Hobsbawm

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Sep 18 22:59:51 MDT 2002


Gary wrote:

> The below and his attitude towards the Paris uprisings of 1968 are two
> reasons why I won't join any cheer squad for Hobsbawm
>
> His lectures in Belfast at the heiht of the imperialist attacks on the
> Catholic working class were nothing less than treachery.  Similarly his
> sponsorship of the Irish Revisionists is another count--revolutionary
> act.  Truly he did become a Companion of (Bourgeois Imperialist) Honour.


Yes, indeed.  It seems an odd sort of 'unrepentant communist' who
accepts an award of the British Empire (or what's left of it).

Hobsbawm's attitudes to the Paris events of May 68 and the explosion in
Ireland are good indications of his lack of any revolutionary impulses.
His embrace of Euro-communism and the 'new times' outlook of Martin
Jacques and co. at 'Marxism Today', complete with his and their support
for the Liberal Democrats and Labour forming a 'grand coalition',
indicated that he was much more of a social democrat than a communist.

He also appears to be a kind of ideological god-father to people like
Robert Brenner who downplay the role of slavery in the rise of
capitalism.  This, again, reflects his euro-centrism and hostility to
contemporary national liberation struggles when they impinge upon the
British state.

Hobsbawm happens to be the favourite historian of the Canterbury
University history department's resident 'expert' on, and critic of,
Marxism.  It's not hard to see how someone as hostile to Marxism as this
guy at Canterbury is can nevertheless be a big admirer of Hobsbawm.

Philip Ferguson

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