Answers to a questionnaire

JUAN FAJARDO:

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

I do consider myself a Marxist. Since my childhood in Peru at the time of the Velasco regime I have been conscious and supportive of needs for radical changes, partly due to the examples of "official" heroes who fought to overthrow colonial oppressors -- Cahuide, Tupac Amaru II, Jose de San Martin, Micaela Bastidas-- and "unofficial" ones --Mariategui, Che-- who were very much in vogue at the time (1970s). Later when in 1978 there were elections for a civilian constituent assembly the most courageous and outspoken candidates were the leftists. After coming to the USA I became involved in the Central America support movement when my parents took me to meetings in 1981. At the time the movement in Salinas was strongly influenced by the local Communist Workers Party cell, and through one of the CWPers who was a friend of my family I was introduced to the *Manifesto* in 1982 or so (I still have that copy on my bookshelf). Later, as a college undergraduate, while espousing class-oriented politics, I worked with anarchists, independent Stalinists, Democrats, Peace and Freedom Party supporters, Young Socialist Alliance members, "generic" Marxists, Maoists, and others. For a while I espoused anarchist politics, but abandoned them when I began to see anarchism's inherent contradictions and as I got more into Marxist analyses as a result of studying the Shining Path. In a way, thanks to these studies I came to Marxism "backwards" -- the PCP cited Mao, so I read Mao, who cited Lenin; so I read Lenin, who cited Marx, so I read Marx. Since then I have developed my ideas further in refuting the PCP's ideas and characterizations of society. Though I worked with the SWP for some years, and I feel that the continuity in the Marxist movement runs through the Trostkyist movement, I do not consider myself a Trotskyist, but rather feel that the revolutionary continuity and history can be knit from many strands and is matter of ideas and programs and not merely one of organizational "inheritance". My discussions in the late 1980s and early 1990s with militants from the FMLN also helped me become more defined politically.

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History"I n Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible?

Socialism is a moral stand that is to be held up against prevailing society. That however is not to say that it cannot be accomplished. The dynamics in capitalism which Marx uncovered are still fully in play and capitalism is leading us to ruin. Is socialism inevitable? No, not at all. Socialism will be a conscious creation by humanity, not something that happens to it. Capitalism cannot be sustained indefinitely, but it will not evolve into something better. The choice, I'm afraid, is quite stark: socialism or barbarism. Will this choice have to be made in our lifetimes? The choice to work for or against the new society will have to be made, but the struggle may not be resolved so quickly.

In the face of the capitalists' triumphalism we have to remember that no one ever promised that socialism was inevitable, and anyone who did so on very shaky grounds. No, what we must keep in mind is that socialism is not only necessary and desirable, but, for the first time in history, it is *possible*.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

- F. Engels, *The Origin of Private Property, the Family, and the State*;

- K. Marx & F. Engels, *Manifesto of the Communist Party*;

- James P. Cannon, *The History of American Trotskyism*;

- Hugo Blanco Galdós, *Tierra o muerte!* / *Land or Death!*;

- various books by Marta Harnecker, including *Los conceptos lementales del materialismo historico,* and *America Latina: vanguardia y crisis actual*;

And, most importantly of all:

- Eduardo Galeano, *La venas abiertas de America Latina* / *Open Veins of Latin America*;

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

I'll have to leave this one for later, I'm afraid.

5) What are your political activities?

At the moment my family and work situation does not allow time for extra outside activities, including politics. I can tell you what my political activities *have* been, however:

- 1980-82: participant in Latin American Solidarity Committee in Salinas, California, USA, which worked to end US involvement in El Salvador and to build support for the revolution led by the FDR-FMLN;

- 1982-1983: Nuclear freeze movement;

- 1984-1986: Committee in Solidarity with the Peoples of the Americas (CISPA) at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a group which dissolved in 1986.

- 1985-1986: Pro-divestment from South Africa sit-in at UC Santa Cruz for 64 days; member of Student Divestment and Anti-Apartheid Coalition at UC Santa Cruz, the group dissolved in 1986;

- 1987-1989: founding member of Students for Peace and Democracy in Central America;

- 1988-1990: volunteer with Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero Central American Refugee Committee, founded and run by Salvadoran refugees in California;

- 1988-1993: organized Young Socialist Alliance chapter at UCSC the only Marxist group on campus (I'm not counting DSA as Marxist);

- 1993-1994: participant in organizing Young Socialists chapter in San Francisco Bay Area;

As pretty much a "lurker" on this list, I'm not so sure that my responses will be that interesting to the more active participants in the ongoing discussions that are ongoing on the list. However, I will attempt to address them in turn nonetheless:


 TONY TRACY:

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

Yes, I consider myself a Marxist. In terms of how I got interested in Marxism, there is a long answer and a short answer (as with most questions). In the mid-nineteen eighties, as a fairly young worker, I was involved in a strike at the pulp & paper plant in New Brunswick (Canada) that I was working at. The best strategies and tactics for the strike were coming from self-identified socialists / Marxists, and that got me initially interested in a framework of ideas which could better inform my understanding of the world around me. Similarly, in the same time period, I was active in a community anti-poverty organization and a community/student based group which organized against the South African apartheid state. The leading members of both were supporters of the Communist Party, and as they were the only organized left in the area in which I was living (outside of the social democratic NDP), I gravitated towards the CP and attended many study groups, etc. organized by the CP and the Young Communist League at that time.

A few years later, after having numerous debates within the CP and the YCL about the nature of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (which I viewed, as I do today, as imperialist in nature), I left the "influence" of the CP and joined the International Socialists (Canada). At that time, the IS in Canada was active in producing a good amount of theoretical material, and put an emphasis on training new members and cadre on the basics of Marxism -- I remember summers of evening study groups on the volumes of Capital in the late eighties that were instrumental in formulating my understanding of the economy.

I remained a member of the IS for over 11 years, leaving very recently to work with other socialist activists in Vancouver on forming something new: The Socialism From Below Group, which has come together extremely recently. My Marxist politics remain intact.

