Exstinctus amabitur idem

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2 October 2012

There is saturation and generally fulsome coverage in the UK Guardian today of the death of Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who died yesterday 1 October 2012 aged 95.

See our short obituary in yesterday’s post.

The Guardian is a rightwing newspaper, which sells news to a captive audience of leftwingers who have nowhere else to go on the specious premise that its ideological stance is centre-left, whereas in fact the newspaper has been a red-blooded paladin of the capitalist status quo since it was founded by free-market businessmen in Manchester in 1821.

A large four-column photograph of Hobsbawm took up the  centre of today’s front page. Page 15 was entirely devoted to the death, beginning with an article entitled “Tributes pour in for a giant of history and the left”.

Those tributes included homage from Ed Milliband, current leader of the UK’s anti-socialist Labour Party, and Anthony Blurr, an egregious former leader of the same party who, as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 out-Thatchered Thatcher in his obeisance to corporate wealth and his full-throated backing for the imperialist Muslim-targeted military adventures of the United States.

Hitting the wrong note as usual, the maladroit Milliband said Hobsbawm had “brought history out of the ivory tower and into people’s lives”. Codswallop! Hobsbawm lived at the top of the ivory tower in Nassington Road, Hampstead, the London equivalent of New York’s Upper East Side. As for bringing history into people’s lives, try asking the good burghers of Hull or Sheffield how their daily routine has been affected by Hobsbawm’s thinking. You will get a very dusty answer.

Blurr – according to the Guardian – called Hobsbawm “a giant of progressive politics history” and said “he wrote history that was intellectually of the highest order but combined with a profound sense of compassion and justice.”

But how did Blurr know this?

During a UK premiership (1997-2007) devoted exclusively to furthering the interests of the business community, warmonger Blurr gave no evidence whatsoever of compassion or a devotion to justice.

As to his capacity to judge the intellectual quality of scribbling historians, what we do know is that, in advance of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Blurr met some 10 historians who warned him of the catastrophe that would ensue from invading a strife-torn sectarian Middle East with non-Arabic-speaking troops whose acquaintance with the Koran was on a par with their ability to distinguish between Sunnis and Shias. Blurr ignored the collective wisdom of his historical advisers and went ahead regardless – with the catastrophic results that we now know.  Thirty civilians were killed in Iraq this weekend in a series of sectarian massacres.

And the Guardian thinks that Blurr’s record qualifies him to pontificate on the demise of Britain’s most eminent Marxist historian!

Hobsbawm must be turning in his grave.

The whole of pages 15 and 42 of the main paper are given over to the historian and his death is also the cover story in the Guardian’s daily G2 supplement, which devotes four pages to him.

What is interesting to us is the reason why this newspaper, no friend of Marxism, decided to cover the Marxist historian’s  demise in such depth.

To get an idea of that reason you have to study today’s editorial on Hobsbawm.

What really floats the Guardian’s boat is the fact that, in the words of the leader writer, Hobsbawm had progressed from “the communist rigidities of his youth”. There you have it all. He had recanted. He had therefore become respectable.

The editorial goes on to stay that “the one thing that, more than any other, accounts for Mr Hobsbawm’s status in his own country was his readiness, at a crucial time in the late 2oth century, to acknowledge the historical exhaustion of the dogma that industrial labour would overthrow capitalism and construct a socialist order”.

That, of course, was the last thing that the Guardian would have wanted – the overthrow of the capitalist order by the working class.

The leader goes on:

“ ‘We have no clear perspective on how the crisis can lead to a socialist transformation and, to be honest, no real expectation that it will,’ he wrote in 1978. More than 30 years on, we still live in that world today and that tough message is still true.”


Antigone1984: Exploiting the death of this scholar for ideological purposes, the “centre-left” Guardian is here reaffirming its seminal message: there is no alternative to capitalism and the sooner everyone recognizes this the better. It is a message they have been preaching since 1821.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question(3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices(2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012)

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat(31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.


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