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Failure to Regroup: on the offensive nature of my excremental thought

The blog Rectification Rumpus Room has written a response to my 10 Theses on Regroupment Politics and, though I usually try not to respond to every provocative bad faith "screw you" polemic, I decided it was worth writing some sort of response.  First of all, the author has accused me of "ruining thinking" in a single post (amusing but rhetorical); secondly they accuse me of being pompous simply because of ten theses designed to be provocative but (like my theses on identity politics) not to be the be-all-and-end-all of the story; thirdly, because they seem to be someone in my city who has decided (pompously, perhaps?) that they despise the mass orgs I associate with since an earlier post of theirs targets, snidely and dismissively, an advertisement for an RSM study group.  The irony of the third point should be clear: while they accuse me of being opposed to left unity, implying sectarian and all manner of nonsense, it seems as if the blog exists primarily to be sectarian by casting doubt on other MLM projects in the area by image and name.

The author, "juarezjuan" begins with the typical rhetorical ploy of assigning psychological motivation to the post, assuming it was written from a position of smugness and finger wagging.  Pulling the banal "strawperson fallacy" argument out of his hat (which, as I have noted before, often doubles as a red herring) he declares from the outset that I misrepresent my opponents, "defecating" on my theoretical enemies (really?), and "worshipping a codified" version of MLM because I ascribe to a theorization of Protracted Peoples War.  I'm not sure why juarezjuan is so angry with me but I'm beginning to wonder whether I've met this individual in the past and offended them personally.  I've also been accused of sponsoring "micro-cults", which is another odd insult considering that I am not leading any revolutionary movement or producing any of my own theory––I do philosophy which is an intervention on the terrain of theory, and yes sometimes it is off the mark.  Still, the general hostility is something worth wondering about, particularly since it affects the entire response.  In any case, here are some general responses.

1. On Definitions

Actually, I think juarezjuan's critique that I did not provide a good definition of regroupment politics is not without merit.  The problem with writing in the form of quick theses, which are not at all an essay format (and yes are designed primarily to be provocative), is that sometimes they have to make certain assumptions about a given phenomenon.  Take, for example, Marx's Theses on Feuerbach which do not, at any point, describe Feuerbach's philosophy about the sensuous, religion, or species-being but assume a prior understanding (something brought home to me when I taught Feuerbach and came to a better understanding of those eleven theses).  My intention, here, is not to compare my theses to those of Marx in content (let's be clear, mine are definitely impoverished in comparison), but only to make a comment about style.  [Probably it is also fair to point out that Marx never intended to publish these theses; they existed mainly to help him think through a problematic––maybe I should have done the same.]  A better example, maybe, is my aforelinked theses on identity politics that also do not fully describe the phenomenon being discussed, assuming prior knowledge, and maybe I should have learned from the one hundred dismissals that never bothered to read the back-links before doing this one.

In this context, juarez juan doesn't seem to understand what a piece written in theses means when they pull a strident definition of "thesis" out of thin air and declare: "[a] thesis is a wager on the truth, a development upon scientifically acquired knowledge that when configured appropriately illuminates a pattern of a development."  If you've ever had to write an essay, or have to teach students what it means to have a thesis, this is not a good definition.  Nor does it explain all of the small articles written in the form of theses––again, did Marx really prove that Feuerbach's philosophy implied what Marx claimed it implied in the eleven theses?  A thesis is that which needs to be proven, a condensed thought that by itself is only a hypothesis––the why of an entire essay.  Ten theses then demand ten essays.

And yet, because I made an assumption about a prior understanding of regroupment politics, juarezjuan can easily do precisely what they accuse me of doing: ascribe a meaning that can easily be dismissed, complain that it is incoherent, and remind me of a whole bunch of historical moments of supposed "regroupment" that supposedly undermine the politics they themselves argue I never define.  In their mind I am opposed to the general concept of building a left and seeking unity between various groups––something I never claimed, something that my back-links also contradict.