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible?

I view socialism, and Marxism, as a method of understanding the current conditions in which we are living and a guide to action in fighting for a better world. As such, I don't feel pessimistic about the present period or subscribe to some PoMo theory about history's end. I don't believe the system is any more "triumphant" today than it was 30, 50, or 100 years ago... the opportunities to fight back are there, and many people are taking those opportunities (for example, the general strike movement in Ontario, the successful UPS strike in the US, the fightback against APEC we saw in Vancouver last November, the fight against the MAI we are seeing here in Canada today).

I am very optimistic about the prospects for a socialist project. I see a new radicalization of a new layer of youth and others who are moving towards socialist ideas and away from what I would term "socialism from above" (ie. reformism, stalinism, etc.). This new generation of radicals has not had the albatross of the stalinized CP's around their necks, and are able to gravitate to more democratic traditions of radical socialism.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

Hal Draper's "Two Souls of Socialism", which I first read in the late 1980's, comes to mind immediately. Some of the work by (and about) the Black Panthers has been very inspiring, especially in terms of an approach to community organizing. I've always enjoyed CLR James' work, and often go back to reading Rosa Luxemburg.

I would be remiss if I didn't say that Tony Cliff's "State Capitalism in Russia" was something that influenced my political evolution -- as was some of the writings of the "old" Independent Socialists / International Socialists in the US (ie. the Hal Draper tradition, which largely held a "bureaucratic collectivist" theory on the nature of Russia).

Trotsky on the United Front is something I go back to constantly.

Much of the theoretical work which came out of the Socialist Workers Party (Britain) / International Socialist Tendency during the 70's and 80's has been very inspiring as well, overall.

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

In British Columbia, the province in Canada where I reside presently, there is a social democratic (New Democratic Party) government, which often presents a challenge to activists on the ground -- when demonstrations and/or strikes are being organized against bad government policy, we often get attacked from the left on the basis that to demonstrate against the NDP in power leads to a right-wing backlash. Many activists have become very discouraged in the face of this, and some have abandoned activism for lobbying efforts.

Like in most of the western world, the employers are on an offensive here -- this manifests itself in many different ways -- wage rollback demands, attacks on social programs (education, healthcare, unemployment insurance, etc.), etc.

In Canada in general, the question of Quebec self-determination is always prominently on the table, as are questions of Native self-determination. Here in British Columbia, numerous Native bands are in the process of negotiating with the state on land-claims agreements (BC is one of the only provinces in which natives didn't cede any territory to the state under treaty). The struggle for self-determination, therefore, is often at the top of the agenda.

In general in Canada, there has been more and more awareness and fightback on the issue of global trade deals negotiated by the bosses and their governments. The APEC conference was held in Vancouver in November, and we saw massive demonstrations of thousands out to protest this deal with dictators, with a full-force police assault against the demonstrators with pepper-spray and clubs. The MAI has been gaining prominence most recently (this week, 99 activists were arrested in Montreal for demonstrating on this issue). One of the peculiar challenges of organizing on these issues in Canada is the prominence of "left nationalism", a sentiment that a strong Canadian state will be better able to provide good social programs, etc. - this often leads to flag-waving nationalism...

5) What are your political activities?

I am actively involved in a number of things at any given time. Presently, I am active in a campaign to defend immigrants and refugees against deportations and attack by the Canadian government -- this campaign is multi-faceted and is taking on a variety of things nationally (organizing forums, demonstrations & occupations, as well as physically preventing deportations by grabbing deportees away from immigration officers at the airports and whisking them away). Also, I am strongly active in anti-racist campaigns (recently, a Sikh man in this area was killed by a group of 5 nazi skinheads... we are organizing what we hope to be the largest anti-racist demonstration in North America in response -- we hope to have as many as 20 to 25 thousand people on the streets on June 28th) and a campaign against homophobic bigotry (a local schoolboard banned books that portray gay & lesbian families as normal recently, and we have organized militant and large demonstrations against the school board and the right-wing homophobic political organizations which support them).

I have been active in abortion rights (clinic defense and political work), strike support (this summer should be one of the hottest for strikes in BC in recent years -- most public servants, federally and provincially, have had their contracts expire and are taking strike votes presently), and many other campaigns. 


ERIK TOREN:

1) How did you get interested in Marxism?

I am a "red-diaper" baby where both of my parents are socialists. I was raised in the ideological frame (at least w/i my family) of Mexico's revolutionary nationalism and Marxism-Leninism. My own personal reading has been eclectic ranging from Marxist-Leninist writers (Paul Sweezy & Ernest Mandel) to non-Marxists Socialists (Michael Albert & Noam Chomsky).

Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

I am very wary of personifying my ideological bent. I consider myself primarily Socialist (NOT Social Democrat), but with an emphasis on Marxist tradition.

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes?

Humanity and the history of mankind is like the man in the desert. Thinking the desert unending and that it will always be and always has been. I wish I had with me that famous poem about the edifices in the Egyptian desert. Didn't the Roman empire think it would go forever? Didn't the Greek society think of itself as the pinnacle of human history? Didn't the Aztecs think that they were the center of the universe? History of humanity never ends or remains static, but is always constantly changing. Sure, maybe the current state of Capitalism may be around for another good decades. Maybe that's what the Duke, the Serf, or the peasant thought when they lived at the height of their societies. Socialism is still a feasible project in response to the continuing exploitative system that is Capitalism. Of course, what type of Socialism is another debate completely. I still have conversations w/ compañeros at work who always trying to figure out how we can make Capitalism w/ a human face. To me, this means that even though many may say in the press that Capitalism is triumphant, many are also still thinking if there is a better way.

What are the changes that would make it possible?

* One would be the need to create class conscious unions. * Unite the different socialist organizations that share more than they disagree (here based on the work of Solidarity)

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from? I don't have a reading list at hand, but here are some authors that came to the top of my head that have influence me (including some of their works):

 

* Karl Marx

* Ernesto "Che" Guevara

* Socialism: Today and Tomorrow by Michael Albert & Robin Hahnel

* Noam Chomsky

* Ernest Mandel

* V. I. Lenin (his later works)

* Michael Harrington

* Murray Bookchin

I'll look into my personal library and check it out.

