[OPE-L] [Jurriaan] Re: 2005 Deutscher Prize

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sun Nov 27 2005 - 12:55:47 EST

---------------------------- Original Message ------------------------
Subject: 2005 Deutscher Prize
From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date:    Sun, November 27, 2005 5:49 am

Hi Jerry,

I think you've answered your own question really. As regards scholars and
academics, Louis Proyect is often a "highly unreliable source". He
frequently complains that they ought to be more "left", but he cannot
satisfactorily explain why they aren't, nor does he offer good reasons for
why they should be more "left" than they are. His view of scholars appears
to be colored by his own frustrations about not being accepted by the
academic fraternity, but he owes that in good part to his own demeanour
towards them, which has often been downright rude and offensive (the
"Leninist" spirit of demolishing your opponents by cursing at them).

You referred recently to "myths" in Marxism, and some of the biggest myths
there no doubt concern the Russian revolution and its aftermath. That
being the case, Kevin Murphy's meticulous empirical research using four
factory-specific archives should be welcomed, insofar as it dispells some
myths about the "glory days" of Marxism.

Isaac Deutscher himself of course also propagated a myth, the myth of
"classical Marxism", and Deutscher inclined to the notion that "rooting
out barbarism in the Russian empire with barbarous means" was excusable as
an historical inevitability, if it paved the way - as he hoped - for an
egalitarian socialism (as we know now, it did not).

But at least Deutscher as historian grappled honestly with the
contradictions of the Russian revolutions and their aftermath, and insofar
as Murphy follows in this spirit, I think the award is quite appropriate
(though there might arguably be better candidates). We can hardly make
progress and go forward, if we don't know where we've been, or if we
persist in defending the indefensible. But as regards all that leftist
internal bickering, who cares, it's an irrelevant distraction.


Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of glory days
Glory days, yeah goin back
Glory days aw he ain't never had
Glory days, glory days

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