File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 472


Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 09:06:37 -0400
Subject: Re: M-I: Free speech


Heartfield:

>
>I said earlier that no political light had been shed by the suspensions.
>So let's learn a real lesson. Free speech is not a procedural question,
>or a bourgeois trick. Free speech rests on the idea that all of us have
>a right to decide for ourselves, because we value our own ability to
>make such judgements. Free speech is not a privilege for those that
>speak - a privilege to be given or taken away - but a right for everyone
>concerned. The defence of free speech only matters when it is the speech
>of someone who is not approved of, or who does not fit the consensus.
>You don't have to defend popular speech.
>
>I have been amazed by those who say that they want some people excluded
>from the list because they don't like what they say. What kind of world
>do you want to live in? One where people only say what you want to hear?
>That is the egotism of an infant, not the outlook of a grown adult.
>

Heartfield, there is a list that is dedicated to free speech. It is called
Marxism-General. I suggest that if you find Marxism-International too
totalitarian for your tastes, that you go join Marxism-General where not
only can you say whatever you want, but as many times a day as you like.

Marxism-International was created for the sole purpose of getting away from
that "culture." Since you don't know the history of these lists, you
obviously have no clue why Marxism-Thaxis and Marxism-International are
places that you find worth having a conversation in "for the time being."
It is only because they were created as MODERATED lists where the
followings sorts of static could either be reined in or eliminated entirely:

1) anticommunist trolls from American Online with anonymous tags.

2) demented personal attacks that have nothing to do with Marxism.

3) flame-wars.

4) etc.

Marxism-International declared that the 3-post a day limit was a MEANS TO
AN END. The moderators always had the prerogative to modify the rules or to
suspend or expel people who were jeopardizing the health of the list. They
have now done this. It has been done on other Spoons Marxism lists from
time to time. Malecki, Bedggood and Rodwell were thrown off
Marxism-Feminism. Malecki was banned at the outset from the Unity-list and
the new Trotsky-FAQ. (Malecki has also been expelled from PEN-L and the
Labor Party mail-lists, 2 very lenient lists.)

The problem with all you cult-sect members is that you are for free speech
on Marxism-International, but wouldn't dream of inviting us to your
pre-convention discussions. You and your Revolutionary Communist Party also
have a moderated discussion. After it is done, you go out and proselytize
for the party line. Nobody here has any illusions that a conversation would
change your mind, by the way. The only way that something like the Project
Cassini could turn out to be a bad idea is if your cult leader woke up one
morning and changed his mind.

All you sectarians come here to "intervene", to try to pick up a stray
soul. Bedggood on behalf of his Liaison Committee for a Revolutionary
Marxist International. Malecki for his Spartacus League. Rodwell for his
Morenoite Trotskyite outfit. (Of course, the latter two don't actually
belong to anything, just urge others to join up.)

Well, Marxism-Thaxis was formed originally to shut the door on parties like
these. Lisa Rogers said fuck all the vanguard bullshit. We are going to
discuss Darwin here, not whose 4th International was more revolutionary
than the other. And when people insisted on talking up the vanguard shit,
she threw their asses off. Free speech? Nope, but highly effective and
within the charter of the mail-list.

Marxism-International has had one crisis after another because the leniency
was abused. We had a split a couple of months ago when people who
identified with Stalin--for reasons that are only understood by them--got
provoked by Jerry Levy who announced that "Stalinists" didn't belong on
M-I. Guess what, that started a flame war as was Jerry's intention and a
bunch of good people split. It would have been much better if Jerry had
gotten his ass thrown out the minute that he started that round of
mischief, but Lou Godena, Zeynep and Jon Flanders let Levy get the best of
them. Those days are over.

Frankly, Heartfield, I kind of like having you around. I am greatly amused
by the prospects of having Marxists around who accept NASA at its word that
Project Cassini is risk-free, and whose sole "expert" on the exaggerated
dangers of Chernobyl is somebody who has worked for the nuclear industry
all his life. This is the stuff of a Tariq Ali novel.

But if you resign under protest, I won't shed too many tears.

Louis Proyect




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