We recently received a complaint.
The background to this was an article about the struggle of indigenous peoples in Peru, that used the term “dialectical materialism” in the article title. This term was used by the author to simply be an alternative term for Marxism. None of the content of the article referred to philosophy.
Unfortunately, a person using the pseudonym Rosa Lichetenstein decided this was an open door to introduce their theory that the historical failures of the left are related to philosophy. This diverted the debate away from the substantive issue of indigenous struggles in the Americas, into an obscure argument about philosophy, that is not consistent with the general tenor of the Socialist unity blog.
It s unfortunate that one of the commenters used an offensive swear word to describe Rosa, this would have been deleted as outside our comments policy had I noticed it.
The complainant believes that anyone seeking to argue against dialectical materialism will be ridiculed, and says he feels intimidated by this. However, it is my view that Rosa deliberately acted outside the spirit of this blog by posting off topic, and by rudely implying that anyone not interested in debating this obscure question of philosophy with him was declining to do so only because they are unable to do so. It is hard to imagine any circumstances where this blog would ever invite a discussion of Rosa’s Lichtenstein’s ideas – however Rosa has his own web-site and his own mechanisms of promoting his ideas.
It is unfortunate that sometimes the debate on blogs becomes rude, but it should be pointed out that Rosa is quite rude himself. Posting off topic is sometimes useful as a way of sharing breaking news, but to pursue an off topic discussion is cheeky.
To the Socialist Unity Administrators,
First of all, may I remind you of your own comments policy:
We will delete racist, homophobic, sexist, and derogatory comments about people with physical disabilities or mental distress. Comments will also be deleted that are offensive and insulting about individuals. We will also delete comments by “trolls”, i.e those people whose purpose is to impede debate and who post comments with no regard to the subject matter of debate but whose sole purpose and intention is the baiting of other people
We expect comrades to behave in a comradely and fraternal way and to treat each other with respect. We will moderate comments in a way that a Chair moderates a meeting.
Bad behaviour stifles debate. It infringes upon others right to freedom of speech.
However, from very early on in the thread http://socialistunity.com/?p=3044, Rosa Lichtenstein was subjected to abuse and ridicule from Andy Newman. Indeed, Andy Newman had set the path clear for other contributors to hurl insults. He continues in arguing in bad faith and insists in his deployment of the pejoratives including: ‘ridiculous, juvenile, obsessive, boring, etc’. He also makes plenty of belittling remarks including: ‘If anyone could be bothered to seriously debate him they would much more seriously research their position, and make much sharper arguments.’. This bullying was then carried on by other contributors opposed to Rosa eventually resulting in David Ellis referring to Rosa as a ‘lying C**t’ – http://socialistunity.com/?p=3057 comment #68.
Rosa’s contributions to the thread were appropriate given the title and content of the original thread. Her position was to argue against Dialectical Materialism, a subject to which she spends a good deal of energy refuting. Her work is of particular value to those including myself who are interested in Marxism but who reject the orthodox acceptance of the meta-physical theories of Dialectics. I was especially disappointed with the contempt Andy Newman displayed and what he considers an appropriate way to debate this issue despite of the Socialist Unity’s blog Comment Policy.
I believe it is only fair that Andy Newman posts a public apology to Rosa Lichtenstein on the Socialist Unity Blog, given that he and Derek Wall have ostensibly broken the comments policy.
Up until now I had been largely happy with the standard of content and comments on the Socialist Unity blog. But I feel alienated somewhat in the knowledge that I or anyone else who is not a dialectician, can only expect ridicule and abuse whenever their views are put across in opposition to dialectics.