A Democratic Multitude

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Dan Clore

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Nov 24, 2002, 2:54:57 AM11/24/02
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In These Times

November 22, 2002

A Democratic Multitude

By David Graeber

Any way you measure it, November’s European Social Forum was
a spectacular success. After the nightmare of the G-8
meetings in Genoa a year and a half before, the prospect of
any large-scale convergence of globalization activists in
Italy was a matter of widespread trepidation. Almost as soon
as organizers named Florence as the location, Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi announced that "police intelligence" had
discovered that activists were planning to wreak widespread
destruction in the ancient city. The announcement was backed
up by an endless campaign of scaremongering on Italian TV
and in print media, much of which is owned by Berlusconi.

The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
audience with government ministers, where they presented a
simple proposal: We are not intending violence or
destruction, they said, but we are also determined to hold
the forum in Florence, with permission or not. If police
tried to shut it down by force, some activists would
certainly defend themselves; it was really up to the
government whether they wanted there to be violence. So the
government gave in. For the moment.

One might say that the idea of a Social Forum is to create a
new conception of the public, not as voters or passive
spectators, but as the kind of public that might exist in a
truly free society. A "democratic multitude" is the
currently popular phrase in Italy (it originally goes back
to Spinoza). Instead of old-fashioned talk of "the masses,"
with its implications of faceless uniformity--a sea of gray
faces rallying behind some great leader or glued to some
giant screen--"the multitude" is inherently heterogeneous,
an endless colorful array self-organized groups converging
for some purposes and going their separate ways for others.

The Social Forum was a place for such a multitude to
converge: In this case, to imagine what Europe might look
like if the principles underlying these groups were
generalized. It would be, among other things, a Europe of
open borders, networks of cooperative enterprises connected
by complex systems of barter or social exchange, in which a
massive diminution of certain forms of ecologically
destructive consumerism would be compensated by guaranteed
incomes, drastically reduced hours of work and frenetically
intensified cultural production.

--------------

And the forum itself? Imagine if you will something halfway
between a carnival and the largest academic conference in
world history, with 60,000 delegates--but the average age
was in the mid-twenties, and at least half the delegates
sported dreadlocks, piercings or kaffiyehs. Ancient
arsenals--all part of the Renaissance fortress in which the
conference was held—were packed with audiences of up to
6,000, listening to discussions of the Argentine barter
economy, strategies for civil disobedience, or the relation
of sexuality and revolution. The whole event culminated on
November 9 with one of the largest peace marches Europe has
ever seen, an enormous festival of music and costumes that
even the police estimated at 500,000; organizers claimed
more than a million.

Without the support of the city government, Berlusconi and
his allies were unable to manufacture another Genoa, and all
the scare tactics came to nothing. There are dangers here,
however. The main Italian organizers of the event were
political parties like the Greens and Rifondazione
Comunista, along with the Disobédienti (formerly Ya Basta!),
which have been criticized for their reliance on top-down
organizational structures. They and reformist groups like
the French ATTAC dominated the speeches and seminars; the
anarchists and most other actual practitioners of
self-organization found themselves exiled to the margins
(the Italian Independent Media Center along with most
anarchists ended up operating out of a space called the Hub
half a mile away from the fortress).

Media campaigns endlessly represented them as the "violent
fringe," although these were almost the only groups in
attendance that rejected any idea of imposing their views by
force. But that propaganda made it much easier for some on
center stage--like Alex Callinicos of the British Socialist
Workers Party--to lecture the crowds about how foolish and
destructive it was to imagine there was ever something
fundamentally new about the current movement (some nonsense
about new organizational forms coming out of the Zapatistas,
or whatever), insisting instead that the core of the
movement has always been established labor unions and
political parties. Those who would like to reduce us to
faceless masses are never far away.

As if to highlight such dangers, almost as soon as the event
was over, the government struck back, hauling off some 20
activists in raids all over Italy, accusing them of
conspiring to disrupt the government during previous
protests in Naples and Genoa. Organizers of events like the
Social Forum must stand behind such people--and ultimately,
that means not only demanding their release, but letting
them into backrooms where agendas appear to be made or,
better, democratizing the process altogether. No movement
can survive if it allows itself to be cut off from the
sources of its own creativity.

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

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Oliver Kamm

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Nov 24, 2002, 2:18:27 PM11/24/02
to
Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:<3DE085D1...@columbia-center.org>...

>
> A Democratic Multitude
>
> By David Graeber
>
> Any way you measure it, November's European Social Forum was
> a spectacular success. After the nightmare of the G-8
> meetings in Genoa a year and a half before, the prospect of
> any large-scale convergence of globalization activists in
> Italy was a matter of widespread trepidation. Almost as soon
> as organizers named Florence as the location, Prime Minister
> Silvio Berlusconi announced that "police intelligence" had
> discovered that activists were planning to wreak widespread
> destruction in the ancient city. The announcement was backed
> up by an endless campaign of scaremongering on Italian TV
> and in print media, much of which is owned by Berlusconi.
>
> The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
> citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
> audience with government ministers, where they presented a
> simple proposal:

[snip]

Note that these groupuscules demanded an audience with government
ministers having been elected by no one and being accountable to no
one. They are, in short, much less representative than the government
leaders they riot against, and are not remotely accurately described
as 'a democratic multitude'.

G*rd*n

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Nov 24, 2002, 6:19:13 PM11/24/02
to
David Graeber:
| > A Democratic Multitude

| >
| > Any way you measure it, November's European Social Forum was
| > a spectacular success. After the nightmare of the G-8
| > meetings in Genoa a year and a half before, the prospect of
| > any large-scale convergence of globalization activists in
| > Italy was a matter of widespread trepidation. Almost as soon
| > as organizers named Florence as the location, Prime Minister
| > Silvio Berlusconi announced that "police intelligence" had
| > discovered that activists were planning to wreak widespread
| > destruction in the ancient city. The announcement was backed
| > up by an endless campaign of scaremongering on Italian TV
| > and in print media, much of which is owned by Berlusconi.
| >
| > The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
| > citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
| > audience with government ministers, where they presented a
| > simple proposal: ...

olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm):


| Note that these groupuscules demanded an audience with government
| ministers having been elected by no one and being accountable to no
| one. They are, in short, much less representative than the government
| leaders they riot against, and are not remotely accurately described
| as 'a democratic multitude'.

According to the story, however, the groups were demanding
only ordinary rights of assembly and association, which had
been threatened by the said government ministers. Who they
were accountable to or represented was irrelevant.

It seems odd, though, that Berlusconi and company did not
simply provide as much violence as necessary through the
time-honored fashion of _agents_provocateurs_. It would be
interesting to know how they were warded off.

--

(<><>) /*/
}"{ G*rd*n }"{ g...@panix.com }"{
{ http://www.etaoin.com | latest new material 11/14/02 <-adv't

Guilherme C Roschke

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Nov 24, 2002, 7:09:07 PM11/24/02
to
> > The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
> > citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
> > audience with government ministers, where they presented a
> > simple proposal:
>
> [snip]
>
> Note that these groupuscules demanded an audience with government
> ministers having been elected by no one and being accountable to no
> one. They are, in short, much less representative than the government
> leaders they riot against, and are not remotely accurately described
> as 'a democratic multitude'.
>
you don't like it when people ask to speak with govt? maybe it
would have all been part of the system if they were donors.

-gr

Josh Dougherty

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Nov 25, 2002, 12:05:45 AM11/25/02
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"Guilherme C Roschke" <gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote in message
news:Pine.GSO.4.44.021124...@unagi.cis.upenn.edu...

Are you questioning the sanctity of one dollar = one vote democracy?!? How
elitist of you.

Josh


Giorgio Torrieri

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Nov 25, 2002, 1:17:28 PM11/25/02
to
olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote in message news:<40cd7d30.02112...@posting.google.com>...

> > Any way you measure it, November's European Social Forum was
> > a spectacular success. After the nightmare of the G-8
> > meetings in Genoa a year and a half before, the prospect of
> > any large-scale convergence of globalization activists in
> > Italy was a matter of widespread trepidation. Almost as soon
> > as organizers named Florence as the location, Prime Minister
> > Silvio Berlusconi announced that "police intelligence" had
> > discovered that activists were planning to wreak widespread
> > destruction in the ancient city. The announcement was backed
> > up by an endless campaign of scaremongering on Italian TV
> > and in print media, much of which is owned by Berlusconi.
> >
> > The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
> > citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
> > audience with government ministers, where they presented a
> > simple proposal:

> Note that these groupuscules demanded an audience with government


> ministers having been elected by no one and being accountable to no
> one. They are, in short, much less representative than the government
> leaders they riot against, and are not remotely accurately described
> as 'a democratic multitude'.

As an Italian citizen, I do not find a Governament headed by the guy who
owns 60% of the Italian Media, and which committed grevious human
rights abuses against protesters (Genoa, 2001) rapresentative at all.

People who get off their butts and put their their time and their
personal safety at risk for a better world are far more rapresentative.

Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders and the Antiwar protesters
were a democratic multitude PRECISELY because they took to the street.

GT

M J Carley

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Nov 26, 2002, 3:59:34 AM11/26/02
to
In the referenced article, g...@panix.com (G*rd*n) writes:

>It seems odd, though, that Berlusconi and company did not simply
>provide as much violence as necessary through the time-honored
>fashion of _agents_provocateurs_. It would be interesting to know
>how they were warded off.

The rumour in Florence was that the local police (employed by the
city) had said that they would be on the side of the ESFers if the
Carabinieri attacked.

Of course, the Economist claims it was because hundreds of outside
agitators were prevented from entering Italy in the first place.
--
`Al vero filosofo ogni terreno e' patria.'
BHaLC #6
No MS attachments: http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
Home page: http://staff.bath.ac.uk/ensmjc/

Oliver Kamm

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Nov 26, 2002, 6:21:24 AM11/26/02
to

"Giorgio Torrieri" <luno...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:9ce9c325.02112...@posting.google.com...

> olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote in message
news:<40cd7d30.02112...@posting.google.com>...
>
> As an Italian citizen, I do not find a Governament headed by the guy who
> owns 60% of the Italian Media, and which committed grevious human
> rights abuses against protesters (Genoa, 2001) rapresentative at all.

Indeed, who on earth supports the man apart from, erm, the electorate?

>
> People who get off their butts and put their their time and their
> personal safety at risk for a better world are far more rapresentative.
>
> Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders and the Antiwar protesters
> were a democratic multitude PRECISELY because they took to the street.

And Mussolini too, given that he got off his butt and marched on Rome?

Once again, we see the contempt for democracy and the inherent fascism of
the Chomsky cult.


M J Carley

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Nov 26, 2002, 7:31:42 AM11/26/02
to
In the referenced article, "Oliver Kamm" <olive...@tiscali.co.uk> writes:

>"Giorgio Torrieri" <luno...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:9ce9c325.02112...@posting.google.com...
>> olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote in message
>news:<40cd7d30.02112...@posting.google.com>...
>>
>> As an Italian citizen, I do not find a Governament headed by the guy who
>> owns 60% of the Italian Media, and which committed grevious human
>> rights abuses against protesters (Genoa, 2001) rapresentative at all.
>
>Indeed, who on earth supports the man apart from, erm, the electorate?

Well, no, actually.

Election result breakdown:
Camera dei Deputati

Casa delle liberta': 45.4% 282 seats
Ulivo: 43.7% 184 seats

Votes for parties not integrated in one of the alliances:
Democrazia Europea: 2.4%
Italia dei Valori: 3.9%
Partito Radicale: 2.2%
Rifondazione
Communista: 5.0%

http://www.iic-berlino.de/culturita/11.9.htm

(The total percentage comes to 102.6, which I can only attribute to
rounding error, probably in adding the contributions from the
different parties within the electoral alliances.)

Guilherme C Roschke

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Nov 26, 2002, 9:46:54 AM11/26/02
to
> >
> > As an Italian citizen, I do not find a Governament headed by the guy who
> > owns 60% of the Italian Media, and which committed grevious human
> > rights abuses against protesters (Genoa, 2001) rapresentative at all.
>
> Indeed, who on earth supports the man apart from, erm, the electorate?

what was his vote in florence?