So what did I mean by regroupment politics that juarezjuan couldn't glean from the theses?  I was referring to a strategic line that names itself "left regroupment" or throws about the term "communist pole" that in itself is rather vague, which is the problem.  This line hinges on the assumption that a party can only be built by regrouping disparate forces of the left and pulling them towards a communist pole, left refoundationalism with communist trappings.  (By the way, I critiqued refoundationalism in my book, not going to repeat that claim here.)  At the end of the day this amounts to a retooled insurrectionism, if only because it is stuck with this strategic line because of its normativity.  The theses were driven by a long-standing annoyance I have with various online MLM/MZT groups and individuals arguing that anyone whose strategy is something like PPW is in fact part of some "right" current of Maoism, and that the "left regroupment strategy" (always vague whenever it is expressed, which is part of the problem), that seems to be facing towards an already-existing left, is the authentic left.  Since I felt this to be nothing more than rhetoric, and that the opposite was the case, the theses were driven with that thought in mind.  Thus it is rather strange that juarezjuan would accuse me of "defecating" in some "fountain of truth" when, if they do indeed support the strategic line I'm critiquing (but never explain it themselves in their response, only a bunch of things about a banal concept of regroupment they think I'm opposed to), they don't seem to think its own polemic dismissals of PPW are principled.  Indeed, they seem to think PPW, particularly applied to a first world context, is an orthodox approach when it is actually quite heterodox and, to be completely fair with the strategy I endorse, definitely needs to prove itself due to its newness.

Point being, though juarezjuan denies that this is the case near the end of their critique, this "regroupment" position is put forward as a strategic-line by certain groups and individuals.  For example, a recent critique of the PCR-RCP's position on PPW, written by Curtis Cole, claimed that the alternative strategy to PPW was precisely this but again without defining it except in vague terms.  As did a review of my book, though I never really wrote about PPW in my book, that was otherwise good but complained that my critique of refoundationalism necessarily implied a critique of the regroupment strategic-line.  Perhaps this is part of the problem: it keeps getting thrown out as a critique of the MLM position I endorse (and claiming it is the "left Maoist" strategy), and I've been left to assume what it means.  Thus, maybe it is actually the case that juarezjuan uses this term in an altogether different manner than the one I'm critiquing and is thus offended by a position they believe I'm endorsing.  The only problem, though, is that if this is true it doesn't explain why they spend nearly half of their essay calling me names.

Also, and this is somewhat tangental, juarezjuan seems to think that I'm not aware that the Bolshevik revolution was not Marxist-Leninist because Leninism was codified later by Stalin.  Not sure why they think this is an argument about anything I've said because, to be quite honest, this is similar to my own view.  The only difference is this: I think the crystallization of Marxism-Leninism is found in the Chinese Revolution, particularly with its polemic aimed at the CPSU, "Long Live Leninism!"  Similarly I think the Chinese Revolution was a Marxist-Leninist revolution and not a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolution.

2. On party orthodoxy

Juarezjuan appears to believe that I'm arguing for orthodoxy in my second thesis.  There is a reason I scare-quoted the term––here I'm referring to a charge made against the Marxist-Leninist approach and its supposed orthodoxy, the assumption that the Leninist approach is conservative.  I completely agree that no revolutionary party emerged according to a completely "orthodox" method, but that certain universal insights were applied creatively in particular instances.  Hence, when I am accused of not realizing that this "orthodox" method was not thoroughly conceptualized until 1921 this has nothing to do with what I'm arguing.  Of course we didn't receive a formalized codification until later, but this does not mean that the approach to building a party unified in theory and practice did not exist, in need of further elaboration, prior to 1921: Marx and Engels were interested in building a party in the first international, Lenin took much of his conceptualization in What is To be Done from Kautsky, as Lars Lih has indicated, and so this was a general approach.  Indeed it wasn't "orthodox" due to the various ways in which it was elaborated, and thus the existence of the scare quotes.

Moreover, I am unsure as to how this thesis amounts to "shut up", as juarezjuan claims.  I actually do think there's a lot of room for discussion on all the theses, particularly because of the vagueness around this communist pole strategic-line (again, a vagueness juarezjuan also expresses), and that for some people talking about this position as to opposed to mine the differences might not be insurmountable.  Truthfully, I think these differences are promoted by those who have claimed the approach I represent is "rightist" and conservative so, based on the vagueness of this supposedly alternate line, I have tried to imply that if it is really that different from mine then, reductio ad absurdum, x may result.

In any case, considering that I've been trying to argue that the Leninist approach is not in itself orthodox or formulaic it is bizarre that juarezjuan would make this argument.  My position has always been that there are certain revolutionary universals unlocked by the development of historical materialism and this presents us with a dialectic of continuity-rupture.  On the one hand we need to note the universal aspect, on the other hand we need to recognize the particularities in which it can only be expressed at a given moment of history.  My worry in this context is that some of those who express the regroupment approach, at least those who deride a strategic-line of beginning with a germinal party, are interested only in rupture, in over-emphasizing particularities and deriding the universal aspect as "orthodox".  (Similarly, in other contexts, I also have problems with the outright embrace of an orthodoxy that has never existed, and I have critiqued this elsewhere.  If juarezjuan has read my blog they should know this.  But apparently I'm the one who is preventing people from thinking critically.)

