I Preferred Groucho…

I know visitors to Slugger tend to shy away from articles with deliberately provocative opening statements, but I’m going to do it anyway: Marx Was Right! Well, how could he not be? Especially when you can see for yourself the evident reasonableness in his best-known pronouncements: From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it. I don’t have a photograph. I’d give you my footprints, …

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Eric Hobsbawm: a tarnished or triumphant reputation?

How is it possible to be a major historian and an apologist for communism?  It may depend on the breadth of your horizons.  Without tackling the question head-on, Eric Hobsbawm who died yesterday at the age of 95 explained himself  in his own terms on this fundamental point in the introduction to Age of Extremes :The short twentieth Century 1914-1991 he called The Century: a Bird’s Eye View.  His synthesis on this most terrible and most transforming of centuries that …

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A memoir of Polish Solidarity thirty years ago

Thirty years ago, I had the great good luck to witness the signing of the Gdansk Agreement that tolled the first death knells for Communism in Europe. Here it is authoritatively recalled by the doyen of commentators on the subject, Neal Ascherson.  Standing in front of the gates of the Lenin shipyard in  the port of Gdansk  a few weeks previously, I was rash enough to make that very prediction on camera. The editors back home cut it out – …

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