what to make of "conspiracy theories"?

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Feb 11 10:18:36 MST 2002



"Craven, Jim" wrote:
>
>
> So for me the question is what do we do with all of these theories and
> "facts", where do they take us in concrete political work to expose the
> SYSTEM in which the worst crimes are quite "legal" and quite out in the
> "open"?
>

This seems to me absolutely fundamental -- and should remain fundamental
even in those cases where some sort of "conspiracy" probably exists. It
is a serious waste of time, and a serious threat to public acceptance of
the left, to incorporate into one's politis factual claims that can only
be verified in any useful way by lengthy speculative arguments. X may be
true, and if X is true, then Y becomes a definite possibility. By this
time everyone has left the room or thrown your leaflet away.

I don't think it can be repeated too often that the worst crimes are
legal and in the open.

The most frequent kind of episode that can be called aa "conspircy" is a
police provocation. I'm thinking, for example, of the SLA, presumably
founded by two or three men with either no political record or with some
ties to right-wing organizations. But it wouldn't have been a "ruling
class" conspiracy, it would have been some particular police
organization exploiting the conditions which ruling class open policy
had created. So it really isn't worthwhile to attempt to prove that it
is "plausible" that the SLA was a police front, but merely a distraction
from serious politics. (Leftists should, of course, be personally wary
of such plots. Someone got in touch with me back in '70 wanting to
involve me in some sort of insane conspiracy to blow up power plants. We
offered  to include him in a political education study group. He wasn't
interested. Later on we learned he had been a volunteer narc. Fucking
amateur.

Carrol

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