-gr

Giorgio Torrieri

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Nov 26, 2002, 11:29:47 AM11/26/02
to
"Oliver Kamm" <olive...@tiscali.co.uk> wrote in message news:<3de35...@mk-nntp-2.news.uk.tiscali.com>...

> > As an Italian citizen, I do not find a Governament headed by the guy who
> > owns 60% of the Italian Media, and which committed grevious human
> > rights abuses against protesters (Genoa, 2001) rapresentative at all.
> Indeed, who on earth supports the man apart from, erm, the electorate?

With 60% of control of the Media, record abstentions, and persecution
of protesters, still don't find this very "rapresentative".

The governament in the '60s was "supported by the electorate".
MLK and the anti-war protesters still marched ("rioted") on 'em.
The fact that they were indeed democratic (dangerous PRECISELY because
they
were democratic) was confirmed by none other than Samuel Huntigton,
who
wrote, in 1975, that

" some of the problems of governance in the United States today stem
from an excess of
democracy... Needed, instead, is a greater degree of moderation of
democracy."

> > People who get off their butts and put their their time and their
> > personal safety at risk for a better world are far more rapresentative.
> >
> > Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders and the Antiwar protesters
> > were a democratic multitude PRECISELY because they took to the street.
>
> And Mussolini too, given that he got off his butt and marched on Rome?

Sorry, wrong call.
Mussolini marched at the behest of power, his "getting off his butt"
was approved and supported by the king. The protesters ,including
the
million in Florence, marched to challenge power.

I guess the difference for you is insubstantial.

GT

Dan Clore

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Nov 28, 2002, 9:23:13 AM11/28/02
to
G*rd*n wrote:
> David Graeber:

In case you don't know, G*rd*n, Oliver Kamm is one of the
trolls currently infesting alt.fan.noam-chomsky. It's no
surprise to discover that his vision of democracy begins and
ends at the ballot box, nor that he condemns the idea that
one might request assurances that one will not be attacked
for exercising the rights of free speech and assembly as an
affront to their "democratic" authority.

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

Lord Weÿrdgliffe and Necronomicon Page:

G*rd*n

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Nov 28, 2002, 11:17:10 AM11/28/02
to
David Graeber:
|>|> A Democratic Multitude
|>|>
|>|> Any way you measure it, November's European Social Forum was
|>|> a spectacular success. After the nightmare of the G-8
|>|> meetings in Genoa a year and a half before, the prospect of
|>|> any large-scale convergence of globalization activists in
|>|> Italy was a matter of widespread trepidation. Almost as soon
|>|> as organizers named Florence as the location, Prime Minister
|>|> Silvio Berlusconi announced that "police intelligence" had
|>|> discovered that activists were planning to wreak widespread
|>|> destruction in the ancient city. The announcement was backed
|>|> up by an endless campaign of scaremongering on Italian TV
|>|> and in print media, much of which is owned by Berlusconi.
|>|>
|>|> The organizers--who had selected Florence partly because its
|>|> citizens had just elected a radical mayor--demanded an
|>|> audience with government ministers, where they presented a
|>|> simple proposal: ...

olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm):
| > | Note that these groupuscules demanded an audience with government
| > | ministers having been elected by no one and being accountable to no
| > | one. They are, in short, much less representative than the government
| > | leaders they riot against, and are not remotely accurately described
| > | as 'a democratic multitude'.

G*rd*n wrote:
| > According to the story, however, the groups were demanding
| > only ordinary rights of assembly and association, which had
| > been threatened by the said government ministers. Who they
| > were accountable to or represented was irrelevant.

Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org>:


| In case you don't know, G*rd*n, Oliver Kamm is one of the
| trolls currently infesting alt.fan.noam-chomsky. It's no
| surprise to discover that his vision of democracy begins and
| ends at the ballot box, nor that he condemns the idea that
| one might request assurances that one will not be attacked
| for exercising the rights of free speech and assembly as an
| affront to their "democratic" authority.

Trolls can sometimes be used. In this case, Oliver obligingly
played the role of mainstream dogmadroner, putting forward
exactly the sort of line I'd expect to see from the mass media,
where the meaning of _democratic_ is reversed into "capitalist".
In popping off this move -- easy play -- I got a chance to
subvert the minds of all of the eight people who were reading
the thread, and sow doubt of the established order in their
ranks. Surely the revolution is just around the corner.

David Graeber

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Nov 30, 2002, 1:54:12 AM11/30/02
to

In article <40cd7d30.02112...@posting.google.com>,
olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote:


I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas) or
dissuading those who might be interested in finding out
what Chomsky's positions actually are from doing so.
Why anyone would spend hours of their work time every day
to _prevent_ discussion, endlessly repeating the exact
same bogus charges no matter how many times they have been
disproved, is an interesting question - in the absence of
some obsessive mental condition (always a possibility
on usenet), one has to wonder if someone is paying him to
do this. So playing along is playing into his hands -
really one should just ignore him. But the irony here


What I find interesting here is Kamm's support for
fascism. There is nothing Kamm likes so much as to
figure out some incredibly elaborate and labored way
to associate someone with Nazism (ie, they asked for
evidence when Kamm said someone else is pro-Nazi; they
cited a text cited on a series of different web sites
one of which is run by a Nazi, etc etc) - the moment
he can produce such a prize, he will hold it out
triumphantly and use it as a way to libel said
person every time their name appears on the
internet, saying "this person thinks the fact someone
is a Nazi is no big deal" or what have you. An
excellent way to prevent actual discussion of ideas
and positions, which is of course what Kamm is
(I suspect) being paid to do here.

So you'd imagine Kamm would be a real, major, anti-
fascist, huh? Not exactly. Consider his defense of
the Berlusconi government above. Berlusconi's coalition,
which received a plurality (not a majority) in the
general elections, despite the advantage of Berlusconi's
owning 60% of the Italian news media, is exactly that:
a coalition of parties. Prominent in the coalition is
the Alleanza Nazionale, which is variously described by
the foreign press as "ex-Fascist" or "neo-fascist",
and whose current leader, Gianfranco Fini, is currently
the deputy prime minister. The party traces its roots
directly back to Mussolini, recalls the former fascist
dictator fondly - Mussolini's daughter, in fact, is
a prominent party member and always celebrating her father's
legacy. While Kamm likes to represent matters as a
bunch of tiny undemocratic "groupsicles" (who somehow
managed to turn out 60 thousand _delegates_ to their
last meeting and put perhaps a million people in the
streets) "rioting" against their democratic representatives,
accounts in the Italian and international press after
Genoa revealed that Fini - who has, in the past, openly
called himself a fascist - took personal charge of much of
the "security" arrangements before the G8 summit in Genoa,
which, as it turns out, involved having the police work
with neo-nazi and fascist groups from across Europe
(interviews with such Nazis later appeared in
Italian and foreign newspapers, I particularly remember
a British Nazi who called himself "Snoopy" who admitted to
masquerading as an anarchist and wreaking havoc; he professed an
ardent admiration for Adolf Hitler) to act as provacateurs,
giving police an excuse to attack pretty much every
group of demonstrators they could find, ranging from
the pacifist Lilliput groups to feminist pagans doing
spiral dances to the padded Disobedienti, all of whom were
gassed and clubbed and many left seriously injured. (This
did eventually lead to street battles with enraged
protestors, though the protestors mainly struck back
against empty buildings; there were hundreds of seriously
injured protestors but I don't remember hearing anything
about seriously injured cops.) As Fini and other National
Alliance deputies dallied in Carabinieri HQ in Genoa,
arrestees were systematically beaten, made to stand for
hours on broken limbs, and otherwise tortured, and forced
to sing fascist anthems and shout fascist slogans.
A later investigation found serious abuses:

"Using physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, critics charge that the
Italian police engaged in systematic beatings and human rights abuses,
leading some to compare the conduct of the Italian police to the Chilean
security forces under Pinochet. At an August 3 press conference, lead
investigator Francesco
Meloni said' "The reports of violence, and the identical testimony of
scores of persons who passed through jails in diverse hours and days
during the G-8, suggest a systematic method of torture and genuine
violations of human rights."
(http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/Fascism_Face_Genoa.html)

I could go on, and talk about the posters of Hitler and
Mussolini observed in Genoa police stations, or the spectre
of Italian police (and this I saw myself) all raising their
arms in fascist salutes to intimidate protestors. But the
point is pretty simple. Here we aren't talking about some
net loony who runs a white supremacist web page - evil
and dangerous though such a person undoubtedly is, they
are pretty small fry, probably lucky to have a dozen followers
if that - but a real, genuine, fascist party, the kind that
actually could seize power, that actually has seized a share
of power through its alliance with an extreme
right-wing government, engaged in the classic Nazi techniques
of instigating brutal violence against political dissidents
and then manipulating the media to blame the victims. And
Kamm is totally behind them.

Of course in Florence the police did not attack or use
provacateurs so everything went peacefully, demonstrating
clearly who the actual "rioters" are.

But here's the point. Kamm will bend reality and logic
into pretzels to associate those whose opinions he
dislikes with Nazis, even what's probably some isolated
nazi crazy with no political power. But when Nazis actually do
achieve some kind of political power - they become part of a
government (even though the party of Fini and Mussolini
received far smaller a percentage of the vote, this
time 'round, than Hitler did when he became Chancellor)
then lo! Kamm is their supporter. If it's a contest between
those who believe in direct democracy and fascists who believe
in employing thugs (some police, some nazi youth just along
for the ride) to assault and torture them - well, Kamm
is on the side of the Nazis. He doesn't just cite their
web pages. He actively supports them and justifies their
violence against political dissidents.

I strongly suggest people on this group to follow Kamm's
lead, and to do what he would have done - to make sure
that any time his name is mentioned or he suggests any
opinion ever again, we all immediately reply that he is
a person who supports violence on the part of fascists and
nazis. That's all we should say about him. That's it.
Kamm: backer of fascist violence. Kamm: supporter of
Mussolini (Mussolini the younger, anyway). Kamm: who believes
a nazi is a legitimate member of a democratic government.
Kamm: who believes that when nazis torture people under
portraits of Mussolini, that's a legitimate expression
of democracy - far more legitimate, apparently, than
insisting on your right to hold a conference on how to
create new more democratic institutions even though the
fascists try to stop you. Kamm: pro-Nazi.
DG

Brain Death

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Nov 30, 2002, 3:17:32 AM11/30/02
to
On Sat, 30 Nov 2002 01:54:12 -0500, dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber)
wrote:

>I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
>obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
>discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
>attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
>set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
>analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas)

Libertarian socialist? Now that is an interesting oxymoron!

BD

Guilherme C Roschke

unread,
Nov 30, 2002, 12:03:05 PM11/30/02
to
> >I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
> >obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
> >discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
> >attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
> >set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
> >analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas)
>
> Libertarian socialist? Now that is an interesting oxymoron!
>
try googling it.

-gr

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Nov 30, 2002, 8:27:01 PM11/30/02
to

"David Graeber" <dgra...@rcn.net> wrote in message
news:dgraeber-301...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.r
cn.com...

>
> I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
> obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
> discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
> attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
> set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
> analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas) or
> dissuading those

[snip]

It is a pleasure to exchange words with Mr Graeber after a long absence
since he left the Chomsky ng. The last time we did so he got into a terrible
muddle over the enlightening concept that a country's current account is -
w'addya know? - balanced by its capital account: hence the term 'balance of
payments'. I hope that in the intervening years Mr Graeber has managed to
hone his skills in the esoteric branch of knowledge (i.e. simple arithmetic)
that escaped him then.

Unfortunately, the ability to structure an argument and assemble empirical
evidence still eludes him. My only comment - ever, to my recollection -
about the Berlusconi administration is that it is the elected government of
Italy, having won the support of the electorate (and I carefully didn't say,
when making such a reference, that it had won the majority of the vote: this
rarely happens in advanced democracies, other than under electoral systems
such as the French that deliberately engineer such an outcome). It thus has
democratic legitimacy, whereas the anti-Third World campaigners (except that
they call themselves anti-globalisation campaigners, the better to avoid
thinking about their culpability in campaigning for increased poverty in the
Third World) have none. I do not begrudge them the right to demonstrate
peacefully, but it is a matter of observation that they don't generally do
so; in the circumstances they have been treated with great fairness and
leniency.

