Scholarship and politics (was Re: Proyect v Woods)

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Sun May 20 16:57:40 MDT 2001

Andrew Austin wrote:

 However, the political position
of a person is not entirely irrelevant to the form and content of their
arguments!! From a historical materialist point of view, thought is the
reflection (or at least the refraction) of one's social location. One may
gain considerable insight into a person's intellectual products by knowing
where they stand. This is particularly important in decoding rhetoric, as
capitalist and racists are keen on dressing their interests up in populist

Response (Jim C): I think all of this is true enough and of course, in terms
of formal "logic" the particular political position of an individual does
not automatically affirm or impeach the form and content of argument or
evidence of that individual. But, when discussing whether or not a
particular person (Woods) is "A" or "THE" leading "Marxist" theoretician, it
is quite proper to inquire as to what concrete struggles that alleged
Marxist "theoretician" is involved in. Where one can be considered a
"conservative" or "liberal" without being involved in any concrete
action(s), the dialectical unity of theory and practice of Marxism, along
with the mandate for Marxists to be involved in real struggles in  the real
world, makes the question of the praxis of the self-described or asserted
Marxist a legitimate one; and, further, such a question is not akin to
attempting to impeach the arguments of a person via impeachment of the
purported politics of the person making an argument ( a form of ad hominem).
Further, I find the notion of a Marxist "theoretician"--as opposed to a
Marxist or Marxist "activist"--a bit reductionistic and not in keeping with
the asserted dialectical unity of theory and praxis fundamental to Marxism.
In other words, I find the notion of "House Marxist" or "Academic Marxist"
or even Marxist "theoretician" to be somewhat oxymoronic from the standpoint
of Marxism itself. Marx himself was driven out of so many places and died
economically poor because he was indeed doing a whole lot more than "theory"
in his life and much of the "theory" that Marx developed came out of and was
in service of his concrete involvement in real struggles in the real world.

On the other part of this thread, I think it is clear that the nazi
Holocaust has been used by Zionists, via Jewish exclusivists and others (who
assert there was only ONE Holocaust or assert only the Jewish victims of the
nazi Holocaust are worth remembering or deserve special remembering) many of
whom are also active Zionists, to attempt to cover-up/legitimate the
inherent racism in/ugly history of Zionism along with the racist and
imperial machinations and alliances of Zionists and their ugly consequences.
But I also agree with the author of this thread that the misuses and cynical
manipulations of the Zionists and Jewish exclusivists in using the nazi
Holocaust to promote Zionist agenda other forms of Holocaust denial
(specifically of other Holocausts) should never lead one to minimize or deny
any aspects or dimensions of the nazi Holocaust; in other words, any form of
Holocaust denial or exclusivism is ugly, racist and in the service of forces
of reaction.

Jim C.

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