Rhakesh was LBO-Talk charges
jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Mon Nov 22 09:04:28 MST 1999
Response to that below:
In one sense a radical list does belong to a "whole movement" rather than a
particular individual; Louis understands that very well and is about the
least proprietary person I know. On the other hand, a "whole movement"
cannot be sued for libel if someone goes off on a list and the object of
potential libel decides to sue. A "whole movement" cannot monitor the list
to ensure that provocateurs and wreckers do not take over a list in order to
pollute and sidetrack that list; that requires a few individuals to do the
monitoring. And of course a "whole movement" cannot compile, edit and place
submissions into digest form either.
I'll be sending in some money to help Louis defray costs of a service from
which we all benefit and I hope others would do the same--Louis has never
once asked for donations or solicited in any way. But those who want to have
a sense of shared ownership must also share the financial and work burdens
that go with this list and keeping the archives and digest. In any case,
just as at MR, someone makes some decisions about what goes in and does not
what books are published under MR titles and what not.
On the particular issue going on with Rakesh, I have no idea what this is
about as I have been out of touch with many things on the list, but I do
know that Louis would never keep some special file on sometone to be used
later and then, when finding out that someone had applied for a job ship
this special file to sabotage that person; I just know he would never do it.
But I do know that if Louis were asked to give his honest views, he would do
that; and of course I known that everything I write may be used for or
against me and indeed many of my writings have been sent to others without
my knowing it or the person to whom it was sent; and I don't really care as
I stand by what I write, apologize for unintentional errors, and write
without fear or favor or caring who likes or who doesn't--it's called the
As for who is or isn't "brilliant", I would suggest that writings on the net
or even published works do not constitute enough of a sample to make that
judgment. And for those who are indeed "brilliant" in terms of some abstract
and generalized concept of intelligence and aptitude, the critical issue is
not one's intelligence but what one does with it--whom and what forces does
one serve and with what degree of commitment. I'll take someone committed to
serving the oppressed with his/her whole heart and being who is less than
"brilliant" than someone regarded as "brilliant" but does nothing practical
(I am not saying this is the case with Rakesh, I have no idea about this
stuff) or to serve the oppressed in tengible ways, then as a matter of logic
and revolutionary practice, "brilliance" counts much less than concrete
practice and less than "brillance" in the service of ractionary theory and
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From: Doyle Saylor [mailto:djsaylor at primenet.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 1999 10:51 PM
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: Rhakesh was LBO-Talk charges
Rhakesh is a friend of mine. I don't expect my friends to tow a line of
agreement with me. I am not a close friend of Rhakesh's, but I like him.
I wouldn't say Louis and I are friends. But he has been fair to me
despite us clashing on another list. I believe he made room for me here
despite his distaste for my workerism. That I respect in him.
I do not know what I would do in the case of a position of editorship
for a magazine I thought important. Especially if I had opinions about what
that ought to mean. I think I would think long and hard about whom I wanted
to see in a position of authority on an important journal. In fact I will
never have that position. Nor influence. So my ignorance of what I would
do is understandable.
But I can say this at the least I would do what I thought best for the
journal. And Louis seems to me to be doing that.
Rhakesh is brilliant. I want to quote Gary MacLennan here,
I was interested in this because I know Rakesh as a poster. Like Mark
Jones, I regard Rakesh as brilliant, but frankly he is simply wrong on the
Afro-American question. Moreover he gets extremely heated around this whole
issue. That apart he can be a nasty at times, but then so can we all. But
really this is not my point in posting today. I want to endorse Lou's
handling of this list. It is a *considerable* service to the international
Marxist movement and he has been tolerance itself, well pretty nearly.
I think this is a fair summary of Rhakesh. I in fact like his nastiness
to some degree though he hasn't been nasty to me directly, and I could
change my mind when bile has spilled into my lap. At any rate he is
sometimes off, his brilliant mind more than makes up for that in my view of
things. Applying for a job at MR seems to me a rather humble gesture for a
man whose academic career could be spectacular. But I can also see that his
views would not fit the Marxist canon. And I want the Marxist canon to not
be watered down. And I also think Doug Henwood wants to water down Marxism.
One final thing though about this which Paul Flewers raised. This is in
regard to ownership of these lists. I think Paul is right, for a Marxist
these lists are not the personal property of the "owner". Eventually if
this form of communications grows beyond this first beginning I am sure that
will be clarified in many ways well beyond what I could imagine here. What
I expect though is this, that Louis is serving the working class, and not
himself. In my mind that the working class is who owns this list.
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