[Marxism] so long, farewell

DLVinvest at cs.com DLVinvest at cs.com
Tue May 4 14:15:53 MDT 2004

Lanasnest [1:29 PM]:  Sorry to interupt, but I've been cut from the list.  
Thanks for what you've taught me.  If you come up with something that will sink 
into my thick skull, write to me at,
Lanasnest at aol.com
Thanks for being an example. 
DLVinvest [1:33 PM]:  
Not to worry: It's not healthy to spend too much time in any kind of 
chat-room. Go out and dance, talk to your friends, do something else for awhile, then 
come back when you've tried to apply some of your ideas about what to change 
and how. This list is not the only place where you can learn and teach about 
what the world needs now and how to get it.

Rather than patiently exchanging experiences, we marxists and self-styled 
revolutionaries sometimes have a nasty habit of sectarian squabbling that drives 
away potential recruits and degenerates into name-calling; argument becomes 
what some logical wit called "proof by vigorous assertion." Some of this comes 
from an apprehension of the very real stakes in the even nastier and deadly 
fight against capitalism that threatens to destroy us and everything else if we 
don't stop it. We are in a rush, because people are dying and some of us are 
getting older and would still like to see "revolution in our lifetime." But we 
can only do that by changing ourselves in the process, and by learning from the 
mistakes of others, that is, from our own history as a movement, and learning 
new ways to relate to other people. The history of communism also shows that 
no one is irredeemable, and almost everybody is a potential communist or ally. 
But that will be demonstrated in practice more than the ability to spout 
slogans.We have a glorious history of effort, of struggle, of intention to "do the 
right thing" and a miserable record of failure and bloodshed to live down and 
explain to the future if we want people to take up that cause.

You may indeed be the petty bourgeois intellectual or sappy idealist or 
muddle-headed latter-day hippy some of your critics suggested you were. To me, 
that's beside the point, because almost all of us were -- and I detect a strain of 
that prominently in the accusation that you are not schooled enough in 
Marxist methodology and discourse to participate. I get the impression that some 
people on this list consider themselves master dialecticians for having read the 
basic study-guide list of the classics. But what emerges less frequently are 
their experences in the day-to-day struggles of the workers. Don't get me 
wrong: We need academics, especially Marxists who seriously study and apply that 
method. We can learn alot from them. 

I'm more interested in what we can become. Marx, Engels, Lenin and a long 
list of others who dedicated their lives to the cause of humanity -- communism-- 
all had to outgrow their own upbringing and class background, "the dead weight 
of the past that hangs like a nightmare over the living" to paraphrase Marx 
in a passage cited earlier.

Just because you were cut off is no excuse to cut yourself off from further 
study and discussion -- take up teh challenge to learn more, it won't hurt. 
Most of all, don't allow such criticism to paralyze you, don't let it stop you 
from acting on those "humanitarian' impulses and "spiritual intuitions" others 
choose to condemn by labelling, rather than build upon and nurtue in a 
dialectical and historically materialist way that generates new revolutionaries and 
revolutionary activity --- neither of which can be confined to a categorical box 
by a priori sticking labels as a premise from which to draw a foregone 
conclusion. Winning a debate or an e-mail exchange is not as interesting or 
satisfying as learning from the exchange itself, and maybe making a new friend a 
comrade in struggle in the process.

Good luck, happy hunting, in solidarity and struggle, including the 
never-ending process of self-discovery that is a part of political work. The best 
people I have ever known were and are communists.

Douglas L. Vaughan, Jr.
for Print, Film & Electronic Media
3140 W. 32nd Ave. 
Denver CO 80211

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