[lbo-talk] Doug Henwood declines offer to speak at Platypus panel

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 14 10:30:15 PST 2011

Someone left this comment on Doug's blog:

"There is one member of Platypus who does hit and runs on a number of blogs whose economic analysis seems to consist of: + One Part Economics 101 + One Part neoliberalism (lots of defense of ‘school choice’, free trade, privatised pensions, financialisation, etc) + And one part vulgar Marxism He can argue for all this stuff by citing his Marx, Lenin, etc; which doesn’t change the fact that it’s entirely bonkers. If he’s at

all typical, and a brief glance at the website suggests he might be, I can’t imagine any panel convened by them being either

useful, or enlightening." Actually, this describes some of Platypus's would-be co-thinkers in Germany perfectly.

The Bahamas sect <http://www.redaktion-bahamas.org> does the same sort of thing, rabid defenses of Ariel Sharon, George W. Bush, neo-liberalism, and even rape (!) all dressed up with Marxist language.

In other words, just a sort of lame contrarian iconoclasm.

A friend of mine says that Slavoj Zizek would describe this as a form of "perverse enjoyment":

basically, Platypus, and hardcore Anti-Germans, or Spiked Online/Living Marxism in England, all NEED the left as an audience for their empy-calories iconoclasm, because that's the only audience that regards their statements as scandalous.  But their content is 100% in accord with mainstream society, so if they lose the left as an audience, they also lose the opportunity to portray themselves as bold iconoclasts.

This is basically what has happened to Bahamas: after their defenses of rape as just "bad sex", and their nasty racist diatribes against Muslims in Germany, their little rag isn't sold in leftist bookstores, and they no longer have the leftist biotope to swim around in.  As a result they're sort of adrift, having lost the necessary audience to appear as dissident speakers of uncomfortable truths.

So Lou's strategy is probably right: best to refuse them any legitimacy as being part of the discursive space of the left.  On the other hand, this might also cause them to portray themselves as martyred victims of leftist "political correctness".

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