[Marxism] Re: Pearl Harbor, etc.--reply

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Tue Apr 12 21:58:53 MDT 2005

 >>>[1] You are confusing the alienating nature of social relationships 
within capitalism with an active conspiracy.

 >>>[2] 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.

 >>>[3] 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. 
-- Carlos

[1] 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 

[2] I'll have to take a "by" on this.

[3] 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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