The new issue of the International Socialism journal is out now, featuring Judith Orr on Sheila Rowbotham, Shlomo Sand interviewed by John Rose and Sebastian Budgen on the loss of a great intellectual – Daniel Bensaid and Chris Harman.
Sheila Rowbotham gives a fascinating account and new insight into some of the debates, organisations and publications that flourished in Britain and the US during this period in her new book, Dreamers of a New Day.
Shlomo Sand speaks to John Rose:
But you know the atmosphere around the established Jewish community in France is frightful. People are afraid. In France at first journalists were afraid to write about the book. However, after the war on Gaza a lot of walls fell down and people began to write more and more about the book. And now there is a pocketbook version and again it is in the bestsellers list. In 2009 the full-size version was the bestselling book about history. But don’t underestimate just how reactionary, racist and authoritarian the current mood of the pro-Zionist circles in the French Jewish community is. They remind me of the pro-Stalinist influence in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s or even the McCarthyist influence in the US at the same time.
Sebastian Budgen pays tribute to Verso authors Daniel Bensaïd and Chris Harman, who both sadly died this year:
For Chris Harman and Daniel Bensaïd, two men who have died at almost the same age and within months of each other—one after a monumental 20-year struggle against illness, the other plucked without warning from the night—scarcely addressed probably more than a few sentences directly to each other in over 40 years. And yet their lifelong, daily, uncomplaining commitment to combine the patient, often wearisome, work of building a small revolutionary group with that of trying to theoretically regenerate the grandeur of the classical Marxist tradition by fertilising it constantly with elements of the new was nonetheless a common endeavour.
The full article, “The Red Hussar: Daniel Bensaïd, 1946-2010”, is available here. Daniel Bensaïd’s book Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique is available in paperback. Chris Harman’s A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millenium is also available in paperback.