Moderator's note

Marcus Gelman marcusgelman at yahoo.com
Tue May 6 20:34:04 MDT 2003


--- Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> Let's try and maintain
> some civility and seriousness here. Or else.
>
>
> Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:
> http://www.marxmail.org

Hello all,

 I've held off on responding to this particular post
for a variety of reasons. Initially I was hoping some
of the list veterans would take the issue up. As the
days passed and that has not occured I decided to
break with my lurker habits and risk my membership to
the list to address this issue.

 During the course of my rather short membership there
have been a few instances of people deciding
(apparently) to utilize the list as their  platform
for launching personal attacks (as Louis rightly
pointed out in the case of David Schanoes or whatever
his name is). Clearly, incidents of this sort should
not be tolerated under any circumstance.

  What I was hoping people would address, however, in
the current of intolerance/censorship which seems to
be operating simultaneously with the necessary
filtering. It seems like everytime someone brings in
an alternative interpretation to the dominant values
of the list they are rejected as "trolls" or impostors
of various types. This imposed limitation (mostly from
the moderator though not exclusively) on discussion is
really a detriment to the level of discussion on the
list in general but also, and perhaps more importantly
given our understanding of politics (or at least what
we as a list understand to be intellectual exchange).
It really comes down to the "Or else" which, once
again, does have an obvious practicality towards
getting the people who merely come on here to cause
trouble off the list, but  it has particular
consequences for the discussion when it is applied
towards limiting interpretations and opinions. It has
"Tenth Party Congress" written all over it and,
respectfully, doesn't seem appropriate to a list
purporting to invoke a discussion of Marxism (writ
large).

Louis, I hope you don't interpret this as a personal
attack. I understand you are the moderator and that
involves a certain amount of decision making along
with an important responsability. Observing the
reactions to particular points or arguments which
don't seem to fall in line with the dominant
interpretations on the list, however, has a tendency
to discourage participation and essentially stunting
discussion which for all stated (and implied) purposes
doesn't seem to be the primary raison d'etre of the
list. The censorship process, particularly in cases
where there were no overt personal attacks or childish
behavior, have appeared hasty and capricious.

My view, however, could be askewed by my concern with
this particular issue. If that is the case, and
particularly if others don't find this issue to be
important to the quotidian list activities and
procedures I'll be content to let it drop.

Sincerely,

 Marcus




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