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

The Lower Rio Grande Valley is located in South Texas. It is located in the tip of Texas along the Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf of Mexico. The region is technically from Laredo to Brownsville, but most in this area do not count Laredo in this region. Up to recent decade (mid 80's up to present), the Valley (as we call it around here), was a primarily an agricultural industry and heavy dependence on export/import business (specifically in Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville). This has changed with the increase of Maquiladora's in the Mexican side of the border. Thus, the agricultural industry is still a major industry, but has decreased as the export/import has gained in strength. Part of the change has been the increase of the service industry (tourism, hotels, restaurants, etc). One major economic wrinkle has been the fact that Texas side of the Valley has no major heavy industries. The only heavy industries were several factories from clothing manufacturer Haggar and other similar (Levis). Yet, they closed some of their factories to move across the river and set up Maquilas in Reynosa. Unemployment is still a major problem and we are leading in the state of Texas in unemployment. The area is about 95% Mexican/Mexican-American. The area has been heavily Democrat controlled since the Civil War. Up to the 1970's, the local Anglos controlled the top positions, until La Raza Unida Party (LRUP) managed to wrestle some of the power away. After the end of LRUP, many of the Chicano activists joined the ranks of the local Democrat machines. Now, many ex-LRUP members and Chicano businessmen are the power behind politics. Because of the smallness of the cities (McAllen barely has 100,000), one can talk about a Democrat Party, but in reality it is the small machines in each city that control elections. The Republican have managed to elect two Republicans to elected positions, but have never made any big strides. Partly it has to do w/ the fact that the Democrat Party is conservative enough as to take away the wind of the Republicans. Another factor is that the local Republicans are identified with being an Anglo party. The only place where they made change was in Laredo where they ended partially the Democrat machine (even older than the Chicago machine!). The Mexican border is a bastion of the PRI with some PAN exceptions (Matamoros- Mayor) or one PRD (Rio Bravo-Mayor) as is in the rest of Tamaulipas. As far as Left, there are some individuals who consider themselves socialists, but it has been fragmentary. Partly due to the representation of the organizations: SWP, PP, and CLP. SWP has tried to organize (I nearly did when I was 17, but their way of organizing turned me off quickly) in campus, but nothing much has gone beyond initial meetings. PP is represented by one member that lives in a very, very, very small town , but is already too old and not trusted (too much involved in machine politics.) And the local CLP is not that well organized and have tried to organize an alternative to the UFW which turned off many of the Chicanos locally. I tried to organize a campus chapter of Solidarity, but not many wanted to become actively involved for the long run. The organization that has been the focal point for progressives has been the UFW where you can count to have quite a diverse group of individuals in their ranks (from socialists like me to liberal-Kennedy Democrats to Catholic conservative Democrats). And that, in a nutshell, is politics in the Valley.

5) What are your political activities?

I have been a member (and par-time organizer) of the United Farm Workers here in my region. As a student, I was a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and Solidarity at the University of Texas - Pan American. I have been a member of DSA, Socialist Party, and the Labor Party. At this moment, I am still a member of Solidarity and maintaint contact w/ my carnales from MECHA.

Any more questions. %^)

¡Chicano, Socialista, y Grillero!


DENNIS REDMOND:

1) How did you get interested in Marxism?

The early 1980s Nuclear Freeze movement. Figured something must be up with socialism if plutonium-crazed monsters like the Reaganites were horrified of it.

2) how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History"

Sustained and sardonic laughter, followed by a close reading of the US net international investment position from the latest Commerce Dept. stats (minus $1.2 trillion, and still sinking like a stone!).

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

Fredric Jameson's "The Political Unconscious" and Theodor Adorno's "Minima Moralia". Lots of Frankfurt School stuff.

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Oligarchy of the global rentiers (US). Like Indonesia, only with fewer cattle prods.

5) What are your political activities?

Reading, writing, teaching, union organizing (not necessarily in that order).


JIM HEARTFIELD:

1) How did you get interested in Marxism?

With protest politics, first off through the two hunger strikes in Ireland in 1980, where I was involved in the British solidarity movement. That was the time that I started to look at Marxism.

2) how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History"

I went to see Francis Fukuyama speak at Watersones bookshop in a debate with Terry Eagleton when The End of History was published, and later interviewed him for LM magazine on the publication of Trust. He is quite personable, but when I suggested that trust for a Japanese-American was skin deep on the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima he was very irked (I think he thought I was trying to make him feel uncomfortable about his race, which I hope I wasn't).

I edited a collection subtitled The Moral Impasse: The End of Capitalist Triumphalism, which argued that the triumph was short-lived because the West was dependent on the negative example of the Soviet Union to give it a sense of coherence.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

Paul Mattick Marx and Keynes, Merlin Press as well as his Economic Crisis and Crisis Theory

Paul Mattick Jr Social Knowledge, Hutchison, 1986

Roman Rosdolsky Making of Marx's Capital, Pluto Press (two Vols)

Yevgeny Pashukanis, General Theory of Law and Marxism, Pluto Press

Geoff Pilling, Philosophy of Marx's Capital

Henryk Grossman, Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of Capitalism, Pluto

Eamon McCann War in and Irish Town, Pluto

Katie Roiphe The Morning After

Elaine Showalter Hystories, 1997

Frank Furedi Culture of Fear, Cassell, 1997

The Point is To Change It, the Living Marxism Manifesto, which I helped write for Junius Publications, 1996

Suke Wolton, Marxism, Mysticism and Modern Theory, Macmillan

James Heartfield, Need and Desire in the Post-Material Economy, forthcoming from the Sheffield Hallam University Press.

