[Marxism] Different periods, different politics

Julio Huato 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 
the list?

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.


Julio Huato

MSN Amor: busca tu ½ naranja http://latino.msn.com/autos/

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