Open Thread: “Illegitimists”

While scrambling to produce her usual trademark defense of rightwing authoritarianism in Norway and elsewhere(she prefers bothsides to the general wingnut wurlitzer hoocoodanode), Anne Appelbaum coins a new identifier that I think might actually be useful:

… In contemporary America, we also have people who are—and I am inventing this word here—illegitimists: They believe that the president of the United States is illegitimately elected, or that the country is ruled by a cabal that is in turn controlled by some other sinister force or forces. In the past, left-wing illegitimists were quite common, and in fact Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed…
__
There is also a right-wing version of this argument… More recently, right-wing illegitimism has taken the form of birtherism. The attempt to prove that Barack Obama isn’t American-born was, at base, an attempt to prove that he is illegitimate and that he therefore deserves to be removed from power—somehow. Birtherism is also linked to other forms of illegitimism, such as the belief that Obama is a Muslim, and is thus controlled by international jihadists, or the belief that he is “Kenyan” and thus motivated by anti-colonial hatred of white people in general and Americans in particular. It is not accidental that the one note of sympathy for Breivik in the U.S. media came from the lips of birtherist and illegitimist Glenn Beck, who helpfully compared the young Norwegians murdered by Breivik to “Hitler Youth.” Presumably if they are Hitler Youth, then they deserved to die?

Let this be our motto: Illegitimi non carborundum!

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87 replies
  1. 1
    The Dangerman says:

    Beck = Shock Jock; if he didn’t say it, his name isn’t in the media. He’ll be streaking down Broadway someday.

    OT, but I’m getting a BlogAd for RonPaulSwag.com; I dunno, but I don’t see to many Paulites in these virtual parts.

  2. 2
    Ol' Dirty DougJ says:

    That was a surprisingly interesting piece from someone who is usually awful. Saletan actually wrote something smart about it too.

    Is our pundits learning?

  3. 3
    jl says:

    Here is a good link the Beck nastiness


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....08753.html

    I dismissed the idea that any of our nutcases would touch the Norwegian terrorist attack with a ten foot pole, other than to condemn.

    My foolish optimism misleads me again.

    Well, glad Beck will denounce the Young Republicans and National Review cruises as being ‘distrubing’.

    I guess he will go after HS and college mock government class lessons too.

    I guess he will still be nuts, too.

  4. 4
    PIGL says:

    in fact Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed

    , dribbles Ms. Appelbaum.

    Is she a completely unlettered idiot, or does she just assume that her readership is?

  5. 5
    MD Rackham says:

    I realize the swipe at Marxism is just reflex on her part, but I think if she were to actually investigate she’d find any paranoia in Marxism well justified.

    Other parts of Marx not so much, but capital really is out to get us.

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    I’m getting a BlogAd for RonPaulSwag.com

    I’ve got one ad for Catholics and one for giant green cocks, and I don’t believe in coincidences.

  7. 7
    jrg says:

    I don’t know if I care for the term “illegitimists”. Remember, some of these tea partiers think that your Social Security card is a receipt proving that you are owned by a bank.

    Really, why create a whole new word for people to use, when an existing term would work just fine? Something like “paranoid schizophrenic”? “delusional perpetual acid flashback sufferer”? “window-licking fucktard”?

  8. 8
    jl says:

    @8 jrg: how about ‘lunatics’?

  9. 9
    Reality Check says:

    Six days left until Obambi caves…

  10. 10
    bill says:

    Obama is elected in a landslide and he’s illegitimate, while Bush is appointed by a right-wing majority of the Supreme Court in defiance of logic, precedent, history, and judicial wisdom but he’s the real potato and what’s your problem, hippie?

    These people are really, really stupid. But they vote, and that’s the problem.

  11. 11

    @PIGL:

    Marxism as a classic illegitimist doctrine.

    Is she a completely unlettered idiot, or does she just assume that her readership is?

    I wondered about that.

    Marxists tend to hold that states are illegitimate but people aren’t.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    __

    Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed

    Actually, in Marx’s view, he had mainly come across a scientific analysis of how history and societies develop given a variety factors he saw as fairly fixed.

    It’s not like Marx imagined that there were capitalist classes, or the bourgeoisie; or that he made up that there were waged-labor workers now versus artisans, which he called the industrial proletariat.

    Marx got all screedy when he wrote virtually anything.

    It wasn’t a screedy paranoid argument that history (inevitably in this view) would lead to a widening class conflict between the increasingly exploited proletariat and (skipping other classes for the moment) the capitalist industrialist class, and to thus the likelihood of a greater class consciousness among those increasingly exploited workers.

    I guess the screedy paranoid bit was when he said that the exploiting was bad, that the capitalists shouldn’t be allowed to do it (once the historical stages necessary to change it were coming about), and that the proletariat should be led* to form that class consciousness, and should themselves act to government themselves rather than continue to suffer this class exploitation.