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Formally Britain is a democracy, but the ideological collapse of the Labour Party and the decline of the trade union movement has led to a government that is Labour in name but operates like the Stalinist bureaucracy of the former soviet Union - complete with Cult of the Personality, petty and sometimes vicious regulations, and an effective one-party state.

5) What are your political activities?

I am books editor at LM magazine and active in a number of campaigns. On 4 July I am taking part in a conference on Cool Britannia at the Institute of Contemporary Arts


JIM HURD:

 : : 1) How did you get interested in Marxism?

In my early teens, with the Civil rights movement and then the Viet Nam War.

: : 2) how do you respond personally and politically to the : apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History"

I look at the World. The struggle continues. Marx's ctritique of Capitalism still seems to apply.

: : 3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution : and that you think other people would learn from? :

Howard Zinn's People's History. Chomsky's American Power and the New Manadarins. The Auto Biography of Malcolm X.

: : 4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in? : US College town. Very high cost of living, very low wages. town is controlled by Liberal Democrats, county by conservative Republicans. Independent Left candidates hae gooten up to 19% of the vote in Mayor elections.

: 5) What are your political activities? :

Too little. Run a couple of listserv's one around the isue of Left Unity, the other for longer discussion documnets in the DSA.


 JASON SCHULMAN:

This won't be as articulate as it should be, please forgive me.

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

I identify with Marxian socialism. I'm a bit reluctant to call myself a Marxist -- with a capital 'M' -- in an era where Marxism, as a movement, does not exist, not even in a distorted form. But any future revolutionary socialist project can hardly afford to jettison the work of Marx or the "critical", dissident Marxists of this century (a list of them all would be needlessly long).

I hardly consider myself an "expert" Marxist (one shouldn't have to be, really). My introduction to socialism was through Noam Chomsky, and though the value of his work is great, as Justin said earlier, on matter of political theory and strategy he just doesn't have much to say. So, I went to the Marxists (and the anarchists, whom I soon discovered had no viable strategy to speak of).

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible?

Socialism does involve values and moral commitment. Regardless of whether socialism will be accomplished in our lifetimes, it must be fought for. One has to at least recognize that the only way to improve life on this planet for the vast majority is to *force concessions from the ruling class.*

Changes (in the US at least) that would push us towards our goal: militant, democratic unions with increased membership; a mass leftist media (radio, TV, newspapers); a reformed electoral system; a mass left-labor party.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

Off the top of my head:

David McLellan, ed., KARL MARX: SELECTED WRITINGS

David Forgacs, ed., THE GRAMSCI READER

Carl Boggs, THE TWO REVOLUTIONS: GRAMSCI AND THE DILEMMA OF WESTERN MARXISM

Noam Chomsky, WHAT UNCLE SAM REALLY WANTS

Hal Draper, "The Two Souls of Socialism," "Why the Working Class?"

Michael Harrington, THE TWILIGHT OF CAPITALISM

Adolph Reed Jr.'s columns for THE PROGRESSIVE magazine (hopefully collected someday)

Rosa Luxemburg, "The Mass Strike, The Party and The Trade Unions"

Stephen Eric Bronner, SOCIALISM UNBOUND

Ralph Miliband, MARXISM AND POLITICS

Ron Aronson, AFTER MARXISM

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Connecticut's Hartford County is largely "run" by Clinton-ite Democrats, and in reality run by the insurance companies (Aetna, etc.). We have a Republican governor. Our electric company, Northeast Utilities, has been powered by the notoriously unsafe Millstone nuclear reactors.

Green Party candidates for city council were endorsed by municipal unions but did not win any seats. The CT branch of the Labor Party is small but relatively well-organized. Many LP members are current or former members of the Democratic Socialists of America or the Communist Party USA.

5) What are your political activities?

A couple of years ago I was very involved with the CT branch of the International Concerned Friends & Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and met members of MOVE and former Black Panthers. I briefly worked for the left-liberal lobbying group Citizen Action. I've taken part in the LP's "28th Consitutional Amendment for the Right to a Job at a Living Wage" campaign. I've made a convinced Red of my girlfriend :-)

Though there's no branch here, I've been a member of DSA and it's Youth Section since 1995. I'm well aware of the group's flaws and strengths at this point. I may become their new Political Organizer next year (assuming they want me).

I would join the CofC if there was a branch in my area. I think Solidarity is an excellent organization, and admire its work in various rank-and-file union caucuses.


GARY McCLENNAN

: 1) How did you get interested in Marxism?

I was at Essex University from 1970-1 and got in touch with the International Marxist Group (IMG). I thought their line on Ireland was better than that of the International Socialists or the Militant Tendnecy which were also fairly active at that time.

But my real introduction to Marxism began when I bumped into a paper seller for the then Communist league in Brisbane in 1975. I was a totally disoriented migrant and in some ways the Communist League was a kind of home for me. None of the people who were members then are still active as far as I know.

We were the Mandelite tendency of the Fourth International (God helps us!) and got done over like a dog's dinner by the Percy Brothers and the then SWP. This was a 'fusion' process but was really a raid designed to leave the SWP (DSP) as the only Trotskyist organisation in Australia.

I also played an active role in a big civil liberties struggle in Brisbane from 1977-9 and that kind of established me as a mad dog militant or as the SWP put it an 'ultra-left lunatic'.

2) how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History"

This phase is past Lou in this region. The people have bitten into what the capitalist class has given them and it has turned out to be a shit sandwich. The bourgeois press is full of bad economic news and here in the local Queensland state election the proto-fascist One Nation Party of Pauline Hanson is set to hold the balance of power. If people are interested they can check up March 97 Monthly Review for my article on Hanson. There I give a brilliant and very incorrect analysis of her demise. Ah well.

Also I have to say that subjectively speaking my lectures are attracting more attention from students than they have ever done. In my old age I feel there is an audience for my analysis which is always upfront Marxist Communist and revolutionary.

That is among students. I addressed a meeting on Mayday and got heckled by a group of drunken workers. Not because of anything I said but because I looked like a leftie. Got into a hilarious punch up but that is another story.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution : and that you think other people would learn from?

