Expel this guy!

Martin Schreader mschreader at npns.org
Mon Jul 8 08:52:13 MDT 2002

Louis, you miss the point completely.

José posted a piece on here that all but sang the joys of a privatized
education system. Many people responded to the piece, criticizing him --
mildly, but nonetheless. And, of ALL the posts, you decided your time was
best spent scolding me about the use of the term, "p####-b########

Not a word about the SCOTUS decision; not a word about the Militant article;
not a word about José's comments; not a word about the responses of other
comrades. Just a "last and final warning" to me about a turn of phrase, in a
manner consistent with something my supervisor would say.

In reality, had you simply let it slide, I wouldn't have said anything else
about it. Even if José fired off a multi-screen diatribe to me privately
(like he did regarding the early Comintern), I wouldn't have responded to
him. IMO, he's beyond the pale. Any amount of respect I had for him died
when he made an unholy alliance with the Edison privatizers and the SCOTUS.

But, no. And here we are.

Now, maybe you didn't respond to any of the salient points because you're
not involved in any of the campaigns to defend public education. I think
that's a legitimate argument. But I have been involved in it for about six
years here in Detroit. We've lost the right to vote for a school board.
Teachers' strikes are illegal (but, yes, they happen anyway). The schools
serve kids spoiled food for lunch (another "benefit" of school
privatization). The kids have no rights and no way out.

Vouchers and private schools are not an option for working class parents for
several reasons: the vouchers don't cover enough tuition; the level of
education is many times sub-standard; religious conflicts; transportation
issues; commercialism; etc.

So, Louis, you'll have to excuse me if my blood boils a little when someone
I hitherto called "comrade" starts channeling Bill Bennett and calling
defenders of public education "liberals" for doing so -- and then trying to
mask it in "revolutionary" rhetoric.

Is it any wonder that left-leaning, working class supporters of the
Democratic Party pay no attention, and/or have no respect for "the Left"?!


P.S.: Oh, one more thing. The next time you want to Trotskyist-bait, try it
with someone who considers themselves one. It doesn't work on me. I look at
what you say and think: "Yeah? So? What's your friggin' point?"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2002 9:57 AM
Subject: Re: Expel this guy!

> >"Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all
> >effects of self-deception, this form of socialism ended in a miserable
> >hangover."
> >
> >What do you think, Louis? This guy should go too, right?
> In fact, the operating principle on Marxmail is that there are no
> petty-bourgeois elements, reformists, revisionists, opportunists, etc. I
> understand that Marx, Lenin and Trotsky used such terms in the course of
> their debates. However, within the context of an email list, it has proven
> tremendously destructive. It lead to the implosion of the two mailing
> that preceded this one in fact.
> Furthermore, within the broader movement I would avoid these sorts of
> like the plague. They inevitably involve a split logic since if the topic
> under debate reflects opposing class interests, what is the point of
> debate? In 1971 I was first exposed to this kind of rhetoric during the
> "For a Proletarian Orientation" (FAPO) fight in the Trotskyist movement.
> You had perhaps 60 people in the SWP accusing the majority of adapting to
> petty-bourgeois currents because they were mostly recruited out of the
> student movement. (No insight into the proletarianization of the
> system obviously). I was assigned by Peter Camejo to research the
> Cochranites, who "sold out" even though they were all factory workers. So
> you had two sides each trying to invalidate each others arguments through
> kind of bogus sociology. My experience is that the minute you start to
> think of the other side in a debate in class terms, that is when you lose
> the capability of listening to the merits of their arguments.
> In tiny organizations like the Socialist Workers Party this kind of
> sociological reductionism is absurd. People form ideas not on their
> relationship to the means of production but on the basis of peer pressure,
> friendships, mood, ambition and a host of other factors that have nothing
> to do with their place in society. More importantly, there is a tremendous
> inability to think for oneself in such organizations where the existing
> leadership is often seen as being the indispensable link to the
> revolutionary continuity with Marx and Engels. Challenging the party
> leadership becomes an onerous task, since in all deep ideological
> the assumption is that only one side can represent the true interests of
> the proletariat. This of course is an *idealist* conception.
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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