3. On Process and Party

Next I'm accused of making up bullshit arguments when I claim that the left regroupment strategy is a problem because, by refusing to begin with a party in germ form, it will place the process of initiating a party before the emergence of a party itself.  In this sense it may end up: a) never creating a party; b) failing to understand that the party is a process and assuming the latter is static.  What is cute about juarezjuan's accusations are that some lovely animated gifs and pictures are used to call me "stupid", and then a denial that this is what left regroupment means without, again, having ever defined left regroupment––the very error they accuse me of making.

I can also find smarmy pictures.  I just don't let them stand-in as arguments.

The point of my position regarding party/process is that the building of a communist pole as a process to lead to a party is something of a problem because it assumes that you cannot create the same pole by beginning with a party organized around theory and practice (and these things can and should change), and that once we think of the party as something we will reach once we get all the right components we might never reach it since we'll be placing the requirements of these components always beyond the horizon of the possible.  What are the qualifications for having a party emerge from the process of regroupment that is intended to build the party?  Every single member of the proletariat mobilized and a high level cadre, suddenly ready for the insurrection?  The magical emergence of a party that does not have to perform criticism/self-criticism because it has already superseded bourgeois ideology?  The requirements can be infinite because a party formation will never be perfect.

Of course there is also a process behind building a party in the first place, and maybe here I was vague.  It would be strange to assume that a party emerges from a void, even in germ form.  But deciding you're going to begin small and found a party as soon as you have a theoretical basis to do so, and then see how that party develops in struggle, is very different than focusing on a process that may be open to the future for a very long time.  I don't really see the theoretical point of the latter, aside to just say it's an open-ended process, because often it allows a certain communist project to exist at some level as a party-without-being-a-party (which is why I do not assume, as juarezjuan baselessly claims, that some invested in the regroupment strategy do not demand a certain level of ideological unity––this is what makes them different from refoundationalist approaches), but never having to develop a clear programme or coherent strategic-line.

To be honest, though, I do think there is something to be said about a regroupment critique of the kind of party orthodoxy that is incapable of seeing itself as part of a process, that does submerge itself in dogmatic formulas, and that cannot even engage in principled line struggle with other party formations and projects.  I do not, to be clear, believe that the party formation I support is the "vanguard" of the Canadian proletariat, that such a thing needs to be demonstrated in the course of its construction and that any party formation should leave itself open to joining another revolutionary formation that is better developing into a vanguard.

Perhaps we're just talking over each other's heads here and the real difference is one in terminology.  But my question would be this: if the left regroupment strategy is in agreement with what I've said about party and process, then why call a formation that uses different terminology but possesses a more programmatic approach (in terms of an outline of theory and strategy) "rightist" and "orthodox" simply because it thinks that beginning with a party formation and then developing mass work through this formation is the way to go?  If there isn't a difference, then all of the insulting claims about PPW and "party orthodoxy" shouldn't have existed in the first place.  Nor should you bother calling yourself anything other than a party, but one that still wants a more developed theory and strategy to be developed––which is fine because theory and strategy should always be in development.  And if you believe that the party itself, when it appears, will also be a process than why act as if you are not a party until some vague point x?

All of this is to say that juarezjuan's leap to again claiming that I'm for some "ideological purity", or dogmatic party orthodoxy, doesn't follow from anything I've said.  I do not believe there should never be an "outside of the party", nor that there wasn't some kind of process prior to a party, or any of these terrible derivations that result from a combination of my poor writing skills and their poor reading skills.  The irony is that the author believes my arguments "amount to a fetishization of the Party-State and the historical period where Communists were organized into a monolithic, single-party" when, in point of fact, my problem is precisely this––I even point out my worries that the regroupment approach will result in this very fetishization.  It's one thing to be told that this isn't the case, it's quite another to be told that I believe in the very thing I'm critiquing just because.

At this point, I find it somewhat annoying that I'm being told I have a "histrionic Stalinist dream" when I have critiqued the Stalinist party formation, that I am guilty of straw-personing regroupment politics because I don't define it when the author doesn't define it so as to prove how it's being straw-personed, that I'm ignorant of history when the author hasn't really provided any historical instances that I disagree with, that I'm opposed to left unity because of my critique of a vague strategic-line.  So far, and for the remainder of the article, juarezjuan doesn't provide any real counter-arguments: it's a rhetorical grab-bag of attributing positions to me, calling me names, and making up psychological motivations.

