[OPE-L] Re: Disagreement or dismissal?

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 7 Feb 1998 19:22:51 -0500 (EST)

Andrew K wrote on Sat, 7 Feb:

> This list operates on the basis of civility. As I think is pretty
> clear, this has proven to be unworkable and suppressive, in part
> because it conflicts with intellectual honesty.

The above is a rather bold and wild assertion. Since you talk so much
about evidence, where is the evidence that this list "has proven to be
unworkable and suppressive"?

The "evidence" in this case is in the archives. Over 6,100 posts in
the archives show a list that has both been very "workable" indeed (thank
you very much) and intellectually honest (and civil: I doubt if in over 2
1/2 years there have been over 10 "flames").

Who has been "suppressed" and by whom? The way I look at list history,
everyone who has felt that they have something to say has been allowed
to say it. There have certainly been some topics that have not caught on,
but what topics (or which listmembers) have been "suppressed" (and how)?

Certainly, TSS has not been "suppressed" on this list. Indeed, I doubt if
there has ever been any other place where TSS perspectives have been so
thoroughly aired and discussed (and continue to be).

> Civility is a biased criterion. It is conservative, in the sense that it
> helps maintain the status quo.

The "status quo" on the Internet among Marxists has been ... what? I would
say that it is a history of vicious flame wars, unrivaled dogmatism, and
the very epitome of intellectual dishonesty.

As for the "status quo" otherwise, it was one of different traditions
among Marxists internationally who had little (if any) contact with each
other and who all too readily resorted to a polemical style based on
mischaracterizations and arguments with strwmen.

This list represents a movement, in the above senses, _away_ from the
status quo. And in no sense has it been a "conservative" change. Unless
one thinks that Marxists taking each other seriously and (for the most
part) treating each others as comrades has been "conservative".

> I think we should discuss the criteria SERIOUSLY. Then perhaps revise them a
> bit, and then take a vote. If they pass, let's adopt them. (Because this
> issue deals with the future only, unlike the archives issue, it seems to me
> that it can be decided by majority vote, subject to approval by the
> listowner.)

You contradict yourself. You say that the criteria should be discussed
"seriously". But, how do we "objectively" determine whether a discussion
has been "serious"? The determination of what has been a serious vs. a
frivolous discussion is inherently a subjective determination.

As for having a discussion and a vote, I don't object (and even if I did,
we could do it anyway).

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: The other day you referred to a "mafia" of "Marxist economists" who
have suppressed TSS. If you want such a claim to be taken "seriously",
then you should answer my previous post where I asked you to name the
members of the "mafia" and explain your characterization of them as a