Commentary on Political Economy

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Open Letter To Martin Wolf

This is an email I wrote in June to Martin Wolf at the Financial Times after his Board of Editors had banned me from posting further comments on the FT - ostensibly for "being offensive", but in reality because we were literally demolishing the rank and faulty reasoning behind many of their "Opinions".

Here it is:

Dear Mr. Wolf,

You may or may not be aware that I have been banned from posting comments on the FT. There may well be good reasons for doing this – it is a matter of indifference to me, really, although there is no doubt that many fellow readers were reading my comments regularly and were even posting favourable comments to that effect.

My latest contributions had been fairly restrained, I would have thought, with the occasional “sparring” or “robust” exchange here and there. Where my restraint was not exercised, to put it mildly, was in the direction of Wen Jia Bao and the Chinese dictatorship. We must all ask ourselves, and our consciences, whether some abuse hurled in that direction is really such a sin after all when we consider the far more substantial “abuse” in every sense of the word that inveterate criminals such as Wen and his henchmen in China exercise at the expense, suffering, torture, unlawful detention, intimidation of many Chinese fellows toward whom, alas, I can only feel admiration and sympathy (I dare not say empathy, of course).

I believe that the real explanation behind the decision to ban me has little to do with the occasional “sparring” with fellow readers – that is a daily occurrence between participants and some even find the exchange stimulating and “provocative” even in the better sense of the word.

No. The real explanation has to do with the fact that obviously many readers – and I dare say, the more intelligent and perspicacious among them – were beginning to follow my contributions closely and (God forbid!) were even beginning to agree with me, to look into my reasoning (I have spoken often of an “analytical framework”), and reason accordingly. I have no doubt (and I certainly do not flatter myself here) that my outspoken views and analyses were becoming “incommodious” to various people whose interests were obviously negatively impacted by them.

You may be pleased to learn that in any case none of this hurts me personally: apart from being quite wealthy, I am also far advanced in the writing of my study on Nietzsche and parallel studies of the history, interpretation and critique of capitalist society and its economy. Recently, I had reflected on the fact that commenting on the FT was distracting me, albeit to a small extent, from these other studies that I believe will have a far more lasting and weightier impact on our politics and society.

Let us be frank. Some of us do not stand on the same side of the barricades – and those barricades, you need no reminder, are going up higher and faster, and not just in Europe but all around the world, than they were in recent times. I happen to be on the side of those who had to endure long and hard the oppression of a social system to which I shall never surrender, and to which I have sworn undying hatred. Neither the Financial Times nor the interests that stand behind it will be able to stop us: we are too many, we are too clever, and we are too determined. We shall prevail.

Joseph Belbruno

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