Ceding ground to capitalist ideologues, and a warningtoanarchists

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Tue Dec 14 13:16:44 MST 1999

>>> "Craven, Jim" <jcraven at clark.edu> 12/14/99 02:30PM >>>

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Brown [mailto:CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us]
Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 1999 10:23 AM
To: leninist-international at buo319b.econ.utah.edu
Subject: L-I: Re: Ceding ground to capitalist ideologues, and a warning

 Yoshie wrote:

Hey, on LBO-talk, we still outnumber, not to mention outsmart, Brad DeLongs
of the world.


Do come back, and just ignore Brad, as Mike Yates does.


CB: Without struggle there is no progress.


     --- from list leninist-international at lists.econ.utah.edu ---


With all due respect to Charles who knows a whole lot about what real
struggle is,and with no reference to LBO-talk because I have never been o it
or read it (only due to time constraints) I guess I have to ask struggle
with what ends in mind or likely.


CB: I certainly have enormous respect for Jim C's theory and real struggles too. So, I
does cause me to pause and reflect when he and Mark J. say that list is not worth it;
and Lou says it has gone down hill.


 I don't mind taking on Brad De Long if he
were capable and inclined to respond to the specifics with his own specifics
(evidence, sources, reasoning). I have used some of Brad's stuff in my own
class as a splendid example of how someone can be titled, hold a
professorship, hold a position in government and still be incompetent even
in terms of his own bourgeois sacreds. My students get a real lift when they
can go to their own texts and refute some of Brad's basic ignorance and
incompetence (and/or rhetorical/ideological blindness) that even an Econ 101
student wouldn't dare utter. And I find Brad's polemics to be useful in
illustrating some of  the common "Faustian Bargains" or the spirals of
SUCKcess in academia, politics, media and religion:

[on your knees to the powers that be, not asking nasty questions,
ideological sycophancy, and/or be willing to whore for the
man]--->[preferred access];
[preferred access]--->[big grants/scoops/positions/promotions]-->
[exposure]-->[name recognition]-->[expanded preferred access]--->...

excuse the linear exposition about linear people in a nonlinear world.


CB: I don't even have this excuse for "using" Brad Delong, although , I suppose my
reason for staying on lists where he is is related to what Jim is saying. Lets see.
What am I doing on these lists anyway ?  Frankly, some of it is for the comradeship
and friendship of like minded people in a time when I feel extremely isolated and
helpless to real effect the world in the way I would want. But then why stay around
someone who is not like minded ? The first answer is "why should I let Brad Delong
push me off a list ? " Part of the reason I stay there is not to concede territory to
the other side.
Then I think ( again back to why am I on lists in general), I might influence some of
the people in the audience who are in the middle. Delong especially and in particular
to me raises anti-Sovietism. The vast majority of people are kneejerk anti-Soviet. So
, I have nothing to lose. If they stay that way in response to my argument with
Delong, I haven't lost anything. If just a few change some or even a lot, I have
gained. The same might be said about most of the other subjects. Also, I guess I have
in the back of my mind that I am sharpening my arguments o these issues in general. It
seems to me most people in the real world are going to have ideas that are to some
extent similar to the conservatives on these lists. These will be the types of things
they hear in the mass media. So, it is like practicing arguing against what I will
have to argue against anyway if the struggle for the minds of masses.

Then I have to admit , the struggle of argument is more interesting than agreeing on
everything. There is the challenge of beating their arguments.


If the rightists were capable of taking specific issue with specifics in
rebuttal, they would be doing all of us a real service to sharpen up our own
skills and test our own notions; no one should fear debate. but that is not
what these wreckers are doing. What they are doing is snide comments and
pot-shots that lead nowhere except to distractions from real issues and
struggles that these creatures could never imagine; struggles made more
intense and brutal by the very forces for which these ideologues are whoring
and pimping in the name of "free debate".


Charles: I have to agree with Jim, and I very much appreciate him calling them out on
this. My only thought is that this kind of dirty fighting and much worse is and will
be the norm in all significant struggles. Practicing with dirty tricks will prepare us
for the typical bourgeois fight. I always expect the worse from my opponents. Of
course, I am used to dealing with lawyers , who are as dirty as anybody arguing.


What happened to the Brazilian Minister of the Environment who merely
pointed out to Summers that his infamous memo represented disgusting
reductionism, inhumanity etc (paraphrase)? He was fired while the
neo-Eichmann Summers went on to become Secretary of Treasury. These rightist
and neoliberals demand free speech and consideration of/response to their
polemics by leftists while pimping for institutions that no leftist
would/could work for because of security screening to ensure employment only
of the likes of Brad (a few exceptions on this list showing World Bank and
other addresses will probably lose their own jobs soon).


Charles: The bourgeoisie are completely ruthless. This is a most important lesson from
the first efforts to build socialism.  We must get it in our heads that fairness is
absolutely out of the picture when dealing with the bourgeosie.


So I guess that I have to plead "opportunity cost": Since they have nothing
and refuse to respond with specifics to rebuttals, and since they will
obviously not change, why bother with them? If if there is no reason to
bother with them and if their own polemics cause people to summarily delete
them (I always read everything Brad had to say looking for more examples for
my students of how ideological whoring can triumph over lack of basic
competence in even bourgeois economics), then why are they on the list and
why do they keep coming back for more punishment and/or invective? I suggest
that just like the right-wing libertarians who are so fond of themselves,
their own rhetoric and wrecking other people's list, these neoliberal
globalists are of the same stripe: wreckers and narcissists in love with
their own notions about themselves and the world and intent on wrecking more
than substantive debate on substantive issues.


CB: I'm not much thinking of changing them. I'm thinking more of some "audience". But
, also, I don't only think about Delong. There are other people on those lists who I
debate and argue with.  I rarely exchange with Delong, and it is usually on Stalin and
the SU.




You mention genocide of Indigenous Peoples under capitalism, and the only
response is "What about Stalin?" You mention the imperialist destruction in
Vietnam, and the response is "What about Tienanmen Square?" or "Mao killled
30 million people".
Even in the old days the ideological whores on the right were more
sophisticated than this crude stuff. Why bother with them or anyone who
chooses to bother with them? There is simply too much real struggle against
real forces of repression to  give these gnats even one minute.

And lest I get another snotty e-mail about how much I have gone on about De
Long while arguing for ignoring him, this is about his TYPE and what they do
and not about BRAD in particular--he is but a metaphor and concentrated
expression of wider (and probably smarter and more competent)--forces of

Jim Craven

More information about the Marxism mailing list