[OPE-L:1544] Re: RE: Mandel, Mattick, etc.

Jurriaan Bendien (djjb99@worldonline.nl)
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 23:46:57 +0100


I did manage to read through a good portion of Callinicos's book on
Trotskyism (which you recommended) on my day off today, but I consider it
is not real scholarship. It makes some interesting points and refers to
Popper and Lakatos's account of science, but then again his book is full of
selective quotation and shallow remarks as well. Basically he just wants to
rubbish Trotskyism, for his own political purposes, but it seems to me that
he also rubbishes his own semi-sect in so doing... if he were to think it
through, which he doesn't. I haven't the time for a detailed critique at
present, but actually I think it would be a waste of time to engage in it,
because I am dealing with people who subscribed to rock-hard dogma's.

As I said, imo Callinicos can be very insightful about social theory, but
when it comes to politics he's just a party hack. At least Mandel had some
modesty - he generally tended to give his critics a fair hearing, he
listened to a variety of points of view, and make some attempt to
understand what others were trying to say, even though he might have a
position of his own to defend. Better to aspire to real scholarship in
analysing the history of the Trotskyist movement, and to a real
understanding of social relations in Eastern Europe, Cuba, Vietnam etc. I
would think (and by that I mean criticising the best argument your opponent
can make, not a straw man, so that a genuinely better understanding



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