Moderators’ Statement


Michael Meeropol
 

thank you --- hope it's not redundant to thank the three who are carrying on Louis' tradition and --- I think this does not trash Louis to admit it --- improving on it!

Solidarity forever!!

On Wed, Jun 22, 2022 at 11:21 AM Anthony Boynton <anthony.boynton@...> wrote:

Moderators’ Statement

Let a thousand debates bloom!



Les Schaffer
 

Mark:

agreed.

what i am working on currently is statistics on posting to the list. How many people post how many times a month. who starts threads; who starts threads that engage a number of subscribers. the value here is finding ways to encourage people currently subscribed but lurking to join the discussions while moderating existing posters. we are debating whether or not to release these stats to the list with subscriber names. but as stated in the footers in each message, the list is already publicly archived.

my sense is some perhaps small fraction of comrades would be willing to share something about themselves: approximate location, political stance, etc. i am thinking of ways how to use groups.io interface to aggregate such data, possibly suitably de-identified if so desired.

but to your point, Lou and I have always -- to my knowledge -- respected the privacy needs of individuals, without question.

Les

On 6/22/22 1:37 PM, Mark Baugher wrote:
On Jun 22, 2022, at 8:21 AM, Anthony Boynton <anthony.boynton@...> wrote:
Les is currently working on statistics to better define who is currently on the list although it will not completely answer all the questions you may have.
I wonder about the value and wisdom of doing this. Some of us opt for full identification, some partial, and some might want to remain anonymous for reasons such as where they live or what they do. So I don't think we necessarily want to publicize how many people come from which place, particularly if the place has no free speech and association rights.

Mark


Walter Lippmann
 

This is reasonable. I keep my CubaNews list moderated for

pretty much the same reasons. I'm not joined in the debates

since my return to Marxmail. Not sure to what degree I will 

since the vibes on this list are pretty much as they used to

be under Louis, without the snark factor. I'm based here in

Los Angeles, California. I appreciate the comments which

Anthony Boynton made on the recent Colombian election.

I'm thrilled by the results, but know the struggle has only

just begun. It's a pretty sign impressive that Columbia's 

Trumpista conceded right away.

 

For those who don't know me, I'm a former (1962-1988)

member of the SWP, its youth group and two offshoots,

and unaffiliated since then. My project is CubaNews, an

online service with a Cuba-centric focus, consisting of a

lot of English translations from the Cuban media as well

as other Cuba-related material from a rather wide range

of sources. Anyone with a great interest in Cuba may 

wish to subscribe. This is an invitation to everyone here.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Walter Lippmann

https://groups.io/g/cubanews/


Mark Baugher
 

Thanks for your service, moderators.

On Jun 22, 2022, at 8:21 AM, Anthony Boynton <anthony.boynton@...> wrote:

Les is currently working on statistics to better define who is currently on the list although it will not completely answer all the questions you may have.
I wonder about the value and wisdom of doing this. Some of us opt for full identification, some partial, and some might want to remain anonymous for reasons such as where they live or what they do. So I don't think we necessarily want to publicize how many people come from which place, particularly if the place has no free speech and association rights.

Mark


Anthony Boynton
 

Moderators’ Statement

Let a thousand debates bloom!

We like debate, and we think debate is healthy. Just to remind participants, here is what the first line on the Marxmail homepage says. It is the basic guideline of the Moderators.

The Marxism list is a worldwide moderated forum for activists and scholars in the Marxist tradition who favor a non-sectarian and non-dogmatic approach. It puts a premium on independent thought and rigorous but civil debate.”

For many years, Louis Proyect, the list’s founder and workhorse moderator, performed the job of moderating the list on his own. Les Schaefer worked with Louis to handle the technical side of the list.

When Louis died, Les inherited the entire responsibility. He asked the members of the list for help. Anthony Boynton and David Walters offered to help. Now the three of us are the Moderators of this list.

The list is moderated.

This means that we will advise participants when they have crossed the line beyond civil debate. We will remind you again, and if a participant continues to cross the line, we will “moderate” the person. This means we will follow all of your posts and read them before deciding whether they deserve to be posted on the list. If the person persists, we will remove the person from the list.

So far, we have only advised a few people who have crossed the line, and moderated  even less.

A non-sectarian and non-dogmatic approach

We don’t care if you are a Trotskyist, Stalinist, Bukharinist, Mariateguista, Fidelista, Maoist or any other brand of Marxism. In fact, if you do not consider yourself a Marxist, but are sincerely interested in Marxism, you are welcome here, too.

Trolls and provocateurs are not welcome and will be removed.

Rigorous but civil debate

Let’s face it. Wars and civil wars have been fought for political reasons. Some people on this list think that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is justified self-defense while others think the invasion is an imperialist crime. Debate between the two groups cannot be anything other than tough. We don’t mind, as long as it is a civil debate while on list.

When it is not civil, we will intervene. You cannot call another list participant a murderer, a misogynist, a traitor or an imperialist on this list. You cannot say another person’s ideas are shit on this list. Whatever you think about your opponents in the debate, keep it civil.

This is our version of what the preschool teacher said, “Use your words!”

Barroom brawls should be reserved for bars. Food fights should be kept at home. Civil wars should be conducted off list.

The only part of the class struggle that is welcome here is the theoretical struggle.

Can and should the moderators participate in the debate?

Yes. We can, we should, and we do. However, we are committed to maintaining the same standards of civil debate that we expect of everyone else, and we will “moderate” each other if needed.

The Legacy of Louis

Louis believed in the words we quoted at the beginning of this statement. He wrote them! But, he didn’t always apply them to himself as much as he should have. While we admire Louis and value his legacy, we hope to avoid arbitrary moderating and violations of our own rules.

Louis believed that you have to have a thick skin for the kind of debate that his natural on this kind of list, but sometimes he was both too abrasive and a little too thin-skinned.

The Demographics of the List

A recent line of criticism of the list has been that it has too many white petty bourgeois men from imperialist countries. The fact is, that nobody knows how many men are on the list, how many women are on the list, how many people of color are on the list, or even which countries are currently represented on the list. We don't know the gender identification of everyone and it is not necessarily that obvious. We are hoping to find out. Despite the fact that we do not yet have the demographics of the list nailed down, it appears that the great majority of participants are male. It should be mentioned

In response to this criticism of the list we have to state three things. First, the moderators work to include workers and oppressed people of all sorts and from all over the world on the list. Second, Les is currently working on statistics to better define who is currently on the list although it will not completely answer all the questions you may have. Third, as has been pointed out recently on the list, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Marx, and Engels were all petty bourgeois (or even noble) white men from imperialist countries. Class origins are no bar to becoming a Marxist and a revolutionary.

Yours in Struggle,

Les, David and Anthony