26 minutes ago
Fairly lightweight interview with Hobsbwamb that was redeemed by the last 10 pages where he reflects on his life, work, and controversial politics.
“In 1956, I told the party leaders that I fully intended to maintain my friendships with those who had been expelled, particularly E.P. Thompson and the other dissidents...if it wasn’t alright with them, they could throw me out. But I didn’t want to leave at that time, because I didn’t want to end up in the company of all those ex-communists who had become anticommunists.
Why did I stay...? I think out of loyalty to a great cause and to all those who had sacrificed their lives for it. When I became a communist in ‘32, this was what we all were ready to do. I can remember all the friends and comrades who died for that cause, who suffered prison and torture by communist regimes as well as capitalist ones, we should not forget the men and women who gave up the chance of a successful career to work in incredibly long hours in relative poverty as party officials, paid a worker’s salary. I never had to make such a sacrifice. The least I could do was show a little solidarity by rejecting the material and career advantages that could be gained from leaving the party.
Do I regret it? No, I don’t think so. I know very well that the cause that I embraced has proved not to work...on the other hand, if people don’t have any ideal of a better world, then they have lost something.
...there is something else of significance besides becoming rich and famous. This desire may or may not be inherent in human nature, but it was certainly a historical phenomenon from the 18th century onward, when humanity began to understand that there is a possibility of improving and emancipating the world.