[Marxism] The Kafkaesque world of the Marxist Internet Archives

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 1 10:46:38 MST 2004

Although the people working on this project are very well-meaning, I 
have been both astonished and disappointed to learn that they have 
refused to include Jim Blaut's "On the National Question" there.

I have been told that they only include people who have dead for some 
time and, as you know, Jim's corpse is probably still warm. On the other 
hand, somebody should tap István Mészáros on the shoulder and inform him 
that he is no longer among the living, based on the evidence of his 
inclusion in the MIA archives.

I have also been told that they don't like "academics", but "activists". 
  A search of the MIA Writers Archives will produce some names not 
ordinarily thought of in that context, from Merleau-Ponty to John Stuart 
Mill. Well, maybe they were selected because their last names started 
with "M", an ostensible affinity for Karl Marx, whose last name also 
started with an "M".

Although Einde O'Callaghan and David Walters were both subbed to 
Marxmail when Jim was alive and posting here, they must have been been 
unconscious when his posts arrived in their inboxes. Jim frequently 
referred to his membership in the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. In fact, 
"The National Question" was written on assignment by the Central 
Committee in order to answer assimilationists in the party.

In any case, since I have been given another 500mb by my employer to 
handle 9-5 requirements, I have plenty of room for Jim's books even if 
these nudniks have no use for it.

Chicago Sun-Times
November 15, 2000, WEDNESDAY

James M. Blaut; teacher, activist


An impassioned supporter of the downtrodden, James M. "Jim" Blaut 
devoted much of his scholarship to debunking a "Eurocentric" view of the 

A professor of geography and anthropology at the University of Illinois, 
Mr. Blaut, 73, died of cancer Nov. 13 at Norwegian American Hospital. He 
was the author of numerous articles and five books on the historical and 
political geography of the Third World. His most recent book, Eight 
Eurocentric Historians was released last month.

The Association of American Geographers presented him with its 1997 
Distinguished Scholar of the Year award. He pioneered the 
microgeographic study of peasant farming, and introduced systems 
analysis into human geography.

Mr. Blaut was active and outspoken on social issues, supporting the 
independence of Puerto Rico and participating in rallies and marches 
against the Vietnam War.

In the mid-1970s he publicly accused the University of Illinois at 
Chicago Circle of discriminating against Latinos. In more recent years, 
he spoke in support of Palestinian rights to Jerusalem.

Born in New York City, Mr. Blaut came to Chicago at age 16 to attend the 
University of Chicago. After graduating, he did his postgraduate work at 
the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, completing his 
Ph.D. at Louisiana State University.

He then held academic positions at Yale, Cornell and College of the 
Virgin Islands and was director of the Caribbean Research Institute and 
a professor and acting chairman of the geography department at the 
University of Puerto Rico.

Survivors include his wife, America (Meca) Sorrentini, and a daughter, 
Gini Blaut-Sorrentini. Burial will be in Puerto Rico on Thursday.


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