[Marxism] Debate over Occupy tactics: an invented controversy

Scott Ritner ritns028 at newschool.edu
Thu Feb 16 13:19:04 MST 2012


Despite your blatant attempts to insult me, I think that it shows your own
colors as someone who is more prepared to pass judgement than to actually
THINK. Additionally, if I may return the favor, your attempt to justify
yourself as right because of participation in past movements smacks of an
out of touch college professor seeking to maintain relevance while your
students intellectually and practically move beyond your tired insights.

If I may, the ability to understand and mobilize an intelligent discussion
should never be put down as being "grad school seminar essay" like of any
sort, whether or not I am a grad school student or was a grad school
student or just happens to be someone who is able to adequately explain my
thoughts without resorting to platitude  or over simplification should be
entirely beside the point. Your inability to understand perhaps says more
about your desire to simplify thoughts for the purpose of whatever
propaganda of no deed you wish. Did I even mention propaganda of the deed
except to explicitly state my indifference? It's not simple, there is
always context. Would you have supported the propaganda of the deed exacted
by Algerian Communists in their fight against the French? Or would that
offend your sense of violence only for defensive reasons. You never
answered the question I posed about needing to couch violence in terms of
self-defense to justify it. Instead you brushed it off with a pejorative
insult about your assumption of my level of education.

Vandalism is adventurism, you say, could not vandalism also be propaganda?
I'm not talking about smashing windows, but scrawling a message on one, did
the Bolsheviks never post flyers? I think I know my Russian History well
enough to know that they did. Negri's disgusting, positivist.
misunderstanding of Marx and Spnioza aside, the question was if I should
feel sorry for Whole Foods, if I should allow for some sort of guilt in my
mind about a major exploitative capitalist organization having a window
broken. I do not. It seems counter intuitive to me that anyone who
describes their self as a socialist, communist, anarchist, whatever, would.
I do not think that will alienate me from "ordinary working people" I doubt
they, most of whom cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods, feel sorry for the
corporation either.

So, either toss insults or answer questions... the choice is yours. But, as
you can see, if you desire to get personal, I can respond in kind - more
eloquently than your impetuous desire to simplify things.

On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:33 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

> ==============================**==============================**==========
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ==============================**==============================**==========
> On 2/16/2012 2:25 PM, Scott Ritner wrote:
>> I'm curious, and perhaps, Louis, you can clear this up for me, but why is
>> it that we necessarily need to justify our actions within the liberal
>> juridical modus of "self defense"? It seems to me that this pandora's box
>> of self-doubt, which has not so much produced self-critique as it has
>> unnecessary hand-wringing and disavowals of both the black bloc as a
>> tactic
>> and the anarchists and left communists that either plan or participate in
>> them (and yes, they are planned actions for the most part - to assume that
>> there is no need for organization in the creation of a bloc of any sort
>> and
>> for any purpose is for both the lauders and detractors of the black bloc a
>> fallacy) is related more to an enlightenment, dare I say, liberal tendency
>> within the left to desire an approving nod from those who are our
>> ideological and material nemeses.
> I have no idea of what you are trying to say. This sounds like a grad
> school seminar essay. Are you for "propaganda of the deed" or aren't you?
> Pretty simple, I think.
>  If I may repeat the cliche of supporting a diversity of tactics, I would
>> venture to qualify that by saying that I also support a diversity of
>> rationalizations for those tactics. Are you really going to claim that the
>> "spray-painting" of a Whole Foods is some sort of overstepping of a
>> communist or socialist morality? Why?
> The issue is not morality. It is mass action versus adventurism. Vandalism
> is adventurism. The Bolsheviks did not break windows or riot. They
> mobilized the masses. I spent 6 years building the Vietnam antiwar movement
> and then another 6 building solidarity with the FMLN and the FLSN. We were
> never attacked by the cops, nor did we engage in spring break antics.
>  Because it causes some small fiscal
>> damage to one of the largest grocery chains in the US? We should feel bad
>> for them?
> The issue is how you are perceived by ordinary working people. This
> alienates them even if it excitates the Negri-reading grad student.
>> On another note, the particular medical linguistics that hedges has used
>> delineates not so much that the black bloc is a "cancer" cells that will
>> not die off as they should and instead multiply and become deformed, but
>> instead an auto-immunitary sort of disease that turns the defensive
>> abilities of the the body into an element that attacks itself directly.
> I think the cancer analogy was not the best one. He should have compared
> them to crabs or bedbugs instead.
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