[Marxism] Moderator's note

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 20 09:09:38 MST 2006

>  I would also agree with Bonnie, Louis please restore Walter to the list.
>Even though we all my be in different groups or tendencies, expulsions 
>were not the way Lenin and Trotsky dealt with comrades-.  DEBATE was! Have 
>not we all learned  from  mistakes  of the past?

Walter Lippmann is still subbed to this list. I did drop him from the yahoo 
SWP mailing list, but we really don't need to discuss that here.

Let me say a word or two about the problems I face as a moderator and with 
Walter in particular. People who are trained in sectarian Marxism, as I 
was, tend to look for enemies within Marxism. Since that tendency destroyed 
the mailing list that preceded this one, I was determined to avoid it when 
I launched Marxmail in 1998. I state on the subscription information page:

"The Marxism mailing list is extremely permissive. There are a couple of 
things that are frowned upon strongly. If you come to the list with the 
attitude that you are a true Bolshevik, who needs to convert 'Mensheviks' 
to your beliefs, you will be unsubbed."

As it turns out, I have had to unsub people from time to time in order to 
put an end to polarization around one or another question. Usually, I am 
pretty permissive if somebody decides that a position that somebody else 
takes is rotten to the core, revisionist or whatever but only for a limited 
duration. People are passionate about their politics after all. What I will 
not accept is somebody intervening around such an issue on a nonstop basis. 
We had a fellow here about 5 years ago named Tony Abdo who hated the Green 
Party. For him, the act of running Green Party candidates was tantamount to 
socialist parliamentarians voting for war credits in 1914 or Stalin selling 
out the Greek guerrillas after WWII. Okay, I can accept somebody staking 
out such a position and defending it for a week or two. Tony's problem was 
that he kept at it *all the time*.

I reserve the right to drop somebody from Marxmail if they can't restrain 
themselves from going on like this permanently. It happens about 2 or 3 
times a year or so. This year I dropped Yoshie and a young man from Los 
Angeles who was working with a small Trotskyist collective. That's about 
it. So the implication that I am like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in 
Wonderland chopping off peoples' heads all the time is wrong.

Now I have had extreme difficulty with Walter in the past getting him to 
accept my authority on the list. I have an informal rule not to post more 
than 5 times a day. I go over that limit myself because I have the right to 
set the agenda for the list by crossposting MRZine, NY Times articles, etc. 
that I feel are relevant to Marxists. For about a year I kept reminding 
Walter not to post more than 5 times a day after he had flooded the list 
with items about Cuba, etc. He simply ignored me. Finally, it reached such 
a point that I warned him that he would be unsubbed if he didn't cut it 
out. That prompted him to write a long, bitter condemnation of my 
dictatorial manner to the list. Other moderators might have removed him 
just for that. I didn't.



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