[Marxism] Free thinker?

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Thu Nov 2 10:56:56 MST 2006


 

-----Original Message-----
From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu] On Behalf Of Rakesh
Bhandari
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2006 8:40 AM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: [Marxism] Free thinker?

Free thinker, Andrew? In our weekend exchange you declared yourself free
of any interest in speaking directly to criticism of your inflated
definition of racism. And in the exchange with Gregory Meyerson you have
made yourself free of actually understanding  what Theodore Allen was
saying about John Punch and others in sections 42-69.

Racism had certainly not yet taken hold in 17th Chesapeake: Africans
were manumitted, the children of even lifetime bonded workers were free,
they mated and rebelled with 'whites', they won in courts, 'whites'
testified on their behalf,  they owned property.

About this in Allen's account you say nothing! This is not the practice
of  a free thinker but a thinker free of charity for his critics. In
other words, a cherry picker.

* * *

I think there can still be light in this discussion, but you have to be
prepared to take off the blindfold.  I don't have an "inflated
definition" of racism and I don't "cherry pick."  I have a dialectical
historical explanation of the development of racism.  I use the
historical materialist method in analyzing social formation, not an
arbitrary definition subservient to an ideological position. I refer you
to the Grundrisse, introduction, I think part three, for how to analyze
social formation (saves you the time of reading the corpus of Marx's
work).

As for the quotes provided in the link, they do in fact support my
argument, and not only taken logically, but taken historically.  I felt
no need - and it is not my fashion - to go through every one of the
quotes.  That "procedure" is tedious and really useless.  As is my
practice, I picked out the strongest material and went after it.
Strawman in not part of my method.  I go for the jugular of the real
flesh and blood argument.  

Again, you miss completely the reality of the matter.  This ONE quote
you provide - "Africans were manumitted, the children of even lifetime
bonded workers were free, they mated and rebelled with 'whites', they
won in courts, 'whites' testified on their behalf, they owned property"
- does nothing to help your case.  Nowhere in such a quote is the
existence of racism during this period refuted.  Think about it, Rakesh,
racism exists today, and blacks are not slaves, they mate and rebel with
whites, they win in courts, whites testify on their behalf, and they own
property.  See where you put yourself?  It's quite the silly position,
don't you see?  If this quote means there is no racism then, then why
doesn't saying the same thing today mean there is no racism now?  Why
should we enter the realm of the absurd?

This is what happens when you invent a ideology-serving definition and
then hold to it like a drowning man clinging to a thin reed.  There is
this ever sinking into the murk of confusion.  I know that sounds harsh
(though not nearly as hard as the insults regularly hurled at me on
here).  The irony of it all is that you think you are making a serious
argument.  You're really not, Rakesh.  I'm sorry.  You're not.

Sincerely,
Andrew




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