I don't have my books here. But I loved Engels' Peasant War in Germany. His analysis of rural or local idiocy is still spot on. So is his account of the radical priest Thomas Munzer. The latter should be a kind of bench mark whereby we judge all leftie Christians.

I also thought the world of Marx on the Commune. This is a great book and brilliantly written. Such wonderful passionate revolutionary writing.

The old Progress publisher series Marx & Engels on Ireland, religion, anarchism and Literature have been and still are very useful for me.

Deutscher on Trotsky and Trotsky on Fascism. My Trotskyist phase is long over, but I still try and think which Trotskyist analysis would be relevant to the present conjuncture. Thus I was very struck by a remark Trotsky made on the importance of the officer caste in a situation like Spain. I thought when I read that in 75 that if only Allende had read and understood the same passage we might have been spared the horrors of Pinochet's rule.

Also back on the old Marxism list Lou Proyect made a big impression on me when he quoted Trotsky on Gapon's role in 1905 in the context of a heated debate on Farrakan's Million Man March.

I will also mention Lou's defense of Leninism on that list. This might embarrass our good moderator, but that post saved me from the slough of despond. I was trapped between the anarchists and the Australian Labor party and I have been grateful ever since for Lou's defense of the Leninist tradition.

My current reading is mainly around Roy Bhaskar's Critical Realism. His _Dialectic: The pulse of freedom_ is one of the great books of this century, for all that it is badly written. But politically speaking Bhaskar is too moderate for me. I have met him and he is a really great guy or a 'lovely man' as we Irish say but he does dabble in market socialism. Evil. Evil. Evil.

: 4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Well I mentioned some of this above. But Brisbane is not as hopeless as it seems. Yet as I have often acknowledged we are strictly a side show and the Australian revolution will be centred on Melbourne and Sydney. It would also seem that Melbourne is getting quite radical at the moment. Certainly during the height of the MUA dispute the struggle there was almost pre-revolutionary.

: 5) What are your political activities?

Actually I have just noticed that I am becoming quite active lately. My base line is my monthly column for the Neighbourhood News. That is a free anarchist publication and it is beginning to reach critical mass. It is financed by local business and reaches about 5000 people in the West End area of Brisbane. This is an inner city suburb and if there is a Left culture this is where it is.

I have also been speaking at meetings and rallies sponsored by among others the DSP. I think I am beginning to be constructed as a kind of elder statesman of the Left, either that or they are trying to recruit me. Oh horrible thought.

There are really only a tiny handful of us over-50 year olds who are still active on the left. and I do take seriously the task of handing on the tradition of what I see as radical thought. But I must confess, so help me Mary Ever Virgin, that there has always been a very Irish polemical tinge to my politics. I do have sectarian tendencies which I consciously repress but they do peek out ever so often. Some would say 'very often'.

I have mentioned my lectures above. As I said I always introduce myself as a communist and that tends to politicise things a wee bit. But I also have the advantage over the right wing lecturers in that mainly they treat students like shit while I am an old softie from the sixties.

So I think I am coming our of my pessimism. I read everywhere that we are entering a period of great financial instability but as everyone knows I cannot understand economics. However it seems to me that the capitalist class has nothing to offer us but blood sweat and tears and none of it in a good cause.


TONY HARTIN:

'spose I should add my bio

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

A student campaign against the introduction of university fees in 1988. The marxists (ISO) were far and away saying the most sensible things, making the best practical suggestions for the campaign, most consistent in their activity and reliability. And the depth of their analysis and linkage to wider issues got me.

I have been a Marxist ever since then, and always will be. Its my central interest (in the abstract and in its application to the world)

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible?

Fukuyama's pronouncements are in the same league as Gorz's just before May '68. That's not to say that there is nothing useful in what he says as with postmodernism in general, but in the broad scheme of things its a piece of idiocy. Triumphalism? .... methinks they dost protest too much. A good example was Reith, Howard and Corrigan straight after they sacked the wharfies. Their celebrations (before the class had even started to move) had more than a touch of nervous shrillness about them. Yes the ruling class is undoubtedly out in front today, but they do not know how to win the race, and I deep down they know it.

Socialism/marxism is the most advanced system of both morality and science. In fact it combines both in a way no other system can. Whether socialism comes about in our lifetime is not the point. Accepting "socialism or barbarism" makes it imperative that a movement is built that continue on past your own lifetime if necessary. I suspect that the crunch will come in my lifetime even given the tragedy of stalinism and the present historical crisis of the Left. The biggest change that is needed is for the left to get its shit together. It is so difficult because on one hand we have to maintain a consistent rev marxism on the other we have to rid ourselves of the disease of sectarianism. Unfortunately the two feed off each other

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

Callinicos "Revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx" it has depth and readability at the same time

"The Fire Last Time" SWP UK publication - description and analysis of popular upsurges in the last 60s/70s. Inspiring for someone like myself who had never heard about them (except very vaguely)

Trotsky's Russian Revolution - a bit difficult in parts but a beautiful display of Trotsky's method of analysis

Communist Manifesto, its passion and readability a pleasant surprise

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Australia - We have a culture that has its origins probably back in convict days. A strong sense of injustice, but a disbelief in ourselves to carry our struggles forward to their conclusions

5) What are your political activities?

Member of Socialist Alternative. We are trying to build a rev socialist organisation. Some rank and file work in my union


NESTOR MIGUEL GOROJOVSKY

List, at last I could gather some minutes. Here is my much delayed answer to Lou Pr's quaire (I hope detail will help forgive delay):

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic?

I would rather answer "how did I become a revolutionary (e.g. a promoter of radical restructuring of the economic, social and political relationships in my country, through mass violence if need be)".

And this because interest in Marxism, in the country where I made my political choices (a country that to a large extent has ceased to exist), in the Argentina of the 60s and 70s, was -more often than not- meaningless.

