In a new interview, the aging British former Communist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, still is playing at the old game. Notorious for unabashedly refusing to apologize in interviews during his 90th birthday year for his lifelong support of both Joe Stalin and the Soviet Union, in Hobsbawm today, as his interviewer writes, “the Marxist ambition remains alive.”
He is, as one might expect, delighted that the crisis of the economy has resurrected a renewed interest in Marxism among Western youth. The admiring reporter leaves after an hour or so of Marxian delight to reflect that he “had a blistering tutorial with one of the great minds of the 20th century.”
So the old man looks forward to a new “radicalization of students,” who are better off being on the left than going into jobs at the stock exchange. So Dr. Hobsbawm tells us. So I ask: who says wisdom resides in those who have lived a long life? Take this, for example. Hobsbawm concludes: “The record of Karl Marx, an unarmed prophet inspiring major changes, is undeniable.”
Look at the wreck of North Korea, the gulag of Cuba, and the sad record of 70 years of “socialism” in Russia and Eastern Europe, all of which has entered Trotsky’s dustbin of history. Some record. Eric Hobsbawm does not have long to live. I wish him a long and healthy life, but—-I wish he would spend time with his family and stop this unnecessary pontificating. The real scandal, as some of those who have commented have said, is that this interview is published in The Guardian, and is conducted by a young member of Parliament to boot. And given the sad state of the publishing industry, why do they see the need to publish yet another defense of Marx? I guess they subscribe to Lenin’s famous quip, that they will hand the bourgeoisie the rope they will use to hang them.