Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Filling the Space While Working Towards the Reproduction of Time

I wouldn't want to make a living following Louis Proyect from "intervention" to his next "intervention" to his next performance piece pointing out what a simpleton he is, but it sure is diverting when working on things a bit complicated to read the simpleton's simple-minded blog and point out how much of a simpleton he really is.

After woofing at a university professor who had the good sense to tell our Arnold Twerpenegger to get to the point, if he had one,  Proyect then had to explain to his readers othat he wasn't serious; that anyone who thought he really meant to do physical harm to said professor was "insane" even though he, Proyect, had indicated that he would do something to make the professor regret ever having encountered said twerp.   Now, right, I'm sure many people regret having encountered Proyect without Louie ever raising anything that could possibly be construed as a threat.  I am not one of those people as I have derived some bit of mirth and entertainment from this self-styled faux Norman Mailer, faux Howard Stern, faux doofus hipster's  blatherings.

Then, because Louie had woofed at the professor, and was being roundly rounded on for having so woofed, he had to prove what a shock jock he is by publishing this: Guest speakers at the 2013 Socialist Rapist Conference where he wrote, quoting from and riffing on the "official guide":

Paul Le Blanc
Paul Le Blanc is an author and activist flying in from the United States for Marxism 2013. His many books include “Lenin and the Revolutionary Party”, and “Black Liberation and the American Dream”. He will speak on “The history and future of Lenininism” [Is that anything like Troskyismism?]

Gilbert Achcar
His many publications include “The Arabs and the Holocaust”.  His new book “The People Want: a Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising” is out this year.
Plus Alan Freeman and Radhika Desai who seem to live for these things.

and then  this:Response to Gilbert Achcar statement 

where he wrote

(My [meaning Proyect's] comments are in italics.)
On 5/8/13 2:42 AM, Gilbert Achcar wrote:

Gilbert Achcar

The campaign against the SWP is taking a regrettable turn. It now includes attempts at intimidating those participating in Marxism 2013, including myself, into withdrawing from the conference. The SWP is being described as a “socialist rapist party” and taking part in the conference as an “apology of rapism”.

You can call the SWP whatever you want but the fact is that a key leader of the party was protected from the consequences of the most brutal act of violence against women.

Whatever one thinks of the crisis in the SWP and the behaviour of its leadership, such terms applied to a whole party ­– the largest on the British radical left – and to the open forum that the party organizes each year are outrageous. They reveal the regrettable persistence of a certain mindset on the left, a mindset the origin of which is known all too well and for which anathemas and excommunication are substitutes for political fight.

Nobody advocates “anathema and excommunication”, as if that term applied. Instead, it is a reaction by some leading figures on the left to refrain from accepting invitations to speak at their Summer Carnival of Marxism because of the failure of the SWP leadership to clean up its act. “Anathema and excommunication” would instead describe what happened to the Trotskyist movement for most of the 30s through the 50s when it was routinely blocked from joining social movements, trade unions, etc. by a hegemonic Communist Party.

I do not recall any such attitude towards innumerable left parties the leaderships of which are guilty of much worse than what the SWP is accused of. To give but one example, I have accepted in the past invitations by the French Communist Party to their annual FĂȘte de l’HumanitĂ©, as do regularly countless intellectual and activists who are deeply critical of that party. Had I regarded participating in such open forums as an endorsement of the party’s political, organisational or ethical record, which I deem to be incomparably worse than that of the SWP in all respects, I would have never accepted. Instead, I regarded my participation as an opportunity to engage with the public who attend such events, be they party members or non-members, and defend my own views, which differ from those of the party. No one ever blamed me for that.

This is a bogus analogy. The CP in France was not responsible for repression in the USSR. By the 1960s the CP’s in capitalist countries had evolved into social democratic type formations whose connection to the Moscow Trials, etc. mostly consisted of a refusal to disavow their own history. If the French CP, on the other hand, was as tiny as the SWP and had 9 rape investigations on its record, that might be another story.