(In fact, even the Videla regime had ambassadors who were "interested in Marxism", like Americo Ghioldi, ambassador to Portugal and a member of the Partido Socialista Democratico. And there were also Marxist groups that defended the regime of Videla because "if he fell down, there would be a Fascist military rule": the local Communist Party, can you believe it? Hadn't I actually heard _and even read_ them say that, I wouldn't, either).

But well, summing up a complex answer: I became interested in revolution and in Marxism at a very precise date. I still remember this moment, which was somehow my birthdate in politics.

It was a wet, cloudy and grey mid-autumn early morning (as wet, cloudy and grey as only in Buenos Aires and Rosario mid-autumn early mornings can be). It was May 30th, 1969.

I was 17, I had just woken up, I was having my breakfast before taking the bus for school, and as usual I was reading the newspaper's headlines.

And the headlines read "Cordoba in hands of the people".

The country was in rage and fury. There had been a chain of massive upheavals against the oligarchic-imperialist military government of Ongania that had begun with the 1966 coup.

Reasons for them were mixed, but their ultimate sense was the popular anger against the regime that presided the definitive fading away of Britain and the rise of the US as the main imperialist power in the River Plate... this then we did not know.

The immediate motives were the deepening crisis of the lower middle classes (University students were mostly of this origin, and my own family belonged to this group), the anger of the factory workers with deteriorating wages and living conditions, a general repudiation of political oppression, and (for the lower layers of the country) years of anti-Peronism in power, that they adequately read as the basic immediate explanation of the 1966 coup: since Peron could not be proscribed, and Peronism was the obvious winner in the next Presidentials, the oligarchic military took power.

And this chain of upheavals had reached its maximum with the Cordobazo of May 29th, 1969.

The popular uprising of Cordoba city had begun. Students and workers were fighting together against the special troops of the Police. Mass demonstrations were sensing the new situation through an indisputable indicator: every time the Police charge, the doors of the houses were flung open, and the demonstrators would magically disappear of the street. Whoever has been at a mass demonstration confronting policemen armed with tear gas knows what I mean.

The regime could not resort to the troops of the local garrison, made up of local youth on military duty. The Army did not risk entering into a struggle that may end up dissolving the units.

I discovered that there was a potential revolution there, I had a socialist upbringing (right-wing, but socialist), I began to look at Marxism as the method to further it.

Things are much more complex, but there it is. That was my first "illumination" of the country I lived in, and after that, a long process began that ended with me embracing revolutionary Marxism and rejecting all my past political choices.

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible?

History is far from ended: it is evident if you look at the newspapers. The triumphalism of the system only reflects the failure of the first great experiment in socialism, that of revolutionary Russia. But socialism is _both_ a moral belief and a feasible project (I would even say that _because_ it is a feasible project it is a moral belief).

The so-called victory of capitalism is spelling increased misery for the largest part of humankind. It reminds me of the strengthening of the Ancien Regime in France before the French Revolution took place. I do not have a recipe, valid for every place and at every moment of "the changes that would make socialism possible". But the current tide of reaction will not last forever, because the consequences of this tide are increasingly hard for most of humankind.

Socialism is a very long-term enterprise. We are thinking of derailing all class societies (that is, thousands of years of human history) and putting humanity on its original track again -all of this without losing the evident gains of the "class societies" period. It is becoming increasingly obvious that such a task will not be a matter of a couple of years, or of decades. Capitalism (a particular kind of class society) took centuries to win over the power and replace the tributary formations (and even when it did eventually win, it won on an uneven basis, something unconceivable for socialism, a planetary project). We should be prepared for a long, maybe centuries long, struggle. If you are a revolutionary you can be prepared for that and _at the same time_ for a sudden, final battle within the next few years.

The dire experience of the next decades will show to the whole of the humankind that socialism is not more responsible for Stalinism than the faith in Christ was for the Inquisition. Not less, but not more.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

On Marxism:

By Marx: The 18 Brummaire of Louis Bonaparte, the Theses on Feuerbach, his writings on the Paris Commune, on the Civil War in the United States and on Ireland.

Of course, you have all his _classics_ (which deserve the name), but I am stressing those which I "think other people -in the list- would learn from".

On Marx: Franz Mehring's biography of Marx.

By Engels: many of his military writings, a good deal of the Anti-Dühring, and (tongue-in-cheek but with many things to learn) his attempts at philosophy of science. And, of course, his "Ludwig Feuerbach and the classical German philosophy".

There is some excellent book by Antonio Labriola on Marxism and positivism the name of which I don't remember. Maybe someone in the list can help.

By Lenin: "Development of Capitalism in Russia", particularly his reassessment of the schemes of reproduction (that provides first-rate ammo against the economic aspects of the ideology of globalization), the "What to do now?" (but not as a recipe book), and "Imperialism, last stage of capitalism".

By Trotsky: "The permanent revolution", "History of Russian revolution", "My life", his writings on the colonial question, and particularly on Latin America, during his years in Mexico. They are few, but fleshy. If only Latin American Trotskyists had paid attention to him...

Gramsci: "Il rissorgimento", "Pasato e presente", and most of his prison notebooks.

As a general "academic"introduction to Marxism, I think nothing is better than Lucien Goldmann's "Les sciences humaines et la philosophie", and that his "Marxisme et sciences humaines" is very worthy of reading. The 1962 Colloquia at Cerisy-la-Salle that he organized are still provocative of a deep approach to Marxism, stripped off of economism.

On the colonial question, Argentina, the River Plate and Latin America:

Three non-Marxist (but strongly influenced by Marxism) revolutionary writers must be cited here:

Arturo Jauretche ("Manual de zonceras argentinas", "El medio pelo en la sociedad argentina", "El Plan Prebisch: retorno al coloniaje")

Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz ("Política británica en el Río de la Plata", "Historia de los ferrocarriles argentinos")

Alberto Methol Ferre {"El Uruguay como problema")

And, as Marxists:

Mariategui's "Seven essays" are mandatory, but they must be complemented with Haya de la Torre's "Indoamérica" (Haya was not a Marxist, he was a petty bourgeois revolutionary).

