Tag Archives: Communism

Professor Eric Hobsbawm

“Eric Hobsbawm’s personal conduct was in some respects admirable.  Born in Egypt in 1917 to an English father and an Austrian mother, both of whom were Jewish, Hobsbawm was an orphan in Vienna by the age of 14, the same age at which he became a Communist.”  Matthew Walther

Eric the Red 
A report from Professor Hobsbawm’s memorial service 

By Matthew Walther, National Review, November 25, 2013, p. 27, 28
 The history of Western fashion in the 20th century will be very much impoverished if those who come to write it fail to emphasize the seminal importance of something I like to call “U. Marxist chic.” You know what I mean: three-piece tweeds, baggy elbow-patched cardigans, white oxfords with or without patterns (never colored), green or brown wool ties, simple brown loafers. I remember a professor of mine, nothing short of a fashion guru in his billowing, tentlike sweaters and threadbare trousers, who argued that, 60-plus million dead or nay, the Soviet experiment had been vindicated by the USSR’s female-literacy rate, which he assured me had been extraordinarily high. Why do only unrepentant Stalinists wear such fine old clothes?

I thought of my professor and his unpleasant political views, which still seem to me at odds with his very agreeable getup, when I attended a memorial service last month for Eric Hobsbawm, the perpetually tweeded and bespectacled English Marxist historian, university lecturer, sometime jazz critic, and card-carrying member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), who died last year at age 95. When the Hobsbawms of the world die, either the best or the very worst tends to be brought out in people. Thus, Bruce Bawer and A. N. Wilson were in fine form, in FrontPage and the Daily Mail, respectively, laying into Hobsbawm for, among other things, his championing of the Nazi–Soviet pact, his strange omission of Katyn and the Warsaw uprising from his account of the Second World War in The Age of Extremes, and his meh response to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. Even the obituary that ran in the New York Times took the trouble to point out that his allegiance to the party was nothing short of fanatical, faltering not even when Peter Fryer, foreign correspondent for the CPGB’s own house rag, the Daily Worker, was booted out in 1956 for reporting accurately on the Hungarian uprising. Hobsbawm’s affiliation with the CPGB simply withered away in 1989. (According to Christopher Hitchens, no renewal form came in the mail, and Hobsbawm didn’t bother to ask after one.) Meanwhile, on the website of The American Conservative, Paul Gottfried praised Hobsbawm for not being a “fashionable, politically correct leftist,” as if being out and proud about one’s support for state-sponsored mass murder were somehow comparable to opposing affirmative action publicly. Age of Extremes indeed!

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Mandela In His Own Words

I noticed over the weekend that lists of quotes from Nelson Mandela had gone viral on the Internet.

None of the lists I saw included any of these – which say more about the man and the myth than you could have learned by reading all the reports in the international establishment press.

1) “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”

2) “Long live the Cuban revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro … Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom and justice. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of a vicious imperialist campaign designed to destroy the advances of the Cuban revolution. We too want to control our destiny. … There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death. The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”

3) “[T]he people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign conducted by the USA against the socialist countries. They know that their independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the socialist camp but by the USA, who has surrounded their continent with military bases. The communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism.”

4) “Under a Communist Party government, South Africa will become a land of milk and honey. Political, economic and social rights will cease to be enjoyed by whites only. They will be shared equally by whites and non-whites. There will be enough land and houses for all. There will be no unemployment, starvation and disease. Workers will earn decent wages; transport will be cheap and education free.”

5) “Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation, one who gave his entire life to the cause of the Palestinian people.”

6) “The cause of communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind!”

7) “Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Khadafy can go jump in the pool.”

8) “There’s one place where (Fidel Castro’s) Cuba stands out head and shoulders above the rest – that is in its love for human rights and liberty!”

9) “The victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R., in the People’s Republic of China, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania, where the living conditions of the people were in many respects similar and even worse than ours, proves that we too can achieve this important goal.”

10) “Communists everywhere fight to destroy capitalist society and to replace it with socialism, where the masses of the common people, irrespective of race or color, will live in complete equality, freedom and happiness. They seek to revolutionize society and are thus called revolutionaries. Those who support capitalism with its class divisions and other evils and who oppose our just struggles to end oppression are called counter revolutionaries.”

11) “In our own country, the struggles of the oppressed people are guided by the South African Communist Party and inspired by its policies. The aim of the S.A.C.P. is to defeat the Nationalist government and to free the people of South Africa from the evils of racial discrimination and exploitation.”

By the way, I did find one quote from Mandela that I really like. I don’t think he meant it. I do. In fact, if he got his wish on this one, the international media’s reporting about Mandela’s death would have been much different.

“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”

Amen to that last one.

You know what they say: Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

 –  Peter Hammond (12/11/13)

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Young People Believe

What Do Young People Believe?

By Howard Hyde – FrontPageMag.Com – November 13, 2012

One of the most remarkable impressions  of election night was seeing, in places like Times Square and the Obama campaign stadium in Chicago, crowds of young people, cheering, laughing, dancing, crying with joy over the result. Since these are the people who will have to live with the consequences of this election the longest, it is worth asking: what is it exactly that they are cheering? What do they believe?

They must believe that their future is bright, that it has been saved from the ravages of the evil, uncaring, racist and homophobic Republicans with that rich, white vulture of the weird cult at the top of the ticket.  Their free education, free student “loans,” and free health care including contraception and abortion services are now secure. The fact that so many college graduates can’t find work today is George Bush’s fault, and that circumstance will soon be resolved by the wise policies of the revitalized Obama administration.

What do they believe about Republicans? They must believe that the 48% of Americans — half the country — hate women, gays and minorities, would force all women to have invasive ultrasounds, gays to be burned next to witches, and blacks sent to the back of the bus if not back to the cotton fields as chattel slaves. They must believe that Paul Ryan wishes to commit a Texas (or is it Wisconsin?) chainsaw massacre upon the entitlement programs that they are counting on and that those programs will now be solvent with no sacrifice required on their part. Continue reading

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