I mean, M.L.
Csus2
11

You conclude by saying “why not start on a point of agreement, rather than finding all the ways in which you disagree?” This is a rather banal truism that is undermined by the very thing you’re trying to defend. Wolfe did not extend even an iota of the principle of charity, nor would I demand that he does. What I find bothersome about his opening tirade, and what I explained in my above comment (which you barely addressed), is that he completely misrepresents Settlers. And yes, he mentions my review but he also misrepresents that review––and attributes the wrong name to me in the process, which is just symbolic of lazy reading. My problem here is that lazy reading, and a defense of lazy critiques, is used to dismiss a work of theory that is important for anti-colonial and anti-racist Marxists.

To be clear: my main argument was not “he’s racist” but he misrepresents Settlers and the reviews for reasons that imply, along with the fact that he has been consistently opposed to all major non-white and non-European expressions of Marxism, eurocentrism.

The red herring about motivations completely misses the point, especially when you go off on a tangent about the motivations of the article’s author. I don’t really care about those circumstantial ad hominems because I was merely looking at the article itself and its relation to Wolfe’s bashing of Settlers. Considering that a vast majority of people won’t read Settlers, or will dishonestly read Settlers and misrepresent it, I can see why the author isn’t interested in reading another critique. Maybe some of these people should read a non-white tradition of Marxism; maybe we should be focusing on that instead of whether or not a monotonous troll like Wolfe, whose thoughts on things will be quickly forgotten has been attacked. Possibly it’s moot to even reply to you, or to critique Wolfe, since Sakai will remain Sakai and Wolfe will remain Wolfe. The former has written a classic, whether or not you agree with it, and the latter has produced nothing of note.

Still, I want to emphasize the point of misrepresentation. The review of mine that Wolfe linked was in fact about how reviews of Sakai, particularly those of McCreary and Lamb, were such terrible misrepresentations (i.e. they attribute claims to him that he doesn’t make, they say he didn’t look a “x” history when in fact he did, etc.) that the authors completely misread a book (going so far as to make Sakai say the opposite of what he says at certain points) or were being dishonest. I gave examples of these misreadings, pointed out how some of the claims were completely wild: the one about “class essentialism” is in fact quite funny because Camfield (Lamb’s real life name) wrote a book that was a paradigm example of class essentialism. Wolfe then cites those passages that were complete misreadings, which makes me think he hasn’t read the bloody book, and then makes a side comment about my article as being a whole-sale defense of Sakai––another misrepresentation. In fact, I disagree with parts of Sakai’s overall argument, and indicated in my review this disagreement, but was interested only in pointing out how people were engaging with him in a very uncritical manner that indicated something else.

So no, I do not feel the need to be generous to someone who feels that is beneath him to honestly read Settlers. Hell, even his use of Rashid’s critique is rank opportunism. I respect Rashid, and I think there are good points made in Rashid’s critique, but Wolfe does not like Rashid’s politics one bit, is completely opposed to his Maoism, and would trash him as much as he trashed Sakai if given a chance.

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