Mark Lause | 1 Jun 01:09 2004

RE: clarifications re Gitlin, etc

In any event, if anyone needs to consult Gitlins views on historiography
to understand why his position is wrong, they probably shouldn't bother.

And, if they do, this writer--a big fan of Zinn and a historian
myself--would suggest NOT accepting joe dubovy's view of historians.  I
assume by "C.R. James," he means "C.L.R. James, the Trotskyist.  Joe
groups him with former CP-ers, E.P. Thompson and Eric J. Hobsbawm, old
CPers, and adds Woodward (who I don't think was anywhere near the
organized Left) and, Gerda Lerner, whose clan included the hard-working
tutors of Dan Quayle.  Odd damned mix to start with....

Joe asserts that these are "historians who have no sense of class, but
would rather eliminate the overwhelming impact of class throughout  all
of human history."  A generation of our best historians owe much to
Thompson's MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS. (An odd title, btw, for
a guy that sought to eliminate class and class consciousness, eh?)  He,
James and Hobsbawm were outstanding in their work, though the latter may
have moved right in his old age (I can't recall).  Woodward made some
very essential points at crucial junctures in the history of the civil
rights movement, by not obscuring many of the class questions it posed.
How he put them in a group with Lerner is a wonderment. 

Mark L.

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LouPaulsen | 1 Jun 01:37 2004

Re: Re: Marxism Digest, Vol 7, Issue 117

----- Original Message -----
From: "Frontlines newspaper" <alternative <at>>
> + Lou Paulsen indicated thoroughly why he does not support Nader -- which
IMO is wrong -- but are they planning to run their own candidates? If it is
so, where?

Details are here:

Lou Paulsen

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Louis Proyect | 1 Jun 02:19 2004

Michael Walzer on Howard Zinn

Speaking of Howard Zinn, I should mention that Dissent Magazine has an 
attack on him by the Editor Michael Walzer. This was something that 
first appeared on the web a month or so ago and was answered here and 
there at the time. For example, 7 Oaks has a good retort at:

I do think there are some additional points that can be made, especially 
in light of Gitlin's attack on Nader in the same issue. The two articles 
fall within the purview of "policing the left", something that Dissent 
Magazine has been doing for decades now.

A word or two might be in order about Walzer. He is a member in good 
standing of the cruise-missile left who has developed an extremely 
tortured defense of intervention in Iraq, as opposed to the more 
outright bellicosity of his collaborators at Dissent, Paul Berman and 
Kenan Makiya. As a theoretician of "just wars", Walzer takes an almost 
Talmudic approach to killing the dirty Baathist enemy:

"But now that we are fighting it, I hope that we win it and that the 
Iraqi regime collapses quickly. I will not march to stop the war while 
Saddam is still standing, for that would strengthen his tyranny at home 
and make him, once again, a threat to all his neighbors."

I am quite sure that when he was penning these words, a John Philip 
Sousa march was playing in the background. This combination of 
Pecksniffian moral posturing and imperialist bombast has been honed to 
perfection at Dissent Magazine. I am sure that scholars of future 
generations will study it just as some scholars study William Henry 
Seward today. This is imperialist apologetics at its gory best.

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Cnyadp | 1 Jun 03:28 2004

Re: clarifications re Gitlin, etc

Mark L.

You choose to miss the point of lumping the historians other than Zinn. If 
you read Gitlin you will find that he (not I ) lump those  other historians 
together to justify his weak attack on Zinn as being "lopsided"  and "incorrectly 
interpreting history."

Of course, Zinn is my favorite of the group (I asked Zinn in 2000  to run for 
President and he sent me a nice letter refusing)-  the entire point of  my  
was to  clarify Gitlin's  thinking inasmuch as he has recently taken a 
position   against Nader..

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Jose G. Perez | 1 Jun 04:01 2004

RE: Re: Marxism Digest, Vol 7, Issue 117


	Solidarity's position was in support of a united independent
campaign as an expression of the antiwar, labor and social movements.
There's a pamphlet out that goes over it in great detail. And the
organization was for a Nader/Green campaign as one way to concretize
that, the most likely way.

	In terms of tactics, Solidarity doesn't usually do step-by-step
collective decisions on something like this. Perhaps we should, but we
don't. I think the overwhelming bulk of the members were for Nader
running as a Green. And if the Nader-Camejo ticket came about, I think
it would be enthusiastically received, again overwhelmingly. 

	I think the bulk of the members who also actively relate to the
Greens are pushing for a Nader endorsement by the Greens, but AFAIK
there's no formal position in this sense at this level of tactics.

	That because there is a sense in Solidarity of what I would call
trying to respect the autonomy of other organizations, and also of our
own individual members who may also be in other groups. So it would be
unusual for Soli as such to take up what it thinks the Green Party
should do. Also (I don't think I'm revealing any deep secret here) in a
situation like the current one in the Green Party, Solidarity members
would tend to organize their participation in the debate in and through
the caucuses, wings and so on of the Green Party, rather than as a
"Solidarity fraction," i.e., collaborating closely with Camejo, the
Green Alliance, and this new Greens for Nader grouping that's been

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DAVID MURRAY | 1 Jun 04:09 2004

re: Canadian elections

 I don't know what you mean by "only really governed". Half a*s 

 It has governed in  BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and in 
the North.  It is governing at the moment in Manitoba and 
Saskatchewan. Certainly, it's most memorable time in office was 
under Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan, when the party initiated 
universal health care. At the time, the NDP was called the CCF 
(Cooperative Commenwealth Federation). 

