[Marxism] Jim Craven responds to Bonnie W.

Bonnie Weinstein giobon at sbcglobal.net
Sun May 1 13:41:25 MDT 2005

We were talking about socialist selling their papers or magazines at antiwar
demonstrations and antiwar coalition meetings or at Military Families Speak
Out meetings, etc. 

No socialist worth her or his salt would intrude on Native American or any
other oppressed group's meetings or organizations without establishing some
sort of mutually agreed upon relationship first. At least, not this
socialist. I don't see the ISO doing it either. This argument is about
people being annoyed at being offered the ideas of socialism when they have
already dismissed the ideas themselves.

Breaking into a Pow Wow is ridiculous and intolerable behavior. But
socialists are obligated to tell the story of the Blackfeet Reservation at
Browning, Montana and about all the horrific conditions that exist on
Reservations throughout the country. The business of how best to organize
against these conditions is the business of those who live on the
reservations. But if they call to us for solidarity with their cause, we
socialists will be there also.

Bonnie Weinstein, Socialist Viewpoint

On 5/1/05 6:33 AM, "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> It is not my intent to debate the pros and cons of ISO. It is my intent to
> stand firm on their right to sell their newspaper at any event they so
> choose.
> Bonnie
> Let them come to the Blackfeet Reservation at Browning, Montana and
> assert/insert "their right" to sell their newspapers at any event (e.g. a
> Pow Wow) "they so choose" and they will probably get a very painful if not
> fatal lesson on the real world and what rights really exist, for whom and
> how they are really defended. Let them drop in to save the poor destitute
> natives from their misery and ignorance by spouting slogans and selling
> papers with recipes for instant revolution.
> I wonder how many on this list have lived under conditions or under regimes
> of extreme surveillance and oppression. I am not talking about being denied
> tenure, being marginalized and demonized academically, not getting
> published, being relegated to a "minor" educational institution, not getting
> published in the "right" journals or by the "right" publishers, or, perhaps,
> being busted at a demonstration and spending a couple of hours in "jail";
> I'm talking about living and working and organizing under conditons where
> one wrong word to the wrong person means actual death or extreme brutality
> not only for onseself but for others as well. I wonder how many have had to
> speak in code, to check bona fides backwards and forewards because of the
> costs of any mistake or had state informers around them. In these kinds of
> contexts, the kind we are seeing here more and more, it is only the narrow,
> the selfish, the petit-bourgeois and non-serious dilettantes who scream
> about "their" self-defined/asserted abstract and absolute "rights"
> irrespective of the consequences of the unrestrained or untempered exercise
> of those "rights". That is why these types have been known historically, in
> so many venues and countries, by various popular segments of various
> persuasions, as wreckers, dilettantes and even objective--and often later
> subjective e.g. James Burnham or Irving Kristol--agents of reaction and
> repression. They drop in, scream a lot, rant a lot of formulae and jargon,
> sell a few newspapers, make summary prouncements on how nation or movement X
> should be doing whatever instead of what they are doing, or how they
> "support" movement or nation X even though they consider it "deformed", then
> as quickly as they parachuted in, they bail out leaving others to take the
> heat, pick up the pieces, try to regain some confidences and trusts and once
> again do the work of serious revolutionaries: patient, careful, measured,
> consistent, effective, committed and serious  praxis, guided by theory and
> theory answerable to praxis in the service of the oppressed..
> Even in narrow bourgeois terms there is no absolute right of free speech.
> One has no right to commit slander and libel under the banner of free
> speech. One has no right to transmit classified information to an "enemy"
> under the banner of free speech nor to use it as an instrument of denial for
> others. Under socialism, or in progressive organizations operating under
> potential conditions of surveillance and intense and unbridled repression,
> where time and resources are extremely limited relative to the myriad claims
> on them, and the real-world costs of mistakes and wrecklessness on innocents
> are staggering, freedom of speech also does not include the right to speak
> shit without any concrete investigation behind what is being spoken about,
> nor to give aid-and-comfort to those trying to sabotage socialist
> construction and/or the strategic objectives of an organization.
> You see, in the real world, that world beyond keyboards, academic market
> niches, curriculum vitae, sabbaticals, publish-or-perish, summer vacation,
> the next article or book, there are not only very determined and well-armed
> enemies, with very sophisticated technologies of mind/soul control and
> repression, there are also real consequences on real people from those more
> obsessed with their self-defined/professed/asserted "rights" in the abstract
> and absolute that with the most effective use of those "rights" (which may
> mean tactically not asserting or exercising them in the real-world) in real
> service to all oppressed peoples.
> So much for Marx's notion of revolution first in the "advanced" capitalist
> countries...
> Jim Craven
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