LBO-Talk charges

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Nov 21 07:26:55 MST 1999

>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

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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