I should add that, for all my affection for Mr Graeber, the sight of a rich
kid with an embarrassing lack of economic awareness campaigning for the
Third World to be denied the means of lifting itself out of poverty is not
one that elevates. That he should then complain because he hasn't been
treated with the deference and gentility he believes he merits is, however,
very funny indeed. Go, Italian police.


Josh Dougherty

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 3:10:28 AM12/1/02
to
"Guilherme C Roschke" <gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote in message
news:Pine.GSO.4.44.021130...@unagi.cis.upenn.edu...
"Brain Dead"....a good nickname for him, is likely an American, and is under
the uniquely American, and sheltered, impression that the term "Libertarian"
implies the same as "Anarcho-capitalist".

Josh


James A. Donald

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 4:35:35 AM12/1/02
to
> > Libertarian socialist? Now that is an interesting oxymoron!

Guilherme C Roschke
> try googling it.

The fact that lots of people call themselves libertarian socialists
does not make it any the less an oxymoron.

As I say in my web page http://www.jim.com/cat/blood.htm :

As usual, Catalonia demonstrated once again the contradiction between
liberty and socialism, with the usual rivers of blood that accompany
such demonstrations: To the extent that they were libertarian, they
were not socialist, and to the extent that they were socialist, they
were not libertarian.

Publius2k

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 6:00:04 AM12/1/02
to
G*rd*n wrote:
***

> Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org>:
> | In case you don't know, G*rd*n, Oliver Kamm is one of the
> | trolls currently infesting alt.fan.noam-chomsky. It's no
> | surprise to discover that his vision of democracy begins and
> | ends at the ballot box, nor that he condemns the idea that
> | one might request assurances that one will not be attacked
> | for exercising the rights of free speech and assembly as an
> | affront to their "democratic" authority.
>
> Trolls can sometimes be used. In this case, Oliver obligingly
> played the role of mainstream dogmadroner, putting forward
> exactly the sort of line I'd expect to see from the mass media,
> where the meaning of _democratic_ is reversed into "capitalist".
> In popping off this move -- easy play -- I got a chance to
> subvert the minds of all of the eight people who were reading
> the thread, and sow doubt of the established order in their
> ranks. Surely the revolution is just around the corner.

:)

Guilherme C Roschke

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 1:38:41 PM12/1/02
to
> > try googling it.
>
> The fact that lots of people call themselves libertarian socialists
> does not make it any the less an oxymoron.
>
> As I say in my web page http://www.jim.com/cat/blood.htm :
>
> As usual, Catalonia demonstrated once again the contradiction between
> liberty and socialism, with the usual rivers of blood that accompany
> such demonstrations: To the extent that they were libertarian, they
> were not socialist, and to the extent that they were socialist, they
> were not libertarian.

like the factory workers taking over in argentina. or maybe not
like them.

-gr

David Graeber

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 10:54:04 PM12/1/02
to
In article <qksguukpfkfcbjdnr...@4ax.com>, Brain Death
<jgl...@letsroll.com> wrote:

Try checking out the history of the term
"libertarian".
DG

David Graeber

unread,
Dec 1, 2002, 11:06:52 PM12/1/02
to
In article <3de96...@mk-nntp-2.news.uk.tiscali.com>, "Oliver Kamm"
<olive...@tiscali.co.uk> wrote:

> "David Graeber" <dgra...@rcn.net> wrote in message
> news:dgraeber-301...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.r
> cn.com...
> >
> > I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
> > obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
> > discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
> > attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
> > set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
> > analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas) or
> > dissuading those
>
> [snip]
>
> It is a pleasure to exchange words with Mr Graeber after a long absence
> since he left the Chomsky ng. The last time we did so he got into a terrible
> muddle over the enlightening concept that a country's current account is -
> w'addya know? - balanced by its capital account: hence the term 'balance of
> payments'. I hope that in the intervening years Mr Graeber has managed to
> hone his skills in the esoteric branch of knowledge (i.e. simple arithmetic)
> that escaped him then.

This is clearly a figment of the fascist-supporter's
imagination: the only exchange about economics
I ever had with him turned on his (feigned I believe)
ignorance of the common usage of the term "neo-classical".

>
> Unfortunately, the ability to structure an argument and assemble empirical
> evidence still eludes him. My only comment - ever, to my recollection -
> about the Berlusconi administration is that it is the elected government of
> Italy, having won the support of the electorate (and I carefully didn't say,
> when making such a reference, that it had won the majority of the vote: this
> rarely happens in advanced democracies, other than under electoral systems
> such as the French that deliberately engineer such an outcome). It thus has
> democratic legitimacy, whereas the anti-Third World campaigners (except that
> they call themselves anti-globalisation campaigners, the better to avoid
> thinking about their culpability in campaigning for increased poverty in the
> Third World) have none. I do not begrudge them the right to demonstrate
> peacefully, but it is a matter of observation that they don't generally do
> so; in the circumstances they have been treated with great fairness and
> leniency.
>
> I should add that, for all my affection for Mr Graeber, the sight of a rich
> kid with an embarrassing lack of economic awareness campaigning for the
> Third World to be denied the means of lifting itself out of poverty is not
> one that elevates. That he should then complain because he hasn't been
> treated with the deference and gentility he believes he merits is, however,
> very funny indeed. Go, Italian police.

Rich kid? The fascist-sympathizing troll is now reduced
to simply making things up. Actually my father was a
plate-stripper and my mother a seamstress but what this
has to do with anything is beyond me. Just a desperate
attempt to come up with some smear or personal slur to
throw out by someone caught with his pro-Nazi
pants down. Notice how in the whole post, he does not -
despite the obvious challenge - manage to bring himself
to say a single word disassociating himself from the
fascist party in Berlusconi's coalition or the fascist
activities of the Italian police, much less condemning
their brutal behavior. My accusations of Kamm's fascist
sympathies are entirely confirmed.
As for my "ignorance" - well, I would ask the troll
what university conveyed a Ph.D. on _him_ and where he
is currently a professor - why he, the know-it-all, is
reduced to posting hysterical smears to usenet while I the
ignorant fool somehow got to be a professor at Yale - but
why bother? No one takes Kamm seriously. What most people were
not fully aware of were his active sympathy for and
support for fascists and nazis. Having pointed this out,
I must return to my actual job which is teaching and
researching on subjects about which our nazi-loving
troll is so embarrassingly ignorant he probably doesn't
even know they exist.
Bye all,
DG

David Graeber

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 1:54:49 AM12/2/02
to

Just for documentary purposes, before signing off from this
discussion, I would like to point out for the benefit of
anyone our neighborhood troll Kamm slanders on some bizarre
bogus charge as a sympathizer with Nazis in the future,
that by now, Kamm has now openly admitted to supporting
both overt fascists and overtly fascist tactics as
practiced by fascists. Since Kamm is an extremely stupid
person it is actually pretty easy to goad him into
displaying his true colors. I'm afraid it will be necessary
to include the full text Kamm is responding to (sorry
about the space) in order for people to see clearly
just how openly Kamm has now admitted to supporting
fascism.

------
the original post
------

I don't normally respond to trolls - it's perfectly
obvious Kamm is not on this newsgroup to engage in
discussion, but to prevent it, either by distracting
attention away from the purposes the newsgroup was
set up to serve (discussion of Chomsky's political
analyses and related libertarian socialist ideas) or

---------
---------

now here is Kamm's bizarre, incoherent reply:

> [snip]
>
> It is a pleasure to exchange words with Mr Graeber after a long absence
> since he left the Chomsky ng. The last time we did so he got into a terrible
> muddle over the enlightening concept that a country's current account is -
> w'addya know? - balanced by its capital account: hence the term 'balance of
> payments'. I hope that in the intervening years Mr Graeber has managed to
> hone his skills in the esoteric branch of knowledge (i.e. simple arithmetic)
> that escaped him then.

Ignorant? Kamm is ignorant of his own posts! No such
discussion took place and a simple check of the archives
(check under "Kamm, Graeber, balance of payments" for
example) will show this to be the case. The usual pathetic
slurs with no content. If the man was capable of
embarrassment he would be weeping now but clearly he is
doesn't care how many times he is caught lying or making
a fool of himself, so long as he can disrupt the group and
prevent people from actually learning something about the
subject

>
> Unfortunately, the ability to structure an argument and assemble empirical
> evidence still eludes him. My only comment - ever, to my recollection -
> about the Berlusconi administration is that it is the elected government of
> Italy, having won the support of the electorate (and I carefully didn't say,
> when making such a reference, that it had won the majority of the vote: this
> rarely happens in advanced democracies, other than under electoral systems
> such as the French that deliberately engineer such an outcome). It thus has
> democratic legitimacy, whereas the anti-Third World campaigners (except that
> they call themselves anti-globalisation campaigners, the better to avoid
> thinking about their culpability in campaigning for increased poverty in the
> Third World) have none. I do not begrudge them the right to demonstrate
> peacefully, but it is a matter of observation that they don't generally do
> so; in the circumstances they have been treated with great fairness and
> leniency.


Well, if you consider torturing pacifists to be
"fairness and leniency", sure. Well, I guess one does,
if one is, as Kamm has now revealed himself to be,
a Nazi. (See below)


>
> I should add that, for all my affection for Mr Graeber, the sight of a rich
> kid with an embarrassing lack of economic awareness campaigning for the
> Third World to be denied the means of lifting itself out of poverty is not
> one that elevates. That he should then complain because he hasn't been
> treated with the deference and gentility he believes he merits is, however,
> very funny indeed. Go, Italian police.

As I remarked in a different post, the "rich kid" slur
is something Kamm apparently just made up off the top of
his head - in fact my dad was a plate-stripper and my mom
for many years a seamstress. He also has no idea what
economic policies I advocate, other than that I oppose the
IMF, so unless he believes that no policy other than the
current IMF policy could possibly help the poor in the global
south (eventually - it surely hasn't done so yet!) he is just,
as usual, making things up. But here's the critical thing. The
ending. Here Kamm just can't help himself. I have documented
that
(a) a significant portion of Berlusconi's coalition is
made up of overt, self-declared fascists
(b) those fascists were involved in planning the
police policy in Genoa
(c) that police policy involved intentionally using
fascists and nazis from Italy and abroad as provacateurs,
then directly assaulting protestors, including the vast
majority of strictly non-violent ones; in one particularly
bloody raid, using sticks and clubs to shatter bones
and teeth of over a hundred activists who they found
sleeping in a local schoolroom, offering no resistance
whatever, putting all of them in the hospital and leaving
clots of blood, flesh and teeth littered all over the
building...
(d) that they then proceeded, with the help of their
fascist auxiliaries, to systematically torture those they
had arrested, while touting fascist symbols and shouting
fascist slogans, or forcing their victims to shout them
as they beat them

And what is Kamm's reply? "Go Italian police!"
So he admits it. He is in favor of fascism. All this
nonsense about accusing others of being Nazis is nonsense.
He's the Nazi. When members of Mussolini's party order
the Italian police to join with Nazis to kick in the
teeth of sleeping protestors, or to break their bones
while demanding they chant "vive il duce" or whatever,
Kamm's response: "go Italian police." He admits it. He's
a Nazi and he thinks that it's a fine thing when Nazi's
beat and torture people.

