Graham Taylor on GA Cohen

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Nov 25 07:14:24 MST 1999

>One thing that is different is that the CPGB never inculcated its
>bureaucratic approach into the Labour left, it was a political
>influence; whereas the DL's influence upon Blairism is both political
>and organisational. New Labour is about the most authoritarian,
>intolerant and bureaucratic organisation ever seen in British politics.
>Paul F

I have found all this discussion on Democratic Left fascinating, since I
have battled with Chris Buford on various mailing lists for over 5 years
now. The one thing that always struck me about him was the truly bizarre
mixture of Blairist newspeak and deferential bows to Stalin's Comintern. I
suspect that Chris, who is in his 50s, got his training in some Maoist cult
in the 1960s. He never dropped the dogmatic stubborness characteristic of
this sort of functioning, but simply switched allegiance to the greatest
cult of all: liberal capitalism.

Some day I might try to pull together a history of the various Marxism
lists on the Internet which preceded this one. It has been a long,
difficult struggle to disassociate ourselves from the madness of the 1960s,
while retaining the sane parts. In one of the most violent flame wars,
Chris associated himself with a truly crazed bunch of Shining Path
supporters to turn the Spoons Collective Marxism List (the grandmother of
all these lists) to turn it into a forum on who was a true representative
of Comrade Gonzalo and who was a Fujimori spy. I used to receive plaintive
emails from subscribers about how something had to be done to stop the
madness or else they'd unsub. I wrote Chris dozens of times to pull out of
the discussion, but he ignored me completely. He was lost in sectarian
fantasy. Some of the very best people on the list were lost at this time,
including a number of German subscribers associated with the magazine

Finally the Spoon Collective had a powwow with Doug Henwood and me in NYC
in order to figure out how to save the list from the lunatics. We decided
to start a moderated list, the old Marxism-International list that precded
this one. As a tactic, we also decided to co-opt the sanest of the Maoists
to the moderator's board. This was Lou Godena, who after 3 months of
performing in an admirable fashion, began to lapse into super-sectarian
madness once again. After a prolonged battle with him, I launched this list
as a way to definitively break with it once and for all. Marxism-thaxis was
launched around the same time, but I never really took much interest in it.
>From what I can gather, it ambles along in its kooky way.

The greatest resistance to these moderated lists came from Chris Burford
and Hans Ehrbar, an economics professor at U. of Utah. In the course of
defending the need for moderated lists, I pounded these two mercilessly.
Both seemed trapped in the sectarian past. Ehrbar was a member of a
Hoxhaite sect in the 1970s who worked in a auto factory before becoming a
professor. I no longer have hard feelings toward him, since he donates
considerable services in the form of a PC Linux server for the thaxis and
L-I mailing lists.

Burford is another story. He seems on a one-man mission to convert people
to Blairism. He goes at this with the fiery conviction of a TRUE BELIEVER.
It doesn't matter what counter-arguments people come up with. He knows
better. Professionally, he purports to be a psychiatrist which might have
something to do with his inability to listen to people.

Louis Proyect
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