Louis Proyect, the moderator of the Marxmail discussion listserv who keeps the Unrepentant Marxist blog, purged me from his list yesterday, falsely claiming that I taunted "Marxmail subscribers as candidates for making common cause with the imperialists in this fashion will also be removed" ("Re: [Marxism] Moderator's Note," 23 July 2006). What did I actually say? "BTW, to all of you, born or adopted Westerners, on the left who are DYING to overthrow a government in North Africa and West Asia: may I recommend Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt (in that order), instead of Iran?" ("Re: [Marxism] Divide and Conquer," 23 July 2006). Notice that there is no mention of anyone collaborating with imperialists to overthrow anything in my quip. Besides, what imperialist wants to overthrow the Saudi Arabian, Jordanian, and Egyptian governments? They are the best allies of Washington and Tel Aviv in the whole Middle East!
Where did Proyect's misinterpretation come from? Apparently, the state of the Left is such that he can't imagine, even as a joke which my quip obviously was, leftists overthrowing any government ON THEIR OWN without the aid of imperialists. There is at least one virtue in this misinterpretation: it's an unconscious admission that Western leftists are indeed irrelevant, the perennially powerless who can criticize others but are incapable of presenting an attractive practical alternative to the status quo that would win the allegiance of masses in their own countries, let alone anywhere else. In my view, the admission of our irrelevance today, rather than denial of it, is the first necessary step toward overcoming it.
In any event, Proyect's purging of me accomplished another important goal: his listserv now has one fewer women as well as one fewer queers, diminishing racial diversity of participants by one to boot! (Ever wonder why discussion mailing lists on the Left have very few female participants?) Now the remaining socialist men are free to debate the relative conditions of women's rights in Iran, the rest of the Middle East, socialist countries, and others in a congenial atmosphere free from an outspoken bisexual woman of color who dares to disagree with them (if you are curious about how discussion went, visit Marxmail's public archive)! Yes, that really shows that socialist men like Proyect are most qualified to speak up for the importance of gender equality! Women are equal to men, provided that women agree with men. :->
Now, how that kind of practice makes secular socialist men better feminists than Muslim men and women, as they claim, is beyond me. The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, for instance, is headed by an accomplished woman -- Asma Mobin-Uddin, a pediatrician and author of My Name Is Bilal, a children's book -- and its events -- from protests to fundraisers -- have gender-equal participation, women found in leading positions as well as the rank and file. The way I look at it, secular socialist men have much to learn from Muslims of the CAIR-Ohio.