    Of course, Marx was Marx, and not a Marxist, particularly not just any Marxist.

    But there’s not anything “paranoid” about Marx or anyone else noting the freely available empirical evidence at any time about the relations between class / ownership / wealth and labor and exploitation and such.

    In fact, arguments about these general matters go on to this day in academic debates, in historical economics, or sociology, or so on and so forth.

    A useful argument is just an argument. If you can take the ____ist off of an argument and it still does something, then it’s an argument.

    Good luck doing that with an “illegitimist” ‘argument’ about how the Constitution said 400 years ago that no Keynan Space Muslim would be allowed to Xerox his long form Burf Certifat while swearing an oath to Shangri-Law and then in his first act in office quadrupling the national debt while conspiring to help ACORN fix votes.

  13. 13

    Marxist fear and distrust of capital.

    England [and Europe mainland] in the 19th Century was really very, very nasty.

    Capitalists eventually learned that they need the working class to exist so the Fat Cats can feed off of them. Even the capitalists in 19th Century England figured out they had to pull back on child labor or they would run out of workers altogether [because of the mortality rate of laboring children]. So they aren’t as rapacious as they used to be.

    But the interests of the two classes are still opposed.

  14. 14
    megamahan says:

    She’s basically trying to coin this “illegitimist” term as a way to set up a false equivalence between Marxism with birtherism. That’s some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever read.

  15. 15
    jrg says:

    But the interests of the two classes are still opposed.

    I don’t know if that’s always true. Thanks to the clowns in the US House, my interests are far less opposed to Wall Street this week than they were a few months ago.

    The relationship between capital and labor is not always zero-sum.

  16. 16
    jwb says:

    El Cid: The Manifesto does open with a wonderfully gothic paranoid scenario. Of course, it’s the Right and the Left that are paranoid (Marx and Engels say: “both sides do it!”), and Right and Left are paranoid about the Party that shall not be named.

  17. 17
    KoolEarl says:

    I wonder what it is that Reality Check does for a living. Do tell

  18. 18
    megamahan says:

    Linda, Marxists don’t “fear and distrust capital”. They oppose the exploitation that occurs when too much capital is wielded by too few people. That seems reasonable to me, certainly not paranoid. There’s nothing conspiratorial about it.

  19. 19
  20. 20

    @jwb:

    The Manifesto.

    I have known some conservatives [before the outbreak of the teaparty nuts] who generally agreed with the desires expressed in the Manifesto.

  21. 21

    Tell me, Anne. Did you intend for this to evolve into a defense of Marxism?

    I’m rather enjoying it, of course.

  22. 22
    Jay C says:

    KoolEarl @ #18:

    Judging by RC’s trite and repetitious hackett he/she/it posts here, I think we may be looking at it….

  23. 23
    Jay C says:

    KoolEarl @ #18:

    Judging by RC’s trite and repetitious hackett he/she/it posts here, I think we may be looking at it….

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    Remember, Marx was convinced that his really was a scientific view of history. Not in a completely wooden fashion, but not too far from it. [Remembering that the Manifesto was in intellectual analytical terms a little chorus book, whereas the big work was in Kapital and all that.]

    You didn’t “distrust” the capitalist class. The capitalist class acted in its inevitable economic interests because of the nature of financial incentives and disincentives, as modulated through social forces.

    In fact, Marx’s and other soshullist and working class parties pushed for the increasing participation of workers in the franchise so as to use what tools of government might be possible to either improve the lives of the working majority or slow the worst attacks of the capitalist classes via their hired government representatives.

    The restraint of the rapaciousness of capitalist classes against the majority of national populations that we saw from, say, the 1930s through the 1970s, in the West, was not from some changed degree of trust, but by the formation of a different balance of forces in society — particularly that of a powerful centralized elected government which enforced rules to rein in what the forces of capital could do.

    Again, you don’t have to agree with any of this, or think it screedy, etc.

    But it’s an argument, and set of arguments, along with challengeable assumptions and difficult ambivalences.

    It’s not a bunch of peanuts screaming that it was a black man who locked them up in a “shell” in the first place.

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    @Ol’ Dirty DougJ:

    Is our pundits learning?

    Do you want us to quote this back to you next week when they pen columns about what the queers are doing to the soil?

  26. 26
    jl says:

    @19 megamahan

    Good point. If we are going to get serious, Marx thought that capital was good, since it increased productivity and could improve living standards. It was bad because it alienated labor from its surplus.

    In fact, this was the great puzzle for the Marxists who found themselves running Russia after the revolution. Russia was mostly an agricultural peasant society. How could it become a communist society if there was not enough capital (edit: and therefore not enough capital accumulation to produce enough to keep most people from being dirt poor, and who also had no opportunity to gain class consciousness). So they had to figure out a way to go through a capital accumulation stage, but without all the nastiness of capitalism. And that lead to several schools of thought about how to do that, and Lenin killed off persuaded others that his approach was best. I forget the details of what rationale they worked up.

