A challenge to marxmail contributors - please read this.

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 30 09:42:31 MDT 2003

A chairde,

Every day, every opportunity to access the internet, I find myself drawn to
checking out the latest 100 marxmail messages. The reasons for this: the
quality of contributions, the level of discussion, the contributors, the
standard of moderation.

I don't read every message, however, I tend to skim through and pick out
messages from my own prefered contributors. I also tend to follow threads of
interest. What interests me most are analyses, specifically historic or
current political analyses. I really value detailed analysis - particularly
where its current or relevant e.g. Ed George's stuff on Wales/Spain and
Nestor/Carlos on Argentina. I also like a good disagreement over policy or a
party line (although these can become interminable and limited in their
usefulness). I respect the great intellectual discussions over the origins
of capitalism in England and the like but prefered to read things like the
warped 'trot' analysis of nepalese society (which I later condemned for its
dull PR approach).

I also like reading some philosophical pieces but find them too much when
they get into huge levels of detail. Economics articles are generally of
interest to me - with my own specific role as an activist. I like news items
of interest and when one of us manage to get a 'big shot' to engage offlist
and forward the correspondence on line - we get the feeling that the list is
starting to really go somewhere.

I tend to avoid the reviews of movies and the like - mostly because I just
don't find them interesting. Although if someone was to review an Eisenstein
movie or a good novel - you might anticipate me reading with interest.

Why am I writing this? Well there are two things I have in mind:

(a) Maybe others would care to do likewise - I think it might be useful to
see just what other people - often who we've known over the internet for
years (in cases) want to get from the list. We might be able to better
deliver and make it more productive. I would be interested to see what
others think.

(b) MOST IMPORTANTLY I feel that marxmail has a role in terms of identifying
viable socialist strategies to build political strength. Among the best
conversations I've engaged with were those dealing with the current Irish
Republican strategy. It was quite tiring to take the argument back to those
who held diametrically opposing views, but it was incredibly worthwhile. I
felt proud to have engaged these people - we managed to avoid very rankerous
debate but it was like a tough boxing match at times. IMO, no where else has
such a coherent and open defence of the current republican strategy been
offered to date. Well that's if you believe that what I offered was
coherent. The list dragged that out of me because I had to find answers to
the difficult questions which others posed. The content of the strategy
remains up for debate but at least its framework has been laid out for
criticism/appraisal. That's fairly unusual, in my book.

What I would really value is anything similar for other countries/movements.
We read arguments about the exact nature of slogans in anti-war protests. We
read controversies over support for imperialist interventions by certain
small organisations. But we never read much about concrete proposals for
building political strength. We all know we need to get working class and
other deprived groups involved, but no one has really said just how they
plan to do this (with the possible exception of Jurrian Bendien). I think
that this is the central issue for any socialist revolutionary today. Do we
consider that we are capable of revolution elsewhere or will those
'beachheads' outside the imperialist centres be left in splendid isolation
as Cuba has been for so long. The challenge is for contributors to identify
what they consider to be a viable strategy for building strength. Most, it
would appear, have dispensed with the notion that organisations can propose
a programme and wait for the proletarian masses to discover it and mass
under their flag. Can we, however, offer anything different?

Is mise

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