Re: Suggested rules of the game(1): intro

Michael Williams (Michael@MWILLIAM.U-NET.COM)
Fri, 6 Feb 1998 23:50:42 +0000

I have been off the air for a few days, since my computer went
'phut'. Thanks to Alan for his long posts, that I will not dispute.
It is great if people want to confront censorship procedurally. I do
not wish, at the moment, to expend my scarce resources on that
(admirable) project. I could just say 'please respect my personal
choice on this matter', and indeed I will, in just a moment. But
first I will indicate my reasons for making that choice (apart from
the scarcity of my personal resources, that makes some choice
necessary). I agree that we, ourselves should avoid anything that
smacks of censorship. I don't agree that this requires much
discussion of etiquette (but I am happy to lurk on any such
discussion that others may wish to have, and, to abide by any
'rules' agreed).

Crucially, I do not think that the best way to stop
censorship from orthodoxies that hold power (whether they be
'economics' orthodoxies, or Marxist orthodoxies) is to fight them
procedurally. To put it crudely, the procedures and the power that
they manifest will be overthrown only when capitalism is overthrown.
My role, qua Marxist intellectual, is to fight the substantive
battle of ideas (I may well have other roles qua Trade Unionist,
Citizen, Human being, etc.). If I could (and was prepared to) devote
resources to fighting on every front, I would. As I do not (and/or am
not), I chose what is, imo, the most effective use of my resources,
and (not independently, the most congenial to me).

So, my request was simply:
1. Reduce the procedural interjections into substantive discussion
in which I am taking part. Preferably, send separate posts for such

2. Take it that I, at least, will not mean to attribute anything to
Marx unless I say so, in which case I will provide (indicative)
textual evidence, and argument about my interpretation of it. So, case
in point, if I challenge the productive/unproductive distinction,
especially if I explicitly bracket any views I may have about what
Marx meant or said, I do not expect to be challenged for, albeit
unintentionally, undermining Marx, Marxism or anything else.

> In my opinion the answer is self-evident: it is to stop censorship. There
> *is* no other answer. I think, with all due respect to Mike's
> sensibilities, that this is the problem he is reluctant to confront.

So, I know the problem, I chose not to 'confront' it in the (imo
'procedural') way in which Alan wants me to. I resent being forced
into second order conversations that, imo, are not the most pressing
use of my personal resources.

[btw, screw my alleged sensibilities, just respect my wishes.]

>In trying to understand the reason for our objections, Mike
>mistakenly supposes that the issue is the narrow defence of our own
>particular view.

No I do not, I think, no doubt for understandable reasons, that Alan
(and Andrew) do not always separate defence of TSS from Defence of
Marx tout court. This shows up in the *way* they defend Marx, and in
disingenuous claims that it is possible to read Marx without any
interpretation, and indeed independently of whether he was 'right' in
any sense.
"Books are Weapons"
Dr Michael Williams
Department of Economics Home:
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences 26 Glenwood Avenue
De Montfort University Southampton
Milton Keynes SO16 3QA
tel:+1908 834876 tel/fax: +1703 768641
fax:+1908 834979