    And as for Appelbaum, what the heck? Marx believed that capitalism would spontaneously lead to a series of increasingly severe crisis and a communist dictatorship would spontaneously emerge. Capitalist accumulation was necessary in order for a class consciousness to emerge, and for economic development to permit a communist dictatorship.

    Marx believed in historical determinism. Nobody had to hate anybody, the capitalists were not evil, but just doing what the system forced them to do (if you killed one another would pop up), capital was not ‘bad’, machines were not bad, financial development and sophistication was not ‘bad’, and murderous fools did not have to go out killing people to bring in the new communist dictatorship.

    So, what the heck is this nonsense Appelbaum is writing?

    I think Marx’s Marxism is half an admirable failed attempt to do an initial dynamic analysis of capitalism, part insightful sociology, and a lot of nonsense. But just because a lot (most?) of it is nonsense, doesn’t make it Ok to write nonsense about it.

    Edit: also what El Cid said above.

  27. 27
    JGabriel says:

    @PIGL:

    Is [Applebaum] a completely unlettered idiot, or does she just assume that her readership is?

    As if you don’t know the answer already: Both!

    .

  28. 28
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    In the past, left-wing illegitimists were quite common, and in fact Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed…

    There is also a right-wing version of this argument…

    Wait for it..

    Wait..

    Here it comes..

    Get ready..

    Almost there..

    Both Sides Do It!

  29. 29
    Joseph Nobles says:

    PS on the Beck sidebar: Today Beck lamented the reaction to his outrageous statement by saying that if we can’t use Hitler analogies in our discussion, we’re going to be a “society of gas chambers.”

  30. 30
    hhex65 says:

    so, essentially she’s saying both sides do it?

  31. 31

    @El Cid:

    The materialist construct of history has come to be the accepted analytical instrument of historians. Not all of them, of course, but most of them. I’m sure that a hundred years ago nobody thought that idea would become mainstream.

  32. 32

    “one note of sympathy”

    Right. And a backup chorus provided by the likes of Ross-fucking-Douhat that boils down to “…and why do you Cultural Marxists continue to provoke other erstwhile-Breiviks so?”

  33. 33

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Today Beck lamented the reaction to his outrageous statement by saying that if we can’t use Hitler analogies in our discussion, we’re going to be a “society of gas chambers.”

    [chuckle] Well, I for one am certainly glad to see that he has mended his ways.

    [He really has no idea, does he?]

  34. 34
    futzinfarb says:

    Illegitimi non carborundum!

    My Latin is a little rusty. Um: Toast is not illegitimate?

    Am I close?

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    @futzinfarb: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  36. 36
    Triassic Sands says:

    The most important part of Appelbaum’s message is quite simple — both sides do it. That’s why she writes:

    In the past, left-wing illegitimists were quite common, and in fact Marxism is a classic, paranoid version of this creed…

    There is no modern equivalent of the Birthers/Tea Baggers/Republicans. The Democratic Party, certainly in Appelbaum’s lifetime, has never denied the right of Republicans to elect a president and run an administration.

    But Appelbaum, to maintain her credibility among those she undoubtedly considers most important, has to begin by making sure that everyone knows that both sides do it.

    There’s another kind of “illegitimist” abroad these days. It’s the fake journalist who sees everything through the prism of balance. In the end, who can blame the Republican Party for refusing to accept the legitimacy of Barack Obama or the right of Democrats to be in charge of government? After all, at some vague time in the indeterminate past some nameless “Marxists” (who were never the Democratic Party) must have done the same thing to a Republican president. Both. Sides. Do. It.

    Message received, Anne. You’re a charlatan.

  37. 37
    Cain says:

    Why the fuck do you guys pay any attention to Reality Check? The guy is a troll of epic proportions, the fact that he had to put in the McDonald’s jingle shows that he’s not remotely serious..

  38. 38
    jl says:

    The illegitimate don’t sandpaper?

  39. 39
    ciotog says:

    So if, according to Glenn Beck, we’re allowed to shoot “Hitler Youth,” does that mean the Pope is fair game?

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cain:

    Why the fuck do you guys pay any attention to Reality Check? The guy is a troll of epic proportions, the fact that he had to put in the McDonald’s jingle shows that he’s not remotely serious..

    Yer asking these emo fuckers? The same ones that call for new banning every other day of someone unclean?

  41. 41
    catclub says:

    “The relationship between capital and labor is not always zero-sum.”
    I daresay it is never zero sum….profit!

  42. 42
    jl says:

    I guess Appelbaum’s argument is OK, if she feels she needs to give an example of the childish garbled Marxism of some of what was called the ‘New Left’. But how many people believe that stuff any more.

