[Marxism] Fwd: On Ward Churchill's "tone" versus content of argument

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 23 13:49:46 MST 2005

M. Junaid Alam:
>I am forced to disagree with Comrade Craven here.
>I think the debate over the Churchill affair is one that brings into
>sharp relief the importance of national and racial factors in shaping
>the precise contours of the class question as it exists in actual
>reality. Is it mere coincidence that it is Churchill, an American
>Indian, who has issued the most blunt, most strident and grisly
>observation of 9-11? Is it further coincidence that Jim Craven, another
>member of another indigenous nation, takes up Churchill's defense in the
>most unconditional and active manner? Doubtless there is a strong
>element of identification here - identification with the victims of
>Americanism abroad, by those who have been victims of Americanism at home.

Response (Jim C): Actually I have never taken any position on a given 
issue, for or against the position of another person on the same issue, 
based on the ethnicity of that other person relative to my own. In Indian 
Country I routinely differ with some Indians on certain arguments and 
routinely agree with some non-Indians on certain arguments.I defend the 
content--as well as the tone--of Ward Churchill's controversial 
article--including the reference to "demi-Eichmanns"-- because I find his 
arguments and even metaphors to be quite compelling. Indeed, from some of 
the entities that occupied the WTC, literally thousands of memos like that 
of the infamous Eichmann-like "Summers' Memo", were issued and acted upon 
over the years. I have for example, a copy of an EPA report designating 73 
proposed toxic waste sites 72 of which are Indian reservations (instead ot 
taking the victims to the gas chambers now they bring them to us). Those 
types who engineered and presided over such policies and machinations, some 
of which worked in the WTC, can be quite accurately characterized as 
"demi-Eichmanns" in my opinion; this is simply a matter of facts and proper 
characterization of the roles and inexorable--and foreseeable--roles they 
played prior to 9-11.

Furthermore, what is wrong with being direct and blunt? That is the 
traditional Indigenous way--to focus on content and leave the matter of 
alleged "tone" or "style" as a matter of individual expression. Personally 
I am tired of all this emphasis on "tone", "style" and "civility" in 
argument and have experienced this to be but one more eurocentric weapon or 
tool of oppression: forget about alleged "tone" or "style", deal with the 
CONTENT of a given argument. The right-wing, often so vitriolic and full of 
ad hominem themselves because they typically lack the intellect, 
preparation, experience and facts to counter those arguments they can only 
demand to be censored, focus on "style" and "tone" (of others never 
themselves) directly in order to divert from the content of an argument 
they cannot deal with.

For many Native activists, immersed in the realities of ongoing genocide, 
there is simply no time--nor inclination--to be "civil" and "refined" in 
the typical eurocentric sense that such concepts or constructs are often 
asserted and used.

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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