Double standards, anyone?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Feb 14 13:29:06 MST 2003

> Answer:
> 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.
> DA

Armando, let me be as clear as I can about this. There are definite
parameters to Marxmail, just as there are for Frontlines Newspaper. This
list is an extension of experiments like the American Socialist magazine
launched by Bert Cochran and Harry Braverman in 1955, or Solidarity
(despite my sharp criticisms of one or another positions they have
staked out over the past 5 years or so), or Refundunzione in Italy, or
what the DSP at least asserts it is trying to do, etc. In other words,
it is an attempt to break with the model of the vanguard party as
understood by people like yourself. Over the nearly 5 year history of
this mailing list, we have established a strong center of gravity among
non-party people who agree with these perspectives.

I could have banned all "Marxist-Leninists" at the outset, but I didn't
think that was necessary. Over the past few years I have seen people
from the WWP, the Cliffites, the Militant tendency (Taaffe or Woods) and
probably other groups that don't immediately spring to mind adjust to
the list culture. Carlos's problem was that he didn't respect this
culture. He saw the list as something like a Marxist version of Hyde
Park where anybody can get up on a soapbox and say anything they want,
especially against the sellouts and traitors on the next soapbox.

Frankly, it does not matter to me that Carlos Alternativa or David
Schanoes did not refer to people as dirty dogs or other expressions of
personal abuse. My objection is not so much to epithets like these, but
to the kinds of sociological/political categorizations that lard the
Trotskyist and Maoist movements like the blue rot in cheese that has
gone bad.

Just to make absolutely sure you understand where I am going with this,
I would not allow a fight to take place on this list of the sort that
took place between your group and the CWI. Nor would I put up with the
kind of fight that took place between the SWP in Great Britain and the
ISO in the USA. It doesn't matter to me that the documents issued by
either party in the respective disputes does not refer to their
opponents as "scumbags", but only as "opportunists", etc. In fact, for a
forum like this the latter term is far more corrosive.

Now there are mailing lists that are wide open--this is just not one of
them. The goal of Marxmail is to gather people together who want to
overcome the kinds of divisions that have marked the past, especially
those found in the Fourth International and all its various offshoots.
As I have said, you and John give me the general impression of
respecting the culture and mandate of the list, whatever you think of
people like me privately. As long as we can continue on that basis,
there should be no problems.


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