Comments on Barbara Epstein article in Monthly Review

Barry Stoller bstoller at
Mon Sep 3 11:44:44 MDT 2001

I've been having a bit of a debate about the merits, or lack thereof, of
the article in question on Lacny's list. Although my critique of
Epstein, and MR in general, has not been nearly as exhaustive or as
eloquent as Proyect's, we have broached some similar themes. These --and
some divergences -- outlined quickly...

> Some things never change. During the 1960s, the Monthly Review
routinely tail-ended the student-based Maoism that destroyed the radical
movement and now it refuses to take a clear Leninist position against

I would suggest that MR is finding some of their ultraleftism in
reformist circles these days, however. It's one thing to support, say,
the Cultural Revolution, as MR did then, and to support, er, the Nader
campaign as they did a few months back.

> ...namely, the potential of the movement to involve the heavy
battalions of the working class. To do so, tactics will have to be
geared less to the appetites of frustrated middle-class youth and more
to the needs of less politicized people.

Amen. Yet it is possible that some of anarchism's militancy can be of
use to Marxists, provided we find a way to bring them TO us -- just as
it is our challenge to bring vacillating workers to us.

> [T]he "anti-globalization" movement will have to evolve a demand that
has the kind of cutting-edge clarity of the Vietnam antiwar movement of
the movement to legalize abortion.

Essentially, the issue has to be the desire to abolish BOTH large and
small capitalism. I am convinced that many of the 1960s anti-war
demonstrators rejected the war to save their necks, not to assist Ho Chi
Minh. I am also convinced that many of today's anarchists oppose
'globalization' to make the world a safer place for mom and pops.
Clearly, these folks we do not need.

> [I]t doesn't challenge the system to break a window. It is far more
important to break illusions. For that patient explanation is required.

Yes, however, it IS natural to want to break windows once illusions are
broken. I think the two can be compatible -- once the brick-throwers
have decided that its the mom and pops as well as the Gap that deserves

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Barry Stoller

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