Re: [OPE-L] Query to John Holloway: What's your positionon the Bolivarian revolution?

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sat May 14 2005 - 09:43:15 EDT

> I hope that aggressive discussion is not part of the style of
> the Bolivarian revolution. That would, I think, involve a regression
> to a type of politics that we should be now have left behind.


Referring to developments on another list ...

One would hope so,  but for much of the Dinosaur Left this is not the
case.  For one such person, moderator of 'marxmail' [a private list
where almost all of the discussion is by subscribers from the US who
are former members of the SWP and  their favorite  topic  for
discussion _is_ the  insignificant SWP], the fact that you have not
responded yet to J. Anaid Alam or his own "critique" is evidence that
you are "slippery"  and that your own reply to Michael L on OPE-L was
"singularly oleaginous"  (definition:  "having the nature or
quality of oils").

There is also the slur that you are elitist:  "The only thing that is
consistent about Holloway is his utter refusal to answer anybody
who he deems to be beneath him on the pecking order."  This
is cited as the reason why you responded to Michael (who is part
of OPE-L) but not (yet) Alam or himself (who are not).

If it makes you feel any better, you are not alone in being slurred:
"Jerry Levy's mailing list, which is pretty much restricted to
middle-aged,  white,  male economics professors."

Nor are we alone in being slurred.  You must have heard by now
about the firing of anarchist David Graeber from the anthropology
department at Yale University.  Although this "moderator" now says that
he is in favor of "solidarity" with Graeber, he also recently
suggested in his "critique" of your book that Graeber was a "opponent
of Marxism and defender of this new way of doing politics (*or rather
not doing politics*) .... " (emphasis added, JL).    Thus, he infers
that  Graeber and you (and anarchists and autonomist Marxists more
generally) are "not doing politics."  Why?  Because you don't share
the same perspective as he, of course.

This is precisely the type of phony "discussion" that the Left
must overcome and surpass.  It is symptomatic of a sectarianism
and dogmatism that has mired the Left for so long and has caused
many to relate to other leftists as political "opponents" and
"enemies" who must be vanquished at any cost.  The cost, though,
is often the truth.  That is, the preferred debating tactic of the
dinosaurs is to attack "opponents" for positions that they do _not_
hold (straw men arguments).  In addition, of course, ad hominem
arguments ("slippery"; "oleaginous") and slurs are for them --
almost every day -- the soup de jour.

I think you will have better luck when you discuss your perspective in
Venezuela with revolutionaries there since they must take
revolutionary politics seriously.  For them,  revolution is not about
making snide remarks, libeling other leftists,  reviewing Hollywood
films on the Internet or sipping expensive wine at trendy cocktail
parties.   For revolutionaries in Venezuela and Chiapas,  revolution
is  _serious_  and is not a board game.

You might ask:  why are you wasting your time replying to him?  Good
question.  Must have been something I ate for breakfast. Sorry. I agree
that he's not worth the effort.

In solidarity, Jerry

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