Double standards, anyone?

Armand Diego causebellum at
Fri Feb 14 13:02:09 MST 2003


Please, allow me to interject some thoughts on this
discussion and give my own take on this matter:

> John Paramo wrote:

> > But, one can determine that his/her list should
> not allow any kind of characterization of others and
> that may be considered, then, an standard.  But a
> selected number of participants in this list feel
free to insult, atttack and post any kind of nonsense
> about some revolutionary Marxists, past and present,
and that is OK.

Louis Proyect answered:

> John, I think it has been made sufficiently clear
> both on the Marxmail subscription information page
and in discussions on the list that our purpose here
is to move past the kind of organizational and
political framework that you base yourself on.

My take on this:

"Move past the kind of organziational and political
framework that you base yourself on." Asking people to
"move past" from their organizational framework to
engage into various debates is fair enough.

This I for one interpreted as not making personal
attacks or characterizations of a PERSON on the list
as this or that.  I agree that calling someone
"reformist", "ultraleftist", "stupid", "super
rreeevolutionary" or anything else is just the
expression of someone who have nothing intelligent to
add and distract people from the real issues being

By the same token, trying to be pugnant, probing and
characterizing the political direction of some
satements - the ideas, the political positions, not
the person making them -  being careful not to cross
into personal territory is perfectly appropriate among

I would add that there is another positive behavior
that people should be encouraged to maintain: they
should learn when to stop arguing when you already
said what you needed to say to make your point.

For me people who "beats dead horses" because they
feel compelled to have the last saying, are much more
annoying than people who could have expressed what I
consider a wrong position on an issue.

I don't think you REALLY meant "move past the
political framework" people based themselves on. Did
you? Otherwise you would be implying people should
quit "political frameworks" that determine what they
post and their opinions and adopt someone's else
"political framework?"

In fact, I still have to find one post in this list in
which people will "move past" whatever "political
framework" they had or have.

Now, you still did not address the fact that, as the
guy with the finger on the "fire button" you decide
when to enforce the rule of "moving past" the "kind of
organizational framework" against some people, but
when others infringe the "rule", they could do that
with impunity, precisely because you either did not
move "from the organizational framework" established
by the "political framework" you share with the
infractors, whether that is common past, political
agreement or simply old friendships.

> I unsubbed Carlos Alternativa because he saw the
> list in more or less the same manner as Schanoes
did--as a battleground to expose traitors to
> the cause of Marxism.

Answer: for me that was NOT the case.  You unsubbed
him, IMHO, because you did not agree with his


At least with Carlos, you had somebody who had *done*
something to challenge the ruling class for a very
long time. By contrast, Schanoes is a middle-class
professional who has never belonged
> to a revolutionary organization or worked in the
> mass movement.

Answer: Probably you're right on both counts.  I
certainly agree with you on the first one.  I have no
knowledge of Schanoes to judge the second one.  But,
neither characterization should be a reason to have
unsubbed either.

Maybe Schanoes is "a middle-class professional" who
has never belonged to a revolutionary organization or
worked in the mass movement".  So what, I would ask? I
have no idea who is a subscriber on this list because
only a handful of people (maybe less than 10%) post
anything substantial.  But their "sociology" certainly
is not a reason for unsubbing him because probably he
shares that with a number of other folks on the list.


As I have told both you and Armando, I think that you
> have respected the ecology of the list and that
Carlos would be welcomed back if he can
> function in the same manner as you do. Basically,
> this entails a willingness to assume that all
participants here are genuine
> revolutionaries--*even* if you privately think
> otherwise.

Answer: I assume that everyone is what they say they
are. And everyone should assume the same about me or
anyone else. I consider myself a revolutionary
Marxist.  If anyone else consider himself/herself some
other category of a Marxist, that is fine with me as
well. If that is what you meant by "respecting the
ecology of the list" then we are on common ground

If everyone in the list consider himself/herself
"genuine revolutionary" then your demand would be
correct.  But I'm in no position to make that
judgement because, as I said, only few people in the
list post messages and identify themselves

What I think you and I, and everyone should expect is
for people not to jump into attacking personally
someone because of what they "assume" the other person
is.  And certainly I think we agree that posting once
in a while in a mailing list does not give you any
significant material to go about making "from the hip"
judgement of people. People should be respectful of
others and argue on their ideas if they need to.

Unfortunately, as I said before, you allowed a
selected group of people on the list to make that kind
of attacks which I consider out of place while at the
same time you over enforce the "rule" on others.

As to Carlos Alternative, I would answer here what you
should do: write to him personally and tell him why
you would like him back.  I think that communication
should include an apology.


> But on a routine day-to-day basis, we simply have to
> avoid the temptation to characterize our ideological
opponents in the terms that are familiar to those of
us who belonged to the Trotskyist movement.

Answer: Agree.


 In the case of David Schanoes, not only was he
> unwilling to accept these groundrules, he rose to
the temptation as a alcoholic does to a bottle
> of gin.


This is not clear or agreed upon to a number of people
in this list.  That's why you should have insisted in
moderation through political debate, not by
administrative measures.

I suggest you re-sub the guy.


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