To Yoshie on our duty in cyber space was Re: On Academe andthe list

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Tue Dec 19 19:59:52 MST 2000

Gary says:

>Interesting point. what is our duty to lists like Pen-L.  Do they
>reduplicate the real world.  Must we strive to confront in cyber
>space what we encounter everyday.    And that is the very point.  I
>know very little about USA but I have spent a lot of time with
>Americans and a brief while in New York.  I know enough to know that
>socialists in the USA are as scarce as hen's teeth.  So my guess is
>that everyday Lou has to put up with all kinds of shit. I know that
>I do in my work. And Australia is no way as primitive a
>fundamentalist nation as America is.

That's a valid argument, but my thinking is that one can use
left-wing e-lists not limited to Marxists to practice one's arguments
(especially on an important and yet often underestimated question of
style -- one can practice making a Marxist argument with a minimum of
Marxist shorthand, since one cannot assume the knowledge of Marxism
on the part of the audience). Marxist-only e-lists have a different
purpose: for instance, one can -- or should be able to -- take a more
critical look at actually or formerly existing socialisms on them,
since one doesn't have to defend them from Brad De Longs of the world.

>Now I have been in cyber space with Brad De Long.  He is no liberal
>at all.  That is his mask.  His sole purpose is to wear us down.

The point is not, though, to engage Brad De Longs in a debate, in
order to change their minds.  On any e-list (this one included),
regular posters are about one tenth -- if that -- of the entire list
of subscribers.  One uses postings to speak mainly to those other
than your ostensible interlocutors.

That said, I do recommend ignoring Brad De Longs, though, if you are
a type of person who gets worn down or demoralized in a debate
easily.  PEN-l, however, has many subscribers who hail from various
Marxist traditions (whose names I've already mentioned in my reply to
George), and Brad & Ricardo Duchesne are actually in a minority of
two, regularly ignored by most posters.  If you can't survive on
PEN-l, I don't know how you can survive daily life in the USA, much
less engage in political activism which must involve working
practically with those who do not share your political persuasion.


P.S.  I'm also of an opinion that non-black leftists in the USA
should regularly visit African-American churches -- to network, yes,
but also, perhaps more importantly, to learn from the oratorical
traditions of the best of black preachers (how to draw upon Biblical
metaphors creatively, how to invite audience responses, how to employ
rhythmic repetitions to build up the momentum, and so on).  We should
all practice public speaking.

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