[Marxism] Prof. Mike Davis: “There was once a generation of lions” « Algérie Résistance

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 16 17:31:57 MDT 2018

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You call yourself an « old school socialist ». Can 
you tell us why?

Prof. Mike Davis: Hm, ‘old school Socialist.’  I suppose I’m making 
three claims.  First, socialism – the belief that the earth belongs to 
labor – is my moral being.  In fact it is my religion, the values that 
anchor the commitments that define my life.  Second, ‘old school’ 
implies putting in work year after year for the good cause.  In academia 
one runs across people who call themselves Marxists and go to lots of 
conferences but hardly ever march on a picketline, go to a union 
meeting, throw a brick or simply help wash the dishes after a benefit. 
What’s even worse they deign to teach us the ‘real Marx’but lack the old 
Moor’s fundamental respect for individual working people and his 
readiness to become a poor outlaw on their behalf.  Finally, plain 
‘socalist’ expresses identification with the broad movement and the 
dream rather than with a particular program or camp.  I have strong, if 
idiosyncratic opinions on all the traditional issues – for example, the 
necessity of an organization of organizers (call it Leninism, if you 
want) but also the evils of bureaucracy and permanent leaderships (call 
it anarchism if you wish) – but I try to remind myself that such 
positions need to be constantly reassessed and calibrated to the 
conjuncture.  One is always negotiating the slippery dialectic between 
individual reason, which must  be intransigently self-critical, and the 
fact that one needs to part of a movement or a radical collective in 
order, as Sartre put it, to ‘be in history’.  Moral dilemnas and hard 
choices come with the turf and they cannot be evaded with ‘correct lines.’


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