marxism-digest V1 #5242

James Daly james.irldaly at
Thu Dec 5 10:45:26 MST 2002

Louis writes

Instead of trying to adopt a prosecutorial tone with Mark, as if we were in
some kind of Marxist duma ("Fellow legislators, I charge Brother Jones with
deviations of the Robinson Jeffers type. I urge you to vote against whatever
he proposes.), we should engage with his underlying analysis which certainly
is rooted in historical materialism. Namely, that socialism cannot simply
appropriate existing industrial technologies and make them work for the
common good.

I am not even capable of engaging with technological questions about energy,
oil etc. about which I am perfectly ready to learn to the best of my very
limited ability from Mark or anyone else. I am concerned, as Marx certainly
was, with the survival of the human habitat, and have no snake oil solutions
to offer. But a lot of the discussion of the technicalities seems to me a
camouflage and smokescreen for the central -- yes as Mark says, ethical --
question Kay raised and I followed up: would a Marxist duma decide from time
to time that whole human populations would have to be exterminated for
environmental reasons -- for instance, in the original post by Mark, to
preserve other species. I think the question is fundamental to what we think
we are doing on this list, which I contribute to at the risk of my life --
and occasionally prudently don't.

I joined the list because I thought its Marxism was the most revolutionary I
had come across, including the views Louis expressed in the post I'm
replying to. Its sympathy with the Irish was only one attractive element,
and that came from a root and branch (historically scholarly) anti-
Eurocentrism found in Louis's own writing and Jim Blaut's, which was also
expressed in total solidarity with the Native American people. Louis's
recent quotation from Wallerstein was nectar to me.

So I thought there had been a complete break with the attitude expressed in
the phrase used by some Marxists "You can't make an omelette without
breaking eggs". Was I wrong?



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