[OPE-L:2539] Re: class demarcation

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 17 2000 - 17:12:51 EST

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Re Paul Z's [OPE-L:2535]:

I agree, upon reflection, that your scenario where there would be
struggle over the motion is more realistic. But, my hypothetical
example in [2534] was labeled as an analogy and was intended to clarify
how a proposition which might seem to be uncontroversial (e.g. capitalism
as class struggle) might actually be quite controversial.

Thus, even though there might be opposition to the motion, who is going to
get up at that meeting and say "I'm sectarian" or "I'm a dogmatist and
proud of it!"?

So, even if there are Marxists who think that class struggle isn't central
to capitalism, who is going to say that directly? Instead, they might
believe in that proposition and yet at the same time downplay a
theoretical and political role for class struggle.

On the question of the use of the terms "dogmatic" and "sectarian" to
describe the perspectives of other Marxists, I agree that it can be
(ab)used in such a way that it is meaningless. Yet, on the other hand,
these terms are descriptive of particular perspectives and if we were to
drop them from our vocabularies, we'd still have to use synonyms.
Similarly, "petty-bourgeois" has frequently been used as an adjective to
dismiss a person or social movement, but that doesn't mean that we should
abandon this designation.

Perhaps we can agree that Marxists in the 21st Century need to work on
communicating ideas with each other that are freed from what is sometimes
called in textbooks "loaded terminology".

An example: if one group of Marxists are "Open Marxists", then is every
other group of Marxists by inference a "Closed Marxist"?

In solidarity, Jerry

> >Just as surely,
> >there are other Marxists who don't recognize the ways in which they
> >downplay theoretically and/or ignore politically class struggle.

> In my experience, there would always be opposition to such a motion in a
> room of 1000 Marxists of all varieties. Because such a motion would not
> be made abstractly but in the context of struggle. Some would pointedly
> ask "why" just a motion is being proposed. And they would be correct to
> do so (of course, the context leads to one's ultimate decision how to
> vote, yes, no, abstain).

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