Monday, 1 October 2012

Eric Hobsbawm, In Memoriam

"Il ne pouvait pas ├¬tre question de guerre: ces gens ├ętaient des hors-la-loi. Les hors-la-loi, on ne leur fait pas la guerre, on les extermine."

"Travelling around Italy in the 1950s, I kept discovering these aberrant phenomena—Party branches in the South electing Jehovah’s Witnesses as Party secretaries, and so on; people who were thinking about modern problems, but not in the terms that we were used to. Second, particularly after 1956, it expressed a general dissatisfaction with the simplified version we had of the development of working-class popular movements. In Primitive Rebels, I was very far from critical of the standard reading—on the contrary, I pointed out that these other movements would not get anywhere unless they sooner or later adopted the modern vocabulary and institutions. But, nonetheless, it became clear to me that it wasn’t enough simply to neglect these other phenomena, to say that we know how all these things operate. I produced a series of illustrations, case studies, of this kind, and said, ‘these don’t fit’. It led me to think that, even before the invention of modern political vocabulary, methods and institutions, there were ways in which people practised politics that encompassed basic ideas about social relations—not least between the powerful and the weak, rulers and ruled—which had a certain logic and fitted together."
Eric Hobsbawm

"It is time the rich remembered to fear the poor."
Eric Hobsbawm (in an address at some forum that used to be on youtube).

In Memoriam: Eric Hobsbawm, 1917-2012.