    I guess she is trying to give a helpful example of illiwhatsits (one problem with her term is it’s too hard to type) from the past of the US left. But that kind of thinking is now confined to vanishingly small groups. And it certainly didn’t have much to do with ‘Marxism’. She should have called it ‘New Leftism’ or something. I’m not even sure ‘New Left’ is the right term.

  43. 43
    futzinfarb says:

    Hey, anybody out there remember sniglets – that Rich Hall schtick? One of the ones that stuck with me was bovalexia: the uncontrollable urge to moo when you drive by a cow in a field. Now I have dingolexia: every d**n time the “A dingo ate my baby” tag comes up on balloon juice I have the uncontrollable urge to imitate Meryl Streep doing an Aussie accent. Sheesh, what I have to put up with at this site!

  44. 44
    SRW1 says:

    OMG, Anne has only now discovered right-wing illegitimists? Was she all eight years of the Clinton presidency too busy studying wine catalogs?

  45. 45

    @jl:

    I was going to launch into a lecture about the New Left, comparing it with the Old Left and going on from there. But maybe not.

    Maybe I should talk about pie instead. Pecan pie would be good and so would a nice cream pie. :-)

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @45 well, maybe you can write a few sentences. I am too young to have lived through it and don’t know much about it from real time events. Gotta link?

    I did get carried away a little in my comment. I checked the Wikipedia article, and looks like Marx did think violence would be necessary in societies that did not go through a democratic s o s h u l i s m stage (except how that matches up with his historical determinism I do not know. all the ins and outs of Marxist thought were extremely boring to me, and I did not retain the details from my econ history classes).

  47. 47
    Martin says:

    does that mean the Pope is fair game?

    You’re asking a Mormon that?

  48. 48
    jl says:

    Send Beck a list of Boy Scout merit badges, by his criteria, some of them look sketchy.

    List of Boy Scout Merit badges
    http://www.scouting.org/scouts.....adges.aspx

    Edit: what happened to ‘knots’ Wasn’t there a ‘knots’ merit badge? I thought I got one. What has happened to the Boy Scouts?

  49. 49
    Dollared says:

    Remember that Anne is mrs. Polish Ambassador to the US. She’s one of the I Miss the Cold War people.

  50. 50
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @jl:
    I remember the knot tying badge. You earned it Cub Scouts IIRC.

    Now that I think of it, I believe that you had to be able to tie a few basic knots to get from Cub to Wolf or some such,. May knot have been a badge.

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    @jl: China has played this strategy twice. Most recently it has become the most bizarre permutation of a vanguard state.

    You see, Marxist (& Engelsish!) theory does hold to the ‘stages of history view,’ where you can’t really have the next stage before the prior one fulfills to completion. Feudalism –> [Mercantilism] –> Industrial Capitalism –> Soshullism –> Communism. [Leaving much out.]

    China sees that it still has some 900 million peasants and thus a society not quiet whittled down into a capitalist vs wage worker class structure. So it can’t really yet be a soshullist *society* even though the Party leads via soshullist values.

    There is a contradiction!

    The Party must now explain why it’s population structure is what it is, how it is that it can stably grow to the place that they’re supposed to already be at, it must now acknowledge as real the power and leadership of the new super-rich corporate classes who no longer would remain far from Party decisionmaking, and if China is really developing into a more industrialized, capitalist state with workers moving from peasant small trade to urban wage work, won’t that mean class conflict between those workers, who must be exploited, and the owning capitalist class?

    You see, they said, the Chinese Communist Party is the capitalist class. As such, it can step in for the absent capitalist class on the scale as it would be needed, and would be able to steer changes in a wise, chosen patch optimized for the workers.

    This thus invites a bidirectional problem: If the Chinese Communist Party (the gov’t) is now a capitalist, then does this not imply that capitalists running entirely private enterprises in China are, therefore, government as well?

    You guessed it! The Chinese Communist Party about a decade ago declared that given the great economic changes and this that and the other things they were very happy with, the Party much too change, and so now China’s private enterprise owning capitalists are within the Chinese Communist Party.

    The Chinese Communist Party is so Communist it’s Capitalist, and it’s so Capitalist it’s Communist. And I don’t mean any of those anomaly capitalists who’s some IKEA cool guy who’s totally into Communism. They’re the actual capitalists that they are.

    PROTIP: This means, though, that as the structuring of labor in the cities produces a working population beginning to recognize its systematic exploitation, the Chinese government itself may be identified as one of the capitalist exploiting classes itself.

  52. 52
    merrinc says:

    @jl 48 Are you sure there was a knots merit badge? I thought the ability to tie various knots ( of increasing difficulty) was part of the rank advancement requirements. I only know this because my son made it to Life Scout before quitting in disgust.