4.  On Unity and Building the Left

For the record, I don't think that everyone should just join the PCR-RCP or they're reactionaries––and though juarezjuan doesn't say this, they certainly imply that this is the case.  Nor am I upset or frustrated by other Maoist formations in Canada.  The only one I know about, to be fair, is the Revolutionary Initiative, whose website I read regularly, and I certainly do not believe those ten theses apply to them: they are not a talk shop, they produce theory and theoretical strategy, and though I do not always agree with their analyses of things, which is why I support the PCR-RCP, I am not frustrated or angered by their analysis, particularly (as I've noted before) some of it has been excellent.  So is there some other MLM formation that juarezjuan is thinking of that I'm attacking?  If there is, I've certainly never heard of it.

But juarezjuan seems to think that unless I embrace the regroupment strategy (but one they themselves refuse to define, except that it can be anything and everything) I am somehow guilty of endorsing a monolithic "Stalinism", thus demonstrating I don't understand the contributions Maoism makes to the party of the new type.  Since I believe that the Maoist party should not be a top down monolithic body, that it should always be in process, that it can be the very movement of movements that the Sparts once included the PCR-RCP of being, that multiple MLM parties should proliferate and merge through a line struggle of mass work, that party centralization can and should be held in check by multiple cites of party power… and all of the things I've argued before on this blog… then the claim is baseless.  At no point do I claim to abandon the united front or argue against the necessity of working with the left as a whole, or that all left forces accede to party centralism, or that the party should not be held in check by the masses and yes will need to be challenged by the masses through cultural revolution,  but this is precisely what I'm accused of with the same shitty logic that guides the entire critique.

Hilariously, I am accused of rigid thinking when the point of those theses was to challenge a rigidity of thought that treats the belief in theoretical unity as "orthodox", sees the development of new strategic approaches as "conservative", and is trying to ask the question about whether a party formation can exist without having to engage in a long regroupment strategy, that seems to resemble refoundationalism, and in a sense that is principled but non-sectarian.  By claiming this I'm served up adages from communist projects like the Proletarian Unity League, another failed group in the New Communist Movement: all of those unity attempts failed, just as the proliferation of ultra-sectarian groups failed––indeed, the latter often came out of the former approach as those party unity events promoted by, for example, the Guardian forums demonstrated.  The larger problem, though, is that juarezjuan's critique resembles the kind of sectarian and poorly reasoned garbage exchanged between these competing NCM sects that resulted in a widening of the political divide when they didn't have to––mainly by lobbing insults and engaging in bad faith arguments.

Unlike juarezjuan, who appears to be personally offended that anyone would not think in the same way they think, I like the fact that there are multiple tendencies––be they other maoists, left communists, anarchists, autonomists––although there are tendencies that I do see as hostile.  Clearly I would be happy if all of these activists were united under a single maoist party, but I don't think that can happen unless a revolutionary party actually goes further in making revolution rather than just talking about unifying everyone when everyone most likely does not want to be unified except in a united front manner.  And that's fine, but I also think maintaining a theoretical difference is also worthwhile, and there's no point in calling people names we reserve for reactionaries and enemies of the people even when we are making pointed critiques.

Perhaps I am a reactionary in the mind of juarezjuan, considering their bizarre hatred of my politics and the implication that I'm somehow corrupting minds with my blog.  The aforelinked post that shows a picture of an RSM poster is also telling, considering that they think the RSM is terrible for aesthetic reasons without any comment on the work the RSM does, or any investigation of the members who do that work––no they're just deluded, raving "orthodox" Leninists despite the fact that they're now the largest communist youth group in Canada (which, yes, is still small) because of their very non-traditional approach to communism.  In another post about Charles Bettelheim juarezjuan writes "[w]ould you really want to live in a society where power is vested in the RCP/PCR of Canada or the Ray O Light group, USA?"  Simply rhetoric, since the politics of the PCR-RCP are quite different from Ray O Light, the society they've argued for is not one in which power would be "vested in" them as a party––this is simply fear-mongering, as if the PCR-RCP is interested in becoming (as the author assumes in this critique of my ten theses) akin to the Stalinist party of the general staff: its idea of party formation and behaviour was in part learned from the problems of this experience during Canada's NCM, specifically the practice of the WCP and En Lutte (Also, what in the description of socialism in the PCR-RCP's programme does juarezjuan despise, what monolithic orthodoxy is lurking there, something s/he has invented and called "authoritarian" (without any examples) just because?  All in a post about Charles Bettelheim whose analysis, it needs to be said, is one that various people in PCR-RCP circles agree with––and yes, others don't, but these circles are lively and heterogeneous.)  As I have mentioned before, my reason for being interested in the PCR-RCP was precisely because of the style of work, the way in which they treated each other and people, and the effort to be humble and self-critical that was absent from every other activist group I had encountered so far.  An attitude completely lacking in juarezjuan, as every post on their blog demonstrates, and I can say simply by reading these posts that I would much prefer to live in a society that was brought about by a group like the PCR-RCP than one by someone like juarezjuan who demonstrates the attitude of what Adorno called an "authoritarian personality".

