Eric Hobsbawm, 1917–2012
The British Stalinist writer Eric Hobsbawm died on October 1, aged 95. I hesitate to refer to him as a “historian,” as other commentators doubtless will, given his extraordinary career as a purveyor of totalitarian lies.
He hated Britain and excused Stalin's genocide. But was hero of the BBC and the Guardian, Eric Hobsbawm a TRAITOR too?
In his book The Age Of Extreme, published in 1994, he quite deliberately underplayed the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland in 1939-40, saying it was merely an attempt to push the Russian border a little further away from Leningrad. He also omits any mention of the massacre of 20,000 Polish soldiers by Russian Secret Police at Katyn.
In the same book, he dismisses the appallingly violent suppression by the Nazis of the Polish resistance in the 1944 Warsaw uprising - when a complacent Soviet army ignored desperate pleas to come to the Poles’ aid - as 'the penalty of a premature uprising'.
Eric Hobsbawm, 1917–2012
In the annals of moral idiocy, the Marxist British historian Eric Hobsbawm, who died yesterday at 95, will ever enjoy a conspicuous place. A gifted and prolific writer, the Egyptian-born Hobsbawm was utterly absorbed by the ideology that fired his youthful dreams of utopia. How he must have savored the fact that he was born in 1917, the year of the Bolshevist revolution in Russia which ushered in so much poverty, misery, terror, and freedom-blighting totalitarian oppression. “The dream of the October Revolution is still there somewhere inside me,” Hobsbawm wrote in his memoir Interesting Times in 2002, “I have abandoned, nay, rejected it, but it has not been obliterated. To this day, I notice myself treating the memory and tradition of the USSR with an indulgence and tenderness.”
Eugene D. Genovese: 1930-2012. Rest in Peace
One of America’s best historians, Eugene D. Genovese, passed away two days ago. He was one of my long-time friends. I knew him when both he and I considered ourselves Marxists, and his scholarship, integrity, forthrightness and outspoken and principled positions made him a figure that everyone had to contend with. Anyone who was lucky enough to have known Gene, even when at times they found themselves on opposite sides from him in a political battle, knows how much they learned from him, and how lucky they were to have had the chance to engage with him.
Hobsbawm kept his mind shut against inconvenient fact. Genovese, even as a Marxist, had a lively intelligence and an honest, open mind.
Guess which one was showered with honors?