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Talk:Eric Hobsbawm

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Topic[edit]

Eric Hobsbawm's career is more than Soviet apologetics. His contribution to the field of history with ideas such as history from below and his venerable works such as the Age of Capital, Age of Empire, and Age of Revolution are more of what he is known for than this article would lead one to believe. The Soviet criticism section is entirely disproportionate to the rest of the article and makes him look like a Marxist shill, rather than a respected historian. You would find very few who would argue anything but the latter is true. 147.138.87.241 (talk) 03:24, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

All of that is true, and if this were a general-use encyclopedia, it would be relevant. As it is not a general-use encyclopedia, but a project that seeks to expose and debunk irrational thought and belief, what's important in this context is the stuff in the article. You're better off adding the kind of material you're talking about than removing what needs to be there. Just like New York City; Just like Jericho. 03:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree that this article is completely unbalanced. Hobsbawm is definitely a controversial character, and his Soviet apologism does deserve coverage, but this article is pretty much character assassination. A Daily Mail article being cited? Seriously? Compare and contrast with the articles on Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn which at least attempt to explain the author's works and positions. I suggest expanding on his works on history, especially the "Age of" series, and explain his historiography, etc.--Alpharius (talk) 20:23, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Tankie or no?[edit]

Well, being a Soviet Apologist is always a red flag for that, but if it's not really common, and there's cherrypicking going on, we should be able to talk that out here. Also, the Daily Mail cite is on a relatively uninteresting fact, and not really supporting the direct criticism of him, so let's dive a bit deeper than "bad source cited." ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 21:16, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Sounds good. If the article wants to specifically focus on his tankie tendencies, I have no problems providing that it provides context to his actions and offer some explanations of his politics. I'll see if I can expand the article a bit and include some brief material on his career. The problem I feel right now is that besides the intro, the Soviet apologia section appears to be directly lifted from the Wikipedia article, with the sections from his defenders removed. Maybe it's a cultural issue, but in Britain at least Hobsbawm is mostly noted for his academic career in spite of his politics, and upon his funeral, even political leaders like Ed Miliband paid tribute to his career, so he is certainly a complex character who deserve further analysis. As I mentioned previously, the articles on Chomsky and Zinn can provide a good template on how it can be expanded.--Alpharius (talk) 12:36, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, but neither Chomsky or Zinn were Soviet apologists to my knowledge, so if we grant that that matters when representing leftists in articles, then are they really comparable? ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:47, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
And? I should point out that Chomsky himself has been called a Khmer Rouge apologist by his opponent for ages because he wants to shift the focus on the USA and Henry Kissenger. Furthermore, both Chomsky and Zinn's articles are well written and complements the Wikipedia articles. In contrast, this article is plagiarized from the criticisms section direct from Wikipedia, with all defenses of Hobsbawm removed. This article is frankly a disgrace and does a disservice to RW.

If you actually read about Hobsbawm's life, including his autobiography Interesting Times, you'd see that while he is a lifelong communist, his politics is much more complicated and cannot be dismissed as simply a "tankie" [1][2].

  • He visited the Soviet Bloc in 1954 and became incredibly disillusioned with Soviet life. He also signed a letter condemning the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and he and many associates became associated with the anti-Stalinist New Left Review.
  • By the 60s and 70s, Hobsbawm began to associate with the Italian Communist Party, which became Eurocommunist and broke from the Soviet Union.
  • During Britain in the early 80s, he supported Neil Kinnock over the social democrat Tony Benn, who he dismissed as a militant sectarian for his support of striking unionists.
  • Hobsbawm supported the building of popular fronts and reformist, and even criticized what he called "Leninist party dictatorship" of the Soviet Union.
  • In his work "Age of Extremes", he even admitted that the Soviet Union was a failure. Yet this wiki claimed that Hobsbawm "portray Soviet communism as the greatest thing ever made".

As such, this article pretty much need to be rewritten from scratch.--Alpharius (talk) 17:08, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Assuming that what you write is true (we'll need sources), Hobsbawm indeed does not sound like a tankie. Tankies are called tankies in the first place because they were not disillusioned when Moscow sent in the tanks. While I think a snarky comment about his champagne communism is perfectly fine, what you write obviously needs to be brought to the front (assuming it's true). Now, don't read this post of mine as a "go ahead and blank more stuff". Read it as a "time for you to bring the sauce and we'll discuss some more". Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:45, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

The Ayn Rand article notes that she lived off welfare checks in contradiction to her ideology. If it can say that without being called "Rand-baiting", then I think this article can point out that Hobsbawm left his fortune to his kids (thanks for adding that section back in).--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 04:44, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Did you even read the sources for the Ayn Rand article, or are you just playing the false equivalence card? Ayn Rand's taking of social welfare (under the pseudonym of Ann O'Connor) is well documented by reliable sources, and well points out her double standards considering that she wrote the book on objectivism. In contrast, Hobsbawm is most notable for being a historian, rather than any sort of communist philosopher, and that's not mentioning there are no other sources for the claim outside of the Daily Mail.--Alpharius (talk) 16:32, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Learn to kill your darlings, Alpharius. Of course we can, and will, snark Commies all we like. But that's not what you should be banging your head against. Consider instead what I wrote in reply to you above — something like, "all your points seem valid but don't touch the little snark". The fact that Hobsbawm was a bit of a champagner in the end isn't really a big deal to anyone, especially if it's put into context with all the stuff you mention about him above. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:48, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
There is no such thing as individual communism. Communism is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the abolition of social classes. That "snark" is equivalent of saying that, if someone advocates for communism in a capitalist society, that someone would not be allowed to have an iPhone under penalty of being called a hypocrite - or the equivalent of saying that if someone advocates for another socioeconomic structure in a feudal society, that someone would not be allowed to have sugar under penalty of being called a hypocrite. I hope you realize that your little snark is plain stupidity and it's destroying the credibility of the article. 190.15.37.253 (talk) 21:36, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

Guardian article[edit]

This Guardian article provides a pretty balanced look at Hobsbawm's politics. And I concur with the prior user that the article needs to be rewritten from scratch.--LucasGeorge (talk) 07:47, 11 April 2019 (UTC)