File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1996/96-10-29.043, message 101

Date: Sun, 27 Oct 1996 22:58:05 GMT
Subject: M-TH: Respect for persons

I object to Jerry's innuendo, all the sillier for 
elaborately not mentioning me by name,  that I am trying to 
defend Stalin or Stalinism, and I would be grateful if
he would withdraw.

I am surprised that so many misrepresentations should
be packed into such a small space as below about
complex processes, but it is the attitude of mind of 
scapegoating instead of analysis.

It is the attitude of mind that can see the word 
"geocities" and read the word "genocide".

If Jerry wishes to wreck this new list by using the word
shit, as often as he likes, and then attempt to blame it 
on other people, the responsiblity lies with him. This is 
what he did to force the formation of M2 in a rush instead 
of arguing openly that we needed a moderated list. 

Will Jerry accept the guidance of the moderators of this list,
about respect for persons, and serious discussion of 
or will he threaten to use words like "shit" to
prevent discussion of a concept "Stalinism" which is 
a core concept for people from the Trotskyist tradition
of marxism?

It is a difficult question how
to discuss the history of what happened in the Soviet 
Union, and maybe there ought to be a separate list for it,
with  careful considerations as to how it is set up. On the 
other hand there are enough intelligent people here to make some

But meanwhile the problem will not go away, and will keep
on resurfacing, because marxism-space is populated by
people some of whom come from the Trotsksyist tradition, and
some from the tradition of the established Communist Parties,
many of whom think they have moved on from Stalin. 

Now we can wait for such problems to flare up repeatedly in 
flame wars, or we can be proactive and actually try to 
reach some shared consensus, at least among the more thoughtful
core from all sides, of what happened in the history of this century 
and why. In that spirit I see the remarks made by John Mullen
for example as constructive. And although my exchanges
with Hugh elsewhere have been robust and of course we have not 
converted each other, I have learned from them, and 
they were done without personal abuse.  

If on reflection the moderators say we should not concentrate
on this question at this time, OK, but this thread 
was elicited from Richard, by someone who had been making
interesting contributions on the law of value, and 
I presumed wished for serious discussion of this issue
too. And then Barkley came in.

But would every subscriber from the Trotskyist tradition 
want to undertake never to use the term "Stalinism" because
if others wish to disagree with this, will the latter be under 
threat of being forced to resign or be silent because they would then be
accused of "defending Stalinism". That does not seem to be 
a reasonable or equitable request to make of those who come
>from the Trotskyist tradition, that they should for the sake of 
this list, never mention the word "Stalinism". For them 
Trotskyism is defined as the counterpole to "Stalinism". That is
the way they think. I believe we have to transend these categories.
But that does mean first analysing them.

I would appreciate an apology from Jerry for the innuendo that
I defend the deaths caused by Stalin or Stalinism.

Chris Burford


Subject: M-TH: Re: r-e-s-p-e-c-t

Chris S:

We've been down this road (or should I say the "flaming path"?) before --
and it ultimately led on m1 to charges that: a) many listmembers were
"fake leftists", "counter-revolutionaries", "imperialist agents", and
"fascists"; b) death threats; c) charges that some were police agents; d)
[possibly, depending on your interpretation] the arrest by the FBI of an
apolitical Peruvian and his possible deportation to Peru and execution.

That process was set in motion by someone from London who wanted us to
reconsider Stalin. Coincidentally NOT, that *same* person started that
thread here. Over on M-I, Louis Proyent -- basically, in other words --
told that person to take a flying fuck and that they wouldn't let M-I
descend into the cesspool like M1 or M-gen. We should follow Louis's lead
and make it known to that person that his net-wrecking will not work over
here. If he wants (or others want) to defend Stalin or Stalinism, let
them emigrate to those other lists. Last time, *we* [some of the founders
of m2] left m1 in protest and helped found m2. This time, *they* can
leave. Perhaps they can put in a suggestion for a list of their own --


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