FW: Louis Proyect and the Register Dicscussion List

Travis Fast tfast at yorku.ca
Fri Dec 7 15:10:56 MST 2001

Louis wrote:

"These are not socialist intellectuals. These are social
democratic cowards who view all debate as a threat to their own
intellectual hegemony."

This is utter bullshit and you know it.

The problem is really much different than you would think.  Panitch et al
probably do not give two-shits about your political critique of their
activities or lack there of.  Leo spends much of his time trying to get
young would be socialists to move beyond dogmatic platitudes and begin to
think about the nature of contemporary capitalism and the inherent
contradictions within liberal democracy.  Leo, much like yourself, has very
little time for sectarian dogmas masquerading as analysis, or the smashing
of Starbucks windows as a substitute for a serious challenge to global
capitalism.          You are simply wrong in your assessment of Leo's
position on the war.  In fact, he went on national TV (CBC) at least three
times in the early stages of the war to vehemently condemn it.

What Leo et al reacted to was the way in which you chose to go after
Henwood.  Given the sharpness of your analytical skills, and your ability
to construct tight critiques it is somewhat disappointing that you chose to
personally attack Henwood.  Now Henwood is a big boy and is quite capable
of defending himself.  Panitch et al were not attempting to defend
Henwood.  I suspect it was quite the contrary.  What they do not want is
for the SR-LS to degenerate into a series of poorly crafted slasher movies,
void of content and analysis.   Look how thoroughly unproductive LBO talk
is: 130 messages a day of which 125 are thinly veiled one line personal

Attacking Leo's politics or that of the SR editorial board may have its
place, but it has very little to do with why you were asked to
leave.  Cominel is swamped by work of which monitoring the SR-LS is but one
of his administrative duties.  He simply does not have the time to run
around putting out virtual brush fires.  Now he can either let the SR-LS
degenerate into a re-occurring pissing match between yourself and Henwood
and Co. or he can merely remove the agents of combustion.  What I objected
to in your removal was a) the way it was handled and b) that the other
protagonists were not similarly extended the offer to remove

I think the SR-LS is degraded by your exit.  I and many others would like
to see you back on the list, but then you seem hell bent on making the
costs associated with your participation too high.  Why should any
community put up with individuals who refuse to respect their limited
protocols?  The Marxmail list has its own protocols and you expect
contributors to respect them.  And, the penalty  for violating these
protocols is removal from the list.

To repeat, it is not your politics, nor your brand of Marxism which is at
issue here, rather, it is your refusal to abstain from littering the SR-LS
every month or so with, albeit well-crafted, unproductive, personal vitriol.


At 12:45 PM 07/12/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Leo Panitch:
> >political question" Then the most recent incident led another of
> >you to write: "Unless it can somehow be controlled the
> >Henwood-Proyect feud could destroy the list.... I want to debate
> >Doug vigorously on the content of his Nation article, but such
> >mere personal attacks as he has been subjected to make that very
> >difficult."
>The person being quoted here is Carrol Cox, who has the same attitude
>toward Henwood as some fathers have toward a juvenile delinquent son who
>steals cars but who also sings beatifully in the church choir. How can
>Johnnie have ripped off your Mustang convertible (supported "police action"
>in Afghanistan) when he does such a nice rendition of "Ave Maria" (explains
>the dip in interest rates.) Henwood and his stooge Steven Philion baited
>Henry Liu and me on an ongoing basis over on SR. When we refused to be
>trifled with, the complaint arose about "civility". This is not about
>civility. It is about people using baiting and provocations to avoid
>debate. Henwood is the master of the one-liner. Panitch and company are the
>masters of the zero-liner. It is a disgrace that during the period of the
>deepest war crisis of imperialism, and the rapid development of secret
>trials and crackdown on dissent, these SR editors have said NOTHING on
>their own mailing list.
> > We need, as much as possible, to be tolerant of
> >different styles of argumentation and disparate cultures on the
> >left, but destructive (even hateful) speech that serves only to
> >silence others does not help to bridge those cultures.
>This is not about bridging cultures. It is about a rift on the left between
>those who support imperialist war and those who oppose it. The very first
>word from Panitch after 9/11 was a crossposting of a pro-war piece that
>Fred Halliday wrote for the Guardian. Penetrating through Panitch's crafty
>inscrutabality on the list, we can only surmise that he agreed with it.
> >Finally, we would like to remind members that almost a year ago
> >(Jan 4, 2001) Louis Proyect called for the SR list owners to
> >remove Michael Pugliesi, with whom he had been trading insults,
> >from the list.
>After Pugliese had gone into the alt.politics.socialism.trotsky archives
>and found a post that a rightwinger had put together that included every
>curse word I had ever used, he posted it to SR. Usenet is not only a much
>different culture than email lists like SR, the post was a disgusting
>attempt to shift attention away from the topic at hand, namely how to
>evaluate the war in Kosovo. In other words, it was an attempt to break up a
>debate by introducing a barrel of red herrings. If Panitch and Leys knew
>how to chair a meeting, they never would have allowed somebody to get away
>with something like this. I unsubbed from SR after Pugliese pulled this
>shit. I only resubbed in order to circulate my latest critique of the
>Brenner thesis which is being rewritten for Wallerstein's journal. The SR
>editors lack the elementary respect to have even commented on it, even
>though it contains a tightly argued critique of Colin Leys's
>neo-Kautskyism. These are not socialist intellectuals. These are social
>democratic cowards who view all debate as a threat to their own
>intellectual hegemony.
>Louis Proyect
>Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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