    As for what happened to the Boy Scouts, they have become a rather exclusive organization thanks to the American Christianist influence and have been hemorrhaging membership for years. I should state here that I am not unbiased as I am quite involved with the organization JGL formed nearly 100 years ago for the ‘fairer’ sex and we, of course, are not at all exclusive. This is evidenced by wingnut organizations like C-Fam going off on us with distressing frequency.

    merrinc +4

  53. 53
    Martin says:

    What has happened to the Boy Scouts?

    American Labor, Citizenship in the World, Disabilities Awareness, Environmental Science, Journalism, Personal Management, Reading, Robotics, Soil and Water Conservation

    Clearly they’ve been taking over by Marxists.

    (Scouts has kinda gone to shit since they’re principally dominated by LDS)

  54. 54

    @jl:

    Okay.

    New Left became well known in the 1960s and 1970s. I’m not sure when you could say that it arose. The media loved the term, took it to mean “Marx-light” and besides, they loved anything new.

    In reality, it was a reaction against the Old Left. Bear in mind that many of the leaders of the New Left were children of the Old Left [literally, not merely philosophically]. Some of the New Left was a rebellion against Mom and Dad.

    But in the most general of terms, the Old Left thought that Capitalism could not be reformed and argued for the necessity of revolution. They didn’t all want an armed civil war but wanted to get rid of the Old Guard one way or another. The New Left favored reforms and improvements by increments. Better labor conditions, better opportunities for down-trodden populations, and on into a kind of secular brotherhood-of-man philosophy.

    As reforms came about in that time, the New Left took credit for them. “Look at this. See how we are improving the lives of the working class. And you still haven’t produced a revolution.”

    There was a kind of an inside joke at the time that God created heaven and earth in six days and on the seventh day the New Left took credit for it.

    Nowadays, what most people mean when they talk about the New Left is probably that media-created idea of “Marx light.” Maybe kind of a Social Democrat thing.

    Does that help?

    No links. I lived through it. And my study of Marx was through the study of Marx. Fairly serious stuff. There is a book, though, you might enjoy: Marx for beginners, by Rius.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reade.....eader-link

  55. 55
    jl says:

    @52: you’re one my econ history profs from grad school aren’t you? One of Marxist mavens. They went on forever…

    But thanks for that insight into the Chinese communist party’s reasoning.

    I typed out my comment way to quickly, and was a little sloppy. It is certainly not true that a nation can march through all the modes of production like an assembly line, you do have to have sufficient capital accumulation for enough of the people.

    Also too, the first sentence in my comment above should have been

    “Marx thought that capital was good, since it increased productivity and could improve living standards. Capital as it functioned in the capitalist system was bad because it alienated labor from its surplus.”

    Anyway, I see so much weird retro nonsense on the TV an in the mass media. And I am not young enough for that to be reasonable.

    I mean, Marxiam? That brings back memories of my HS gym teacher telling us to learn to do pull ups so we could fight the commies if/when they invaded. And gravely telling us that Hippies in SF were communists. Hilarious even then when Soviet Union was falling apart.

    Oh well, I will remember to remind people who are all upset about right wing terrorism that Marxists do it too, for balance.

  56. 56
    jl says:

    Knots merit badge: I may have gotten it in Cub Scouts, not sure there was a Boy Scout knots badge. I did like learning about knots though.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    @53 El Cid

    “The Chinese Communist Party about a decade ago declared that given the great economic changes and this that and the other things they were very happy with, the Party much too change, and so now China’s private enterprise owning capitalists are within the Chinese Communist Party.”

    Is that official written down Chinese Communist Party doctrine? It makes sense. and gives them a rationale for asserting control, and going after piratical unauthorized capitalists outside the party, who presumably are not doing their capital accumulation correctly.

    Also, thanks Linda for your explanation and link. You sound kind of more sympathetic to the Old Left..

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @KoolEarl:

    I wonder what it is that Reality Check does for a living

    Gubmint worker. I’d bet a fiver on it.

  59. 59
    Xenos says:

    @merrinc:

    As for what happened to the Boy Scouts, they have become a rather exclusive organization thanks to the American Christianist influence and have been hemorrhaging membership for years.

    Living overseas, I have become involved with an ex-pat British Scouts group. Co-ed, with scouts and guides combined, co-ed leadership, gay accepting for kids and adults with everybody, gay or straight, following the same child protection policies.

    It is great. None of the creepy right-wing political correctness and the creepy people that attracts. Just scouting.

  60. 60

    @jl:

    If the shoe fits . . . .

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    @ jl:

    Not only is it true; here’s a nice letter from Chinese Communist Party members who think the decision was incorrect and a deviation from the logic of the Revolution.

