[Marxism] Deutscher Prize: Who Moderates the Moderator?

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Mon Nov 28 16:41:45 MST 2005

Louis Proyect wrote:

> Brian Kelly:
> I assume that this Brian Kelly is the same Brian Kelly who got a 
> Deutscher prize in 2002 for his book on Alabama coal fields. One year 
> later Neil Davidson, who I have had an exchange with over the Brenner 
> thesis, got the prize for his book on Scottish history. And this year, 
> the winner was Kevin Murphy. So out of the last 4 years, 3 prize-winners 
> have been either current or former members of the Cliffite current. As 
> Larry David would say, "Very interesting".
I don't know what you're trying to insinuate here, Louis. Only a 
minority of the members of the Isaac Deutscher Prize jury have any 
connection politically with the International Socialist tradition - what 
you call the "Cliffites".

After all, one could consider the fact that an ISO member won the prize 
in 2002, i.e. after the acrimonious split between the ISO and the SWP, 
while an SWP member won the prize (jointly) in 2003 to be a sign that 
non-sectarian criteria are uppermost in the minds of the jury members.

You seem to find the fact that 3 of the six awards in the last 5 years 
went to supporters of what IIRC you elsewhere call a non-Marxist current 
- very non-sectarian of you I must say (sometime vocal anti-sectarians 
are the most sectarian of all!) - to be highly suspicious. Others might 
take it as an indication that a tradition you despise is not quite so 
theoretically barren as you would like us to believe and that this is 
recognised by many people who don't share many of the basic premises of 
the IS tradition.

I must say, in general, that your reaction to the award of the Deutscher 
Prize to Kevin Murphy has greatly disappointed me. Both you and Kevin 
Murphy spouted some dreadful bullshit over the years in APST, as did 
many other denizens of that rather murky episode of political Usenet 
history. That you should rake over these coals now, when over the years 
you refused to believe that Murphy was even engaged in writing the 
doctoral thesis that is the basis of this book, seems to me to be a bit 
of a case of sour grapes.

Einde O'Callaghan

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