[OPE-L:5505] Re: Proposal on Archives

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@classic.msn.com)
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 08:06:49 -0700 (PDT)

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I wasn't going to make a big issue of the "secret society" thing, but since
posts from both Michael Williams and now Jerry have gotten matters a bit
turned around, I'm going to take this opportunity to correct the record.

(1) In ope-l 5461, Michael Williams wrote: "I think Andrew's reference to it
[this list] appearing to [ot]hers like a secret cabal is a bit ott (that's
'Over The Top').

(2) In ope-l 5501, Jerry wrote: "While many on this list haven't had any
objections to the current list policy on the archives, it is very hard to
defend to those outside of the list and might seem to some to support Andrew
K's characterization of OPE as a 'secret society.'"

(3) These comments respond to the following comment of mine in ope-l 5456:
"And, of course, I'm the one to catch hell for participating in what Ednaldo
da Silva has rightly termed a 'secret society,' even though I'm one of those
calling for an end to the secrecy."

(4) Note that my statement *reported* a charge that was actually made by da
Silva. I simply do not understand how it can be "over the top" on my part to
report what he charged.

(5) Also note that "secret society" is not "Andrew K's characterization," but
da Silva's characterization. I was reporting and, appropriately, I enclosed
the quote between quotation marks.

(6) Perhaps neither Jerry nor Michael knew what I was referring to. Yet both
of them witnessed this incident. So did many others on this list. It
occurred at a panel of the IWGVT at this year's EEA convention. Indeed,
Michael was chair of the panel. I am surprised that they seem to have
forgotten it.

(7) Here is what tranpired. The panel dealt with the falling rate of profit.
Presenters included David Laibman, Alejandro Ramos, and me. In the
subsequent discussion, Fred Moseley attacked me personally for not having
responded to something he had written on this list, and declared it
"illegitimate" that I continue to expound my own views in the meantime! (The
implication was evidently -- Fred can correct me if I'm wrong -- that I was
unable to rebut his thoroughly devastating demolition of the TSS
interpretation, that I now knew my views were false, and that I illegitimately
continued to voice them although I knew they were false.)

I responded that I was not at liberty to discuss happenings on this list,
because it is closed, and that I was not willing to violate list protocol, as
Fred had just done. (Had I been willing to do so, BTW, I would have noted
that I've proved three times over on this list that, according to Fred's
interpretation of Marx, production conditions in luxury industries do not
affect the uniform profit rate, which contradicts Marx; that Fred has promised
to provide a counterexample or counterargument; that he has not done so; and
that the response he owes me is far more overdue than is the response I owe

At this point, from the audience, Ednaldo da Silva interrupted me and said,
"What are you running, a secret society?"

I acknowledged that this list is indeed a secret society, but noted that Alan
Freeman and I favor opening it up. I then called for an opening of ope-l and
of the ope-l archives.

Enough members of this list were present when this occurred that I am
confident that my version of events can be corroborated.

(BTW, during this incident, Fred asked Jerry whether he (Fred) had violated
list protocol and, surprisingly to me, Jerry said no! I still do not
understand this "ruling." In any case, in order to make clear that I wasn't
ducking Fred's issues, I noted that I would be happy to respond to Fred
publicly if he wished to ask me a question "now," i.e., in that panel. At
that point Michael cut off discussion.)

(8) I note that this is not the only such incident. As Jerry has just
informed us, "As the 'public face' of the list, I have been on several
occasions personally and viciously "flamed" for the list policy on the
archives. ... a number of people have written posts on other lists to say that
our archives policy shows that we are 'elitist.'"

At least two members of this list have said that they regard it as an informal
"coffee-house" sort of conversation. Due to its casual nature, its archives
should be closed.

I admit to feeling a bit hurt by this characterization. I, for one, put a lot
of time, effort, and thought into reading and often studying others' posts,
and to writing my own. I consider my activity -- and that of many others --
on this list to be a serious research effort, not idle chit-chat. I think it
is clear that some others are equally serious about their work on this list.

Nor do I think a "coffee-house" is what Jerry or other founders of the list

I realize that, to those whose presentation of their ideas in public forums
(conferences, publications, etc.) is welcomed and solicited, this list may be
"small potatoes." But others on this list do not have the same opportunities.
Indeed, some points of view have been -- and continue to be -- systematically
suppressed, even (or especially) on the Left. For such people, the debates on
this list are important.

It has been said (or implied) that the TSS interpretation is not being
suppressed, because it has been actively discussed on this list. But this
list is closed and its archives are closed. The suppression of it in public
and the discussion of it in private are just two sides of the same coin. The
opening of the ope-l archives would be a small step towards rectifying the

Finally, I should say that when I joined this list, no one told me that it was
closed because it was just some "coffee-house" chit-chat, and people didn't
want to take responsibility for their statements. I thought the purpose of
keeping the list closed was to keep out certain individuals who would be
disruptive and bring down the list. The latter purpose is fully ensured by
keeping membership in the list "by invitation" but opening the archives to

Andrew Kliman