[OPE-L] Re: Simultaneist and sequential publishing

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 17 Jan 1998 12:16:36 -0500 (EST)

Alan wrote on Sat, 17 Jan (btw, my 44th birthday):

> > The thing is so much striking if you think that OPE-L didn't exist in
> > December 94, when the conference was held!
> I have to admit the same idea struck me also. Jungian synchronicity,
> perhaps?

When we got started in September, 1995 most of those who are now on the
list didn't have access to e-mail. However, there were several informal
"networks" that contributed to our formation and development. E.g.
the Bergamo and IWGVT conferences established a certain precedence of
familiarity and collaboration among Marxists doing research in political
economy. Another type of "network" was the familiarity that many members
had with others based on their attending or teaching at the same graduate
school (e.g. Amherst, the New School, Utah). Finally, there were actual
Internet networks (e.g. PEN-L and the now defunct marxism list) where many
got to know, respect, and communicate with each other.

So, in the above sense, the list's development was the continuation of a
number of separate trends and associations. Perhaps, also, the dismal
reality of the downfall of the USSR and a decade or neo-liberalist
policies and austerity in most capitalist nations reinforced in the minds
of many Marxists the _need_ for further (and deeper, and more meaningful,
and ongoing) communication.

Thus, while there is an immediate history regarding how the list got
started, which I have written about in the past, there is also a wider
context in which our formation took place.

> I can't resist the following question: why not invite the other 21?

To begin with, many of the remaining 21 don't have e-mail. (I should
add that the timing for invitations in the past has not only been
dependent on when others went on-line, but when we found out that others
went on-line).

Secondly, it was never our intention to invite all of the Bergamo
participants -- it just so happened that many of those attending the
Bergamo conference were highly recommended and respected by the
listmembers at the time.

Thirdly, it is my belief that there is still _some_ room for expansion --
however, such a large amount of people admitted at once would pose the
threat of increasing list volume exponentially. While volume has been
lower since the beginning of last summer than during the preceding
period, there is a practical limit to how much we can read each day. One
of the very best habits that we have is that we (almost) all carefully
read each other's posts. It would be a terrible shame if volume increased
to the point where that was no longer the case. So, we can still admit
some new members -- slowly -- but we should give consideration to how a
person's admission to the list would benefit us. For example, how would
the admission of someone increase our diversity in terms of international
representation, gender, theoretical perspective, "areas of expertise",
etc.? If anyone thinks there is someone (who currently has e-mail) that
would benefit our list than s/he should contact me.

In solidarity, Jerry