Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 23:47:20 +0200 (MET DST) Subject: For an open list, best on Blythe's (more later) For an open list, best on Blythe's (more later) [Posted: 27.04.98] [This goes to Marxism-General and to Marxism-Transition] We're now discussing, some of us subscribers to the Spoons' M-G list, how best to set up a list like the former M-G (before the January restrictions) and like its predecessor the even earlier "M1" (up until Oct 1996) elsewhere. What do we want? Or to be exact, what does a rather large group of subscribers including myself want? An open, unmoderated and uncensored Marxism mailing list. In the present discussion, I think one does well to look back a little and consider what showed up last January, when those restrictions on M-G which were later actually imposed were announced in beforehand as then being planned. Some 12-15 subscribers very clearly made their views on this plan or "proposal" known and practically all of them said. "Absolutely no! We don't want such changes. We want M-G to remain as it is. We hold there's a great need for precisely such a list." Against this, there was only one (half-)dissenting voice. I belonged and belong in that group, which I hold is poten- tially enormous; many more will want to subscribe to such a list in the future. Now some people recently have been voting, first on a proposal by Vladimir Bilenkin, "Call to Vote", saying in effect, first of all (as I understand it): "Let's try to go to Blythe's". And it also says: "Let's have rule by simple majority on the list's future and its running". In favour of this proposal have spoken: Vladimir himself, Sidd- harth Chatterjee (whose surname I promise to stop misspelling as I've done lately - sorry!), I (RM), Nestor Miguel Gorojov- sky, José F. Polanco and Juan Fajardo - 5 people. Some scattered voices have suggested other venues. The "let's try Blythe's" (etc) "party" is clearly the biggest (so far) - even if it's relatively small considering that some 90 + 30 people are on M-G or on M-G Digest. Secondly, there has been voting on another proposal, likewise by Vladimir: "Let's Vote Then", calling for "Ayes" and "Nays" to the proposal "Let's have rule by simple majority on the list's future and its running". So far, "Ayes" on this have been uttered by Vladimir, me (RM), David Welch, José F. Polanco and Juan F. - 5 people, and "Nay", respecively "Abstains - point of order!", by Bob Malecki and Hugh Rodwell, both of them arguing that "openness is not ne- gotiable"; they won't bow to any majority that decides against it, and question the whole procedure. A bit of confusion here, thus. But I think it's not quite as bad as it might look. For me too, openness is actually non-negotiable. I voted "Aye" here firstly because I held, and hold, it as quite obvious that what we're discussing *is* a continuation of the *former*, the *real* M-G (and the even earlier "M1"), *not* that insulting piece of restricted shit it was turned into last Ja- nuary, nor something "of that order" either. And secondly be- cause I was and am pretty certain that only that real M-G *will* get a (kind of) majority too. Supposing I should turn out to be wrong on the second count then? Well, I'd join that in some way restricted list - that *shit* list which would result, in that case - too. But this would NOT be a continuation of M-G. I would then do what I could, and co-operate with those who agreed on this - those for whom open- ness *is* non-negotiable - towards there *being created* an actual continuation of M-G. As was demonstrated very clearly last Januray, there *is* a sizeable crowd that absolutely wants this. Who may *not* want this, then? Well, quite few people, it seems. First of all of course that writer whom quite many already know rather well, since a shorter or longer time back, as an inveterate troublemaker, Chris Bur- ford. (I shall not now argue about how sinister or less so he might be, and on my part still have not the slightest objection to his being on as many lists as he may wish.) Doing approxima- tely the opposite of what he recommends is a sound policy. This I've already said before. And secondly there is that second, by now likewise rather in- famous, troublemaker, Hans Ehrbar. Concerning him it should in fairness be recognized that, during many months, he actually did run M-G quite well - and before that, co-run "M1" quite well too. (OK, he did try to kick someone, me, out from "M1" quite unfairly once, back in August, 1996, but the pressure against this was too great, his "reasons" too ridiculous.) Only since late 1997 or so has he been making trouble - under what pressure I cannot tell - by first killing the so important "who" commands (on the sly) and then clamping down masively on the list. By offering to host a "continued" list now, when the cry is al- ready out, "let's go elsewhere", he mainly wants, I think, to retain that power of control which he used to have and which is now slipping away from him. To a Hans-run list, as suggested by Juan as a "possible second choice", I hold one should say "no, thanks". "Shipmate Hans", OK by me; "Skipper Hans" gets my "nay". Both his recent scandalous actions and his even now open- ly "arguing" in favour of continued restrictions bode no good. There's also the question: Should we the relatively few who've been writing on this so far take it upon ourselves to "decide for" all the others? (Some 90 + 30 subscribers.) I say, all who want to can "vote", not with their feet, this time, but with their fingers (on the tangents). In an ad hoc anti-racist coalition I was in some years ago, for instance, anybody who showed up at one of the organizational meetings got a vote in that meeting, and so participated in "deciding things for" those who didn't show up. This actually functioned quite well. Similarly here, I think that those of us who're taking the trouble to write on the matters need not be afraid to take it upon themselves to make decisions. The good such will get approval - by other people's wanting to join good lists, and shunning bad ones, for instance. I've read the Blyhte info forwarded by Sid (thanks for that!). Some of their principles and also the whole question of how to organize a new list (M-G continuation) raises a number of questions of course which need to be discussed. But on my part, more about this only tomrrow. Rolf M.
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