[Marxism] From Jim Craven (conspiracies)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 12 16:44:03 MST 2005

Fred Feldman wrote:

Did Bush steal the election in 2000? A matter of fact, not something
settled by a matter of principle about conspiracies -- since they can
never affect anything that might be important, they could not have
affected the  outcome of the 2000 election.  The prevalence of the
non-materialist approach characterizes, for example, the Militant, which
declared that opposition to conspiracy theories proves that Bush could
not have stolen the elections, but ALSO PROVES that the Democrats in
that same year "decided to steal the election from Bush."

Since world politics allows room for a lot of conspiracies, the
supporters and opponents tend to end up picking up their favorites,
rather than starting from facts.

Fred Feldman

I find it interesting that whenever certain facts are given to assert the 
existence of a particular conspiracy, such facts are summarily 
dismissed--not digested or even countered with counter-facts--as nothing 
but "conspiracy theory"; this is often done not only by those on the right 
clearly involved in a given conspiracy but also by some of those on the 
nominal left wishing not to "appear" unreasonable or "conspiracy theorists."
Now I am not surprised that the Militant ("The Dilettante" would be a more 
appropriate title for this rag of this group that historically has produced 
nothing an done nothing of substance but try to run and/or make revolutions 
other than where they actually exist) takes this position but this notion 
of apriori ruling out the existence of conspiracies is extremely problematic.

First of all, obviously conspiracies do exist otherwise why are there laws 
against them? What make a conspiracy, like what makes a nation, is a matter 
of facts on the ground, law and clear definitions--not recognition or 
non-recognition by any party. A conspiracy is simply two or more persons 
forming a common plan to undertake activities and pursue objectives that 
these persons know to be illegal and/or should know to be illegal and then 
taking at least one step and coordinating their activities in furtherance 
of that common plan. Although most conspiracies are covert, and their 
covert nature may be used to infer "mens rea"--that the conspirators knew 
they were engaging in illegal activities--these machinations need not be 
covert to constitute a conspiracy. Further, under evolving "conspiracy 
law", all parties to a conspiracy are assumed to be acting in concert with 
a common plan and thus are culpable for the activities of the others even 
if not given direct notice by the others of what they are doing in 
particular in furtherance of this common plan.

In 1998, when the existing firm charged with producing purge lists of 
felons not eligible to vote (paid $43,000 in 1997) was fired and replaced 
by Choicepoint and Data Base Technologies (darlings of the Republicans) 
paid $4.3 million to produce purge lists ("with as many false-positives as 
possible") of alleged convicted felons from demographic groups likely to 
vote Democrat, they were pursuing objectives and engaging in activities 
that they clearly knew to be illegal and/or should have known to be illegal 
(violations of Federal Voting Rights Act etc). That this was a conspiracy 
to engage in illegal activities and coordinate them with other illegal 
activities in order to guarantee a Bush victory--Florida was seen as 
critical to a Bush victory even in 1998--is the only possible legitimate 
conclusion from basic facts beyond dispute. With over 1.9 million votes not 
counted, 94,000 purged as alleged felons--over 95% of whom were never 
felons and 54% of whom were African-Americans who typically vote 94% 
Democrat--the criminal intentions and results were clear.

Exposing and breaking up conspiracies involves 5 classic--and 
interrelated--approaches: a) infiltration; b) surveillance; c) pressure 
from outside to force mistakes and chaos on the inside of the conspiracy; 
d) rolling-over or "turning" insiders; e) connecting the dots. Assuming 
that self-declared leftists have duties of struggle going far beyond 
sitting on their asses and spewing forth streams-of-consciousness, 
tit-for-tat, quote-mongering etc into the ether of cyberspace, then, in 
practical terms, not seeing and calling a conspiracy for what it is 
(fearing labels or appearing to be a "conspiracy theorist) becomes 
problematic in terms of not seeing/analyzing what needs to be seen/analyzed 
and not concretely exposing what needs to be exposed and not struggling--in 
concrete ways--against what needs to be struggled against.

Jim Craven

James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
"The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything."
Josef Stalin

Employer has no association with private/protected opinion

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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