LBO-Talk charges

Michael Yates mikey+ at
Sun Nov 21 08:55:02 MST 1999

I can only agree with Louis that Mr. Bhandari was not qualified to get
the job at Monthly Review and would, in my view, have been a very
troublesome choice.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, I am the
other person Rakesh refers to on the LBO  list.  I will not discuss the
details, but his characteriztion of what I did is absolutely false as is
his allegation that Louis somehow underhandedly smeared his name.  I
went through all of the LBO, Marxism, and Pen-L archives, and I must say
that Rakesh not only had some retrogade ideas, especially about Malcolm
X and the Black Radical Congress (he also spoke rather foolishly about
Paul Sweezy, Keynes, and Lyn Turgeon)and perhaps Cuba too, but he
behaved badly as well when called on these matters, resigning in a huff
from LBO.  But, and I want to say this as forcefully as I can, that he
should never have applied for this job in the first place.  He may be
qualified for many things, but this important post is not one of them.
To be honest, at age 53 and having been a teacher of all sorts of
students for 31 years, having published six books and nearly 100
articles and reviews, and having been involved in various and sundry
politcal efforts, I did not feel that I was qualified for the job.

Michael Yates
Louis Proyect wrote:
> >Hi Louis -- There's a "Hating Louis Proyect" thread going on right now on
> >the LBO List you might want to take a look at if you don't know about it
> >already.
> >
> >Best,
> >Jay
> >
> Hi, Jay. Since there a number of list subscribers besides yourself on
> LBO-Talk, I suppose I should clarify what the issues are here. There have
> been charges made publicly by Doug Henwood and Rakesh Bhandari that I
> prepared a "dossier" that prevented somebody from getting a job. This is a
> smear job. Let me lay out the facts.
> Rakesh, who is very close to Doug politically, applied for the job
> directing Monthly Review books. An editor at MR, who is on LBO-Talk, told
> me that he was uncomfortable with this application since Rakesh had made a
> number of statements on LBO-Talk that seemed incompatible with the job,
> especially labeling Malcolm X a fascist. During the fight the broke out
> over that charge, Ken Lawrence and I defended Malcolm X's reputation.
> Knowing of my role as Rakesh's chief opponent, this editor asked me to pull
> together some of the posts so that he could review them and discuss them
> with other editors.
> In the course of the review of Rakesh's application, other considerations
> rapidly became much more important, especially his utter lack of editorial
> or publishing experience. The job that Rakesh was applying for was
> equivalent to a full professor's job in many ways, but he lacked the
> qualifications to do the job.
> The other key question was politics. Leaving aside the fact that he even
> began to be taken seriously (which, in my opinion, reflects transition
> problems at MR), Rakesh was completely hostile to the mission of MR. He
> strongly identifies with the late Paul Mattick who regarded Bolshevism as
> evil. He is also a "state capitalist" who thinks that a socialist
> revolution never took place in Russia. If he took over the books department
> at MR, he would have been in a very poor position to evaluate new titles
> based on the traditions of the press.
> The interesting question is why he would have bothered to apply for the job
> in the first place, since he is hostile to what people like Paul Sweezy
> stand for (he labeled Sweezy a Keynsian at one point.) I can only surmise
> that there are forces hostile to MR traditions who would like to see it
> changed from within. Postmodernist/LM contributor Doug Henwood has been a
> very forceful supporter of Rakesh's job application. Another person
> involved in a lot of the behind scenes complaints about my role is Katha
> Pollit, who is married to Paul Mattick Jr. Pollit and Henwood would
> probably be happy to see MR drop its long-term committment to Marxism and
> put out the sort of left-liberal analysis they favor and which you can get
> from the Nation Magazine.
> At any rate, these are the facts.
> Louis Proyect
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