early opportunists
> became later comrades. None of Michael's interventions acknowledge, let
> draw intelligent insights from, such biographical material; instead we are
> repeatedly treated to titillation packaged as marxicology.
>     How does Michael's own dedication and engagement measure up to Stokely
> Carmichael's leadership of SNCC and the AAPRP over two generations of
> struggle? or to the Rosenbergs' martyrdom? to take just two objects of his
> sneers as examples.
>     Over the course of time, nearly every real activist has written or
> something she or he regrets upon reflection, or in the context of later
> events. These points are seized upon by demagogues (some of whom write for
> The Nation; others join the Spartacists), usually absent their contexts,
> slippery forms of ad hominem, beneath which to impute undue honor and
> political wisdom to themselves.
>     To me, comradeship is not measured by the correctness of one's
> line, nor by one's demonstrated political infallibility. A comrade is
> who is on our side when the chips are down, in person, and who can be
> upon to stand and fight, not to cut and run, and not to avoid engagement
> while explaining and defending higher truths.
> Ken Lawrence
> Louis Proyect
> (The Marxism mailing list:

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