[Marxism] Re: Trotsky's testament

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Wed Dec 8 11:33:52 MST 2004

From: "Brian Shannon" <Brian_Shannon at verizon.net>
To: "Jurriaan Bendien" <andromeda246 at hetnet.nl>
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 2:26 PM
Subject: Trotsky's testament

> Why don't you just say that Joe made a mistake and point it out? Aren't 
> you also making a mistake of a different kind by writing such a 
> sharp-toned correction?
> I just checked the Internet for "Trotsky's Testament" and came up with
> http://www.newyouth.com/archives/classics/works_by_leon_trotsky.asp
> If you go to the bottom you'll find a possible source for Joe's comment. 
> However, Joe says that he got it from a Pathfinder book. Maybe he was lazy 
> and just went to this site.

Hi Brian,

I don't think it would make any difference if I said he made a mistake. Joe 
and I take a dim view of each other. From my point of view, he is just 
engaging in infantile pseudo-Trotskyist dogmatism, constantly ruminating the 
same tiresome old boorish verbiage culled from sacred texts (which by the 
way he doesn't even understand, or read properly, as I pointed out). 
Sometimes he pharasaically signs himself "respectfully" after swearing at 
me. He never has any substantive argument, it is just "rubbish" this, 
"wrong" that, "Lenin said", "Trotsky said" and so on, blah blah. This is 
hardly enlightening for anybody.

I've managed a socialist bookstore, founded three socialist political 
groups, administered a leftwing journal, produced numerous articles and 
translations, taught courses, participated in scores of campaigns, meetings 
and demonstrations, and belonged to two socialist parties and several trade 
unions, so I am  familiar from personal experience with his ilk hanging 
round, and I prefer not to have them in my space or field of vision anymore. 
I am currently translating a book on Marxist interpretations of the Soviet 
Union since 1917, which provides a quite witty critique of precisely the 
kind of doctrinaire schematism that Joe indulges in.

I believe people like Joe just stuff things up and discredit what we're 
trying to do, and that they should be avoided or else called to account. His 
point of view of me is made quite clear in what he writes - I threaten his 
cherished collection of undigested dogmas, and therefore all he can do is 
swear, froth and rant at me through an email. You can clearly see his warped 
fanaticism by the idiotic things he writes about religion.

I wish there was less of this type of arrant puberal nonsense by people like 
Joe on Marxmail List. We ought to aim for contributions of better quality, 
and not this uninspiring, stale rhetoric that helps nobody. I am not 
knocking what many youthful activists do, I often admire them, but if they 
think that they can just use and abuse older people or falsify things and 
get away with it, they're mistaken. The older generation may be old, but 
they aren't dumb, and on the whole very sharp. They've seen it all before, 
as you know.

Maybe all this sounds sharply polemical, and whereas generally I try to stay 
out of polemics and flame wars altogether, I do feel strongly about this, 
and I want to dissociate myself and my kind of people completely from this 
nasty fake leftism of Joe's type, which dishonours what the people he 
deifies (Marx, Lenin, Trotsky etc.) aspired towards.

I hope I have made my viewpoint clear - I made the mistake in the past of 
going soft on these kinds of people, and then they think they can talk all 
sorts of rubbish, walk all over you and get away with it. Well, no more. 
Insofar as it concerns me, if it's crap, I'm going to say it's crap and show 
you exactly why too.



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