How juarezjuan's attitude will successfully regroup the left is beyond me: s/he writes like someone who was schooled by the most orthodox NCM grouplets, who still thinks according to that narrow minded approach to theory and criticism, despite thinking s/he's moved beyond ye olde Maoism to some better and less sectarian understanding of things.  Anti-sectarian in form, but sectarian in content: how else can you explain the sense of bitter outrage that someone dares to think differently from hir––that for someone to even promote a different political position is tantamount to stupidity and "basking in the fountain of truth [they] bathe in, defecate in, and drink from."  (Note: the fact that the author uses the supposed arrogance he finds in the article he is critiquing to justify this attitude is pitiable since I never called people or organizations ignorant, imagined I was in their heads, or celebrated by supposed superior understanding.  The thesis format prevented that kind of detail anyhow.) With this kind of attitude behind regroupment aimed at anyone who dares to challenge this communist pole, why would other communists want to be regrouped?  "Join my project and accept my critique after I've mocked your poor understanding of reality and demonstrated the superiority of my thought!"

5: Poor logic

Since juarezjuan claims I'm guilty of fostering poor thinking, being uncritical, and concocting straw-persons, let's sum up some of the examples of poor thinking inherent in juarezjuan's critique.  This will be a nice way to conclude, though I'm sure to discover another sectarian screed by this same author since lord knows internet marxists (which, as far as I can tell, they are––there is no mention of the groups they support or organize with, no concrete details of how the regroupment strategy is working for them) love to have the last word.  Which I am happy to let them have, as I have done in the past with other interventions: no point in stretching out an argument that will get neither side anywhere, right?  Anyhow, unto the logical problems.

a) Multiple abusive ad hominems.  From the first paragraph to the last, juarezjuan spends about a third of his critique calling me insulting names.  These aren't arguments, though they sometimes resemble arguments in form, but rhetorical ploys.

b) Argument from authority.  Such as when the author expects us to accept the authority of a particular NCM group, and its analysis, when there's no reason to accept this analysis over any other.

c) False dilemma.  Where you either accept the regroupment approach or you're a "Stalinist."  This argument, which is so essential for juarezjuan, is extended to the way they like to assume that every rejection of their political approach is conservative, rightist, and dogmatic.

d) Affirming the consequent  If you do not understand regroupment politics then you will be opposed to them.  JMP is opposed to regroupment politics, therefore he must misunderstand them.

e) Red herring(s).  The critique is riddled with historical tangents designed to make the reader think that I have an argument with x when I am really arguing against y.  The trick here is to conflate the x and the y, the red herring allowing for this leap to be made.  There is also the red herring of the strawperson claim, a way to sidestep the onus of proof by complaining that I am poorly representing what the author hirself refuses to define in a clear manner.

f) Poisoning the well.  If you disagree with juanjuarez then you are a "Stalinist".

Need I go on?  For a blog that uses the word "rectification" in its title, the author should probably rectify their sloppy thinking and rhetorical nonsense.  Because, to be perfectly honest, there were aspects of the critique that could have been expanded into a worthwhile intervention (such as the points they made about my failure to define what I was critiquing), but these aspects were bogged down in the slough of misrepresentation and poor logic.


  1. Hi JMP,

    There were a few direct questions to you in the article you didn't answer. If you could, please answer them in a post. I think it would clarify your arguments. Secondly, although you claim here that Juarez is misrepresenting your idea of refoundation, you also, as you admit, posited a highly abstract idea of refoundation which is open to misinterpretation so it is a bit odd that you would criticize Juarez's article for something which appears to be entirely your doing.


