[lbo-talk] Platypus: what we are, what we do, and why

Sean Andrews cultstud76 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 9 21:31:01 PDT 2010

On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 22:18, Mike Beggs <mikejbeggs at gmail.com> wrote:

> ... and lots of other good stuff.
> Bravo for this post, and good paper too - I'd be keen to read the
> finished version.

Thanks. It is mostly written in longhand, but maybe I will type it up when I have time. If so, I'll let you know first (I owe you an xmas present!)

The British New Left (Review and Clubs) really
> appeals to me also as a guide for a worthwhile project today. (And the
> kind of project people like us could actually get moving on - at
> least, the only 'objective condition' preventing it being our bloody
> dissertations).

that and the grading...if only i could argue that the best way for me to give student feedback was in a public forum, kill two birds with one stone.

> I wish Scott Hamilton's book on EP Thompson(which I was talking about
> a few weeks ago in the Althusser discussion) was out already so I
> could point you to it -

I'll look for it. No time at the moment anyway. I'm just worried about finishing this semester before my wife has our baby. But evidently Doug is even more productive than ever after the addition of Ivan so I hold out hope for a sudden talent for time management (probably spending less time on listserves would help...)

there's a lot of stuff on the early NLR from
> Thompson's perspective. He was actually one of Hall's most fierce
> critics when the latter was editing - though I have to say Thompson
> comes across as a pretty grumpy old (well, middle-aged) man - and was
> one of the factors behind Hall's resignation and the rise of the
> triumvirate of Perry Anderson, Daniel Butt and Raphael Samuel.

He does come across as a pretty grumpy guy most of the time--to the point that it is sometimes really hard to see the hair he's splitting--but I also take Hall to be a bit to much of a mediator--really wanting to make everyone happy, rather than trying to take a strong position one way or another. Butting up against someone like Thompson who he probably admired to an extent but could never quite please was likely a source of endless tension for him. It occurrs to me to wonder if it was at around this point that he met or became closer with Hoggart, who was equally grumpy but maybe a bigger fan of Hall as a scholar (Hoggart seems pretty absent from all this and I really don't know much about him so my bad...) So he abandoned the NLR ship and jumped on the CCCS express. Too pat, I'm sure, but it is a shift that Hall doesn't explain in this essay, though by the end of the decade (really just 5-6 years later) he's head of that department so it was obviously something that would seem to be related. too much, too late and on a Friday...

I agree
> with what you say about the cliquish, not-quite-democratic path the
> NLR took working out as a good thing.

definitely, though the editorial of this latest issue certainly ends on a depressing note. Watkins produces a nice overview of the current conjuncture, but ends the essay by saying that fifty years ago they were producing scholarship for an active movement. Now it's just work that could inform some future movement (though it should be said NOT the platypus of the current thread). I forget the exact quote but after I read it, I had this image of the end of the Raiders of the Lost Ark, with this incredibly powerful object being sealed up and carried into a dusty warehouse where its metaphysical and historical invisibility at the start of the film would be replicated by a more bureaucratic, apathetic disappearance (one so assured that Indiana Jones knows it will be almost as safe from being found--if not more.) sad but true.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list