I do firmly believe that the crisis in the SWP is a worrying symptom of a deeply-rooted problem pertaining to a vitiated conception and form of organisation. Regrettably, a few of the SWP’s opponents worldwide are taking this same vitiated tradition to extremes in the way they practice SWP-bashing. It is high time for the radical left to get rid entirely of that tradition if it is ever to regenerate.

8 May 2013

Sorry, Gilbert, the “tradition” we need to get rid of is thuggery on the left. When a minority faction in the SWP was formed to clean house, its members were shouted down and threatened with violence. Meanwhile, Alex Callinicos–author of 27 books–speculated that “lynch mobs” might arise if the minority refused to abide by the rules shoved down its throat by an anti-democratic majority. If that is the kind of gathering you want to attend, be my guest.  [END]

Priceless, no?  Proyect woofs at a professor at  conference and then he decides to prove that he's no goon, the real goons are elsewhere at other conferences, like the British SWP's May Pole Dance of Marxism. 

Full disclosure:  I don't care for the British SWP, never have, never will.Took the time during the great SWP rape controversy to point how ignorant and arrogant the British SWP leadership and membership were to think a "disputes committee" was somehow competent, appropriate, and empowered to investigate a matter of felonious assault, instead of immediately and permanently suspending the accused from all party activity and then advising both individuals to obtain competent legal advice. 

Point being.... I have no idea if  "comrade X" raped "comrade Y" and neither does Proyect.  I do know how a Marxist party, should, must act when such an accusation is raised.

BUT... to call the Socialist Workers Party the "Socialist Rapist Party" as if the organization were an organization of socialist rapists is something worthy of --not Howard Stern-- but the real shock jock of shock jocks... Rush Limbaugh (and maybe Rupert Murdoch's stooges at The New York Post, Fox News etc.).  

Achar makes a valid point in his response:  Nobody ever squaked, when the historians and academics appeared with and for and at CP sponsored conferences. Certainly not Proyect.  No, Louis thinks making that point  is a "bogus analogy" because the "CP in France wasn't responsible for the repression in the USSR."  Well, guess what, the members of the SWP are not responsible for the actions of comrade X toward comrade Y.    Moreover, the French CP directly supported the repression in the USSR.   The French CP directly supported the physical liquidation of militants adhering to other organizations, or no organizations, in France and elsewhere.  Call me a fussbudget,  but I think that qualifies as the "most brutal act of violence."

The French CP was directly responsible for the repression and liquidation of revolutionists in Vietnam during the time of the popular front in France.  The French CP ordered its Vietnamese cohorts to arrest, and cause to be arrested, Vietnamese small c communists.

The Vietnamese CP again at the behest of its French "elder brothers" suppressed the workers revolution at the close of WW 2, "welcoming" more or less the return of imperialism.  The Vietnamese Stalinists proclaimed that theirs was a bourgeois revolution-- with them, btw, acting the role of the bourgeoisie and murdering workers, breaking strikes, liquidating peasant organizations etc. etc.

Proyect, who ranks Ho Chi Minh as "a great revolutionist," thinks that by the 1960s, the CP had evolved into a social-democratic type party.  Really?  Indeed.  And does Proyect know the role the official social democratic party of France played in breaking the strikes of dockworkers and other workers in the 1940s and 1950s?  Does Proyect know that the "official" social democratic party of France made itself the willing, and well-compensated, instrument of the US CIA in its great struggle against the "communist menace"?   This guy's ignorance would fill volumes.  And cost lives. 

So here's the thing... when you start selling woof tickets, you never know who just might step up and buy one, or more than one, or maybe buy them all.  Then you, the woofer, unless you are ready to take responsibility for what you said, how you said it, and what it means-- for its consequences-- wind up being the woofee, and you wind up having to eat the whole batch.

You'll be able to recognize Proyect at his next intervention.  He'll be the guy channeling Rush Limbaugh.

Now back to our subject-- circulation, circulation time, fixed assets and the reproduction of capital. 

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