Jorge Abelardo Ramos' works before he turned to bourgeois nationalism are also fundamental: "Revolucion y contrarrevolucion en Argentina", "Historia de la Nacion Latinoamericana (with a devastating criticism of Debray)", "El marxismo de Indias", "Historia del stalinismo en Argentina".

Jorge Enea Spilimbergo: "La cuestion nacional en Marx", "El socialismo en la Argentina", "Historia critica del radicalismo".

Two authors who, politically, passed from Marxism to Peronism (but defined themselves as Marxists to the end) are worth mentioning, particularly because their experience may be of help to Irish participants in the list. Both ended up linked with the Montoneros (armed struggle by small groups) during the 70s.

Juan Jose Hernandez Arregui: "Imperialismo y cultura", "La formacion de la conciencia nacional".

Rodolfo Puiggros: "Los caudillos en la Revolucion de Mayo", "Historia economica del Rio de la Plata", "Historia critica de los partidos politicos argentinos"

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in?

Argentina is today but a ghost of what it was 25 years ago.

We have traversed not one but many coups d'etat during these years. The first one, that of 1976, aimed at destroying the Argentine working class such as it had been reformulated during the burning events of 1945: strongly unionized, militant and combative, supporting a clear project of national capitalism against that of the oligarchic "rosca".

The tempest of political horror that the dictatorship unleashed -with the barely veiled support of all the "democratic" governments of the world, and even of many local intelectuals who today are very vocal blaming the military for the drama of the "desaparecidos"- was in a certain sense a measure of political economy, since it provided the necessary and inescapable environment for the ultimate goal of the dictatorship: to destroy Argentine working class as such, if need be. The objective was, in many senses, attained. But there still remained the huge public sector of the economy that the military had not allowed to be "privatized".

Later on, after the April / May 1982 battles of the South Atlantic, a second coup d'etat prepared the terrain to blame the military for all the horror, keeping the economic framework built during those years intact. This was performed on June 15, 1982, and from that coup onwards (Galtieri replaced by Bignone) the terrain was set for a colonial democracy. Democratic and national banners were rent asunder, and the whole population (in somehow the same way Nicaraguans were forced to vote against the Sandinistas to prevent further warfare supported by the US) was forced to choose between further social war waged by the upper layers (now enormously strengthened) or a "democracy" that did not touch any of the essential measures of economic policy taken by the dictatorship. This coup ended up, eventually, with the Alfonsin and Menem governments, and with the tame "leftist" opposition of the current Alianza and FREPASO.

When Menem was the obvious winner of the 1989 Presidentials, a new couple of coups d'etat took place: these were the 1989 hyperinflations. Both served to ultimately discipline the population (particularly the populace!), and to inform Menem what would be happening to him if he attempted to fulfill his electors' desires. He learnt his lesson fast, and after an abortive attempt at co-opting one of the most traditionally anti-Peronist local economic groups to power (the Bunge y Born group), he finally ceded the command of the Argentine economy to the gang of followers of the IMF and the US banking corporations that is locally headed by Cavallo and Roque Fernandez. In four or five years, all that the Argentines had built along a century was dismantled: even tap water utilities and the Post Office have run into private, foreign (mostly US) hands. The Citicorp group is, in fact, the true owner of a great deal of Argentine economy.

Under these circumstances, it is surprising enough to find out that there are areas of resistence. Though inchoate and -to resort to "classical" formulations- on the corporative level of thought (Gramsci), they express a resistence not so much to the model but to its consequences. Popular risings in small and mid-sized towns, rebels cutting roads, strikes, are the current answer to the increasingly excluding model. The labor unions, much weakened by 25 years of anti-union and deindustrializing policies, operating in an environment of unheard-of unemployment, have resorted to three main lines of action:

a) betrayal of the workers, where the union leaders become mere hirelings of the Government (and even many of these, confronted with the realities, are beginning to grunt and move); this group has been awarded, through barely legal methods, the leadership of the Confederacion General del Trabajo (CGT: up to these years single union federation of Argentina; it should be noted that this organizative unity has been achieved in the early forties, and it has endured decades of attempts at division made by the anti-Peronist governments after 1955)

b) combative struggle against the model without breaking the CGT (led by the transportation unions, this is the MTA, Movimiento de los Trabajadores Argentinos); they are reluctant to pass to political activity and for the time being they are struggling to debunk the traitors in the CGT. The Corriente Clasista y Combativa (CCC), linked with the Argentine Maoists, has some influence in administrative personnel unions in the Northwestern provinces, and works together with the MTA.

c) struggle against the model with support of European Social Democrats, attempting to generate a new workers' central, the CTA (Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos). This attempt is mainly made by two petty-bourgeois unions, very combative in their years (and one, that of the teachers, still today): that of the teachers -CTERA- and the minority union of the State employees -ATE-. They risk being co-opted by the FREPASO and the Alianza. It is my view that if this happened, and the Peronism lost the next Presidentials, they would be awarded the same sad role that the union leaders of the group (a) accepted with Menem. But there is much to be discussed on this, and much water will pass under the bridges.

5) What are your political activities?

I am a member of the Partido de la Izquierda Nacional (PIN). We are a small group very respected by the union leaders of the MTA and in good relationships with those of the CCC and the CTA. Our general policy is now to rebuild the national movement around socialist goals, with the participation of the combative unions and diverse social and political groups. The goal is large and we assume this is a long range task.

As to my personal activities: I contribute sparsely to the PIN's newsletter, Izquierda Nacional. I am also a member of the Political Action Committee of the Party, and also help developing general grassroots actions. At my job, I am an ATE member, but I am not currently active in unionism.

Well, that's all folks.

Ah, I have been named honorary Irishman..


CATHY LIVINGSTONE

Greetings.

As a perpetual lurker, I've been somewhat reluctant to answer. But there has been a lack of women responding so I thought 'what the heck'.

