"Brave New World" or "the Soul of Man under Socialism"?(was Re:Desire & Scarcity)

Daniel F. Vukovich vukovich at uiuc.edu
Sun Jan 30 14:35:44 PST 2000

At 02:31 PM 1/30/00 -0500, Michael wrote:
>Well, Daniel, you seem to be the one to name names here, not I.

Never mind, you didnt get it or didnt try, or I was opaque. No problem. Let the games continue! I just detect something unpleasant at times in re. attacks, and in re. a personalist-familial kind of side-taking. Maybe I am making it up, clearly you are not receptive to the idea. Let me emphasize that I like this list, that Ive learned from it and enjoy it, and that I thank my friend Doug for running it, so to speak.

>I don't recall Carrol or Yoshie or me or anyone really saying that the end of
>scarcity will end history.

Ummm, who said anything about scarcity. I thought I was talking about material, institutional and ideological "legacies" and structures. I do agree with Althusser though, and the so-called eternal quality of "ideology." I am pretty sure the end of history was implied, but that is just my opinion right now. I made a point about utopian thinking as such (in this context), which of course is an old one. I made a point in re. institutional arrangements (contemplate these, first and foremost), and that it is an historical, not anti-communist or puritanical, argument to assume that "gender" and "class struggle" and "wage labor" and other problems are not going to go away after the revolution. As in, not going to go away for a long long time, even assuming we do a good job of figuring out how to eliminate them. Mao, that fine dialectician, once claimed it would take a hundred years or more, and he knew a thing or two about carrying on revolution. I just do not think it is useful to conduct abstract thought experiments here, and I am dropping this subject myself.

> What was the Stalinist nature of Carrol's posts?

There was an attack on someone else, accusing them of holding a position they clearly do not, and asking them, in public, to defend it. There was also a legalistic tone in there if I recall. It seems valid to me to therefore use the word Stalinist, as this word is an adjective and a metaphor. See the posts by he and angela. Here is what she said: "This catch-all strategy ... is a stalinist practice. You're demanding that someone confess to or recant what are trumped-up charges."

I think if folk quit attacking each other, including attacks on French men and women for that matter, and quit willfully distorting each others' posts, then this list would be the better for it. The problem is that one person's attack is another's "critique" or retort, etc.; this problem arises in part b/c of the culture of the list. But anyway.

>You know, I don't think postmodernists are currently being actualy
>persecuted or denied jobs, etc. But lots of communists have been.

I still dont know what listers mean by postmodernists. I can only think of certain French intellectuals myself. Some ppl who are influenced by these men and women can be denied jobs or tenure, if their work is too "anti-disciplinary" which may -- or perhaps should -- be the product of said infuence. But this is not the issue, and Ive no idea why you even mention pomo here. I think pomo exists primarily as bogey-man on LPO-talk. I know nothing about the circulation or status of communists these days.

> So when you call someone a Stalinist or imply it or suggest that communists
>are every one of us responsible for the multiple problems of the USSR
>China, etc., you are bound to raise our hackles.

I honestly have no idea how you got from "So" to the end of that sentence. I havent blamed anyone for historical communism. I will have you know I am an unabashed apologist, of sorts, for Maoist China in particular. This too is in the archives.

I might add that when people blame "postmodernists" for capitalism, for treason to the class struggle, for being anti- or non- Marxists, for violating Roger's Rules For Order (Philosophy Edition), and the like, this will raise hackles. Not least b/c no one on this list Ive seen identifies as a "post-modernist," and b/c this is a cheat. Read Kelley's post on this topic from last week, it is quite good. I am with the pale-rider wag who suggested we drop all references to it.

I also believe that there is a "stalinist" way of "arguing" or "debating". This is not however reducible to the official stalinist era, nor to bolshevism, but, um, this "mode of address" does have roots. I hereby pledge to use the word authoritarian instead.

> And btw I have looked at the archives many times. I am sure we read
> them differently, though.

Indeed we do. No problem here, is there?

>Finally, all I said was that I thought Yoshie's arguments were better
>than those who disagreed with her. My comments about her use of
>quotations was in response to another lister heaping scorn on her for
>doing this.

Strictly speaking, you said "her critics... resort to some sort of assumption that she and her supporters must be Stalinists," and I said I did not see this happening, and I would like you to pony up or stop it. I have not said it, Eric has not said it, Doug has not, etc. I have not said it recently, and I dont assume she is one in real life. Earlier I had made an argument in re style of argument and way of seeing, I assumed limited to lbo-talk world.

I am also saying that I think it is unfortunate that she or I or anyone else should be the topic of conversation on this here list, and that ppl should shut up in this regard, should just stop doing this. Not too bloody likely, but I am happy to be here anyway. I learn a lot from Angela and from other folk, esp. the trained economists.

>I guess I do not know what you are so worked up about. Maybe melodrama
>will end with communism!!!
>Michael Yates

Hmmm, I feel rather calm actually, and melodrama can be fun in the right form, but an end to it here, yes. Not too bloodly likely though. So, too, an end to this I-dont-understand-therefore-you-are-stupid crap, now and The Day After.


------------------------------------------------------ Daniel F. Vukovich Dept. of English; The Unit for Criticism University of Illinois Urbana, IL 61801 ------------------------------------------------------

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