Who/what is "dms"

David McDonald dbmcdonald at comcast.net
Wed Jul 9 10:03:46 MDT 2003


I think much of the value of this list resides in the breadth of its
participants, that they do not all come from the same branch of the tree.
Thus, while I disagree with much of what I read from Melvin P., it is
interesting to see how someone from what I suspect is a different political
tradition than mine delves into political economy and particularly how he
relates it to current politics. Also, as it happens, because nobody in the
SWP cared a whit about political economy officially, you were a weirdo if
you did, I picked it up in pre-SWP organizations.

Maybe it was different in everybody else's political life, but in the SWP we
tended to inoculate ourselves against other leftist organizations, by
"figuring out" where they came from and then dismissing them forever from
our thoughts as political people whose arguments needed to be understood and
answered or perhaps understood and agreed to. I often think of this as the
"dismissiveness" of the SWP, which dovetailed with my own personal
dismissiveness or eagerness to consider whatever for a few microseconds,
draw the conclusion "that's fucked" and move on.

As one of those on this list who did time in the SWP, I am interested in how
others from any political tradition assess their own trajectories and the
current conclusions they draw, not from some morbid interest in the past but
because objective circumstances seem about to compel us in a new direction
and we will need to be able to work together or else.

Building February 15 was very positive in this respect, because it happened.
But it was imperfect everywhere I know of from the point of view of unity,
further because people retreated from that temporary unity at lightspeed, as
it seems. I found myself working rather closely with people whom I might
earlier have dismissed as Stalinists, Maoists, mainline Democrats, you name
it. I cannot imagine a worthwhile political formation of the future that
will not encompass people at least from all of the above threads and more.

That's why political histories and work histories are valuable to me.

David McDonald




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