[Marxism] Letters to a Marxmail subscriber

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 3 15:00:57 MDT 2006

by Walter Lippmann

Back in the day, leaders, or better, Leaders, from the local to the
national level, made it know what kinds of issues and points were on
the agenda, and off; what kinds of questions were allowed and which
were not allowed. Some leaders argued politically when questions or
challenges were posed to the prevailing wisdom. Joseph Hansen was of
that variety. Though he sometimes said things I didn't agree with, it
was always done in a comradely spirit. We were, after all, members of
the same group, committed to the same goals, and trying to work in as
collaborative a way as possible, despite the pressures of the dominant
capitalist environment which bears down on each and every one of us in
the movement, whatever organizational form our participation took.

It's always useful to keep in mind that Marxmail, like other internet
discussion forums, is not a political organization. No one pays dues,
there are no membership meetings or rules, beyond common courtesy and
a modicum of decorum. Most members are polite to one another, despite
significant, often extremely sharp divergences in political viewpoint. 
>From time to time the moderator sends out letters like the one below.
I suppose this is a variant of "riding heard" on an unruly mob or of
some other such thingamadingy. At times it reminds me of a frustrated
parent who, when an unruly toddler cries in a supermarket, threatens
to spank the child, saying, "If you don't stop crying, I'll really
give you something to cry about."

All of this is a bit of a preface to some mail I've received over
the past while, samples, there have been others, but I haven't kept
all of them. Marxmail, in my opinion, has a number of valuable sides,
above all, that it brings into contact people from a wide range of
political backgrounds and perspectives, discussing how we can best
bring about a better world, using the tools of Marxist analysis to
the best of our abilities. Some of us are unaffiliated to political
parties of the Marxist or other type, some are affiliated to one or
another grouping. Together we can expand our knowledge of and our
understanding of the broader world and how to struggle to bring 
fundamental change about. I've met or re-met people through this
list whom I hadn't seen or had contact with in as much as forty
years. This is one of the good sides. A problemmatic aspect is the
nasty invective which occasionally breaks up the conversational
flow. One other problemmatic part is the posting of internet links
without any explanation of what is significant about the article
which is being referred to the reader.

The mail below is rather tedius, but a steady strem of it comes to
me, about once every month or so. When I receive it I simply draw
back a bit, post a bit less, and hope that the mail stops, but it
always seems to come back every now and then. I imagine others,
also, get mail like this. I don't know what to do or say about it,
just wanted to make some of this public. Normally, as longer-term
readers of this list can testify, I don't respond to it, but it is
something others ought to know about. I'm sure that everyone who
participates in revolutionary socialist political thinking and
organizing feels as frustrated as I do, and as others do at the
pace of social and political change in this world. I don't think
that threatening subscribers to a voluntary list with discipline
will bring about any improvement in the speed of social change.

In the month of June, Walter Lippmann posted about 80 messages.
In the month of June, Louis Proyect posted  about 190 messages.
It's easy to check the documented record about this, by the way:

In the month of July, Walter Lippmann has posted (with this)  4 times.
In the month of July, Louis Proyect has posted (before this( 18 times.

Virtually everything I post in full is from places like the NY Times,
Wall Street Journal or other places which require registration or a
paid subscription. No one is required to read everything, or anything.
It's all completely voluntary. Some are more interested in theoretical
matters, others are more interested in the daily political struggles.
That is where the "delete" key performs its most important function.
It's rather tiresome to write a message like this, I have to say.

Walter Lippmann


From: Louis Proyect [mailto:lnp3 at panix.com] 
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 9:17 PM
To: walterlx at earthlink.net>
Subject: Reminder

As I have told you repeatedly, you should try to keep within 5 posts 
a day but you posted 9 times today. There are no limits on Cubanews 
and Greenleft, but I really need to keep people within limits on 
Marxmail. If I begin to get the sense that these reminders are being 
ignored by you, you risk being unsubbed. Okay?

From: Louis Proyect [mailto:lnp3 at panix.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 5:28 PM
To: walterlx at earthlink.net
Cc: Les Schaffer
Subject: Final warning

Walter, you have crossposted six newspaper articles today after I asked you 
the day before yesterday to limit this to 3 or 4. The next time you go 
overboard, you will be put on moderation.


From:  Louis Proyect
Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 1:43 PM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] US SWP reports gains from 
industrial orientation from Latino immigration-rights protests

I tend to cut Fred some slack when he crossposts, for example, an entire 
article from Counterpunch that is available online. But do we really need 
advertisements from this bizarre sect-cult? Especially after I set up a 
mailing list on yahoo that is meant to examine the entrails of this dead

With respect to Jabari Ashe, I hope that he doesn't run into a situation 
after joining this sect-cult that he finds himself thinking differently. 
That can lead to expulsion. Come to think of it, for his own good, I hope 
that soon after joining he raises the question of why the Militant ran 
article after article hailing the brilliant successes of Rumsfeld's New 
Model Army. They'll show him to the door, I'm sure and he'll be grateful 
that they did. 

More information about the Marxism mailing list