    1. My assumption is that you are the author and this is a sock-puppet. What questions did I not answer? Considering that most of them were asked in bad faith I considered them not worth my time. Also, my critique of Juarez for doing what I do is because they accused me of being abstract, acted as if they represented the politics I was critiquing, but then did not provide a counter-definition upon which to base their defense. The argument is not that they're misrepresenting my idea of regroupment (I admitted that I didn't have that) but that they're just misrepresenting my politics in general.

    2. I could be a sock puppet, but, indeed, I suppose it would be a rather ornate one. In fact, the article was written collectively, so to say I am the author is perhaps not entirely true. But, at the very least, I will tell you that in Hip-Hop people diss eachother for fun and I think there is a lot of fun to be had, generally! Indeed, the article specifies there is no one counter-definition of regroupment. In the opening paragraph, Juarez, et al. specify multiple methods of the regroupment strategy, which was a central critique of your document which seemed to lump regroupment into one general tendency. Anyway, here is direct questio I copied and pasted:

      Do we have enough information and critical insight into the contemporary world to build a Party capable of seizing power? If so, what new insights into the world situation were instrumental in developing such a party and does such a Party exist in North America?

      I would like to thank you for providing so many hits to our little website.


    3. I was clear what I meant by regroupment in the section called "definitions", and i pointed out that some people do think it is a tendency that is a specific particular strategic line. If it cannot really be defined, and thus is completely nebulous to the point that it can be whatever we want it to be, then it does end up moving closer to movementism.

      The questions you ask are red herrings, which is precisely the problem with your intervention and here's why. A party capable of seizing power develops as a party through struggle, as past parties have, developing its theory further as it engages with the masses. I implied, based on the article's weaknesses, that there is is this assumption that for something to be a "party" it must suddenly appear, fully formed, as *the* revolutionary party. In this case you've made a category mistake, conflating a party with the vanguard party, which is what (for example) the PCR-RCP seeks to be but, as I have indicated, does not claim it is.

      As for your "little website"… It is all fine and good to appeal to hip hop and claim that it's all in fun, but here's the problem: a) if it's all just "fun" then what you're doing is being a communist reenactment society; b) if it was just all in fun, then it doesn't really explain how your site exists to make unprincipled claims about the PCR-RCP (i.e. calling it "authoritarian", etc.). In any case, your jumping over here to get me to respond was what I suspected all along, but I still reply at least once to everything like this––attacking someone who has traffic to get your own. Kind of like spart style poaching, but on the internet so it doesn't really matter.

      Whatever the case, I'm beginning to suspect that you might not be from Canada since the whole style reminds me of US style sectarianism, masquerading as anti-revisionism, that the maoists up here have been trying to get over after the fall-out in the 1980s.

  2. Hey JMP, although this isn't in your immediate social context, I'm curious whether you have any opinion on the Maoist Communist Group (formerly the New Communist Party Organizing Committee) and the New Communist Party Liaison Committee that split from it. I'm looking for outside opinions on Maoist forces in the US to complement my own research, and I know that if you do have an opinion it will be a well thought out one.

    1. It's really not my place to comment about this split, especially since I'm in a different country. Since I have respect for people on both sides of the split, and would prefer to see them unified again, I would prefer not to comment on events that I only understand through hearsay and contradictory explanations. Although I do have a personal opinion on the matter, due to the distortion of space and a telephone-game way of receiving information, I'm quite certain that this opinion is too distant from the events in question to qualify as an informed assessment and so, as a matter of principle, I would much prefer to keep it to myself––I don't think it qualifies as anything more than vague opinion. Nor do I think every publicly stating this opinion, due to the vagueness behind it, will be of much help, especially since people on both sides of this divide do good work. Hence, my only opinion is that I would like to see the split end and reconciliation happen, which is what I'm sure both sides would like to see, and that's about it.

  3. Despite being biased (I rather liked the regroupment theses, sue me,) I did think there was one question in "Juarezjuan" that should have been answered: "What's wrong with a talking shop?" I imagine this was meant as rhetorical but it seems very pertinent to understanding where the polemicists are coming from.

    Steven Johnson

    1. Since I've addressed this before, and felt (as you do) that the question was rhetorical, I guess I didn't see it. There is nothing wrong with teach-ins, but when a group becomes a "talk shop" this means it only becomes a marxist/anti-capitalist club (as a lot of marxist groups have become) where they just hold meetings to talk about Marxism rather than having any practice. The aim to become a "comprehensive party", then, means to be able to have teach-ins and discussion groups, yes, but these are just a small aspect of the day to day activities.


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