[Wikipedia-l] More on marxists.org

Michael R. Irwin mri_icboise at surfbest.net
Sat Aug 17 06:04:39 UTC 2002

First cutting to the chase here:

Jimmy Wales wrote:

> This objection suggests to me that you don't really get the point I'm
> trying to make here.

If this article is representative, then yes, I also think our 
current process of collaboratively editing (or edit warring) the 
current pages could be overwhelmed for a while, even with a 
trickle of articles.

This could result in a quantity of non NPOV (Marxist
bias) material being served as current pages until our
existing rate of contribution can process it.

Personally I do not see this as a new issue. Our current 
process routinely serves biased or non NPOV material
on the current page until editors get around to editing it.
We short circuit this a bit with dedicated regulars tracking
the recent changes page alert for obviously unsuitable 
or NPOV material.  

This will be true until we implement some sort of revision
control process and serve only material NPOV'ed to some
threshold as the current page.  Elsewhere I proposed
a mechanism for this that I hoped would also reduce edit
wars by placing a focus on creating suitable material for
pages worth promotion to current page status instead of 
deleting unsuitable material from the current page.   
I think LDC also proposed a mechanism which was 
slightly different.  

I think our current process works overall in the long
run in that the bias is steadily eroded as diverse new 
contributors discuss and improve it.  I think it is probable 
that much bias still exists in many areas through lack 
of diverse participation in the community or in specific

Perhaps if a few Marxists join us to hand trickle their
material in we can request that they help us identify our own
biases in other material as we assist them in NPOV'ing
the new Marxist material.  In other words, that they
participate fully in the community project with the goal
of a complete NPOV enclyclopedia.  This could be a quantum
leap in overall quality from some perspectives.

.... and now on to the verbose yet highly interesting
Devil's Advocacy and philosophical nitpicking.  Non interested 
readers are advised to stop here.

Mike Irwin

> Michael R. Irwin wrote:


Jimmy Wales wrote:

> What I would object to is a generic article called "freedom" which
> says "Freedom for the vast majority necessarily means restriction of
> the freedom of a small minority to exploit the labour of others".

This I understand.  I also would object if other views were
to be excluded.   My personal definition of freedom as a U.S.
citizen is probably somewhat similar to yours.

However, I can see some validity to this particular theoretical
In order to reattain "freedom" to drink non carcinogenic water 
in the U.S. it has proven necessary to regulate the entire economy
with regard to pesticides, toxic industrial waste, etc.  Now I
believe that most Americans would not intentionally and willfilly 
poisen their neighbors downstream, but apparently a substantial
minority will not refrain voluntarily.  If a free market economy
with no environmental regulations tends to raise the unscrupulous 
or willfully ignorant to top decision making positions because it 
is cheaper to dump industrial waste products than process them 
safely into other products or store them safely; then it will be 
necessary to either distill your own water, avoid swimming holes, 
avoid fishing, and etc. or else regulate chemical dumping.

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that it has been in
the news for years that U.S. Corporations seem to be happily 
poisening Mexicans and a few Texans who share their groundwater,
via chemical dumping just across the U.S. Mexican border.
Apparently Mexico has refused to follow Marx's advice and regulate
the few, even if they are gringo owned foreign corporations, for
the benefit of the many.   This dedication to freedom is killing
and maiming many people each year for the bottom line of chemical
companies run by heroic absentee CEOs.

Enron, Worldcom, etc. have certainly demonstrated some regulation
and prosecution is necessary in capital markets (not to mention
energy markets) if small investors or consumers are to have equal 
opportunity to profit from investing decisions or natural market
prices of energy.

As I understand this article on the Marxist view of "freedom"
Marx was fairly accurate in projecting what was required for
a highly successful capitalist society to protect itself from
its capitalists and executives.  Their freedom to dump industrial 
wastes for increased profit margins has been restricted (So has 
mine, so  perhaps he was wrong here.  Everybody regulated instead 
of just a "minority".) so that I (and all others) can enjoy clean 
water and a better overall environment.  

His mistakes were apparently in assuming that we
must regulate the capitalist out of existence entirely, if he
did, and that only the greedy, wealthy, minority must be 

The article mentioned restriction not obliteration.  It
turns out that partial implementation of his theories in the
U.S. in ways compatible with the equal protection clause of the
U.S. Constitution, have had solid merit; while eliminating the 
capitalists entirely did not work well for the Soviets.

I agree though, the title must be augmented as this is
not the only form of freedom available in a modern "free"

> And "Positive freedom has been built up almost exclusively as a result
> of the struggle of the working class: initially the legislation
> limiting hours of work, child labour and so on, later the creation of
> free compulsory education, public health systems, right to form trade
> unions, and so forth, freedoms which explicitly limit the freedom of
> the capitalists to exploit workers, but give worker the opportunity to
> develop as human beings."
> See the entire entry here:
> http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/f/r.htm#freedom
> Now, my objection is not just that these things are wrong, nor that
> they are the noble foundation of the great riproaring genocides of the
> past century.

Are they?  It looked to me like the now failed totalitarian
empires pretty consistently ignored the theory.   

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