[Marxism] Different periods, different politics
juliohuato at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 9 08:00:11 MST 2004
I can only respect Jim Craven's praiseful endorsement of Louis' character.
It tells me that, in his personal and political experience, Louis Proyect
has been a good comrade of his. And that counts for something. However,
Louis' character and background -- as it relates to Jim and the struggle of
the Blackfoot -- is not always relevant to the debates on this list. And
Louis' character is revealed not only in his relation to Jim and the
Blackfoot, but also in his relationship to people in other settings,
including this list and others. Behind the screens there are real people,
like Jim or Louis, who are also entitled to their judgments based on the
information they have.
This debate is not about Louis' character, a matter on which we have reasons
to disagree. This debate is about the tasks of U.S. Marxists in the current
electoral juncture. And we need to examine the issue on its merits, on the
basis of facts and logic. Marvin Gandall's participation -- whether we
share his views or not -- meets the descriptors of the list. His
participation evinces "civil, independent, and rigorous thinking." I humbly
believe my postings also show an effort to fit the descriptors. And those
who reply owe to themselves and the readers to respond in kind, that is,
with rigor and civility and exercising independent judgment.
Louis Proyect has been generous enough to make this list available to the
public. That is an extra (imaginary, but not less valuable) medal on his
chest: Not everybody puts their resources where their mouth is. But we are
all complex individuals. The fact that matters here is that the description
of Marxmail on the home page says that this is a "forum for activists and
scholars in the Marxist tradition who favor a non-sectarian and non-dogmatic
approach." The Marxist tradition is a big tent, and Marxmail is -- until
Louis pulls the plug -- a *public* resource that many people, who are not
always likely to coincide with the list's owner, have found useful.
The description doesn't say that the Marxists who join the list should
reject the Democratic Party as a viable arena of the class struggle. As it
stands and under the assumption that the a-priori criteria to decide who is
who is clear to everyone, it doesn't say either that dilettantes,
libertarians, petit-bourgeois liberals "masquerding as radicals," etc. are
unwelcome. I understand though that the description may change, explicitly
or implicitly. I think that Louis is now sending signals in that direction.
He recently wrote in a reply to me: "There might come a time when views in
support of the Democratic Party might not serve any further pedagogic
purposes." And he singled Marvin and me out: "There are 2 people out of 500
who support the Democrats. Doesn't that tell you something?" I don't know.
What is it supposed to tell me? That I should exclude myself from the list
because I'm at odds with it? That if I don't come around to the views of
the (presumed) majority, which is to say Louis' views, I'll be kicked out of
I've been an active political animal, a student of social science, an
organizer, and a fighter for socialism throughout my whole adult life. I'm
not about to quit. I don't think that my background, credentials, and
achievements are very relevant in these debates and I refuse to flash them.
I joined this list a few years ago, not because I assumed the promises made
on the home page would be guaranteed a priori, but because I thought people
would keep them in mind when the arguments got heated. I have tried to
contribute to the best of my ability with independent thinking, rigor, and
civility, but if Louis Proyect insists that the list should be restricted to
"like-minded" people or to those who reject the Democratic Party tout court,
I'll be sensitive and respectful enough of the list's collective will (as
read by the moderator) to unsubscribe.
MSN Amor: busca tu ½ naranja http://latino.msn.com/autos/
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