(fwd from Lou Paulsen) Are you there?

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Thu Jul 24 06:13:38 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <LouPaulsen at attbi.com>
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 4:48 PM
Subject: Are you there?

> If so, drop me a line. People have been asking about you.
> Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

[This was an off-list e-mail to which I am responding on the list]
[having just re-subscribed after letting my mailbox get full a month
ago and getting myself bounced]

I am sort of here.  I am more here than a week ago and am moving
toward higher levels of hereness.

First off, I'm sorry about letting my mailbox get full a few weeks
back causing bounced messages etc.  It was just a matter of changing a
setting and forgetting to unchange it.

I am not dead, physically sick, injured, etc., or in jail, nor have
the feds raided my house and stolen my computer, nor have I lost my
job and become unable to pay my internet bill.

Nor have I given up on socialism, decided that anti-imperialism is
futile, gone over to the enemy, etc..

No, I've "just" been in a temporary fit of depression and burnout.
This has happened to me before.  There's probably a biological
component to it.  Obviously it has something to do with the outcome of
the invasion phase of the Iraq war, but it's not just 'being depressed
because the US has occupied Iraq.'  Every member of my party and
indeed every progressive in the world has had to deal with the reality
of the US occupation of Iraq, the slaughters and outrages and so on,
but most of them don't get derailed for weeks on end.  This has
happened to me in the past without any such megatrigger.

It has nothing to do with being "shocked" or "awed" or "disillusioned"
or "surprised" or having any beliefs disconfirmed or any such thing.
It has nothing to do with judgment or intellectual assessment of the
situation.  It's not even remotely like sitting and ruminating
incessantly on how bad the occupation is.  It's more like just having
no energy and having anxiety attacks when I think about opening my
e-mail and playing Microsoft Spider Solitaire instead.  There is
absolutely no romantic dignity to it.  There's no 'reason' or 'excuse'
for it any more than when you get influenza.

My susceptibility to this sort of thing is my greatest failing as a
revolutionary, and naturally I am ashamed of it, but of course that
only makes it harder to dig myself out and face people again.  If I
ever beat this thing permanently I will be of some use.

Anyway, in the last couple weeks it seems as if I have recovered
somewhat.  Among the evidence of this is the fact that I am actually
reading my e-mail and have found this note and am actually answering

I apologize if you or anyone else has been unnecessarily worried by
all this.  As for the Iraqi people to whom I have owed so much more
than I have given in the recent period, there's no point in even
talking about apologies.  The thing is to get back into it.  If the
fate of the revolution, the anti-imperialist struggle, or my party
were entirely dependent on my individual consistency then we would be
in deep shit, but thank God (so to speak) this is not the case and
there are many consistent people out there.

Lou Paulsen

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