[Marxism] Gilles d'Aymery

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 7 09:48:58 MST 2004

Press Action Hero of the Week: GILLES D'AYMERY

"Are you about yourself or are you about an idea?" That's the question 
Gilles d'Aymery asks people who want to contribute articles to Swans, the 
online magazine (www.swans.com) that he founded and edits. He may not ask 
it to their face or in email correspondence. But it's a question he's 
determined to answer as he reads the essays people send him. If he notices 
a contributor is straying from the magazine's commitment to ideas, d'Aymery 
isn't afraid to cut that person loose from the Swans family.

If he could get away with it, d'Aymery would address the dilemma by 
publishing Swans without any bylines. It's a policy that would quickly 
suppress all egos. As an egalitarian, d'Aymery would also erase his name as 
editor from the masthead, stripping any semblance of lineage from the ideas 
presented in the publication.

The idea — the thoughtful presentation of an argument — is paramount, not 
the person behind it. As someone who grew up immersed in France's social 
democratic tradition, d'Aymery, who now lives in the San Francisco Bay 
area, casts an outsider's eye on the individualistic spirit in the United 

It's a cliché but still true. Rugged individualism, not necessarily the 
type of individualism hyped in U.S. history books and Hollywood movies, is 
still alive in America and d'Aymery wants it extinguished. Get rid of the 
ego. The Economist, the London-based newsweekly, doesn't give its writers 
bylines. And it's viewed by many as the best news magazine in the world, in 
a snarky sort of way. Why should d'Aymery throw his principles out the 
window? Swans is his magazine and he should be able to do what he wants 
with it.

But he's not clueless. D'Aymery understands he couldn't publish his online 
magazine if he instituted the no-name policy. People want credit for their 
ideas, especially when they're not getting paid for them, as is the case at 

If he did adopt the no-name approach, d'Aymery would lose his contributors, 
turning Swans into a little blog. And what is more "me" than our current 
age of blogging? Our opinions are vitally important, or so many of us think 
they are as evidenced in the hundreds of thousands of people keeping an 
online diary of their opinions and observations for the entire world to 
read — if only the world could find their address in the blogosphere.

full: http://www.pressaction.com/pablog/archives/001288.html#001288

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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