[Marxism] Re: Pearl Harbor, etc.--reply
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Tue Apr 12 21:58:53 MDT 2005
>>> You are confusing the alienating nature of social relationships
within capitalism with an active conspiracy.
>>> Conspiracy is a method of doing politics, not a world-system.
One of the key breaks between the original National Bolsheviks with
Marxism was over this very question.
>>> The point all of us doing conspiracy bashing is precisely that
conspiracy theories contribute to "hid[ing] the real condition of our
political life". They are a possible "how", while Marxism cares more
about the "why" and politics care more about the "what". The "how",
well, the how has no ideology or social base: The Vast Right Wing
Conspiracy faces the Jew-Bolshevik Groundless Cosmopolitan Conspiracy.
 I think that "alienating nature of social relationships within
capitalism" is abstract compared to the particular electoral political
structure that I described. There are active acts within capitalism
that are designed to obscure and hide the fact that our electoral
system is a fraud. The alienation of which you speak, however, also
obscures these relationships to radicals.
Although not as important as the Electoral College and the absence of
proportional voting, the most striking example that I gave was that 22
states with the smallest population get 44 senators while California
with the same population as these 22 states gets 2. But no one talks
about that and what it means.
The Electoral College fraud has been turned on its head and now the
media talks about red states and blue states as though territory
determines our system and that that is how we should think about it. If
the deck is stacked against us, we should talk about it. In my opinion,
fighting the electoral fraud--the conspiracy that says that this is the
best possible political democracy--should be part of the political
program of any radical organization.
There may be better words to use to describe this than the word
conspiracy, but it can't be rejected out of hand. Of course, this isn't
the same as "conspiracy theory" as you have been discussing it. It's
simply a word--a piece of rhetoric and perhaps somewhat hackneyed.
Isn't it better than "alienating nature of social relationships within
 I'll have to take a "by" on this.
 There probably is a middle ground here. The how, what, and why are
interrelated. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they lead us
down blind alleys. They focus on interrelationships between sections of
the ruling class. They credit greater power to obscure forces than they
actually have. They draw talented individuals into obscure research and
separate them from real political work of interest to working people.
On the other hand, as some one else pointed out, we need to be aware of
real conspiracies in order to inoculate and guard ourselves. The
purpose of this is to prevent ourselves from being thrown off stride.
For example, while both organizations were damaged by the FBI
conspiracy, their knowledge of the history of revolutionary movements
helped the CP and SWP keep their focus, while the relatively
inexperienced Black Panther Party fell victim to COINTELPRO.
from Brian Shannon
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