Re: Spirito di Bergamo

riccardo bellofiore (
Tue, 20 Jan 1998 16:18:47 +0100

At 19:57 -0000 19-01-1998, Alan Freeman wrote:
>I assume (or they would not have come to the conference) that you selected
>people who were willing to give at least some consideration to Marx, even
>though they don't agree with him.

Quite correct, unless for this: all of them agreed with *part* of his
theoretical construction, without being Marxians.
>So here's the next question (and this is the 'serious' aspect of 'invite
>the other 21'): why do you think they aren't they interested in a project
>like OPE-L?

Mainly because OPE-L is not an 'open' list for those interested in Marx. It
is rather a list for those who are engaged (in very different ways, for
sure) in pursuing a Marxian approach. (Initially, we even thought of
producing something positive *as a group*!) May be I'm wrong, of course.
But if I'm right, this would exclude all those whose main interest is
different, or those who do not like to be labelled as Marxians.

>Is it because they don't talk to us -- or because we don't talk to them?

Strange question: they did talk to "us", and we talked to "them", in
Bergamo! And I'm spending most of my time in talking with "them". But this
way of speaking clarifies what I sees as a problem: the logic of "us" and
"them". May be it is the logic of IWGVT, and it is quite sensible. I also
find it legitimate an 'open' forum for Marxians of all sorts. But I don't
see as very interesting for most of the persons I listed in my previous
mail a strictly Marxian list, as this one.And with such an heavy load of
mails. We already had people from the coference who came - and went.

Let me add that mine was an exercise in realism: rather than asking to 21,
let us start from those who reasonably may be more interested. Most of them
were excluded by me because they are not on email, or do not follow it, or
do not have time, etc.

BUT if the list thinks that it's good to send a general "call for
participation", I'm not against. After all, I'm the one who organised the
Bergamo conference. But it would not be better an open list on political
economy, rather than Marx? Without the "us" and "them" dichotomy?
>If there is a basis for a dialogue (and I think there is) then it seems to
>me in the 'spirit of Bergamo' that the Marxists should discuss non-Marx
>and the non-Marxists should discuss Marx.

That's where we disagree. The logic of "us" and "them" again. Frankly, I
would not know where I would put myself in your divide. Do you remember
when I used in a paper the expression "Marx in question" and you disliked
it? I feel myself among the Marxians, but I want to put Marx in question.
>Are we assuming that only Marxists are invited onto OPE? Or are we assuming
>that non-Marxists won't want to join? Can either assumption be questioned,
>even a little bit?

Yes, the two assumption can be questioned. I assumed the former, than what
followed was that it is meaningless to ask non-Marxists to join. Simply, I
guessed that this closed list was for self-proclaimed Marxians. I would
like an open list for all those interested in Marx, even if they are not
Marxists. But that's another list.

But again: I am not against the invitation for the '21'. If you wish I
could add another 30 I would have liked to invite to Bergamo: Marxists, and
non Marxists.