[OPE-L:320] Comments

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 22:47:20 -0700

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1) There have been some interesting and unexpected facts emerge from
discussions. One such fact is the extent to which people are unaware of
the writings and works of others (e.g. the admission that Tony hadn't
read Mike L's book and vice versa). One of the advantages of this list is
that it will allow for a type of communication that _has not_ happened to
date. It will also mean that we're all going to have to be doing some
more reading and will have to rethink old positions.

A question: why has the above happened? A few possible answers. First:
isolation -- geographically and intellectually. Second: specialization.
Third: trivial requirements like teaching, job responsibilities,
political activism, a personal life, and surviving. Fourth (possibly):
the high cost of books.

2) Why are we here? I would suggest that the reason is agreement with
the following:

"I have heard Marxists repeat over and over again how Marx's analysis
of capitalism was incomplete and how we need to further the work on
political economy that Marx began. Yet, in my view, Marxist economists
spend far more time defending Marx from attack, then advancing his

There is no doubt that we come from *many* different intellectual
traditions. I view this as a *strength* of the list. Nothing would have
been easier than to gather a group of like-minded Marxists. Our diversity
is both a strength and, of course, a challenge.

3) If we agree with the above, then I pose the following topic for

Given our diversity, what specific tasks can we undertake that will
allow us to set in motion a dynamic that will help, eventually, to
further our understanding of capitalism?

There is no doubt that some forms of research are best undertaken
individually. There is also no question that certain kinds of issues can
not be addressed adequately through the medium of Net exchanges. So, what
can we do and how? [I don't think the issue has ever been posed in this
way on the list before].

We don't have to come to an agreement on the above now. In practice, we
will have to rethink what we do and how at various stages of this

4) We have discussed procedure now for quite a while. Most list members
have given their ideas about the next best step. I think we need to come
to an agreement soon about moving forward. Whatever procedure we select
does not mean that it can not be modified or re-thought as we continue
(quite the reverse).

I *do* get the sense that many would like us to continue as a group to
the next step (rather than dividing now into "sub-groups"). I think what
we need to do, then, is select a specific topic (or topics) for us to
discuss (with the understanding that we can modify our discussion and
procedure as required).

We don't have a method for resolving procedural differences where many
alternatives have been suggested. I would suggest, though, that we select
the next topic for discussion with the concerns of all in mind and with
enough flexibility to allow list members to discuss issues that they are
concerned with.

I think a compromise is possible. Don't you? Let's try and come to an
interim agreement and *move forward*. [With all the "good stuff" that we
can discuss, let's not get bogged-down in procedure].

In OPE-L Solidarity,