    Via Monthly Review, a sample:

    In his speech at the meeting celebrating the Eightieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party, Comrade Jiang Zemin openly called for admission of owners of private enterprises to membership of the Party.
    __
    The proposition that capitalists, who personify Capital, should be allowed to join the Party, has immediately caused enormous confusion in the minds of party members; it also came as a surprise to people both in China and abroad who were concerned about the fate of the Chinese Communist Party.
    __
    Commentators in the foreign bourgeois media noted that the admission of private business owners to membership of the Chinese Communist Party would change the nature of the communist party, “and transform it into a ruling party of the entire people.”
    __
    On such an important issue of principle that bears on the overall development and, in a fundamental way, the very fate of the Party and the State, Comrade Jiang Zemin hastily proclaimed to the whole party, the entire nation and the whole world a position which had not been considered and adopted by the Congress of the Party.
    __
    This is a blatant attempt to manipulate opinions of Party members and set the stage for foisting this erroneous position on the Party Congress by invoking the need to uphold Party unity. This constitutes political misconduct unprecedented in the history of our Party.
    __
    Now that these things have already come to this stage, we, a group of old Communist Party members, are duty-bound to state clearly our position and submit our views to the Central Committee in exercise of our rights under the Basic Statute of the Party.
    __
    We hereby solemnly declare that we firmly and without reservation oppose the proposition that private business owners be allowed to join the Party. We believe that Comrade Jiang Zemin’s position in this regard is entirely wrong, and this is because of the following reasons:
    __
    In the first place, it runs counter to the Marxist theory of the proletarian party.
    __
    The admission of capitalists to membership of a Communist party is unheard of in Marxist theory or practice that has emerged since the Communist Manifesto was first published.
    __
    Comrade Deng Xiaoping shared this stand as well when he stressed that “a Party member must be a person who works but not exploit others’ work,” and “We must call upon every Communist Party member to clearly draw a line between labor and exploitation.” (Deng, Vol. 1, p. 243.)
    __
    Comrade Jiang tries to obfuscate the exploitative class nature of private business owners by lumping them together with various segments of the working class, under the label of “deepening” of the understanding of the theory of labor value.
    __
    This in no way constitutes a “creative renewal” of Marxism, but rather, an outright negation of its basic principles…

    Here are some of the young whippersnappers signing their name to this letter which says un-nice stuff about the head of the Chinese Communist Party:

    Ma Bin, Former Advisor, State Council Center for Development Research Youth League membership since 1932; Party membership since 1935
    __
    Wang Dinglie, Former Deputy Commander. Air Force. People’s Liberation Army, Youth League membership since 1935; Party membership since 1936
    __
    Deng Liqun, Former Secretary of Central Committee Secretariat of the CCP Party membership since 1936

  62. 62
    JGabriel says:

    @jl:

    What has happened to the Boy Scouts?

    The Boy Scouts went to the Supreme Court in 2000 to argue for the right to discriminate against homosexuals — which they won. Rehnquist wrote the decision because of course he did.

    Subsequently, the Boy Scouts lost about half their membership as people realized that a club for boys who like to hang out with other boys didn’t want any boys who like to hang out with other boys.

    .

  63. 63
    Upper West says:

    To be generous, Applebaum probably means communism as practiced in the USSR and E. Eur. Marxism is a very useful analytical tool independently of how it was brutally implemented in practice.

  64. 64
    Xenos says:

    The scoutbase.co.uk seems to not be working too well, but here is the relevent text for public consumption:

    Gay adults in Scouting It’s OK to be an adult in Scouting and be gay! Throughout the Association there are adults inScouting who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Someare open about their sexual orientation others not,either way it is a personal choice which is totallyacceptable.A leader’s sexual orientation has no bearing ontheir suitability to fulfil a role in Scouting. Whatever role an adult chooses to take inScouting, they must always act in accordance withthe Associations Policies and Rules.

    Link here. For those who need to see it with their own eyes to believe it. But what do the English know about Scouting, anyway?

  65. 65
    miwome says:

    @El Cid

    Marx got all screedy when he wrote virtually anything

    I liked when he would start insulting French people for no reason.

    But seriously, I do agree with you. I always thought Marx’s historical analysis was brilliant; it’s just what he thought should be done about it that didn’t work so well.

  66. 66
    miwome says:

    @<a href="http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....&quot;El Cid: You’ve heard the joke about Mao and the signposts, right?

    For those who haven’t, something they say in China (or at least they said it in Beijing about seven years ago) is that Mao and his buddies were driving along in their car when they came to a fork in the road. One road was labeled “Communism”; the other, “Capitalism.”

    A comrade asked, “Which way should we go?” Mao got out of the car and switched the signs around. He got back in, and drove down the road now labeled “Communism.”

    I never said it was a funny joke.

  67. 67
    jl says:

    @62 JGabriel

    “Subsequently, the Boy Scouts lost about half their membership”

    I had no idea that happened.