1) How did you get interested in Marxism? Do you consider yourself a Marxist, or do you just have a strong interest in the topic? I became a marxist through a long and complicated process - beginning with my grandfather's discussions of the beginning of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (precursor to the NDP in Canada), to exposure to living conditions of local aboriginals on 'reserves', to Canadian nationalism, to a study of Africa and finally to a study of marxism. I actually only became a student after working in 'real' jobs and feeling the alienation that Marx talked about (working in a hospital laundry was the worst). I used to know how many seconds there were in a workday, how many until lunch, etc. I've always felt uncomfortable around academic Marxists who have never understood how much we should admire people who've managed to do this their whole lives.

Until I read the early Marx, I completely resisted the marxist label, because I associated it with people who sold sectarian Marxist papers. To me, at the time, they seemed to treat the working class as dumb and easily swayed by simplistic analysis. (I apologize to those of you on the list who did or continue to do it now - I'm just being honest about my *first* reaction). Anyway, I always joke about the defining moment for my turning 'left': when I worked as a labourer for the Deparment of Highways, it somehow slipped out that I had previously belonged to the Conservative Party (I was 15 at the time, my parents were Liberal and 'Trudeaumania' [Trudeau was running for prime minister for the first time, he was young, he wore sandals and people screamed and fainted at his concerts, oops, I mean rallies] was rampant - I simply didn't think that politicians should act or be treated as pop stars). Well, the guys I worked with decided to 'change my ways'. On a rainy day, when our road work had to shut down because of a rain shower, we sat waiting in a cabbie truck. The four guys with me rolled up the windows and proceeded to light cigars. They then turned to me and said 'Are you sure you want to be a conservative'? They then laughed, rolled down the windows, put out their cigars and then seriously lectured me on class politics. It was quite astounding. So I always say that I was *brainwashed* to be a radical by a bunch of commie workers. ;-)

2) If Marxism is supposed to have as a goal the elimination of the capitalist system, how do you respond personally and politically to the apparent "triumphalism" of the system today, the so-called "End of History" in Fukuyama's terms. Is socialism something like a moral belief that is sustained against the prevailing social beliefs? Or is it a feasible project for our lifetimes? What are the changes that would make it possible? I strongly believe in Gramsci's famous phrase: "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will". My pessimism right now is to do more with how the left - especially the intellectual left - have fallen into the trap of believing in 'globalization'; that capital now rules with an iron fist and we might as well all submit. I don't, however, feel that everyone has given up. I don't know if Vancouver is more highly politicized than other areas (although I do feel it is more so than Toronto where I lived for 5 years), but the people I talk to are constantly surprising me with their innovative ideas about everything - from adult education to making connections between local community organizaitons and unions to ideas about fighting poverty. And these people that I talk to are *not* leaders or even activists of these groups. I believe there is a lot of untapped creativity, energy and anger of people who are searching for avenues to work in. Its always so refreshing to me, after reading another depressing treatise on globalization or the environment, to then go up to my local cafe and talk to people (usually quite young) who are searching among the pieces, willing to listen and argue, and finding new ways to fight.

Do I think socialism is feasible - yes I do. But it's only if people with a marxist or leftist viewpoint stop squabbling (as Louis Proyect says) over past history and start trying to find ways of working together and developing a politics of inclusion rather than exclusion. This does not mean forgoing our class politics but of educating people and leaving them the choice to agree or disagree, to join us or fight us. It's amazing how sane Marx appears to most people when you don't push a scripted line on them and actually listen to them. I think marxists have to do a lot more listening and a lot less lecturing - marxism makes a lot more sense to people if it's connected to their *everyday* concerns (and I believe it is). And this is also where feminism is important because unless marxists really understand what 'the personal is political' means - that is, capitalism is not simply about surplus value, imperialism, and other lofty matters but intrudes into and reshapes our daily life - we won't make those connections.

3) What are some of the books that have influenced your political evolution and that you think other people would learn from?

The real list would be tremendously long but the shortest version is:

All of Marx's works - even the Grundrisse

Gramsci - The Prison Notebooks and his earlier writings

Everything by Edward Thompson; but, in particular his "The Long Revolution" which, I believe, carried another image that has kept me from assuming the fetal position: he said, in effect, to imagine capitalism as a strong and powerful dike. If no-one ever did anything the dike would remain strong (and likely be built up even stronger). What each of us has to think of ourselves as a sort-of reverse 'Peter and the dike' - we have to keep trying to poke holes in that dike (collectively or individually). The more holes the weaker the dike. My goal is to make my own little holes. Thompson, I believe is also a model for popular writing (although I know we all can't write in the English tradition) - he's clear, he's funny, he shares his emotions, and he *makes sense*. Most left feminists I know find him particularly appealing and I've read passages to my 'uneducated' (ha!) worker friends who end up wanting to read the whole thing. (Especially his collection, *Writing by Candlelight*).

Harold Cardinal (an old book on Canadian aboriginals); Frantz Fanon; Walter Rodney; Paolo Friere; Edward Said; Sheila Rowbotham; Eric Wolf; (and, speak of the devil), Stephen Jay Gould.

more personal influences: Michael Lebowitz (a marxian economist who pulled us through, kicking and screaming, the Grundrisse and Capital); and Ellen Meiksins Wood and Neal Wood (who elevated my historical and marxist understanding and pulled me, kicking and screaming, through my time in Toronto).

4) What are the political conditions in the region of the world you live in? Pretty much as Tony Tracy described British Columbia and Canada. Just one thing to add, B.C. is very 'populist' (which has also had a great influence on my own thought - good or bad, there it is) although the social democratic party here as elsewhere is becoming more right-wing than many (except most marxists) thought possible.

5) What are your political activities? I've been fairly sick the last 10 years but I usually attend rallies whenever I can. Otherwise, I talk to people, connect them with activist organizations, tell them about rallies and otherwise do as much muck-raking as I can. (I'm working full-time as a researcher for unions and also trying to write a thesis).

By the way, the discussions on this list are quite enjoyable. I actually end up reading all of them, which I rarely do on the other lists I'm on.