this is progressive?

rc-am rcollins at
Sat Apr 15 00:26:41 PDT 2000

> rc-am:
> Since it's obvious to both of us we already have a very different idea
> what would count as having worked (to what end?), and since neither of us
> in possession of the power of prophecy, I have no idea what it is you're
> wanting to express.
> Are you meaning to imply that you haven't argued for a "tactical
> co-ordination" with the far right? You said it in December of last year.
> You don't seem to have changed your position, if the rhetorical purges of
> those who find the presence of the far right intolerable are anything to go
> by.
> [mbs] From revolutionary anti-capitalist bloc to
> tactical coordination w/the far right is quite
> a leap. I don't see much connection.

Well, out of a lenghty recycling of old posts and the RACB statement, you chose only to respond with the throwaway line of "oh, that'll work" on the RACB. So, to repeat, since we both know you and the RACB have very different ideas about aims, your response is meaningless without an acknowledgement of what you think those aims are -- aims which (shock!) the RACB, and I, would disagree with.

> Yes I argued
> for it, no I haven't changed my position. In fact,
> I'm finding new ways to do it. I've got Republicans
> interested in my tax proposal.

So, you don't think Carrol's comments were wrong, they were simply amusing.

> I'm not sure what a "rhetorical purge" is.
> Is it like blowing chunks?

In technicolour.

> >>>>>>>>>
> If I might borrow Rakesh's lingo for a moment, but without Rakesh's
> unfortunate pessimism, I don't think anyone is a dupe. You are
> responsible
> for your decisions, your statements and indeed silences, and I for mine.
> Angela
> >>>>>>>
> Yes, though I'm not noted for my silences.
> In any case, where does that come from?
> You seem to be free-associating different
> statements I've made.

Freely associating? Perhaps I am paying attention to what you've written, as much to the paradoxes as to the 'logic'. If you don't want people to associate one statement with another, then I suggest you try shape-shifting.

Let me retrace the steps: You denounce people for criticising the presence and speeches of Buchanan, you declare that they are no longer a part of "the movement" on that basis, you remain silent on the comments by Dolan and others lauding Buchanan, you defend and/or downplay chauvinist and racist comments as if they are not important whilst on other occassions insisting that 'this is just how it is', and you have decided that a tactical co-ordination with the right is desirable. Simultaneously, you have variously bellittled and patronised the Black Bloc (now expanded into the RACB), the most recent being the rather peculiar comment "oh, that'll work", and you've argued against 'violence' (though not as vehemently as Nathan) whilst being more than prepared to support bombings by NATO, etc. The "connection" is all too obvious: this is not just a disagreement over tactics, but over the shape, direction and politics of "the movement" or, in other words, aims.

I disagree with Carrol on many things; but on this point, he is right: "The real division is between those who want a mass movement to emerge from the November actions, with strong local roots, and those (like Sawicki, etc. on this list) who want to discipline that potential mass movement in the service of union and Democratic Party bureaucrats and their intellectual servants." I would just like Carrol's position to be more consistently applied, esp as it relates to the question of criticising the Chinese Govt, and his abandonment of such a view when it comes to countries other than the US. Which is to say that this is the only way in which one could conduct a criticism of the Chinese Govt sans the xenophobia, and why he can only think to exclude any possibility of such a criticism at all.

But, to return to the issue of responsibility: at times, you've simply asserted that 'this is how it is' as the basis for your particular politics and alliances. In other words, you assert the fact of a bad world or at the very least of 'realistic limits' in order to absolve yourself of responsibility for the decisions you actively make which reproduce that and those limits. I'm not suggesting that any decision here is going to be without problems, but think that everyone is capable of enough intelligence to ascertain what those might be, and hope that people are honest enough not to resort to evasions like 'collateral damage' or 'unintended consequences' as a way of claiming that they are not responsible.

You have argued that Buchanan's presence, and the xenophobia, are a "sideshow". They are not. What determines whether or not the racism is a sideshow is the extent to which it might be possible to remove those aspects and still retain the campaigns. How crucial is pandering to xenophobia, indeed fanning xenophobia, to the success of the social democratic vision? Given what I said above, it seems to me that it is crucial, and the index of that is the extent to which you are so quick to announce Tim and others as no longer a part of "the movement", but remain relatively silent on and at times embrace the Buchananites into the fold, as have Dolan et al. It's about a decision that draws a line between acceptable strategies and intolerable ones. You always have choices, none of which can be verified as 'realistic' without a good deal of arranging and omission. You are responsible for those decisions.

Angela _________

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