I'm out of here - but please, guys, don't let him
forget it. He has admitted to being pro-Nazi. That is all
anyone should ever say to him ever again.
DG

iHĞ

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 2:17:05 AM12/2/02
to
On Mon, 02 Dec 2002 01:54:49 -0500, dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber)
wrote:

[big snip]

> And what is Kamm's reply? "Go Italian police!"
> So he admits it. He is in favor of fascism. All this
>nonsense about accusing others of being Nazis is nonsense.
>He's the Nazi. When members of Mussolini's party order
>the Italian police to join with Nazis to kick in the
>teeth of sleeping protestors, or to break their bones
>while demanding they chant "vive il duce" or whatever,
>Kamm's response: "go Italian police." He admits it. He's
>a Nazi and he thinks that it's a fine thing when Nazi's
>beat and torture people.
>
> I'm out of here - but please, guys, don't let him
>forget it. He has admitted to being pro-Nazi. That is all
>anyone should ever say to him ever again.
> DG

This will do nicely, David. ;-)

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 7:03:14 AM12/2/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

[snip]

> Ignorant? Kamm is ignorant of his own posts! No such
> discussion took place and a simple check of the archives
> (check under "Kamm, Graeber, balance of payments" for
> example) will show this to be the case. The usual pathetic
> slurs with no content. If the man was capable of
> embarrassment he would be weeping now but clearly he is
> doesn't care how many times he is caught lying or making
> a fool of himself, so long as he can disrupt the group and
> prevent people from actually learning something about the
> subject

This is delightful: Graeber confirms my point exactly by showing that,
extraordinarily, he still hasn't worked out what a balance of payments
is; he doesn't even know what the term means. If he had tried entering
'Graeber, Kamm, imports, capital' he would have come up with the
exchange he seeks, and rather devastating it is too. It demonstrated
he hadn't worked out that a country that runs a current account
deficit must simultaneously be a net importer of capital. Amusingly
enough, Graeber then insisted that I address him as 'Dr Graeber';
facts are inconvenient things, and they're always liable to smoke out
someone of intellectual insecurity like Graeber.


>
> >
> > Unfortunately, the ability to structure an argument and assemble empirical
> > evidence still eludes him. My only comment - ever, to my recollection -
> > about the Berlusconi administration is that it is the elected government of
> > Italy, having won the support of the electorate (and I carefully didn't say,
> > when making such a reference, that it had won the majority of the vote: this
> > rarely happens in advanced democracies, other than under electoral systems
> > such as the French that deliberately engineer such an outcome). It thus has
> > democratic legitimacy, whereas the anti-Third World campaigners (except that
> > they call themselves anti-globalisation campaigners, the better to avoid
> > thinking about their culpability in campaigning for increased poverty in the
> > Third World) have none. I do not begrudge them the right to demonstrate
> > peacefully, but it is a matter of observation that they don't generally do
> > so; in the circumstances they have been treated with great fairness and
> > leniency.
>
>
> Well, if you consider torturing pacifists to be
> "fairness and leniency", sure. Well, I guess one does,
> if one is, as Kamm has now revealed himself to be,
> a Nazi. (See below)


Poor dears. Did they expect to be able to attack people and property
without hindrance?

>
>
> >
> > I should add that, for all my affection for Mr Graeber, the sight of a rich
> > kid with an embarrassing lack of economic awareness campaigning for the
> > Third World to be denied the means of lifting itself out of poverty is not
> > one that elevates. That he should then complain because he hasn't been
> > treated with the deference and gentility he believes he merits is, however,
> > very funny indeed. Go, Italian police.
>
> As I remarked in a different post, the "rich kid" slur
> is something Kamm apparently just made up off the top of
> his head - in fact my dad was a plate-stripper and my mom
> for many years a seamstress. He also has no idea what
> economic policies I advocate, other than that I oppose the
> IMF, so unless he believes that no policy other than the
> current IMF policy could possibly help the poor in the global
> south (eventually - it surely hasn't done so yet!) he is just,
> as usual, making things up.


Here's someone who lives on an Ivy League campus boasting of his hard
life while demanding the developing world doesn't have the ability to
specialise in its areas of comparative advantage and thereby improve
their standards of living. I make no value judgement on this, I merely
report the facts.

But here's the critical thing. The
> ending. Here Kamm just can't help himself.

[snip incoherent flail]

Graeber notes with his usual striking investigative work that I
support the Italian police in defending the rule of law against mobs.
Dead right I do, because I'm a supporter of democratic government, the
rule of law and - incidentally - Third World development. I am, in
short, a leftist of democratic views. Members of the various ngs will
note that, having had it pointed out to him that I have never at any
time expressed support for the parties that make up the current
Italian government, Graeber decides not to answer the point but to
scuttle. Nuff said, and not a surprise.

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 7:29:39 AM12/2/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-011...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

>
> This is clearly a figment of the fascist-supporter's
> imagination: the only exchange about economics
> I ever had with him turned on his (feigned I believe)
> ignorance of the common usage of the term "neo-classical".

Graeber has a usefully selective memory, and it gives me no pleasure
to remind him of his howlers. He welcomed as an entirely appropriate
contribution to the ng we were engaged in the incoherent delusion that
a country with a crrent account deficit (viz. the US) simultaneously
was a net exporter of capital to set up industrial plants overseas and
exploit the impoverished masses etc etc. All stuff that is not only
factually inaccurate but is ARITHMETICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Graeber
complains that I have applied the term 'ignorance' to him; I don't
think I have, but if I have it is undeniably an accurate designation.
Almost as amusing is his belief that post-Keynesian economic theory
(about which I particpated in some mailing list discussions, which
Graeber being a curiously obsessive man found on entering my name into
a search engine) is a branch of neo-classical economics. I'd encourage
Graeber to keep posting this type of stuff; there has been little to
laugh about in the past 15 months, and he certainly has the ability to
provide it.


>
> Rich kid?

Yup. A tenured Ivy League academic telling the Third World they
mustn't try to better themselves.


The fascist-sympathizing troll is now reduced
> to simply making things up. Actually my father was a
> plate-stripper and my mother a seamstress but what this
> has to do with anything is beyond me. Just a desperate
> attempt to come up with some smear or personal slur to
> throw out by someone caught with his pro-Nazi
> pants down.

Just a point of factual information.


Notice how in the whole post, he does not -
> despite the obvious challenge - manage to bring himself
> to say a single word disassociating himself from the
> fascist party in Berlusconi's coalition or the fascist
> activities of the Italian police, much less condemning
> their brutal behavior. My accusations of Kamm's fascist
> sympathies are entirely confirmed.

Unsurprisingly, Graeber, having failed to find (and believe me he's
looked) a single statement of mine expressing support for Berlusconi,
attempts the cunning - actually rather dumb - elision whereby the
police become honorary members of the governing coalition. I certainly
support the police, who seem to me to have behaved with great leniency
against a rioting mob, and certainly support the sovereignty of
democratic government, while opposing the particular political parties
that constitute the current government. Graeber is so confused about
political concepts that he assumes that if you're a democrat you must,
ex hypothesi, support the parties that exercise government in a
democracy. We're not in Iraq here, old bean - much as you might regret
it.


> As for my "ignorance" - well, I would ask the troll
> what university conveyed a Ph.D. on _him_ and where he
> is currently a professor - why he, the know-it-all, is
> reduced to posting hysterical smears to usenet while I the
> ignorant fool somehow got to be a professor at Yale - but
> why bother? No one takes Kamm seriously. What most people were
> not fully aware of were his active sympathy for and
> support for fascists and nazis. Having pointed this out,
> I must return to my actual job which is teaching and
> researching on subjects about which our nazi-loving
> troll is so embarrassingly ignorant he probably doesn't
> even know they exist.
> Bye all,
> DG


Well, well, well: here is someone with an advanced case of
intellectual insecurity. I've noticed it before: Graeber just can't
stop telling us that he's an academic, presumably on the grounds that
we'd never be able to work it out otherwise. Suffice to say that his
subject is anthropology (I know this because he can't stop telling us
), not politics or economics, which are subjects about which he
certainly, demonstrably and comprehensively lacks not only training
but knowledge, erudition and insight. These are not soft subjects, Mr
Graeber: they involve empirical research, and it's time you buckled
down and attempted to get to grips with them if you wish to contribute
to these ngs.

Dan Clore

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 9:25:27 AM12/2/02
to

And the history of the term "socialist".

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

Lord We˙rdgliffe and Necronomicon Page:

Guilherme C Roschke

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 10:20:57 AM12/2/02
to
> > Well, if you consider torturing pacifists to be
> > "fairness and leniency", sure. Well, I guess one does,
> > if one is, as Kamm has now revealed himself to be,
> > a Nazi. (See below)
>
>
> Poor dears. Did they expect to be able to attack people and property
> without hindrance?

kamm, i know your mental health might require you to refuse to
believe this, but for the record, vast amounts if not all of the beaten
and tortured were pacifists, of the sorts engaged in big, safe, and some
might even say boring marches. while quite a bit of the destruction came
from agent provacateurs.

-gr


David Graeber

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 12:54:27 PM12/2/02
to
In article <Pine.GSO.4.44.021202...@unagi.cis.upenn.edu>,

Guilherme C Roschke <gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote:

> > > Well, if you consider torturing pacifists to be
> > > "fairness and leniency", sure. Well, I guess one does,
> > > if one is, as Kamm has now revealed himself to be,
> > > a Nazi. (See below)
> >
> >
> > Poor dears. Did they expect to be able to attack people and property
> > without hindrance?
>
> kamm, i know your mental health might require you to refuse to
> believe this,

What Kamm "believes" is irrelevant. He's
just here to attack and he obviously doesn't
care whether what he says is true.

but for the record, vast amounts if not all of the beaten
> and tortured were pacifists, of the sorts engaged in big, safe, and some
> might even say boring marches. while quite a bit of the destruction came
> from agent provacateurs.

Yes, members of the several-hundred-strong
(out of 300,000) actual Black Bloc, that did
attack some buildings - mainly the empty office
buiding used by prison administrators - were
not "hindered" in any way, since their activities
were felt to provide an excuse for the police and
their nazi and fascist allies to assault, arrest,
and torture the pacifists. By pretending that
everyone attacked and tortured must have been
rioters, despite the fact that every outside
observer including Italian parlaimentary investigators
determined this was not the case, Kamm shows he
prefers to repeat the fascist propaganda line,
yet again revealing his true political sympathies
and actively supporting the ability of fascists
to torture dissidents under pictures of Mussolini
and so forth). Kamm just keeps digging himself deeper
and deeper.
I thought I was going to drop out but
it was so much fun to watch Kamm cheerleading
Nazis because he's just too aggressive and nasty
to cover his own ass ("Kamm: a man who believes a
Nazi is just a legitimate democrat. Kamm: a man
who thinks Nazis torturing political dissidents
is just democratic police work..." Where do you
stop?) I couldn't help myself.
Now I'll go. Work to do...
David

brian turner

unread,
Dec 2, 2002, 2:51:39 PM12/2/02
to
"Oliver Kamm" <olive...@tiscali.co.uk> wrote in message news:<3de96...@mk-nntp-2.news.uk.tiscali.com>...

> ["anti-globalists" protest] for the


> Third World to be denied the means of lifting itself out of poverty

This bunch does include many with no understanding (or interest,
likely) of development economics, but others do, and do not take the
simplistic across the board anti-foreign direct investment view you
are broadbrusing all with; instead, the more intelligent among them
take a similar nuanced view of FDI that the Asian tigers took to
develop.

David Graeber

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Dec 2, 2002, 3:23:37 PM12/2/02
to
In article <40cd7d30.02120...@posting.google.com>,
olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote:

> dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message
news:<dgraeber-011...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...
> >
> > This is clearly a figment of the fascist-supporter's
> > imagination: the only exchange about economics
> > I ever had with him turned on his (feigned I believe)
> > ignorance of the common usage of the term "neo-classical".
>
> Graeber has a usefully selective memory, and it gives me no pleasure
> to remind him of his howlers. He welcomed as an entirely appropriate
> contribution to the ng we were engaged in the incoherent delusion that
> a country with a crrent account deficit (viz. the US) simultaneously
> was a net exporter of capital to set up industrial plants overseas and
> exploit the impoverished masses etc etc. All stuff that is not only
> factually inaccurate but is ARITHMETICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Graeber
> complains that I have applied the term 'ignorance' to him; I don't
> think I have, but if I have it is undeniably an accurate designation.
> Almost as amusing is his belief that post-Keynesian economic theory
> (about which I particpated in some mailing list discussions, which
> Graeber being a curiously obsessive man found on entering my name into
> a search engine) is a branch of neo-classical economics. I'd encourage
> Graeber to keep posting this type of stuff; there has been little to
> laugh about in the past 15 months, and he certainly has the ability to
> provide it.


Having been caught once again being made a fool of
claiming that I made an argument I didn't make, the
pathetic Kamm is now reduced to claiming that I
_didn't_ _object_ to someone else's making it! I never
had any discussion with Kamm about balance of payments
issues and he realizes now that he has been caught in
an outright lie. This is his desperate way to try to
save face from being once again entirely humiliated.


>
>
> >
> > Rich kid?
>
> Yup. A tenured Ivy League academic telling the Third World they
> mustn't try to better themselves.
>

The man really does have no sense of embarrassment
or shame - no matter how many times he's caught in a
lie or fabrication, he just makes up a new one. After having
made up the fact that I'm a rich kid (on the assumption
that I probably am because I teach at Yale), and discovering
that my parents were working class, he declares I'm
a tenured Ivy League academic so that's the same thing.
But once again in a desperate attempt to cover his own
humiliation he simply humiliates himself again by inventing
more facts which turn out to be untrue. No, actually, I'm not
tenured. On what basis did he think I was? None. He just
made it up. You see? He has absolutely no idea what he's talking
about. And of course if he were to reply to this, he'd then say
it doesn't matter because I still teach at Yale. But the fact remains
he's fabricated two lies in a row, one to cover up the
other, and shown us all how much we can believe anything
he says.

>
> The fascist-sympathizing troll is now reduced
> > to simply making things up. Actually my father was a
> > plate-stripper and my mother a seamstress but what this
> > has to do with anything is beyond me. Just a desperate
> > attempt to come up with some smear or personal slur to
> > throw out by someone caught with his pro-Nazi
> > pants down.
>
> Just a point of factual information.

No, actually it's a libel, since you made it
up to try to assassinate someone's character and
it turns out not to be true.

>
>
> Notice how in the whole post, he does not -
> > despite the obvious challenge - manage to bring himself
> > to say a single word disassociating himself from the
> > fascist party in Berlusconi's coalition or the fascist
> > activities of the Italian police, much less condemning
> > their brutal behavior. My accusations of Kamm's fascist
> > sympathies are entirely confirmed.
>
> Unsurprisingly, Graeber, having failed to find (and believe me he's
> looked) a single statement of mine expressing support for Berlusconi,
> attempts the cunning - actually rather dumb - elision whereby the
> police become honorary members of the governing coalition. I certainly
> support the police, who seem to me to have behaved with great leniency
> against a rioting mob, and certainly support the sovereignty of
> democratic government, while opposing the particular political parties
> that constitute the current government. Graeber is so confused about
> political concepts that he assumes that if you're a democrat you must,
> ex hypothesi, support the parties that exercise government in a
> democracy. We're not in Iraq here, old bean - much as you might regret
> it.

No, you didn't support Berlusconi, who is extremely
right-wing but not an overt fascist. Instead, you
supported the policies and actions of the Italian
police at Genoa, after I had explained that what they
did was planned by the openly fascist element in
Berlusconi's coalition and carried out by fascist
sympathizers (Italian police used fascist salutes,
had swastikas and pictures of Mussolini on the walls
of their stations, forced protestors to shout fascist
slogans and sing fascist songs...) with the help of
actual fascist and nazi youth groups from across
Europe. _These_ were the people Kamm is supporting,
responding to these descriptions of their political
affiliations and activities with the words "Go Italian
police!" We caught you, Ollie. You lose. You've
finally admitted what you actually are. From now on
everyone will know that you are a supporter of nazis
and a cheerleader for overt fascists when they torture
dissidents and be assured no one will be allowed to
forget it. Your cover is blown. You are a nazi supporter
and you might as well go home and find another
occupation than trolling usenet because the cat is
out of the bag now.

Nice try, coming from someone who has been now
revealed to be an open liar (so much for empirical
research - you don't get far in actual scholarship
if you make facts up off the top of your head. That's
because in actual scholarship, unlike Usenet, if
you get caught lying or fabricating data you
actually get in trouble and can't just go on
as if nothing happened. There's a reason people like
Kamm stay in venues with no intellectual standards
whatever. He's too much a coward to step out into
a field of actual debate where one is judged by
the community of one's peers. Anyway he clearly
isn't intellectually qualified to enter). Note
too how the troll does not, in fact, respond to the
challenge to state his actual qualifications in
economics - despite the fact that pretty much his
only two moves on the internet are (1) "I am trained
in economics and you're not, therefore if you
disagree with any reactionary policy I endorse you are
an ignorant fool", and (2) "wait! I can figure out some way
to associate you with Nazism. I can! I can!" But what
training does Kamm actually have in economics? Any?
Does the man even have a M.A.? Does he even have a
B.A.? Challenged to state his qualifications, he further
humiliates himself by offering nothing - one can only
conclude he has no actual qualifications in economics
of any kind. Or that if he does, they are so
negligible he is embarrassed to mention them.
Maybe he's read a few books. But this makes sense:
after all, real economic training is highly marketable
and if Kamm actually were a fully qualified economist
he could, no doubt, get a much better job than trolling
usenet and facing the daily humiliation of being
caught lying, being caught supporting fascism, being
caught making a fool of himself. It's pretty sad to
be reduced to being a professional slanderer. ("What
do you do for a living, daddy?" "Um, I troll usenet
and pretend to be an economist and make up lies about
people.") But such is the fate I guess of those who
cannot cut it in the world of knowledge and ideas.
Wouldn't normally get personal but since that's all
that Kamm ever does it seems entirely justified.

Or does Kamm actually have a job? It's possible
I am simply wrong to extrapolate from his silence
but it's the only thing one can reasonably conclude
given the evidence presented.

A final note - I really have better things to
do with my time but it's so much fun watching Kamm
flail about humiliating himself, digging himself
deeper and deeper... - so, note how hilarious it
is to see Kamm accusing me, a poor kid who managed
to work himself into a decent job, with being an
elitist. His entire act is based on presumed elitism.
His entire philosophy is elitist. After all, the
movement he slanders as being dedicated to undermining
the economic prospects for poor people in the global
south actually _began_ in the global south, and insofar
as it is actually about people in the north intervening
on their behalf (this is a minor element, really)
those people are simply conveying the positions held
by those organizations which actually represent poor
people in the global south. You do not see any
organizations of poor people in the global south
actually _supporting_ IMF policies. So what does
Kamm's position come down to? "I am a highly trained economist
(except of course, I'm not really a highly trained economist)
and therefore I know better what is good for these
poor people than they do. Poor people are stupid
and do not know what's good for them. They should
shut up and let members of the elite of highly trained
economists such as myself (except of course I'm not
really a highly trained economist) make all decisions for
them. Under no conditions should the majority of poor
people have any say in public policy because they are
too stupid. Democracy, for instance, in which the
majority elect a government which then carries out
the economic policies that majority prefers must not
occur. This makes his defense of Berlusconi as the
people's choice particularly hilarious, since Kamm
is openly opposed to democracy elsewhere, at least
insofar as it involves economic policy, which must be
left to the trained elite such as himself (except,
of course, he is not really a member of that
trained elite at all). Kamm has even gone so far as
to say that debt relief for desperately poor countries
would be 'bad for the poor' because it would mean
IMF economists would no longer would have so much ability
to tell their governments how to run their economies -
ie, it might allow the poor to have some say in
economic policy (if only through elected representatives)
and since the poor are stupid and could not possibly
know what's good for them, that in itself would be bad for
the poor.

Kamm incidentally knows nothing of my own positions;
the issue I've mainly emphasized in my own writings
is about immigration: that is, if we were serious
about globalization, we should lift border restrictions
and allow people to live anywhere they want. If
this is anti-poor, as Kamm has asserted my positions
are, this would have to mean that Kamm believes that
it is for the benefit of poor people in Bangladesh
or Uganda that we do not allow them to move to
Europe or the U.S., and that it would hurt them
terribly to give them this freedom. Once again, the
poor must be too stupid to know what's good for them.
But Kamm knows, being a brilliant economist (except of
course he's not really a brilliant economist, or
apparently, an economist at all). I might note that mine
is hardly an isolated position: the need to open borders
was the main theme of the Genoa protests as well.
Apparently we are all destroying economic opportunities
for the poor by suggesting they should have free choice
in where they want to live.

I should probably also point out I don't myself
subscribe to Kamm's elitism - I know that it's
perfectly possible for someone who loves knowledge
to teach themselves a discipline, even outside
academia, and learn it just as well or better than
academics. I am just pointing out the complete
incoherence of his own positions. For instance, he
will insist that anyone with the slightest knowledge
of economics would know that position A is laughable,
insane, etc etc. Then if you look into the matter
you will almost invariably find that there are in
fact economists - real economists, with actual
economic training, who unlike Kamm had to pass
difficult exams and have research papers graded by
other trained economists, who had to publish in peer-
reviewed journals, whose work has (unike Kamm's
ravings) had to pass judgment by scholars who know the
field backwards and forwards and have the power
to flunk or censure you if you lie or make up data - who come
to exactly the opposite conclusions. Economists are
hardly a uniform lot. While there are many economists
who avidly support IMF or World Bank positions -
not surprising, considering so many economists are
employed by the IMF or institutions with similar
interests and philosophies - there are plenty of
real economists who avidly oppose them. And many who
have gone from one side to the other. Take the
example of George Stiglitz, who used to be the chief
economist for the World Bank - a man who rose to
the very top of the economic field, where Kamm's
position (with apparently no academic qualifications,
no publications, no intellectual recognition, reduced
to writing only for public forums with no academic
standards and lying his head off on those) seems
to define the very nadir. But he quit the World Bank
in disgust and has since spent his time demonstrating
the extreme economic destructiveness of structural
adjustment policies. Now, if I were to post a few
of Stiglitz' positions to the list (just the positions,
without mentioning the source) Kamm would instantly
appear to declare how embarrassingly ignorant they were
are of even the basics of economic theory, how no one
who knew anything about the subject would possibly
see them as anything but pathetic and ignorant. That's all
he ever does. But that's why he's too much of a coward
to appear on any forum where intellectual standards
are actually enforced - in a real debate, in a real
scholarly forum, before real trained economists, someone
like Stiglitz - a _real_ economist, with real training
and accomplishments - would rip a fraud like Kamm to
shreds in 30 seconds.

Okay, enough of this. I am really writing this just
to procrastinate - I'm supposed to be working on an
essay on value theory for the journal of Fernand
Braudel society, ironically enough - but since people
were encouraging me to further Kamm's humiliation
a bit a took some time off. Now I really do have to
go. Been fun guys. And remember: Kamm has now admitted
to supporting Nazism.
DG

Oliver Kamm

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Dec 2, 2002, 6:15:47 PM12/2/02
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"Oliver Kamm" <olive...@tiscali.co.uk> wrote in message
news:40cd7d30.02120...@posting.google.com...

> Well, well, well: here is someone with an advanced case of
> intellectual insecurity. I've noticed it before: Graeber just can't
> stop telling us that he's an academic, presumably on the grounds that
> we'd never be able to work it out otherwise. Suffice to say that his
> subject is anthropology (I know this because he can't stop telling us
> ), not politics or economics, which are subjects about which he
> certainly, demonstrably and comprehensively lacks not only training
> but knowledge, erudition and insight. These are not soft subjects, Mr
> Graeber: they involve empirical research, and it's time you buckled
> down and attempted to get to grips with them if you wish to contribute
> to these ngs.

Some interesting - well, mildly - information confirming my diagnosis: I
have not thought of Graeber for many years, though I did come across a piece
of his in a society magazine called New Left Review recently.

I do, however, recall his confusion with the concept that a balance of
payments, er, balances, and his howler in believing that post-Keynesian
thought is a branch of neo-classical economics, but beyond that I know
nothing of him. But I did check out one claim of his today. He describes
himself as a professor at Yale; that turns out to be a rather elastic
definition, apparently. He is, in fact, an assistant professor, which is not
what most people would understand as a 'professor'. Many would regard
Graeber's claim as prima facie dishonest, but I would explain it instead as
confirmation of my impression that Graeber is merely intellectually insecure
and therefore susceptible to the temptation to burnish his resume, just as
the weaker candidates I interview professionally are liable to do (and they
always get caught out). I note that he has been an assistant professor for
some years, and I sympathise with the frustration that I infer he feels that
his career isn't going anywhere.

None of this, however, is central to Graeber's principal problem, which is
his apparent belief that being a teacher of anthropology fits him to be an
authority on politics and economics. I use an understatement to end all
understatements when I say it does not, and Graeber's own cerebrations on
these matters - see my remarks above - confirm the point with a rather
crashing obviousness.


Oliver Kamm

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Dec 2, 2002, 6:21:36 PM12/2/02
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Guilherme C Roschke <gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote in message news:<Pine.GSO.4.44.021202...@unagi.cis.upenn.edu>...

Correction: some of those protesting violently called themselves
pacifists, which is to say they were not pacifists in anything but
self-designation. They found that they were unable to attack people
and property without hindrance, however, and are now whingeing because
they found that Italian police are, to use a phrase of Orwell,
'tougher babies' than they're used to dealing with. Tough for them,
and plaudits go to the Italian police for protecting the people from
the mob.

Guilherme C Roschke

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Dec 2, 2002, 6:56:29 PM12/2/02
to
> > kamm, i know your mental health might require you to refuse to
> > believe this, but for the record, vast amounts if not all of the beaten
> > and tortured were pacifists, of the sorts engaged in big, safe, and some
> > might even say boring marches. while quite a bit of the destruction came
> > from agent provacateurs.
>
> Correction: some of those protesting violently called themselves
> pacifists, which is to say they were not pacifists in anything but
> self-designation. They found that they were unable to attack people
> and property without hindrance, however, and are now whingeing because
> they found that Italian police are, to use a phrase of Orwell,
> 'tougher babies' than they're used to dealing with. Tough for them,
> and plaudits go to the Italian police for protecting the people from
> the mob.

just checking, we're both talking about the G-8 protests in genoa
and the bloody attack by the police upon the HQ of the organizers of the
non-confrontational marches right?

-gr

Dan Clore

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Dec 2, 2002, 9:08:31 PM12/2/02
to
David Graeber wrote:
> In article <40cd7d30.02120...@posting.google.com>,
> olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote:
> > dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message
> news:<dgraeber-011...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

> > > Rich kid?


> >
> > Yup. A tenured Ivy League academic telling the Third World they
> > mustn't try to better themselves.
> >
> The man really does have no sense of embarrassment
> or shame - no matter how many times he's caught in a
> lie or fabrication, he just makes up a new one. After having
> made up the fact that I'm a rich kid (on the assumption
> that I probably am because I teach at Yale), and discovering
> that my parents were working class, he declares I'm
> a tenured Ivy League academic so that's the same thing.
> But once again in a desperate attempt to cover his own
> humiliation he simply humiliates himself again by inventing
> more facts which turn out to be untrue. No, actually, I'm not
> tenured. On what basis did he think I was? None. He just
> made it up. You see? He has absolutely no idea what he's talking
> about. And of course if he were to reply to this, he'd then say
> it doesn't matter because I still teach at Yale. But the fact remains
> he's fabricated two lies in a row, one to cover up the
> other, and shown us all how much we can believe anything
> he says.

Well, considering that Kamm apparently attributes your
childhood wealth not to your parents but to your job at
Yale, he probably figures that you've been teaching there
long enough to get tenure--since you were, what, three or
four maybe? Sounds like you were a bit of a child prodigy,
but perhaps your present ignorance can be attributed to
senility.

> Or does Kamm actually have a job? It's possible
> I am simply wrong to extrapolate from his silence
> but it's the only thing one can reasonably conclude
> given the evidence presented.

Well, he has been bragging about a job he once had--working
for his uncle.

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

Lord Weÿrdgliffe and Necronomicon Page:

Josh Dougherty

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Dec 3, 2002, 3:00:59 AM12/3/02
to
"David Graeber" <dgra...@rcn.net> wrote in message
news:dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.r
cn.com...

(snip)

> The man really does have no sense of embarrassment
> or shame - no matter how many times he's caught in a
> lie or fabrication, he just makes up a new one. After having
> made up the fact that I'm a rich kid (on the assumption
> that I probably am because I teach at Yale), and discovering
> that my parents were working class, he declares I'm
> a tenured Ivy League academic so that's the same thing.
> But once again in a desperate attempt to cover his own
> humiliation he simply humiliates himself again by inventing
> more facts which turn out to be untrue. No, actually, I'm not
> tenured. On what basis did he think I was? None. He just
> made it up. You see? He has absolutely no idea what he's talking
> about. And of course if he were to reply to this, he'd then say
> it doesn't matter because I still teach at Yale.

You'd think so, but it turns out he's now saying that your position is not
*elite enough*. iow...it's now plainly obvious that he was just fabricating
arguments and lying (as if anyone's surprised), so he just does a complete
180 on everything he was saying. Just more proof.

(the horrible truth, in all its glory, respectfully snipped)

> Okay, enough of this. I am really writing this just
> to procrastinate - I'm supposed to be working on an
> essay on value theory for the journal of Fernand
> Braudel society, ironically enough - but since people
> were encouraging me to further Kamm's humiliation
> a bit a took some time off. Now I really do have to
> go. Been fun guys. And remember: Kamm has now admitted
> to supporting Nazism.

Great post David. You definitely have Kamm's number.

Josh


Oliver Kamm

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Dec 3, 2002, 4:52:29 AM12/3/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

Who is 'George Stiglitz'? Any relation to Joseph W. Bush?

Oliver Kamm

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Dec 3, 2002, 1:57:12 PM12/3/02
to
Guilherme C Roschke <gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote in message news:<Pine.GSO.4.44.021202...@unagi.cis.upenn.edu>...

We're talking about the riots conducted by mobs at the G8 summit. I
tend to the suspicion that demonstrators armed with petrol bombs,
metal bars and sledgehammers were probably not best described as
non-confrontational, and I congratulate the Italian police for the
prompt and effective way in which they handled such people.

Oliver Kamm

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Dec 3, 2002, 2:11:00 PM12/3/02
to
Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:<3DEC121F...@columbia-center.org>...

I presumed from Graeber's description of himself as a professor that
he was indeed tenured, for I made the mistake of taking him at his
word. Only on inquiring more closely did I discover that he was not a
professor but only an assistant professor, but I cannot really be held
responsible for the rather revelaing combination of 'resume-inflation'
and snobbery that Graeber displays.

>
> > Or does Kamm actually have a job? It's possible
> > I am simply wrong to extrapolate from his silence
> > but it's the only thing one can reasonably conclude
> > given the evidence presented.
>
> Well, he has been bragging about a job he once had--working
> for his uncle.

Clore last with the facts as usual (shades of his belief, which he
conveniently never mentioned again on being asked to substantiate it,
that the IMF was responsible for the Argentine currency peg). I have
never had a 'job' with my uncle, nor any other politician, and have
never said otherwise. I served him as political adviser in an entirely
voluntary and spare-time capacity, much as I am serving as Graeber's
adviser on remedial studies in political economy - except that my
prior charge was rather better-educated on the subject.

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 3, 2002, 3:26:05 PM12/3/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

To be precise, Graeber offered the unsolicited opinion (for the
question was not directed to him) that an innumerate howler - viz that
the US was a net exporter of capital with which to exploit the Third
World, simultaneously with running a current account deficit - was an
entirely appropriate comment. Imagine a participant in an ng devoted
to mathematics being asked if a submission stating '2+2=5' was
appropriate material, and you get the scale of the problem. Graeber
accompanied his howler with a denunciation of post-Keynesianism as
'neoclassical economics', a definition that will be a surprise to
many. Perhaps 'George Stiglitz', whoever he may be, could put him
right on this.


>
>
> >
> >
> > >
> > > Rich kid?
> >
> > Yup. A tenured Ivy League academic telling the Third World they
> > mustn't try to better themselves.
> >
> The man really does have no sense of embarrassment
> or shame - no matter how many times he's caught in a
> lie or fabrication, he just makes up a new one. After having
> made up the fact that I'm a rich kid (on the assumption
> that I probably am because I teach at Yale), and discovering
> that my parents were working class, he declares I'm
> a tenured Ivy League academic so that's the same thing.
> But once again in a desperate attempt to cover his own
> humiliation he simply humiliates himself again by inventing
> more facts which turn out to be untrue. No, actually, I'm not
> tenured. On what basis did he think I was? None. He just
> made it up. You see? He has absolutely no idea what he's talking
> about. And of course if he were to reply to this, he'd then say
> it doesn't matter because I still teach at Yale. But the fact remains
> he's fabricated two lies in a row, one to cover up the
> other, and shown us all how much we can believe anything
> he says.
>
>

I confess I was misled by Graeber's description of himself as a
professor, which I assumed would be a tenured position. I realise now
that Graeber chose to exhibit the tendency known as resume-inflation,
for he is more junior than he claimed.


>
> >
> > The fascist-sympathizing troll is now reduced
> > > to simply making things up. Actually my father was a
> > > plate-stripper and my mother a seamstress but what this
> > > has to do with anything is beyond me. Just a desperate
> > > attempt to come up with some smear or personal slur to
> > > throw out by someone caught with his pro-Nazi
> > > pants down.
> >
> > Just a point of factual information.
>
> No, actually it's a libel, since you made it
> up to try to assassinate someone's character and
> it turns out not to be true.
>

No, it's a statement of fact: Graeber enjoys life on a university
campus while having plenty of opportunity to take foreign holidays as
far afield as Genoa, while the Third World gets on with lifting itself
out of poverty by ignoring the anti-globalisation rioters' advice.

Graeber is most indignant that I won't credit his impeccably objective
account of who started a riot. Note that he doesn't cite a single
source for his allegations other than fellow rioters (oh, and Italian
parliamentarians, from the Communist Refoundation party - admirers of
Stalin). Presumably the police planted the sledgehammers and Molotov
cocktails, just as the government is covering up a crashed UFO at
Roswell and Queen Elizabeth is an international drugrunner.
Alternatively, perhaps Graeber should just quit whingeing because he
wasn't treated with the deference due to a gentleman of his position.

I confess I made a mistake in believing you when you said you were a
professor at Yale, but it would have helped me come to an informed
judgement if you'd been a little more open about your junior status.

Graeber is at least right on one point: I have no intention of
introducing to these ngs my academic and professional background,
which is of no relevance to these discussions. Graeber's evident
belief to the contrary is an instance of sheer, crashing snobbery.


> A final note - I really have better things to
> do with my time


Could have fooled me.


but it's so much fun watching Kamm
> flail about humiliating himself, digging himself
> deeper and deeper... - so, note how hilarious it
> is to see Kamm accusing me, a poor kid who managed
> to work himself into a decent job, with being an
> elitist. His entire act is based on presumed elitism.
> His entire philosophy is elitist. After all, the
> movement he slanders as being dedicated to undermining
> the economic prospects for poor people in the global
> south actually _began_ in the global south, and insofar
> as it is actually about people in the north intervening
> on their behalf (this is a minor element, really)
> those people are simply conveying the positions held
> by those organizations which actually represent poor
> people in the global south.

Here we go: Graeber the elitist exposed. Who *are* the organisations
'representing' the people? He doesn't say, because such groups as he
elects to 'represent' the poor have never been voted on by the poor
themselves. They are merely the appointees of affluent westerners who
tell the Third World what's good for it.

Those who are genuinely elected by the poor (recall the Mexican
President's caustic words about globaphobes after the Seattle riots,
Graeber? Thought not: because he after all has democratic legitimacy
and you don't) strongly oppose the programme of the anti-Third
Worlders rioting in Genoa. Ever heard of the CUTS centre for
International Trade, Economics and the Environment based at Jaipur?
Thought not: it's a scholarly body of Third World intellectuals and
policy advisers. Here's the view of one of its leading (Indian)
members about the anti-globalisers' campaign to disrupt free trade
agreements with commitments to labour standards and the environment:
"Developing country academics and civil society are overwhelmingly
against it. Evidence of this can be found in the TWIN-SAL statement of
1999. In the run up to the Seattle meeting, 103 people from all over
the world signed on to the Third World Intellectuals and NGOs
Statement Against Linkage. Two years on, experience has only fortified
their arguments."

Incidentally, the term 'global south' suggests Graeber needs to brush
up on his geography too. How about a five-quadrant diagram to show the
concept?


You do not see any
> organizations of poor people in the global south
> actually _supporting_ IMF policies.


Graeber might not see them, but then his argument that because he's
never heard of X then X cannot exist is the epitome of crass ignorance
and elitism. Of course you see them; they&#8217;re a bulwark against
corrupt rulers mismanaging the economy.


So what does
> Kamm's position come down to? "I am a highly trained economist
> (except of course, I'm not really a highly trained economist)
> and therefore I know better what is good for these
> poor people than they do. Poor people are stupid
> and do not know what's good for them. They should
> shut up and let members of the elite of highly trained
> economists such as myself (except of course I'm not
> really a highly trained economist) make all decisions for
> them. Under no conditions should the majority of poor
> people have any say in public policy because they are
> too stupid.

Those who have read this far will have a pretty good idea of who is
too stupid to have any say in public policy, and it is not the Third
World.


Democracy, for instance, in which the
> majority elect a government which then carries out
> the economic policies that majority prefers must not
> occur. This makes his defense of Berlusconi as the
> people's choice particularly hilarious, since Kamm
> is openly opposed to democracy elsewhere, at least
> insofar as it involves economic policy, which must be
> left to the trained elite such as himself (except,
> of course, he is not really a member of that
> trained elite at all). Kamm has even gone so far as
> to say that debt relief for desperately poor countries
> would be 'bad for the poor' because it would mean
> IMF economists would no longer would have so much ability
> to tell their governments how to run their economies -
> ie, it might allow the poor to have some say in
> economic policy (if only through elected representatives)
> and since the poor are stupid and could not possibly
> know what's good for them, that in itself would be bad for
> the poor.
>
> Kamm incidentally knows nothing of my own positions;
> the issue I've mainly emphasized in my own writings
> is about immigration:

Let us hope it's nothing to do with economics, then, because you're
certainly out of your depth on the matter.


that is, if we were serious
> about globalization, we should lift border restrictions
> and allow people to live anywhere they want.

I agree.

If
> this is anti-poor, as Kamm has asserted my positions
> are, this would have to mean that Kamm believes that
> it is for the benefit of poor people in Bangladesh
> or Uganda that we do not allow them to move to
> Europe or the U.S., and that it would hurt them
> terribly to give them this freedom. Once again, the
> poor must be too stupid to know what's good for them.
> But Kamm knows, being a brilliant economist (except of
> course he's not really a brilliant economist, or
> apparently, an economist at all). I might note that mine
> is hardly an isolated position: the need to open borders
> was the main theme of the Genoa protests as well.


So that's what you call Molotov cocktails.

> Apparently we are all destroying economic opportunities
> for the poor by suggesting they should have free choice
> in where they want to live.
>
> I should probably also point out I don't myself
> subscribe to Kamm's elitism - I know that it's
> perfectly possible for someone who loves knowledge
> to teach themselves a discipline, even outside
> academia, and learn it just as well or better than
> academics. I am just pointing out the complete
> incoherence of his own positions.

Graeber here realises what he's said and tries to back out of it. But
elitism is a rather obvious, and not a pretty, stance.

For instance, he
> will insist that anyone with the slightest knowledge
> of economics would know that position A is laughable,
> insane, etc etc. Then if you look into the matter
> you will almost invariably find that there are in
> fact economists - real economists, with actual
> economic training, who unlike Kamm had to pass
> difficult exams and have research papers graded by
> other trained economists, who had to publish in peer-
> reviewed journals, whose work has (unike Kamm's
> ravings) had to pass judgment by scholars who know the
> field backwards and forwards and have the power
> to flunk or censure you if you lie or make up data - who come
> to exactly the opposite conclusions. Economists are
> hardly a uniform lot. While there are many economists
> who avidly support IMF or World Bank positions -
> not surprising, considering so many economists are
> employed by the IMF or institutions with similar
> interests and philosophies - there are plenty of
> real economists who avidly oppose them. And many who
> have gone from one side to the other. Take the
> example of George Stiglitz,


WHO? Do you mean Joseph Stiglitz, you who are so obviously familiar
with his work?

who used to be the chief
> economist for the World Bank - a man who rose to
> the very top of the economic field, where Kamm's
> position (with apparently no academic qualifications,
> no publications, no intellectual recognition, reduced
> to writing only for public forums with no academic
> standards and lying his head off on those) seems
> to define the very nadir. But he quit the World Bank
> in disgust and has since spent his time demonstrating
> the extreme economic destructiveness of structural
> adjustment policies. Now, if I were to post a few
> of Stiglitz' positions to the list (just the positions,
> without mentioning the source) Kamm would instantly
> appear to declare how embarrassingly ignorant they were
> are of even the basics of economic theory, how no one
> who knew anything about the subject would possibly
> see them as anything but pathetic and ignorant. That's all
> he ever does.

No, that's all I ever do to *Graeber*, for the embarrassingly obvious
reason that his postings display no economic knowledge whatever.
Economists distinguish between positive economics (what is) and
normative economics (what ought to be). There are indeed innumerable
views on normative economics - it's not the point of the discipline to
come up with policy views. All economics can do is test for
consistency. The view that a country can run a current account deficit
while being a net exporter of capital is the type of thing that
economists catch, though Graeber can't.


But that's why he's too much of a coward
> to appear on any forum where intellectual standards
> are actually enforced - in a real debate, in a real
> scholarly forum, before real trained economists, someone
> like Stiglitz - a _real_ economist, with real training
> and accomplishments - would rip a fraud like Kamm to
> shreds in 30 seconds.

Stiglitz is indeed a brilliant economist, whose theoretical work on
the economics of information deservedly won him a Nobel Prize, and who
could rip me to shreds. But the obvious ought not to need stating
except for Graeber: Stiglitz's erudition does not make his policy
views right, and his policy views do not make Graeber's economic
illiteracy any less extreme merely because Graeber fancies he agrees
with them (as I very much doubt he does: Stiglitz's point about what
he castigates as the destructive policies of the IMF is that it
dissipates support for free trade).

>
> Okay, enough of this. I am really writing this just
> to procrastinate - I'm supposed to be working on an
> essay on value theory for the journal of Fernand
> Braudel society, ironically enough - but since people
> were encouraging me to further Kamm's humiliation
> a bit a took some time off. Now I really do have to
> go. Been fun guys. And remember: Kamm has now admitted
> to supporting Nazism.
> DG

Please, whatever you do, don't forget to post more of this stuff.

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 3, 2002, 3:47:54 PM12/3/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

[large volume of incoherent abuse snipped]

Kamm has even gone so far as
> to say that debt relief for desperately poor countries
> would be 'bad for the poor' because it would mean
> IMF economists would no longer would have so much ability
> to tell their governments how to run their economies -
> ie, it might allow the poor to have some say in
> economic policy (if only through elected representatives)
> and since the poor are stupid and could not possibly
> know what's good for them, that in itself would be bad for
> the poor.

Omitted to mention this point, when I had meant to, for it is a nice
indication of how far out of his depth Graeber is when he attempts a
comment on political economy. I challenge him to produce a single
statement from me when I have ever said debt relief for poor countries
would be bad for the poor because IMF economists would be unable to to
tell governments how to run their economies. He will not be able to,
of course, but what is revealing about his remark is the depth of
economic illiteracy it displays. I am strongly in favour of debt
relief and debt management programmes - indeed at an earlier stage in
my career I worked on precisely such proposals. I am opposed to
unconditional debt forgiveness, however, for a reason perfectly
well-grounded in financial economics: it would increase developing
countries' cost of capital. Because developing countries would thereby
find it *harder* to gain the funds necessary for development, they
would certainly be *more* reliant on the IMF and not less.

I repeat, for Graeber's benefit: you complain of being termed ignorant
(not that I recall my applying such a term to you, but I am happy to
advance it), but this is simply a statement of fact. You are not
competent in the subject you are writing about. I cannot fathom the
snobbery involved in supposing that you are immune from the
conventional requirement of study and research in order to be able to
contribute knowledgeably about a difficult and technical discipline,
but I point it out to you nonetheless.

James A. Donald

unread,
Dec 3, 2002, 11:58:03 PM12/3/02
to
--

On Mon, 2 Dec 2002 18:56:29 -0500, Guilherme C Roschke
<gros...@luminousvoid.net> wrote:
> just checking, we're both talking about the G-8 protests in
> genoa and the bloody attack by the police upon the HQ of the
> organizers of the non-confrontational marches right?

You could argue that the marchers were fighting on the side of
right and justice, but to argue that they were pacifists is a
bit silly.

During the riots the police were attacked by armed organized
groups, many of them wearing clothes that looked suspiciously
like a uniform. In response the police struck hard at the
headquarters, to be greeted by a loud complaint that they were
attacking anarchist pacifists.

The black bloc uniform is almost as funny as pacifists with
molotov cocktails. One can imagine anarchists wearing
uniforms, several different uniforms, but when there is only
one uniform, the claim to be anarchists is as doubtful as the
claim to be pacifists.

The rationale for the uniform is that it provides anonymity.
When one guy in uniform throws a molotov cocktail, the police
supposedly will not know who to arrest. Of course, the police
do know who to arrest. They arrest everyone in uniform in the
vicinity of the crime. The legal system has lots of methods
for dealing with groups of people acting in unity to pursue a
common purpose.

It seems to me that the real function of the uniform is to
provide a sense of identity, unity and cohesion, much like the
blackshirt uniform.

--digsig
James A. Donald
6YeGpsZR+nOTh/cGwvITnSR3TdzclVpR0+pr3YYQdkG
dMGeNOfZ5x13MA1Liq71nPpY2RkuorF03NqBLFyc
40++FBjmoPpmPI0163ocbz9Tf8db6hBGXUQQtJ0ty

M J Carley

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 4:01:46 AM12/4/02
to
In the referenced article, James A. Donald <jam...@echeque.com> writes:

>During the riots the police were attacked by armed organized groups,
>many of them wearing clothes that looked suspiciously like a uniform.
>In response the police struck hard at the headquarters, to be greeted
>by a loud complaint that they were attacking anarchist pacifists.

The police were attacked by people dressed in black: there is good
photographic evidence that those people were colluding with the
police. The police, in response, did not attack those dressed in black
but peaceful demonstrators, including many who were nowhere near any
fighting. For example:

http://www.diario.it/cnt/speciali/genova/copertinaG8.htm
http://www.diario.it/cnt/speciali/genova/QuestoNumero.htm

shows a photo of a fifty year old woman helping a badly beaten
man. The woman, a nurse, had worked as a nurse in Africa for many
years before returning to Italy to work in a hospital in Trieste. She
went to the demonstrations with the Lilliput network. Her photo
appeared in the `Il Piccolo' newspaper in Trieste. Because of this, as
she passed in front of the forces of order with her hands raised, she
was brutally beaten.

But it's good to know you oppose the force of the state being used
against unarmed and innocent people.
--
`Al vero filosofo ogni terreno e' patria.'
BHaLC #6
No MS attachments: http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
Home page: http://staff.bath.ac.uk/ensmjc/

brian turner

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 1:22:55 PM12/4/02
to
Your "Oliver Kamm is a Nazi sympahtizer" is a pretty far leap from a
statement about anti-globalization protests (he might be unaware of
Mussolini sympathizers involement, you might be overstating
it--regardless, there is no obvious endorsement of such
activitites--that could only come through additional questioning,
instead, you stop and leap). This is exactly the kind of thing hurled
at Chomsky re: the Khmer Rouge and Faurisson. No one asks, "Noam,
what did you mean when you said X about the Khmer Rouge..are you
saying you endorse everything they were doing?", they just say
"Chomsky supports Pol Pot". I'd suggest it's wrong then, it's wrong
when you do it.

And the attacks on Oliver Kamm because he (so you say) *only* read
some books on economics, has a general implication beyond your war of
words with him that bothered me. So only those with formal
credentials can comment on economics? No self education through
reading is possible?

dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-021...@204-74-0-116.c3-0.nyw-ubr2.nyr-nyw.ny.cable.rcn.com>...

