With the death of Eric Hobsbawm the left has suffered a heavy loss. Transform! is honouring him in this issue by publishing a text that makes immediately evident the famous hallmarks of this great historian – a universal historical culture, the capacity for systematic and bold analysis as well as his accessible style free of all academic jargon. If, at the end of his deliberations Hobsbawm points to the alternative of “socialism or barbarism” that the 21st century must confront, he provides a clear indication of the direction in which the left should attempt to go.
The following text is taken from the manuscript of Eric Hobsbawm’s opening address to the international conference organised by Espaces Marx on the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto and held at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in 1998. The text was subsequently included in slightly revised versions in books published in France, Germany and the UK. We thank Hinrich Kuhl for his support.
As this autumn begins, the governments of member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU) are struggling to ratify as quickly as possible the EMU’s Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (the so-called Budgetary Pact).
Dimitris Sotiropoulos notes quite rightly that the Euro is not just a currency, but a mechanism: “It has set up a particular form of symbiosis among different capitalist economies” (Sotiropoulos 2012, 66). But what is the material nature of this “symbiosis among different capitalist economies”?
From its inception, Europe has been a political project – aimed at overcoming conflicts and creating cooperation. Over the course of the last decades European nations – led by economic and political elites – were able to overcome their long-established enmities.
Germany is riding high once again. It is true that the German economy suffered its worst slump since the founding of the Federal Republic owing to the global crisis of 2008, but the effects on its labour market were less severe than in any other EU country.
In Europe we are at a new stage of class confrontation. Despite the systemic crisis not only of finance but of the whole of the mode of accumulation and reproduction of “financial market capitalism”, this system has been able to maintain itself.
The very name of the seminar “Political Mindsets – Development of Political and Cultural Hegemony in Conjunction with the Crisis – New Challenges Posed to the Left”, which was held in Paris last September, invited us to think about “hegemony” and, more exactly to interpret the European elections (in Greece, Denmark, Spain, etc.) as confirming neoliberal hegemony.
Paris in autumn 2007: The global economic and financial crisis continues to advance. The members of the Left Group of the European Parliament (GUE/NGL), in Paris for study days on the occasion of French EU-Presidency, are tensely listening to the scenarios one of Sarkozy’s advisors is laying out.
It was already clear from the parliamentary and presidential election campaign itself that President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power would prolong the conditions in which the left operate. During the...
Er hatte das „kurze“ 20. Jahrhundert“ um mehr als zwei Jahrzehnte überlebt. Eric J. Hobsbawm war einer der großen Denker, die jenes vergangene Säkulum hervorbrachte. Von der Berufung her Historiker,...