Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 14, 2019

Why you should donate to the CounterPunch fund-drive

Filed under: Counterpunch — louisproyect @ 6:46 pm

I began writing for CounterPunch (CP)  in August, 2012. My first article was a defense of Pussy Riot against some of their “anti-imperialist” detractors on CP who felt the need to defend the “silent majority” in Russia from such anarchist ne’er-do-wells. It is important to understand that I was invited to write such an article by Jeffrey St. Clair who has always defended ideological diversity in CP despite attempts to depict it as having an agenda. If you really want to understand why there was always a ratio of 10 articles in favor of Assad for every one of mine, it is simply a function of so few people opposed to Assad having the discipline and presence of mind to write something. For all the years I have been writing for CP, the integrity of the editorial team of Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank is beyond reproach. Their only agenda is to put out a lively and popular leftist print and online magazine that will live up to the reputation of the late Alexander Cockburn who was its guiding light for many years. If anything, Jeffrey and Joshua have not only kept up to those high standards but have been responsible for making the CP better than ever.

Since CP articles are not divided into categories and since there are so many of them, it might be difficult to identify the themes or concerns that make it special. Hopefully, after I identify the ones I deem most important, you will understand the need for opening up your wallet or pocketbook for the current fund-drive.

ECOLOGICAL CRISIS/SPECIES EXTINCTION

Since Alexander Cockburn and the current editors have all written about ecology for various magazines before launching CP, it is not a big surprise that this is one of its major focuses. Last month, as I was reading Christopher Ketcham’s “This Land” for a CP review, I began to cross-reference the activists he was profiling with the CP archives. To my amazement, most were regular contributors to CP just like Ketcham. One of them was George Wuerthner, who has written 213 articles for CP over the years and over 36 books on various aspects of ecology and species preservation. A recent article on “How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Rewilding of America” is must-reading since it challenges the growth-oriented perspective of most Green New Deal advocates. Having people like Wuerthner contributing to CP should not be underestimated. With Extinction Rebellion activists putting their bodies on the line to protest incursions into rainforests and publicly-owned lands in America’s western states, getting the word out on key battles between Trump’s lackeys and those on the front lines is essential.

CLASS INDEPENDENCE IN THE ELECTORAL ARENA

CounterPunch has become a firewall against the viral spread of “socialist” support for the Democratic Party. While respecting ideological diversity (CP probably has as many pro-Bernie articles as anti), the magazine has become a pole of attraction for people who view the Democratic Party as the graveyard of protest movements. Jacobin, the main purveyor of socialists orienting to the DP, has a rating of 25,661 on Alexa globally. By contrast, CP is rated at 50,354. Given all the glowing praise Jacobin has received in the bourgeois press, its numbers are not that surprising. Just imagine if Jeffrey St. Clair was getting fawning interviews in the NY Times, the Washington Post, and The New Yorker. CP would probably have a rating twice as high. Of course, they don’t write puff pieces about CP because they rightly understand that its editors and readers mean business.

A PLATFORM FOR INDEPENDENT MARXIST ANALYSIS.

I am not the only independent Marxist writer who has made CP his or her home. Without much fanfare, CP has become a much more important and reliable source of Marxist analysis than any other publication on the left. While Jacobin does have good material, it is often written from an academic perspective and not entirely relevant to an activist readership. Just off the top of my head, I think of regular contributors like Pete Dolack, Michael Yates, Victor Grossman, Patrick Bond and Michael Balter as exemplars of the non-dogmatic and highly informed Marxism that needs to be given a platform. With the dissolution of the ISO, an important voice of classical Marxism has disappeared. As long as CP keeps going, you can be sure that it will continue to publish articles that are not only faithful to the Marxist method but written with the type of panache we are accustomed to seeing in CP.

TAKE OUT YOUR POCKETBOOKS AND WALLETS NOW

I am sure that anybody reading this can afford to donate $50 to the fund-drive. That comes to a dollar a week, less than you spend on chewing gum or coffee. Go here (https://store.counterpunch.org/) and chip in right now. It will make you feel great afterwards.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a review of Richard Seymour’s “The Twittering Machine”, a book that takes a dystopian look at social media. While I believe that Richard was on-target, I still believe that its possibilities for radical change are enormous. The willingness of people to work collectively and for free on Wikipedia should indicate that not everybody is in it for a fast buck.

Without any advertising, CP relies heavily on reader contributions. Most of us have gotten use to the idea that nothing is really free on the Net even though you are not paying for a subscription. Just spend 2 minutes on Salon or Alternet and you will see an ad that covers every inch of your screen. You can understand why such magazines rely on ads since their analysis is not much different than what you get on MSNBC. CP, on the other hand, can avoid such commercialism because it relies on a reader base that hates capitalism. I will leave it like this. To show how much you hate capitalism, there’s no better way of expressing it than donating to the CounterPunch fund drive. DO IT NOW.

5 Comments »

  1. Talked me into it. A digital sub, which costs CP nothing, is $25, and an additional $25 makes $50. A paper sub requires CP to print and mail, Case closed.,

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — October 15, 2019 @ 12:38 am

  2. Okay, Louis. I’ve donated to CP before and just sent them USD $50 again, despite St. Clair unfriending me on FB for my criticism of all the pro-Assad bullshit appearing on CP.

    Comment by Richard Menec — October 15, 2019 @ 1:16 am

  3. Richard, I deeply appreciate this gesture.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 15, 2019 @ 11:53 am

  4. Lol Jacobin is a wing of the democratic party, nothing more or less.

    Counterpunch is an eclectic counterculture rag like what came out of the sixties, as muddled as it is ineffectual. Just a place for writers who can’t get published to write poorly edited crap that belongs on wordpress blogs.

    Left and right are meaningless terms. They come from bourgeois parliament in France.

    Class is all that matters. Jacobin is bourgeois. Counterpunch represents middle class radical nobodies like Louis.

    Marx and Engels were published in the biggest newspapers in New York. But our graying boomer hippie burnouts are relegated to tiny blogs that they write into from their overpriced New York and California suites.

    No wonder trump wins all the working class districts and can muster mass rallies throughout America at the drop of a dime. Meanwhile you could fit all the “leninists” in America into Penn Station with plenty of room to sell pretzels.

    In short: who gives a fuck? Only the same comfortable college professors and middle class professionals who donate to PBS. It’s an echo chamber.

    Comment by Brian Kelly Brian — October 16, 2019 @ 6:01 am

  5. “Marx and Engels were published in the biggest newspapers in New York. But our graying boomer hippie burnouts are relegated to tiny blogs that they write into from their overpriced New York and California suites.”

    I am not sure you got my point. Jacobin gets profiled positively in the NY Times, et al. On the other hand, Karl Marx wrote articles for the NY Herald on various topics. He was a working journalist while Bhaskar Sunkara is the bourgeois media’s “golden boy”.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 16, 2019 @ 12:01 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: