glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Thu, 21 Mar 1996 18:58:16 -0800

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It is my honor to announce the birth of twins into the OPE-L family.

Earlier today Philip Chao, the Server Manager at California State
University, delivered unto me two newly-born and healthy lists.

The two members of the OPE-L family are called EM-L and CAP-L. Both are
closed lists and I am the only subscriber to each.

CAP-L, of course, is the CAPITAL list.

EM-L has a double meaning. It stands for both EXTENDING MARX and ERNEST
MANDEL. I thought that it was fitting to name a list in honor of Ernest who
died at about the same time that the idea for the project that became
OPE-L was first developed.

The following message to Philip Chao explains, in part, the reasoning
behind the request for the new lists. I was hoping to get 1 extra list,
but, being a former trade union representative, I asked for 2.

Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 09:55:54 -0500 (EST)
From: glevy@pratt.edu
To: Philip Chao <philip_chao@macgate.csuchico.edu>
Subject: Lists


OPE-L has turned out to be a tremendous success, although, it has evolved
in a way somewhat different than originally planned. As a closed list
with only authoritative people, our discussions have been EXCELLENT, very
SERIOUS (with *no* flames!), and our byte and post count can get LARGE
(e.g. on quite a few days we surpassed 100K and one day last month we
came close to 200K!; over 1,500 posts have been written to date!).

We have a dilemma which is the following: *On the one hand*, we need to
keep list size relatively small so that we can really be responsive to
each others' posts and engage in serious and ongoing discussion. As
teachers and students know well, the larger a "class" gets, the harder it
is to have full participation (e.g. given the serious nature of the
posts, which are frequently mathematical in form, just *reading* each
day's posts can be quite time-consuming). *On the other hand*, we want to
have the best possible representation of authorities in terms of fields
of expertise, schools of thought, and international representation. This
is particularly troublesome since many good people are either just
getting on-line or will get on-line shortly in the months that follow.
This presents a particularly frustrating problem for me as "owner" since
I have the responsibility of telling qualified and well-known candidates
that we are only accepting new members under exceptional circumstances
(which is not a way for me to make friends in my field!).

Given the above, I wonder whether it would be possible for you to
establish another (ie. additional) closed list for us that we could either
use to accommodate the overflow (first choice) or use for special
projects. Such a "sister" list would only be filled gradually and would
probably not become fully operational for some time. I don't want to
make a lot of work for you, but, if you could do this without too much
effort on your part, it would be appreciated. <snip>

BTW, a *optimal* solution would be to establish *two* more closed lists:
one for the overflow and one for special projects. I hesitate to ask for
that, though, since it would multiply any effort required on your part.

Thanks again for your assistance.


Now that *we* have two more lists, *WE* have to decide what to do with
them. i.e. although I am the "owner" of EM-L and CAP-L, any decisions on
list use should be made by *us* rather than the "owner."

Since we have *2* extra list, we have quite a few choices. WE DO NOT HAVE

Some *possibilities* include the following:

1) a sister *expansion* list structured like OPE-L.

2) a seminar list made up of members of OPE-L and, possibly, the other

3) a seminar list that would discuss particular issues at length and
would be composed of those from OPE-L, the other list, and people who
aren't on *either* list but would like to participate in short-term

4) a multi-purpose "utility" list.

More detailed comments on these 4 possibilities follow. It should be
stressed that NOTHING HAS BEEN DECIDED on how we will use the new lists.
Moreover, listmembers may have OTHER ideas, besides the above, on how to
use the new list and are encourage to make suggestions.

(1) One list could be used for the "overflow." The motivation for such a
list is the following: there are many qualified people internationally
who are not part of OPE-L because we have tried to keep the list size
relatively small and/or because they are not currently on-line. A second
list would allow us to accommodate these people and allow for better
international representation, fields of expertise, and a more complete
representation of different "schools of thought."

I DON't want a *junior* list to OPE-L. Basically, while we can still add
those who have ALREADY been invited to OPE-L, new admissions would go
into a separate list. I STRONGLY believe, if we decide on this option,
that the same high standards should be used to determine admissions to
the new list since, otherwise, those who are invited to take part on the
new list will believe that they are being asked to be part of the
"second team." I also STRONGLY believe that we should NOT add A LOT
of new people right away to the new list, but should leave a lot of
room for expansion to accommodate more people in upcoming months.
Factors that determine admission to this list should, in my opinion,
be the SAME as the ones we use on OPE-L, i.e. we want a list of
people who can work together collaboratively and who come from
different theoretical perspectives and countries and who have
different "areas of expertise." Affirmative action, as well, would
be a consideration.

Although we would collaborate with the new list, and although the new
list would also be a collaborative project by Marxist economists which
discusses themes relating to "extending Marx", my idea is that such a
list would have autonomy and would have to decide for themselves on
which topics to discuss, how, and when. It may be that such a list might
decide to proceed differently than OPE-L or focus on specific issues
that we are not currently discussing. They should have that right.
Once we set up a WWW archives for listmembers, we could include the
archives for both lists so that members of each can see what the
other is discussing and have -- limited -- input. Obviously some of
the details of this scenario will have to be worked out more if we
decide on this option.


(2) A seminar list to discuss particular subjects and/or papers which
would be made up of all those from OPE-L and the other list (if we
decide to use one list as described above) who are interested in
taking part in the seminar. After each seminar, people would
unsubscribe from this list and then re-join if they wanted to take
part in a future seminar.

(3) A seminar list on a specific subject in which members from OPE-L, the
other list (if we decide on that option) *AND* outside people could be
invited. Basically this is the same as the option above with the
exception that it would allow those who have expertise and interest in
the particular subject being discussed to participate even though they
might not want to be part of a longer-term group effort. For instance,
we could decide to have a seminar on "value theory and ecology" and
invite specialists in that field to participate in a seminar which
would last a specified amount of days, weeks, or months. After each
seminar ends, members unsubscribe and we can then discuss at leisure
what the subject for the next seminar should be.

(4) A "utility" list. For instance, a small group of members could decide
that they wanted to jointly discuss and write a paper. Or, it could be
used to discuss upcoming events like conferences. Or it could be used to
write position statements. Or it could be used to discuss procedural
and/or technical questions that are best not discussed at length on
OPE-L, e.g. setting-up duplicate archives, etc.

do not feel that you have to respond to this post at once. Off-list
reactions and suggestions are, of course, welcomed at any time.

ALSO, let's not get so bogged-down discussing what to do with the new
lists that we stop discussing the many important threads that we have
been or are about to be discussing.

On that last point, any ideas for new threads should be suggested.

In OPE-L (and EM-L and CAP-L) Solidarity,