FW: Louis Proyect and the Register Dicscussion List

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 7 14:40:43 MST 2001


Travis Fast:
>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.

Sorry. I don't get CBC down here in New York City. In fact, for most of
September I didn't even get local stations because the dastardly terrorists
destroyed the WTC transmitters.

> Panitch et al were not attempting to defend 
>Henwood.  I suspect it was quite the contrary.  

The fact that you can only "suspect" hints at the problem. As I have stated
repeatedly, the mailing list is not the medium of choice for Department
Heads or other celebrities like Zizek et al. It is for the untutored mob.
The only problem is that they made it public so that riffraff like myself
can be heard. I had the same exact beef over "civility" on the Radical
Philosophers mailing list where pro-war sentiment runs strong, but there
were too many people over there who resisted a move to boot me. Their venue
is CBC television, the Nation Magazine, and the bourgeois press. The SR
mailing list for the longest time was just a place where Sid Shniad
crossposted items from the bourgeois press. Quite frankly, if any
self-respecting leftist had not been keeping track of such items already,
then they weren't doing their homework. Most of the COC's Portside list is
a rehash of what Sid sends out. In fact, until the discussion about the
Quebec protests broke out on SR, the list was generally characterized by a
total lack of political discussion. I strongly believe that the SR editors
were looking for something that was a cross between a kind of internal
discussion medium for themselves and their like-minded comrades, and a sort
of place where people could comment on articles in the latest SR. The
problem, of course, is that many of these articles don't really lend
themselves to discussion. 

For example, the current issue of SR has something titled "QUÉBEC CITY 2001
AND THE MAKING OF TRANSNATIONAL SUBJECTS" by André C. Drainville. Whenever
I hear a term like "transnational subject", my bullshit detector goes off.
I first heard about bullshit detectors back on Dec. 31, 1956 when Adele
Wasserman came into my father's fruit store with these cardboard flaps
behind her ears. "What's that, Adele," my father asked. "Yankel, there's
lots of parties tonight and I want to be prepared for any drunk. These are
my bullshit detectors." Here is some of Drainville's (love that name)
thinking. If you believe that SR is raising the theoretical level of the
left with this horse-shit, I'll take some of whatever your're smoking.

"The political dynamics of the post-Bretton Woods period opened room not
only for transnational concepts of control and governance-defined civility,
but also for forms of oppositional politics. To describe it, some have
written of ‘new left internationalism’, others of ‘global contention’, of
‘global social movements’, or of ‘global resistance’.[49] By many accounts,
what is most distinctive about this new kind of global politics -- in
relation both to the inherited ways of left internationalism and to
‘governance’ -- is how it creates, at the point of contact with global
power (where strategic courses meet) what Michel Foucault would have
recognized as ‘communities of resistance’.[50]"

This furkackte article has 81 footnotes and says nothing.

>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. 

I wasn't attacking Leo Panitch's politics over there. He never expressed
any. He was a model of sphinx-like silence. The only time I ever attacked
anybody was over wars current and past.

> 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 
>themselves.

But your objection seems innocent of the politics behind the move. Go watch
"Reds" and you will see a dramatization of the same kind of adminstrative
diktat, when the SP gave John Reed and Louis Fraina the boot. Paul Sorvino
is marvelous as Fraina. There has been tension between communists and
"democratic socialists," to use Panitch's term, since 1914. What's
confusing is that the SR editors are caught between these two poles without
understanding the contradictions. 

>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.

Actually, Marxmail has disputes that are just as intense, if not more
intense, as any that take place on SR. The difference is that I am not
burdened by other tasks and make sure to keep the discussion going on an
even keel. The reason I have time to tend to this business is that I view
this mailing list not as an afterthought to other business, but as a vital
medium for "organic intellectuals".

>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.

The vitriol was always political. I can care less about Doug Henwood or Leo
Casey as individuals. The flare-ups are taking place in real space and
around the same issues. If you put Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky, Alex
Cockburn, Christopher Hitchens on the same listserv, you'd get fireworks
galore. For that matter, Cockburn and Hitchens would be far worse than
anything you ever saw on SR.

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org


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