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Kamran, I'm out of posts today, but perhaps you would care to post my
response to yours which is below. That will be my last post for today.

thanks, Michael

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:20:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Please apologize, and soon
To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

When it comes to Marxist analysis, I'm an amateur and so is nearly
everyone here, although it would be refreshing if they would admit it.

But more incisive analysts than us have thought and written about
false consciousness (Stanley Aronowitz and many others) and sought to
explain the clear fact that it is not just the working class being
badly led or mean capitalist crackdowns a la Reagan that are to blame,
but the consciousness of the working class itself which has turned
away decisively from socialist values over the decades. Or does anyone
here want to argue that the workers are just stupid and subject to
threats and suggestions and unable to make up their own minds about
anything? The problem is that they HAVE made up their minds, and the
job of socialists is to change them. But JOB ONE has to be to convince
workers that socialism doesn't mean Cuba, Chavez, USSR, Chairman Mao,
etc. Is anyone other than David Westman actually going out into the
street and trying to sell socialist or Communist publications? I did
it for years, and this is the main argument I had to deal with every
time. Try it today, you will get the same response.

MB

On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Kamran, I'm out of posts today, but perhaps you would care to post my
response to yours which is below. That will be my last post for today.

thanks, Michael

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:20:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Please apologize, and soon
To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

When it comes to Marxist analysis, I'm an amateur and so is nearly
everyone here, although it would be refreshing if they would admit it.

But more incisive analysts than us have thought and written about
false consciousness (Stanley Aronowitz and many others) and sought to
explain the clear fact that it is not just the working class being
badly led or mean capitalist crackdowns a la Reagan that are to blame,
but the consciousness of the working class itself which has turned
away decisively from socialist values over the decades. Or does anyone
here want to argue that the workers are just stupid and subject to
threats and suggestions and unable to make up their own minds about
anything? The problem is that they HAVE made up their minds, and the
job of socialists is to change them. But JOB ONE has to be to convince
workers that socialism doesn't mean Cuba, Chavez, USSR, Chairman Mao,
etc. Is anyone other than David Westman actually going out into the
street and trying to sell socialist or Communist publications? I did
it for years, and this is the main argument I had to deal with every
time. Try it today, you will get the same response.

MB

On 8/10/11, Kamran Nayeri <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Would you perhaps consider (1) the timing of the decline in membership (does
> it not coincide with the anti-union push beginning with Reagan attack on air
> traffic controllers strike), (2) inability /lack of interest of union
> leadership to fight back (due to the rise of labor aristocracy and labor
> bureaucracy that have more in common with the employer class than with
> rank-and-file workers, in addition to the crimes of Stalinism?
>
> It is my observation (others can correct me if I am wrong) that Michael B.
> typically blames "socialist" and "anti-imperialist" currents for much of
> what is wrong with the world. This is a serious theoretical and
> methodological error that share nothing with Marx's heritage if that is what
> he aspires to follow.
>
> Kamran
>
> On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM, Michael Balter
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> Thanks to Carrol and Herb for taking my digs with humor, and to Herb
>> for responding to them in a thoughtful way. Better responses than that
>> of our moderator, who insists on silly apologies.
>>
>> The decrease in union membership can probably be traced to a number of
>> factors, and anyone here who tried to explain it would probably just
>> be guessing. My guess is that it is a combination of increasing
>> disenchantment with the possibilities of socialism beginning in the
>> 1950s with Hungary, the 1960s with Czechoslovakia, the 1970s with
>> China, and the 1980s with the fall of the Soviet Union, along with
>> capitalism's increasing ability to satisfy the major needs of an
>> increasing number of people (a big middle class despite poverty and
>> increasing wealth gaps.) Certainly the fall of Communism, which many
>> on the American left have yet to come to grips with, has made
>> socialist goals farther away than ever for both leftists and the
>> people they might organize.
>>
>> But good to know that my remarks have generated a discussion, that's
>> encouraging. I will keep on truckin.
>>
>> MB
>>
>> On 8/10/11, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > At 10:54 AM 8/10/2011, herb fox wrote:
>> >>Apparently either unable or unwilling to investigate what actually
>> >>is the political practice or position of those whom he judges, he
>> >>cavalierly invents their views.
>> >
>> > Putting words in the mouths of one's opponents is an old
>> > tried-and-true tactic. Sooner or later, some of that will inevitably
>> > stick, tho' we never know beforehand which ones.
>> >
>> >>in 1952 (when this old fart's eldest son was born) 21.6% of the
>> >>workforce was organized and popular support was at 75%.  Today about
>> >>half, around 11% is organized and popular support of unions is below
>> >>50%.  Explain that M. B.
>> >
>> > Similarly, let me put Michael Balter's inevitable one-note response
>> > in his mouth. Why should Michael have all the fun? Michael says: No
>> > doubt 10.6 percent of the workforce withdrew support from labor
>> > unions because they were disgruntled with the Soviet Union. And Cuba.
>> >
>> > Isn't it obvious?
>> >
>> > :-)
>> >
>> > Mitchel
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > http://www.MitchelCohen.com
>> >
>> >
>> > Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
>> > There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
>> > ~ Leonard Cohen
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>> --
>> ******************************************
>> Michael Balter
>> Contributing Correspondent, Science
>> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>> New York University
>>
>> Email:  [log in to unmask]
>> Web:    michaelbalter.com
>> NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
>> ******************************************
>>
>> “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there
>> is
>> no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
>>                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith
>>
>


--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
******************************************

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                 --John Kenneth Galbraith



--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
******************************************

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                 --John Kenneth Galbraith