Answering Jose was Re: Replying to Brian was Re: Referendum Down Under

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Nov 12 12:22:12 MST 1999

>Let me illustrate what I mean from u.s. politics. In the article from
>Alex Cockburn that Lou posted the other day, Cockburn explicitly
>expresses his "hopes of a populist coalition of left and right on basic
>issues of liberty."

Carrol, you really make me laugh. 9 out 10 posts to the Marxism list you
are defending Marxist rectitude against all its enemies, including me. But
as I scan the LBO archives each day and witness your participation, or
non-participation to be more exact, in any debate involving Henwood's
politics, you have never once questioned his credentials. After my last
flame war with Doug on PEN-L, where he came puffing to James O'Connor's
defense, you plaintively insisted that the left can build a party that
includes both him and me.

But this is guy who has written for a magazine that the British left
generally regards as its bitter enemy. A magazine that promotes nuclear
energy, fox-hunting, genetically modified food, and puts a left-Hegelian
spin on slavery. (BTW, I just faxed Alex Doug's article and a Guardian
expose of LM. I can't wait to see what he has to say in round 2.)
Furthermore, in the LM article Doug bashed Marxism as consisting of
"catastrophists" who believe that immiseration of the working class is a
constant and upward trend. I haven't heard such a lame distortion of
Marxism since I used to sell the Militant newspaper door-to-door in Ivy
League dormitories to smart asses just like Doug. "So your newspaper is
militant. Does that mean you are for revolution? Don't you know that Marx
has been proven wrong. Workers have rising wages and the economy is

So when you mix this crap with postmodernism of the sort that even most
right-thinking postmodernists would find dated, you end up with a toxic
mess. All of the Social Text and Rethinking Marxism types that Henwood
identifies with today would hardly know what to make of the screwy Lacanian
ideas he's been coming up with. At least with people like Andrew Ross and
Stanley Aronowitz, you get a sense that they are committed to Marxism. With
Doug you get nothing but the sense that he is committed to becoming some
kind of postmodernist guru like Judith Butler.

And as he embarks on this career, you question everybody but him. Cockburn
might have his own problems, but he is right on one thing. Doug's world is
circumscribed by NYC publishing parties, gossip and obscure academic books
that will end up in the remainder bins in 6 months time.

Louis Proyect

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