- I Stand corrected.

David Murray

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Jose G. Perez | 1 Jun 04:55 2004

In reply to Lou: against a socialist propaganda campaign

Lou Paulsen: "we will be using our candidates' campaigns as an occasion
for conducting socialist propaganda.... I hope a majority on this list
do not think that we are at a stage where we have so completely given up
on socialism as a goal, that socialist parties have to apologize for
conducting socialist propaganda!!!!"

The problem is not with doing socialist propaganda in general. The
problem is with counterposing "doing propaganda" to the specific forms
through which working people are groping their way towards class

It may be that you think there is nothing else to do but socialist
propaganda in this election.

But to argue that from a Marxist point of view, what you would need to
argue is that the Nader 2000 campaign, the Camejo campaigns in
California and the support Nader is eliciting in this election represent
nothing of significance, no real motion of any kind. Arguing that Nader
doesn't really propose the same things we do, so we won't support him,
is an idealist, utopian socialist argument. This is not about Nader. It
is about the millions of people who feel attracted to his campaign
because, with whatever weaknesses, distortions and limitations, they
feel it expresses *their* interests.

I do not think it is decisive in this regard that the motion Nader has
come to represent is as yet a very narrow layer of working people, that
both his movement and the greens are extremely confused movements and so
on. There has been nothing like this on a mass scale since before the
McCarthy era, i.e., in living memory. 

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Jose G. Perez | 1 Jun 05:09 2004

RE: Reply to Ben on music

Juriaan writes:

"The point here is that the functional use of music, to be effective,
still requires a personal "system", a systematic pattern of behaviour
which is culturally accepted, which shows other people what you mean by
it, and in which you decide to participate. The ability to buy and play
musical recordings is undoubtedly progressive, insofar as it develops
the human capacity to appreciate and create music. But the point is,
that it is also contradictory, since as soon as music is separated from
its "live" context involving a real interaction between the musician and
the audience, then it can be put to uses for which it was not intended,
and become an intermediary abstracted from its original contexts. Those
uses might of course be valid or perverse."

Does this mean I can't listen to Phil Ochs anymore? Or that Clear
Channel is about to start putting him on the radio?


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Jose G. Perez | 1 Jun 05:30 2004

RE: Nader, the american socialist left etc

Brian says,

"Why is it that only a couple of organisations seem to
be making any kind of orientation towards the radical
milieu around Nader? Surely that milieu represents a
great opportunity to get a hearing for socialist
ideas? Do these people just like isolation?"

Actually, a very perceptive question. The truth is that the "radical
millieus" mostly leftists hang out among are NOT supporting Nader. The
labor officials, the non-profit/NGO-types, the institutionalized Black
movement, the traditional antiwar, peace and social justice groups, they
are ALL A-B-B. In "left and progressive circles" being A-B-B is an
article of faith, an unspoken assumption. 

The A-B-B barrage in the media, especially on shows geared to political
junkies, is astonishing. It is constant. Especially because among the
editors and reporters, you'd be hard-pressed to find ONE that is not
A-B-B or A-B-K. In my professional circles, I don't know anyone who is
*for* a candidate this year. But they sure are against the other guy.

Nader DID have a ton of support from radicalized middle-class layers,
the intelligentsia, in 2000, but he has none now. 

Concretely in Georgia I believe what you would be orienting to is a
small group or middle-class twits moving to the left. Nader's base
however is clearly among the great unwashed, the uneducated, the young,
the disaffected and alienated, unless the polls are completely off the
wall. And I believe these people will come around the campaign, but
remember, the real campaign hasn't started, it won't until around Labor
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DLVinvest | 1 Jun 06:30 2004

Re: Gitlin's chitlins

In a message dated 5/31/04 4:36:23 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Cnyadp <at> 
> Todd Gitlin  considers Zinn a bad historian..Gitlin likes historians like 
> Hobsbawm,E.P.Thompson, Gerda Lerner,C.R.James, and C.Vann Woodward...
> If you are familiar with the historians Gitlin prefers to Zinn, you will 
> understand where Gitlin is coming from. Gitlin would divert you away from 
> the 
> class  consciousness of Zinn. He would try to direct you toward  historians 
> who have no sense of class, but    would rather   eliminate the overwhelming  
> impact   of class throughout  all of human history. 

whoa! I'm not that familair with Lerner but that's not my reading of 
Hobsbawm's Industry & Empire or his work on the revolutionary upsurges of 1848, nor 
Thompson's history of the development of the English workingclass, nor James's 
studies of Caribbean political struggles that emerged from slavery into 
neo-colonialism, nor even, for all its faults, Woodward's studies of the "peculiar 

And I wonder if Gitlin has read these historians or he's just name-dropping. 
If Gitlin prefers them to Zinn, the real issue is why so little of them sunk 
in. They might have a case for suing Todd for "damning with faint praise", 
considering the source, but given his supposed expertise in the popular culture of 
TV he should recall the maxim of Fred Allen, who defined imitation as "the 
sincerest form of television." Maybe TG, who seems to fancy himself a 
contemporary Cicero trying to salvage the virtues of civilization from barbarians, is 
angling for his own talk-show cum Iron Chef: Invite the neo-cons babes and Chris 
Hitchens and call it....Or as Roseann Rosannadanna used to say, "oh, never 

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