    Probably not the Boy Scouts I remember, then. Which as a pretty hang loose bunch that liked to go camping. But then that was in Northern California. Stoners did OK in the troop (from my observation only, mind you), except if any of the leaders thought they were high or might have anything on them at any scout function, they got sent home. Not much hung up on rules. Don’t remember about any problems with gayness issues coming up. That was long before 2000 of course.

  68. 68
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @El Cid: The Chinese were always known for their great gymnasts.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @JGabriel: Randall vs. OC Council didn’t help either.

    My son went through Cub Scouts, and was given a pass on the oath after he decided he wasn’t comfortable with it, but there was no way he was going to get that treatment in Boy Scouts, particularly under the OC Council, so he bailed out.

    The biggest obstacle to Scouting is the LDS church. They run about 30,000 units, every LDS church sponsors a cub or boy scout troop, and all boys in the LDS church participate in scouts. LDS threatened to pull out of scouting if gays were allowed in. That day will come and if LDS does pull out, it’ll be economically and structurally devastating to scouts since so much of the upper leadership has come through those LDS units.

  70. 70
    El Cid says:

    __

    But seriously, I do agree with you. I always thought Marx’s historical analysis was brilliant; it’s just what he thought should be done about it that didn’t work so well.

    I think a lot of Marx’s study and analysis were brilliant in a variety of ways, and wrong in lots of others, particularly as to be expected from grand schemes aiming to lay out the true scientific workings of historical-social development.

    Namely, there aren’t any such scientific works which do so, and there aren’t any signs that there would or ever could be.

    As scholarship which is supposed to be on the level of scientific discovery that Newton’s or Darwin’s would be, it should be very applicable to take a crucial unit of measure from one of them — in Marx’s case, the “mode of production” — and use it to analyze some society’s characteristics, explaining them.

    Only, it turns out, in different fields and different contexts when people really really try to do so, there just really isn’t such thing as a “mode of production” with enough meaning to yield fruitful analysis. The authors try, and others respond that they aren’t using the term correctly, but even after back and forth it’s not able to answer questions still unanswered.

    But if you take “mode of production” out of operation as a truly seriously scientific measure of a set of human-social-economic relations to show how it shaped a society, and instead use it as a more hazy and generalizable notion, then the arguments of the lawlike nature of the conclusions of Kapital fall apart.

    Second, though a lot of what Marx did truly was brilliant, there were a lot of other brilliant people writing brilliant analysis of society and economics too!

    As far as “what to do”, it’s still fair to point out that very, very little of what Marx wrote about had to do with that question — and none of it in his analytically and empirically more serious works.

    Then again, people don’t study “Newtonianism,” they study physics.

    They don’t quote Newton and determine how it is that physics must be; when necessary and apt, they use the same tools and assumptions and maths to ask questions.

    Now, Newton’s a terrible example to use because he really was that much of a transformative genius and pretty much all his writings perfectly correct; however, had he not been, we’d all be interesting in the bits that were interesting and correct and not trying to duct tape the wrong bits on in order to remain more purely Newtonian.

    That said, extraordinary scholars have used arguments and concepts from Marx & Engels and others to produce works of incredible insight; they’re the ones who seem best at seeing them as scholarly predecessors of immense value, while openly pointing out what’s loose or uncaptured or contradictory about it.

    Or, in some cases, probably pointing out that I totally didn’t get what Marx was saying this or that time.

  71. 71
    Gregory says:

    illegitimists: They believe that the president of the United States is illegitimately elected

    Applebaum is, of course, here trying to draw a false equivalence between those who think Obama is a Kenyan mooooslim soc1ali$t and those who couldn’t help but notice that Bush the Lesser got into office with an assist from his ideological comrades on the Supreme Court. I call bullshit.

  72. 72

    re: the Boy Scouts of America and Mormon influence. This will probably come as no surprise, but the institution next in line after the LDS as far as sponsoring Scouting and the BSA is… (wait for it!)… The Catholic Church!

    So many insinuations, so little time…

  73. 73
    Xenos says:

    @El Cid:

    Now, Newton’s a terrible example to use because he really was that much of a transformative genius and pretty much all his writings perfectly correct;

    We keep what is worthwhile about Newton and forget the rest (the alchemy, that astrology)… because he had a foot in a medieval world that did not have the benefit of, well, Newton already. Likewise, Marx articulated some critical analytical tools for understanding history and contemporary class conflict. The folly ought to be forgotten and the stuff of value ought to be retained, regardless of the historical fact that some terribly people used Marx as a way to dress and and legitimize oppression and murder.

  74. 74
    El Cid says:

    __

    We keep what is worthwhile about Newton and forget the rest…

    Very fair, in fact I was only thinking about Principia, a work which really is like that.

