[Marxism] Reply to "The Kafkaesque world of the Marxist Internet Archives"

David Walters dwalters at marxists.org
Thu Dec 2 09:31:21 MST 2004

Louis Proyect has decided to throw a public fit at the MIA because none 
of us on the MIA had a clue about who Jim Blaut was. Louis is under the 
very mistaken impression that everyone 'subbed' to Marxmail reads every
e-mail. Many don't even receive posts, but choose to read selected 
posts or threads at http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/maillist.html

The Marxists Internet Archive, unlike Marxmail, is run democratically. 
We have to be since it's not simply a mailing list that requires some 
moderation but is an actual dynamic archive of writings by the world's 
(mostly dead)Marxists with more than 40 volunteers spread around the 
world. In our consensus method of deciding things, few knew or heard of 
Blaut. At the time, also, we had not known of his activism in the PRSP. 
None of us on this list could remember anything about Blaut. The same 
holds true for the 36 or more volunteers on the MIA who are not on this 
list. Apparently not everyone pays close attention to *every* 
discussion thread or post here on Marxmail. I'm sure this comes as a 
surprise to Louis' most insular view of the world, but, alas, it seems 
to be true.

Usually a writer gets put up in one of the sections of the MIA based on 
someone adovcating for them, whether a volunteer or a reader, and, in 
accordance with our Charter and Bylaws (all available on the MIA). We
asked Louis to make a case for Blaut but he refused to do so directly, 
preferring to work through David Walters. He also did not want to 
discuss it, having made the conclusion that anyone who questions Louis 
on this deserved an invective-full, insulting response...something that 
was not forwarded to the MIA's own listserv, not wanting to make Louis' 
original tirade the topic of disucsison. Such a response *here* would 
have made the responder be moderated right off the list, if past 
practice is any indication.

That the MIA contains a living author who is archived is an exception. 
The writer Louis raised to point out some sort of inconsistency by the 
MIA because he was still alive was brought over from another project 
that had been integrated into the MIA early on. There are a few other 
examples of these, most notably on the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism 
On-Line, which was also a project that predates the MIA.

The MIA can make mistakes. The MIA can  correct these mistakes. It can 
only do so within the parameters of a measured and calm discussion, not 
one based on ridicule and innuendo. Even in Blaut's case, we never even
came to an actual decision of 'yes' or 'no' but rather it was left in a 
sort of abeyance.

The MIA, obviously, is a great resource that the world's Marxists use. 
It stands above petty argumentation and is what it is: the clearing 
house for all the classic works of Marxism. This will never change.

Juan Fajardo
Einde O'Callahan
Andy Pollock
David Walters

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