Subj: Re: Again on the Posting
Date: 5/8/02 7:11:25 PM Pacific Daylight Time
In a message dated 5/8/02 4:16:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> I went and read over this last posting again. And decided I really
> can't post it as it is.
> What I would like is for you to edit this yourself and resubmit it.
> There are a couple of areas where it really "crosses the line" that we
> have taken as our framework.
> first: the whole thing about speculating about the size of the RCP, and
> then basing a political summation on that speculation is "off topic."
> It is a classic case of the Panther dictum: "Those who know don't say,
> and those who say don't know." Our site is not going to be a forum for
> empty speculation on such things, and we don't want to encourage
> supporters of revolutionary organizations to (unwisely) start to answer
> such posts with real information. Please remove this from your post. If
> you want more explanation about why that is necessary, let me know and
> we can discuss it until it is more clear.
With regard to the size of the Party and so forth:
First, whether the Party has been growing or not, whether it has been increasing its influence on the masses or not, and so forth are OBVIOUSLY important things for someone to consider in attempting to judge whether or not its line is correct.
I make it clear that I have "no precise knowledge of such things". Moreover, I do not give any figures whatsoever, not even ball-park guesses. I merely say that I think that while the size of the Party may have increased a little bit over the past couple years, it is smaller than it was 20 years ago.
I can very well see why the Party would not wish to see a statement like that posted on its web site. It is a very embarrassing thing, if true (and I'm sure it is true).
But I think the appropriate thing for you to do is simply insert a little "moderator's comment", in bold caps if you like, following what I say about the Party's size, something along the lines of what you said above for example. This would also forestall anyone "who DOES know" from rashly posting a response.
Alternatively, you could simply chop out the offending paragraphs yourself, perhaps indicated in bold type: [MODERATOR DELETED SPECULATION ABOUT PARTY SIZE.]
I see no reason, however, why I should censor myself when nothing I say can correctly be construed as being a security problem for the Party, but only a political embarrassment.
> Second: The tone of this piece is extremely personalized in a way that
> goes against our guidelines. The whole ending is just "off the chart."
> If something "truly sickens" you, Scott, go see a doctor. If you have
> principled political issues to discuss, post on our site.
I am sorry if you dislike people showing their actual strong emotional reactions to the line of the Party. (But something tells me this is only the case for NEGATIVE reactions!) My reactions are part of my political statement about that line. You are of course free to censor anything that goes against your arbitrary "guidelines". I won't censor myself.
> Third: Empty bombast is not against the guidelines. So this third point
> is more like a friendly suggestion: trim your words. People are not
> reading them. Apply the mass line. If you want people to read a post
> like this, I suggest you get to your points more quickly and cut it
> down to a third this length.
One person's "empty bombast" is another person's "appropriate critique". You have your opinion, I have mine.
As far as the length goes, I have merely tried to adequately reply to all the many points raised by those who have criticized what I've said earlier. If I cut things out, my response will be less complete and less persuasive to those who read it (if anyone). I won't censor myself.
I don't expect that many people are reading my comments. Perhaps if they were very short more people would read them. But more would not be persuaded by what I say then. Probably NOBODY who reads them will be persuaded of anything significant, REGARDLESS of their length. I never really expected that anybody would be. My comments are more or less pro forma. To the extent I am given the chance to say what is wrong with the RCP line, I will do so--just on the wild, small possibility that a few people in the Party might already have an inkling of some of these points, and need some ideological support. But it's a long shot any way. My comments are for the very few really serious people who may be out there who WILL be willing to read fairly long critiques--because they already have some of the same views themselves.
You say "apply the mass line". I could point out that this is an incorrect use of the term. (The mass line is a method of LEADERSHIP of the masses; this is an ideological debate.) But if you could accept what I say about this, you would of course be much more sympathetic to what I say in general.
> Please accept this criticism in the spirit it is meant: to further a
> principled, lively, broad discussion of the programme. I feel like the
> discussion of the mass line (so far) has been mainly useful. And many
> interesting things have been raised. And I hope you get this reply to
> naxalite back to me soon.
> Let me know if you have any questions.
> Change the World!
I think the true spirit in which your criticism is meant is that the Party wants to keep at least some control of the discussion on this site, and I am basically much too negative. The rest is excuse-making for doing what you need to do for that basic reason.
So the bottom line is that I don't choose to censor myself. If you refuse to post my contribution that is up to you. I will simply post it on my own web site, along with this letter. You can censor your own sites, but not the Internet.
But I would think people would respect the Party all the more if it allows critics to say what they want, no matter how much it seems to them to "cross the line". If my comments really do "cross the line", then to that extent my views are presumably discredited among those who otherwise might be influenced by them. But if the Party WANTS my views to be discredited (because it disagrees with them), then what is the real problem here?
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