Pollitt on Nader

LeoCasey at aol.com LeoCasey at aol.com
Mon Oct 2 09:50:48 PDT 2000

Below, John accuses Nathan of being a quasi-Stalinist and left apostate, linking him with Norman Podherotz, all in the context of a most severe and lengthy distortion of his political views and what he has said about the elections. There is a name for that discursive practice -- flaming. It does not contribute in the slightest to political debate.

<< Some "activists," specifically those who, as Ehrenreich puts it, those in

the business of competing for "crumbs" of access offered up to liberal

leadership deserve bashing. We might disagree on who those are, still, I

would be interested if you are even willing to identify a single "leader"

who you would categorize as a sell out. If you are not able to do so-and

you know as well as I do that there are plenty-is an indication of a

quasi- Stalinist worship of leadership and authority on your part, one

which would probably find great resonance with many others on this list,

but is one which responsible progressives are justifiably suspicious of.

In any case, the principle you endorse, that rank and file must always

uncritically accept and defend the prerogatives of leadership of

organizations ostensibly set up in their interest has proven to be just as

demobilizing and counterproductive as the anti-organizational tendencies

you identify.

Finally, your personal history, which you repeatedly trot out here, would

only be relevant if past associations of self-described progressvies were

any kind of reliable guide to where their true loyalties rest. For every

Noam Chomsky there are five "apostates" as they have been described on

this list: take your pick-Norman Podhoretz, Donna Shalala, Marvin Olasky

the list goes on and on. My sense is that you are much closer to the

latter than to the former. Whatever the reality, given the numerous

instances of this "left apostacy" phenomenon I would ask that you forgo,

in future discussions, recitation of your resume. We all know it by now

anyway. >>

Leo Casey United Federation of Teachers 260 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10010-7272 (212-598-6869)

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. -- Frederick Douglass --

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