[Marxism] from Julio (on leaving the list)

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Sun Mar 20 10:52:44 MST 2005

Hi Les,

Would you please forward this note to the list?

I appreciate Michael Lebowitz's words.  It's very kind given that, as
he says, he knows very little of me.

Just for the record, I'm not abandoning any debate because it turned
sour.  I've had a thousand skirmishes like this on Marxmail, some of
them involving death threats  :-) .  As Louis said, I enjoy a good
debate.  This particular debate, however, had already turned ad
hominem.  That's just heat with little light.  And the thread had gone
on for too long.  So there was no real debate anymore.

And no, I'm not blaming Louis.  He is just being true to his
convictions.  And what's the point of being in a public forum if one
doesn't follow the rules of public interaction, including taking the
reasonable clues from the moderator to get to the point and move on
other more relevant matters (and I know, I don't think, he was
insinuating that I should leave the list)?

That said, I'm embarrassed by my paranoid reply to David McDonald. 
Given time, I'll reply to him off list addressing his concerns.  I
think he's absolutely right that what we do matters.  Marxism is about
what we do much more than about what we think.

However, in the context of discussions on a virtual forum, we cannot
monitor what people do off list.  We need to operate on basic trust,
unless there are concrete reasons to distrust people.  And would the
list want to limit the participation to those with a proven,
consistent record of organized involvement in the struggle?  Since
that makes no sense for a list of this kind, assessing ideas on their
own merit is the best you can do.

I may reply to M. Junaid Alam off list as soon as I can.  I'll try to
make my reply the least repetitive I can, but I may include the
reassertion of ideas I've already expressed.  I admire Junaid and will
continue to do so.  I think he's very wrong on this though.

Likewise, I may give a short reply to rr, although I'm afraid I won't
persuade him.  (My "dual character" argument was in the context of a
discussion on theory -- dependency theory.)  I totally understand what
he says about not letting the "freemarketeers" utilize those ideas to
justify their policies.  If anything, I've been one of those pesky
people telling list members to be mindful of our arguments so that
they are not misused against Cuba, Brazil, China, etc.

But I'm afraid rr has much more oil in the tank than I do for this
kind of exchanges (and oil prices are too high already).  Well, more
power to him -- I guess.  I think he's a smart fellow with provocative
ideas.  He may be a bit volatile though, and Louis will have to
exercise some tolerance if he wants to keep his valuable contributions
on the list.  I bet rr is a New Yorker.  Damn Yankees!

There is a bunch of great people on the list.  Joaquín Bustelo is
somebody I'd recommend Michael Lebowitz to include in his cherry
picking.  As to Louis' view that I use Marxist erudition "to overturn
basic Marxist principles," I hope he's right.  Well, erudition is
probably too big a word.  But yes, we should use whatever we've
learned by study and experience to take a very hard look at all the
sacred principles on which Marxists have based their activity until
now, both in the U.S. and globally.  And we need to ruthlessly
overturn them whenever necessary, because we have not gotten what we
need.  (Hugo Chávez is calling people to re-appropriate and re-think
socialism from the bottom up -- and that's my kind of guy.)

So, no, I am not throwing a tantrum.  I mean it when I say "thank
you."  I respect the people on this list (and the nonmember readers)
enough not to play that silly game.  I just think I personally need to
move away from the list and for good.  On top of that, as I said,
there's a baby at home -- and he's not going to wait until I debate
you all to exhaustion.  And that's that.



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