Tuesday, 2 October 2012
Farwell Eric Hobsbawm
What a tragic irony that just the day after posting the item below, on the diminished state of the Labour Party (the new 'one nation' party according to Miliband today), the renowned Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm passes away.
There have been some fantastic pieces in the papers today, and no doubt there will be many others, with related essays, conferences etc.I just wanted to add here a minor, personal reflection which is that Hobsbawm, alongside his contemporaries Raphael Samuel (of whom I had the great experience of being taught at Ruskin), EP Thompson and Christopher Hill, helped shape my understanding and appreciation of the importance of radicalism in British, and international, history.
As a young, black trade unionist at Ruskin in the 1980s Hobsbawm helped to locate my experience as intrinsic to a centuries long tradition of working class men and women who feel naturally inclined to a collective expression of their identity through political and occupational means.
For anyone unfamiliar with the work of Hobsbawm please review these few articles (plus obituary) in today's Guardian.