[lbo-talk] BobboSphere is not disillusioned with Obama

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Aug 3 09:52:19 PDT 2011

Julio has made these points over and over again for several years on this list. He has never changed anyone's mind. Others have made Doug's points over and over again to Julio. He has never changed his mind.

There is only one way that anyone by argument has ever changed my mind: When the argument revealed to me that this was what I was looking for but wasn't quite able to grasp. For example, 40 years ago when I considered myself a "Marxist-Leninist" and thought WITBD laid down the correct theory of revolution, I also noted, mostly while reading footnotes in the volumes of Lenin's CW, that often the Bolshevik's organization was a sort of loose baggy monster, not a "tight ship." I sort of filed that away at the time. But on the old Spoons Marxism list, when I encountered Lou's 'criticism' of "Leninism" (what he called Zinoivieism" [sp?]), I immediately accepted his argument. That is, he 'ignited' as it were thoughts which I had had in embryonic form for decades. That is the way persuasion works. That is the ONLY way that persuasive arguments ever work. They have to be directed at a reader who has already through his/her experience, previous thought reached the threshold of some new point of view.

Social practice can change a person's mind radically, but he/she has to be attracted to that social practice by appealing to somethng he/she already believes in. That is why in building a left movement agitation always aims at people who are already in agreement with some key point in the agitation. If that works, then his/her participation in the activity will further develop/change his/her views.

Julio is talking to empty pews. It is a bit sad and a bit funny to see someone waste so much energy and thought.

On this list I am mostly addressing empty pews. That is because _most_ list members deeply believe that "right opinion" is a good thing in itself. So they read and write in a world of pure opinion. But my posts are directed only at those who in some sense more or less know or have experienced the futility of "right opinion," who have on their own or through prior experience sensed the the fundamental point made in the Eleventh Thesis: First you have to engage in the effort to change the world, and only then will you be able to interpret it correctly. I have met a lot of good people that way who then became good friends. They had known it all along; they just hadn't known they knew it.I doubt that I have ever changed the mind of a single person who seriously believed that it was true argument that changed minds.


On 8/3/2011 9:59 AM, Doug Henwood wrote:
> On Aug 3, 2011, at 10:52 AM, Julio Huato wrote:
>> Doug Henwood asked:
>>> Do you approve of this piece of nonsense, or are you forwarding it the
>>> way a pathologist might want to share an interesting lesion (a "fascinoma,"
>>> I once heard) with colleagues?
>> I have stated my own views on Obama. This, however, is a viewpoint
>> that I respect. I believe that these views reflect the needs of
>> comrades who are involved in working class organizing, particularly in
>> African American and Latino settings. Of course, people in other
>> settings (e.g. in these lists, which are not to be dismissed or
>> underestimated) have different needs. But these political activists
>> have to relate to very specific groups of people, folks who support
>> Obama for raw ethnic and racial reasons and who start from a very high
>> level of alienation. I'd be curious to know how you address or bypass
>> these sentiments in an effort to help these people get organized.
> I don't know, but what you're talking about is part of the structural political problem of the U.S. "Raw ethnic and racial reasons" and "a high level of alienation" means "not a clue about what's going on." This is a POV to understand, I suppose, but "respect"? I know you can't tell people who believe these things that they're fucked, but they are, so how do you make the point?
> Doug
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