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

Sean Andrews cultstud76 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 10 12:02:43 PDT 2010

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 12:49, Christopher Cutrone <ccutrone at speedsite.com> wrote:
> Dear Sean, et al.,
> This will be my last post to the list, at least for a while. Indeed, I was drawn into a place of "sandbox" disputes.

we actually never even got to that point. it was mostly you impunging someone's reputation on the basis of what was, at best, a very subjective interpretation of events.

> So, while we do not exclude this, we do not aim to publish the usual commentary on or analysis of current events, etc., found in other publications. We are not an academic journal or a propaganda sheet. Not only do we take the existence of the various political tendencies and organizations on the "Left" for granted, but also the existence of other journals. We aim to fill a currently unfilled need: debate on the specific meaning of "Left" politics today (and in light of history).

Fair enough...

> (It was indicative for me that in the discussion on this list, the terms "emancipation" and "reactionary" were both singled out with bemused frustration. The fact that no one seems to know what either means is indication enough that the "Left is dead!")

No. It was not at all indicative of this. It was indicative of the fact that people here don't take kindly to vague weasel words like this which can easily mean all sorts of nasty things in practice (like bombing civilians to free them, etc.) This reticence seems pretty justified based on what appear to be your own positions on humanitarian interventions and "Islamic terror."

> This means that the articles we publish tend more towards the "philosophical" treatment of issues. If this comes across as "navel-gazing," so be it. It's a specific genre. We are trying to fill a need, for critical reflection. We think this is necessary.

FYI there is reeeealy a lot of this already around, done by very smart people, in relatively accessible journals. Your project, what I've read of it, seems really esoteric and narrow in it's range of leftist thinkers and thoughts--and despite the range you try to incorporate, fairly ahistorical in your approach to thinking about where these ideas come from and, thus, what ideas would serve us best in this conjuncture. In other words, I wish you luck but I also wish you'd drop the smug approach. The people on this list are very smart and I've learned a lot from them. The last thing the left needs is another hotshot white boy editor out there to help explain the secret path to everyone else--particularly when it seems to have little interest in thinking about bread and butter issues like class, race, gender, and structural inequality, none of which seem to figure highly in your set of analytical tools (strangely, especially class.)

> Also, not to be neglected, is our primarily student, campus-based readership. This means sometimes taking a "pedagogical" tone. It certainly means not assuming familiarity with typical "Left" discourse (with which we are seeking to break, anyway). We have published such a diverse group of authors on such a wide variety of topics that I would challenge anyone to be able to generalize meaningfully about the PR as a publication.

There is a fine line between pedagogy and pedantism.

> We understand that breaking decorum and saying that the Emperor has no clothes makes people uncomfortable. But this doesn't mean that we are just controversy-mongers. Nevertheless, we do aim to break the "polite" silence and pseudo-agreement on the "Left" that stands in for politics.

smug. act. stop. seriously. Do you really believe that the thing you mean by this is all that controversial? If this is truly the extent of the analysis, I'll look somewhere else. On the other hand, if you ever have some actual discussion you'd like to have, I'm sure the people on this list will oblige.

best, s

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