File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-03-16.132, message 73

Subject: M-I: The Real Problem
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 06:24:20 +0200

I have to catch up with a few days worth of posts, so I can't comment in too
much detail about the contents of some of the posts. However, I wanted to
share a few of my observations.

I don't agree that the real problem is the views of some list members
regarding Stalin or Trotsky. It is their own ego that's the damn problem,
not Stalin, not Trotsky. There are too many people on this list who have too
much time to retype their resume (believe me, I know more about what some
list members have done in their lives than my friends here), and their
disputes over whatever it was Lenin said last. Not that Lenin wasn't
brilliant at times plus wrong here and there, as most mortals are. He
happened to be a mortal, and whatever he has said is pretty old by now. Some
list members don't mind discussing whether the Soviet Union was state
capitalist with Lenin quotes (this is 1997, right?) or explain a a
particular country to us with 17 Stalin quotes. 

The problem isn't just that aforementioned list members, who are often the
frequent posters, aren't as brilliant as the *real* revolutionary leaders of
the past, who spoke their mind and won or died testing their ideas. The
problem is the ego. That's what my observations have convinced me of. Why so
much ego? I don't know if it is cyberspace demographics, or the fact that
those with too much time in their hands (read - little else to do) post
more. Or perhaphs, it is a good thing turned bad. It has been a bad decade
for the left, and those of us remaining may have perhaps remained because we
are too stubborn to be broken by capitalism. Also too stubborn to think or

I fully support each of the list proposals. I also beg those with nothing
else but their resumes and their stale stale arguments to post to
unsubscribe. Start a holier-than-thou list. Post your resumes 17 times a
day. I do know many members who do have subjects besides Stalin and Trotsky
to discuss and questions besides who is holier-than-who to argue find it
impossible to keep up with the list volume. The Leninlist especially is a
great idea, those that don't mind having Mark Jones on the moderator panel
should rush to subscribe. Those that haven't should read his posts again. It
would also truly benefit the lists if those that think that Stalinism is the
main problem of the left came up with a list proposal of their own. 

I see a left that can't properly analyse and respond to globalisation, the
changing role of the nation-state, flexibilisation of employment, the growth
of nationalism and religious fundamentalism, the dynamics inside the
ex-Soviet bloc countries, the growth of the informal sector and the new
divisions within the working class, new forms of organisation needed to
fight against the "dirty war" and "illegalised warfare" techniques and low
intensity conflict methods.

Some of the list members seem to claim all would be well if we fight against
Stalinism. Some think that we need more Stalinism to solve our problems.
Nobody seems interested in arguing the real, underlying dynamics of
corruption and degeneration and revisionism (whatever you want to call it)
in the left and in the socialist countries. 

I think the cyber-seminar on nationalism is a good idea. It is a burning
issue. It involves the general downfall of the socialist ideology, the role
of the nation state, the "naturalness" of markets and many other important
subjects. I don't know if Scott will post his report, I hope he does. Gay
has promised a report, I will write about the Kurdish movement. 

Since I am a moderator, I have to, eventually, read most of the posts, if
not all. If I were not a moderator, I would delete almost everything besides
the cyberseminar. That's my suggestion to the sane subscribers. I also urge
subscribers, especially the ones that privately complain about the noise, to
speak up. Raise the level of the signal.

It would be possible to moderate against some of the idiocies that people
post, but it is difficult since much of it is just that; plain stupidity
unable disguise egos too big for the owner.

I believe it was an Asimov book appropriately titled; "even the gods
themselves contend in vain against stupidity". 

The moderators, unfortunately, happen to be plain mortals, let alone gods-
unlike some of the subscribers.


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