    But yeah, we’d all have been better off if a lot of people hadn’t found Marx’s works to be their new secular and orthodox Bibles. But, you know, as they say, if all you have is a huge edition of Das Kapital, everything looks like a nail.

  75. 75
    Cain says:

    @JGabriel

    Subsequently, the Boy Scouts lost about half their membership as people realized that a club for boys who like to hang out with other boys didn’t want any boys who like to hang out with other boys.

    Damn straight.. (pun intended!) I used to be in scouts, and it’s a great experience, but I won’t be sending any progeny there because of their insistence to discriminate. Fuck that.

  76. 76
    slag says:

    I can’t decide which parts of this thread I enjoyed more: the Marxism analyses or the attempts at latin translation. Luckily, I don’t have to choose. More like this, please!

  77. 77
    Yutsano says:

    Hasselcrack is gone, I do Snoopy dance.

  78. 78
    stinkdaddy says:

    Found the text of the Reid bill. Hopefully someone can offer an alternative explanation, but the section on SSI and SSDI reads a whole lot like what I’d imagine Congress telling the SSA administrator to throw people off the rolls to save money would sound like.

    (iv) REPORT.—The Commissioner of Social Security shall provide annually to the Congress a report on continuing disability reviews and Supplemental Security Income redeterminations which includes—

    (I) the amount spent on continuing disability reviews and Supplemental Security Income redeterminations in the fiscal year covered by the report, and the number of reviews and redeterminations conducted, by category of review or redetermination;

    (II) the results of the continuing disability reviews and Supplemental Security Income redeterminations in terms of cessations of benefits or determinations of continuing eligibility, by program; and

    (III) the estimated savings over the short-, medium-, and long-term to the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance, supplemental security income, Medicare, and medicaid programs from continuing disability reviews and Supplemental Security Income redeterminations which result in cessations of benefits and the estimated present value of such savings.

    I have no idea what I’m supposed to hope for anymore, but I know it isn’t passage of the Reid bill.

  79. 79
    lacp says:

    “Illegitimists?” Christ, that’s something Dubyuh would have come up with: “Illegitimerizin’ is hard work!”

  80. 80
    Pillsy says:

    @stinkdaddy:

    People who receive disability insurance from Social Security already get these reviews to check if they can be thrown of the rolls for being ineligible. The Reid bill just demands that the SSA provide information about the cost effectiveness of the practice. Really, the use of the word “continuing” should have tipped you off.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    It is not accidental that the one note of sympathy for Breivik in the U.S. media

    That’s actually not true.
    The conservative editorialist at the NYTimes says immigration isn’t taken seriously by duly elected leaders in that country so of course leads to a Right wing lunatic slaughtering teenagers with whom he disagrees politically.
    Because apparently Right wing lunatics are too fragile, too much of a minority to take part in the normal democratic political process, gain a majority, and elect their own fucking leaders to limit or stop immigration, so they are naturally and inexorably driven to kill the political opposition.
    She should issue a correction. It isn’t just Beck.

  82. 82
    Beth in VA says:

    I realize this will just show how un-centered I am, but the types of illegitimists are very different here. Can you equate Bush v. Gore illegitamists with birthers? Some are upset that Bush was decided by nine politically appointed judges, in a a case questioned by lawyers who are actually respected (not dentist/lawyers); they aren’t saying George W Bush’s biography is illegitimate.

    The birthers’ arguments, (and the “‘he’s a Muslim’ illegitimists’ arguments” using Applebaum’s terminology), are solely on character, on Barack Obama’s biography. This is why people see it as racism sometimes, when his basic circumstance in life declared, for no real reason, unconstitutional. It’s as if the Presidency requires some sort of habeus corpus standard Obama can never meet.

    I see a difference here, and yes, “both sides do it” sticks in my craw.

  83. 83
    wrb says:

    Just because Chinese carborundum is inexpensive doesn’t mean that it is illegitimate, as you Marxist protectionists imply.

    If America can’t produce competitive carborundum, it only that our industry are inefficient and our works overpaid and in need of the salutary discipline of a hard spanking by the invisible hand.

  84. 84
    karen marie says:

    jrg:

    “window-licking fucktard” — my favorite!

  85. 85
    karen marie says:

    Linda Feathergill: Banana cream pie. I dream about them but for whatever reason I’ve never made one. Well, laziness. Plus, also, too, I’d have to eat the whole thing by myself and I’m not sure I’m up to it.

  86. 86
    karen marie says:

    stinkdaddy: I don’t know, this just looks like housekeeping stuff to me. Disability reviews are not new. This is just language describing the kind of reporting that should be done, a useful thing.

  87. 87
    4jkb4ia says:

    For the gardeners

    I was pleased that the next story I read was about Barbara Kingsolver’s husband’s restaurant, so the entire NYT could not be about John Cole today.

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