FW: Louis Proyect and the Register Dicscussion List

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 8 03:06:45 MST 2001


>Actually, Panitch spoke at an anti-war forum in
>Toronto a few weeks ago.
>
>Xxxx

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. My complaint was less
about the positions that the SR editors took in public, but more
about their aloofness from the ongoing discussion on the list. A
debate has been raging across the Internet about the Nation
Magazine's pro-war tilt--even though their editorial line is shrouded
in liberal pieties.

In a Slate article attacking the antiwar movement, Jacob Weisberg
writes the following:

>>Even many non-liberal leftists who have protested every American
military action since Vietnam aren't against this war. The Nation
these days sounds like someone with a mouth full of marbles, because
most of the writers can't bear to say that they support what the
United States is doing in Afghanistan, even though they do. In the
current issue, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the magazine's editor,
struggles to acknowledge that the war "seems justified." Then it's
time to change the topic: She hopes that the national unity
engendered by the war can be turned to something really important,
like campaign-finance reform. And Hitchens is not the only Nation
writer in open defiance of the magazine's surviving readership. Eric
Alterman, a longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy, has recently
taken to decrying "the Hate America Left."<<
http://slate.msn.com/?id=2059328

This debate involves Nation editor Doug Henwood, who also sounds like
someone with a mouth full of marbles as well. He is profiled in a NY
Observer article on the "prowar left" but angrily denies after the
appearance of the article that he is for the war. He is only for a
"police action" to get the bad guys.

So it is no surprise that these differences will be aired out on the
Internet, where many figures on either side of the debate have a
presence. Even Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman have gotten in the act.
Chomsky answered a Leo Casey prowar piece that appeared on the SR
list (and others) originally. Herman answered David Schweickart's
backhanded support of Christopher Hitchens in the same fashion, which
also made its original appearance as email to multiple lists.

So when my participation into this debate spilled over on the SR
list, it was treated as a "vendetta" against Doug Henwood as if he
owed me money or sold me tainted drugs. As I have pointed out to
Carrol Cox privately, there was nothing at all personal nor even
particularly vitriolic in my reply to him. I pointed out, for
example, that a Financial Times article indicating a turn toward
manufacturing and services investment away from oil in the Mideast
revealed a flawed analysis in his 9/11 article. After making this and
similar points, Henwood finally demanded that the SR editors boot me
from the list. When they refused, he told them "fuck you" and
unsubbed.

Henwood pressed Michael Perelman to throw me off PEN-L for an
extended period as well. To Perelman's credit, he always said no. He
did feel the need to chide me every so often, but he was only doing
his job. I only unsubbed from PEN-L after deciding that it was too
much of a drain on my energy, with few compensating rewards.

These questions get confused because the prowar left, excluding Leo
Casey, is not anxious to defend its ideas. They want to maintain
their legitimacy with the establishment left. Henwood doesn't care
about people like Ward Churchill, who he is happy to misrepresent in
his newsletter. He does care about what people like Panitch and
Gindin think, whom he met with when they were in NYC a couple of
weeks ago. I was supposed to meet them myself, but the meeting didn't
happen because of a screw-up in communications. That is just as well,
because I knew what the discussion would be about. Gindin has told me
repeatedly that if I dropped the "vitriol", I would have much more
influence.

Well, I have no intention of dropping the vitriol when it comes to
questions of imperialist war. I got into revolutionary politics back
in 1967 because the sight of B-52s dropping bombs on peasant villages
repelled me so much. Nothing has changed. I feel just as pissed off
about what the USA is doing in Afghanistan today and will raise hell
with every "leftist" who is trying to put a positive spin on US
intervention. If this gets me thrown off SR, so be it.

--
Louis Proyect, lnp3 at panix.com on 12/08/2001

Marxism list: http://www.marxmail.org



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