[Marxism] Troubled times

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Sun Nov 19 19:58:52 MST 2006

Alan Bradley wrote:
> A clue: Joaquin just issued a theoretical challenge to
> the whole of Marxism, and you are defending the
> political importance of analysing music?

List subscribers, including first of all Lou himself, are putting too
damn much weight on an e-mail list. And if you expect more of a list
than it can possibly fulfill (example: A list is not a party), then it
will fail to fulfill any purpose at all.

Shall there be no more cakes and ale? Lou likes to write movie reviews.
Some people on the list like to read them. Why in the fucking hell
should not marxists have some pleasure once in a while without trying to
pretend that that pleasure carries some huge political significance? The
justification of analyzing music on this list is that it gives some
pleasure to those who are doing the analyzing.

And incidentally, Lou would enjoy the list more, there would be less
excess hassle, and there might or might not be some more useful 'heavy'
discussion as well if he would lower his standards. One maillist is not
going to bring the revolution a year sooner, and one maillist that has a
lot of bullshit on it is not going to postpone the revolution a year.

One very tentative response to Joaquin. "Something Went Wrong" only if
"Marxism" (the ISM; the fundamental theory) includes the political
practice of marxists. I suggest that Marxism be seen as consisting
pretty narrowly of a theoretical analysis of Capitalism (which includes
the discovery of the historicity of Capitalism and Luxemburg's Socialism
THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Revolutionary thought is far more closely tied
to the contingencies of capitalist history, and hence revolutionary
thought must be continually changing.

Joaquin is certainly right that political thought and practice must give
_far more weight_ to race, gender, and nationality than the "marxist"
tradition has given those elements -- but that is no challenge at all to
the fundamentals of marxist theory, which ought not pretend to such


> ...
> I may respond to Joaquin later, after I think about
> things, but I have a suspicion he is overreacting.
> Alan Bradley
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