[OPE-L:7141] Personalised attacks

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri May 10 2002 - 06:26:19 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <j.bendien@wolmail.nl>
Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 5:06 AM
Subject: Personalised attacks

 Actually, I would say the majority of Marx's "personalised" attacks were
 made in writings which he didn't publish for all and sundry to read. And of
 course an enormous amount of Marx's writings were unpublished in his
 lifetime. It is one thing to tell friends or associates in a private note
 or personal communication what you really think of so-and-so, it is another
 to pretend this is doing politics or a scholarly debate.

 I think the "Marxist" tradition of public villification really starts with
 Lenin (and in Russian culture at the time, swearing was an accepted
 custom). Trotsky did rather better. "Like Lessing", Bernard Shaw wrote of
 Trotsky, "when he cuts off his opponents head, he holds it up to show that
 there are no brains in it; but he spares his victim's private character...
 He leaves [his victim] without a rag of political credit; but he leaves him
 with his honour intact." (The Nation, London, 7 January 1922; quoted by
 Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. viii). This is perhaps not true of
 all Trotsky's writings, but does well describe his general orientation in
 most of his writings and speeches.


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