Further response: Ceding ground to capitalist ideologues, and a warning toanarchists

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Dec 14 18:47:03 MST 1999

Carrol wrote:

>From my understanding of the Chinese Revolution, some of the success
of the CPC was grounded in the ability of the Communist leadership to
observe the principle of  stacking contradictions properly *and* to let
contradictions ripen before forcing resolution on them. Lou, Mark, Jim,
and Gary are, I believe, at this point neither stacking their contradictions
properly *nor* letting them ripen before forcing a resolution.

LBO and Pen-L *are* places where committed marxists should
intervene and participate vigorously. They are *not* places
where all or most contradictions should be conceived of in the
form of "a fight to the death, no holds barred." In fact, I would
rather, for the time being in the U.S. and most countries, confine
"Death" to literal rather than metaphorical usage.

And speaking of death, there might be more attention to Mumia
on lbo and pen-l were there a few more committed marxists on
those lists. Also, every three or four months I make a pitch for
the magnificent journal, *Prison Legal News*, on one or the
other of those lists, and the post always disappears without
a whisper of response. There are lots of literally life and death
struggles out there, which are only obscurred by the Battle
of LBO on the marxism or leninist-international lists..


Response (Jim C): I agree with a lot of what Carrol has said above. I will
note that "stacking contradictions" (which I assume means prioritizing them
and conducting tactics in accordance with dealing with primary
contradictions first and leaving secondary contradictions to later or to be
resolved with pushing on the primary contradictions) is something that is
done--and assessed--in the totality of one's work and struggle. Although the
shere volume of some of my missives may lead one to believe that academia
and theory are my primary arenas of sturggle, nothing could be further from
the case. I write less and less on the net as my work takes me more and more
out of academia.

Further, what may appear to be "secondary contradicitons" or arenas of less
importance, may, when assessed in the totality of things, assume much more
importance than a nominal or reductionistic assessment might suggest. When I
work in Indian Country, I am not fighting for expanded use of peyote in
religious ceremonies, nor for expanded "Sun Dancing" or a return to
"primitive communalism", the struggles of Indigenous Peoples are not only
struggles to survive against genocidal onslaughts and systems, the
conditions, trends and forces against which Indigenous activists struggle
represent not only the proverbial "canary in the mine" (today it's us,
tomorrow...?) but also represent concentrated, clear and inexorable outcomes
and expressions of the inner and  twisted "logic" and inexorable dynamics of
imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, commodification, neoliberal globalism
etc. Just as the infamous Summers Memo so "elegantly" and concretely and
succinctly expresses the sick genocidal, reductionistic, barbaric, and
dangerous logic and intentions of bourgeois economics, bourgeois economists,
neoliberal globalism and the degenerate systems and forces for which they
toady and whore, so the genocidal conditions, trends and forces in Indian
Country so succinctly sum-up, on a microcosmic level, the inexorable
destructive "logic" and inexorable outcomes of imperialism and capitalism
left in place metastasizing their virulent pathologies throughout the
globe--for everyone. Struggles in Indian Country also give plenty of
ammunition to expose the naked and shameless hypocrisy, disingenuousness,
lies, genocidal intentions of the likes of Clinton and the rightist or
neoliberal globalists who presume to lecture anyone about "human
rights"--and among some of the nominal leftists as well.

So what may appear to be a minor struggle or minor contradiction, may well,
in the broader scope of things, assume much more importance and therefore
the "stacking of contradicitons" may well be a somewhat dicey proposition.

But what pissed me off on pen-l, and the reason I left in addition to the
pollution from the rightist and narcissistic snipers with little of
substance to say or even consider, was a particular discussion about "let's
get back to economics" or "why has there been so little 'economics' lately?"
Discussions about GDP and other reductionistic/rhetorical purported indices
of performance, and what is measures and doesn't was simply dismissed as
"the GDP wars". Apparently previous discussions about the political economy
of Indian Country, about Indigenous struggles in Mexico/Central
America/Latin America and discussions on many other topics were about and
simply summarily dismissed as about something else than "economics." So I
figured: time is short, so much to do, read and spread, why do I need to
bother or what is the opportunity cost of reading and reacting to this
reductionistic shit, especially when coming from the "left" polluted by
constant bombardments from some indulged rightists seeking attention or to
wreck something they can't control? I can't imagine if I had dared to
mention the murder of Norma Guillam (A Blackfoot activist and hero recently
murdered--and covered up by the Feds--at Browning, Montana) on an
"economics" list what kind of pleas or demands to "stick to economics" would
have ensued.

But instead of harranging anyone on pen-l for their insensitive,
reductionistic and insulated petit-bourgeois shit, I just left the list as
there is simply too much to do and so little time and not enough nuggets
worth wading through a large pool of shit.

Jim Craven

More information about the Marxism mailing list