Padraig L Henry

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 7:11:05 PM12/4/02
to
On Mon, 02 Dec 2002 01:54:49 -0500, dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber)
wrote:

>

Excellent post, David.

I would sincerely doubt that Kamm is being paid to write his
chronically deluded, reactionary scribblings, though I'm certain that
such a failed "political analyst" would like to imagine otherwise,
given that his opera-singing new Dutch wife pays all the bills. Fine
in opera-loving-working-class Italy, but in Britain it highlights his
true colours, a right-wing, unreconstructed, pompous imperialist
cluelessly masquerading as a left-wing democrat. The most brutal kind
of loutishly pedantic Snob. Every newsgroup, these days, has at least
one of them ... and we're all the poorer for it.

Sad. But not even as sad as Italian film-maker and former doyen of the
Italian Left, 50-year-old Roberto Benigni's recent embrace of the
ideology of Silvio Berlusconi (whose company, Medus, released
Benigni's latest breaking-all-Italian-box-office-records film, his
risible Pinocchio) and his bulldog market values.

And I don't think, either, that there will be any Blue Fairy on the
ideological horizon any time soon to redeem the exponential growth of
Kamm's woodworm-ridden proboscis ...

Padraig

Padraig L Henry

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 7:16:19 PM12/4/02
to
On Mon, 02 Dec 2002 01:54:49 -0500, dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber)
wrote:

>

Excellent post, David.

brian turner

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 7:48:54 PM12/4/02
to
olive...@tiscali.co.uk (Oliver Kamm) wrote in message news:<40cd7d30.0212...@posting.google.com>...

>... I am opposed to


> unconditional debt forgiveness, however, for a reason perfectly
> well-grounded in financial economics: it would increase developing
> countries' cost of capital. Because developing countries would thereby

> find it *harder* to gain the funds necessary for development... [deleted]

I'll yield to your expertise that the cost of capital would go up.
But what kind of system would produce such a result? That immediately
strikes me as a question. Banks, likely perceiving implied
socialization of risk (i.e. bailout ready if needed), thus given
beyond market impetus to lend -- lend tons of money to gangster
dictators and corrupt oligarchies (the kind you admirably rail
against, albeit while avoiding the issue of US admiration or even
complicity, in the cases where this existed). Dictators/oligarchs
manage to spend the money in ways not benefiting the majority of the
population (possibly not even those paying the tax bill). Dictators
fade into the history books, and the tax paying public is told they
must now pay the recklessly lended to debts of dictators and
oligarchs, or else their cost of capital will increase. Who exactly
is getting the market disciple signals? The population? The ones
that didn't borrow in the first place, or benefit from the borrowing?
If the cost of capital goes up, this perhaps shows a market failure,
requiring intervention.

Now, this is surely an exaggeration. Surely there are some cases
where the borrowing gov'ts were at least partly legitimate, and
borrowed funds did at least partly benefit the population. For those
cases, you have a point, though I'd still say forgive it if there is
ability-to-pay problems. If COC goes up subsequently, the rich
countries can subsidize it back to previous market levels.

David Graeber

unread,
Dec 4, 2002, 6:31:18 PM12/4/02
to
In article <66dc0679.02120...@posting.google.com>,
bk...@hotmail.com (brian turner) wrote:

> Your "Oliver Kamm is a Nazi sympahtizer" is a pretty far leap from a
> statement about anti-globalization protests (he might be unaware of
> Mussolini sympathizers involement, you might be overstating
> it--regardless, there is no obvious endorsement of such
> activitites--that could only come through additional questioning,
> instead, you stop and leap). This is exactly the kind of thing hurled
> at Chomsky re: the Khmer Rouge and Faurisson. No one asks, "Noam,
> what did you mean when you said X about the Khmer Rouge..are you
> saying you endorse everything they were doing?", they just say
> "Chomsky supports Pol Pot". I'd suggest it's wrong then, it's wrong
> when you do it.

I described quite explicitly what happened: that an
overtly fascist element in Berlusconi's coalition directed
the police preparations, that these involved alliance
with fascist and nazi elements who acted as provacateurs
(all of this later documented in the Italian press), that
attacks were leveled against explicitly pacifist groups
like Lilliput or feminist groups doing spiral dances, etc,
that Italian parlaimentary investigators found that arrestees
were systematically tortured, that fascist elements in
the Italian police made prisoners chant fascist slogans
and sing fascist songs while beating them, etc etc. IN
RESPONSE TO THAT Kamm replied "Go Italian police!" On
being told that police tortured prisoners and went
about systematically breaking the bones and shattering
teeth of helpless sleeping activists, he did not reply
"I don't believe that really happened", he replied that he
thought that they were entirely justified and approved of their
actions. After being told that police were torturing
prisoners under pictures of Mussolini, he says that
the prisoners got what they deserved. Go check the posts.

Now, when you say this resembles the way people slur
Chomsky, well, I did indeed originally want to point
out that irony, since Kamm has made a career out of
doing this to others: not only claiming Chomsky supports
Nazis and Pol Pot but finding ways to make a similar
charge against anyone who disagrees with him, so as to
generally smear people and disrupt the newsgroup. I
thought it would be useful to point out how easily the
same could be done to him. What I was amazed to discover
however was that Kamm actually _does_ support such actions.
So far he has never at any point, even when repeatedly
challenged, made _any_ remark distancing himself in any way
from any action the fascists have made, or from the fascists
themselves, or stated his disapproval of any aspect
of their activities, or even made comments like "if it
turned out they really had done X or Y or Z I would
hardly approve of it" - but made numerous, aggressive,
and repeated remarks strongly supporting acts of brutality
on their part.

Chomsky when challenged is always perfectly willing
to tell people what nonsense these charges are, how
much he hates Nazis, brutal regimes like Pol Pot's,
etc. He certainly does not go around saying that Pol
Pot's victims were a bunch of counterrevolutionary
thugs who got what they deserved. Kamm, who nontheless
insists Chomsky's disavowals are not good enough, and that
his denials are disingenuous, refuses to even make such
denials himself; he does not distance himself from the
fascists in any way and instead villifies their victims and
says the fascists were justified to beat and torture them.

So what else am I supposed to conclude?


>
> And the attacks on Oliver Kamm because he (so you say) *only* read
> some books on economics, has a general implication beyond your war of
> words with him that bothered me. So only those with formal
> credentials can comment on economics? No self education through
> reading is possible?

Of course it's possible.

No one is saying Kamm can't comment on economics. What
we are challenging is Kamm's insistence that (a) he is an
expert on economics, and (b) no one who is not an expert
on economics such as himself has the right to comment on
anything. His entire internet career is based on sneering
contemptuously at anyone who disagrees with him, saying
that he is a scholar, a scientist, an expert in economics
and they are obviously a ignorant illiterate fool whose
opinions are worthless. If so, it seems reasonable for
those who are the objects of his endless sneering and
verbal abuse to ask the self-proclaimed expert why they
should believe he really is an expert to begin with.
To ask him to produce some evidence. A degree. A publication.
Some work he is done which has been examined by other scholars
in the field and not found wanting. Something to back up
his endless claims of intellectual superiority.

In response he has managed to produce nothing - no
evidence that he actually is an expert on economics of
any kind. It is hard to escape the conclusion
that the man is simply a fraud.
DG

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 5, 2002, 6:15:14 AM12/5/02
to
bk...@hotmail.com (brian turner) wrote in message news:<66dc0679.02120...@posting.google.com>...

I don't disagree at all that there should be intervention to
ameliorate the debt crisis. My point was that straighforward debt
forgiveness would have the unwanted consequence of raising developing
countries' cost of capital, because private lenders extending fresh
funds would then demand an additional premium to compensate them for
the risk of future forgiveness. That premium would be paid not by
western banks or western taxpayers, but by developing countries
looking for capital to fund their current account deficits as they try
to grow. These may not be the very poorest countries, which generally
don't borrow in the capital markets, but they would be poor countries
nonetheless, and it is imperative that schemes for debt relief end up
being paid for by the right people and not the wrong people. The
schemes of the 'Drop the Debt' campaign would end up being paid for by
exactly the wrong people, namely developing countries.

I certainly sympathise with your point that the people of debtor
nations should not be held responsible for the profligacy of past
despots (we can all think of names of former African dictators). That
is precisely what I am thinking of when I urge debt relief schemes
that don't end up making Third World countries poorer and don't
encourage the 'moral hazard' whereby countries that build up a record
of creditworthiness suddenly find, through debt forgiveness for
countries that have been ransacked by a domestic dictator, that their
cost of capital rises through no fault of their own. The task ought to
be to do exactly as succesive British governments have done (starting
with the Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson in the 1980s) and James
Baker did in the 1980s, and adopt a 'menu' approach to new lending and
voluntary debt reduction. This menu included in the 1980s, when I
worked on the subject, bonds convertible into local equity, exit bonds
with long maturities that banks could accept in exchange for their
loan claims, and debt-equity swaps. Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard also
pioneered a technique of debt buybacks, whereby the debtor country
bought back its debt when a bank's claim was trading at a deep
discount to the market. I am strongly in favour of western aid to
enable debtor countries to take such imaginative steps in reducing
their debt burden, because in these ways the debt relief would not
have the negative eternality of raising the cost of capital for other
debtor nations.

This is slightly technical a discussion in nature, but I'm trying to
make the distinction between unconditional debt forgiveness, which
would do immense damage to Third World living standards, and debt
relief whereby western countries enable debtor nations to reduce their
own debt by means that do *not* make it more difficult to attarct
fresh funds in future. The corollary of course is that that relief has
to be conditional on the debtor nations' taking steps in economic
management that make it more difficult for future profligacy to take
place (e.g. pursuit of effective monetary and fiscal policies and
control of deficits). This is why, while there are reasonable
arguments to be had about how far conditionality should be imposed,
the much-maligned IMF has a crucial role to play in getting countries
out of poverty.

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 5, 2002, 6:55:23 AM12/5/02
to
dgra...@rcn.net (David Graeber) wrote in message news:<dgraeber-041...@wr9.anthropology.yale.edu>...

Graeber's bluff has of course been called, and it's unsurprising he
can only bluster in response. I have no particular inclination to
waste time on a man who's already dug his own grave, but suffice to
say that his complaint is that I do not regard him, or the Stalinists
he cites as corroborative evidence, as a reliable source of
information (note the phraseology: "I described quite explicitly what
happened", as if he were a definitive source). This is quite right: I
don't, and for reasons that Graeber has demonstrated in this thread
when caught out fibbing about his own resume. Suffice to say , also,
that I do not sneer at 'anyone who disagrees with me': I sneer at
*him*, for imagining he can get away with making confident
declarations on technical subjects without having first taken the
trouble to conduct some elementary research on those subjects. This
tendency reached a comic stage when he cited in his support Joseph
Stiglitz without having so much as checked the man's name, let alone
his arguments. Given such a record, I'm unsurprised Graeber should be
so touchy, but facts have a tendency to expose the fraudulent and the
poseur, don't they, old bean?

Oliver Kamm

unread,
Dec 5, 2002, 7:09:03 AM12/5/02
to
phe...@iol.ie (Padraig L Henry) wrote in message news:<3dee9a75...@news.iol.ie>...

>
> Excellent post, David.
>
> I would sincerely doubt that Kamm is being paid to write his
> chronically deluded, reactionary scribblings, though I'm certain that
> such a failed "political analyst" would like to imagine otherwise,
> given that his opera-singing new Dutch wife pays all the bills. Fine
> in opera-loving-working-class Italy, but in Britain it highlights his
> true colours, a right-wing, unreconstructed, pompous imperialist
> cluelessly masquerading as a left-wing democrat. The most brutal kind
> of loutishly pedantic Snob. Every newsgroup, these days, has at least
> one of them ... and we're all the poorer for it.

[snip]

I'm certainly interested that devotees of 'arguably the most important
intellectual alive' learn that an opponent's arguments may be
dismissed if he is British and likes opera, as it confirms my
judgement of the analytical rigour underlying the Chomsky cult. The
obvious ought not to need stating, but it clearly does