The Jewish German communist Nathan Steinberger (1910–2005) survived betrayal, imprisonment, and exile, but never gave up the hope for a socialist future.
Here is a passage, drastically abridged, from Braudel’s Mediterranean that illustrates the sense in which history occasionally bursts into poetry:
Shapurji Saklatvala (1874–1936), the first and one of only four Communist members of Britain’s parliament.
Hymer died in a car crash in New York State in February 1974.
I got to know K. Damodaran (1912–1976) some time in 1974, when he was busy setting up the P.C. Joshi Archive in a basement of the old campus of JNU in Delhi. We would pore through the latest available catalogue of New Left Books and decide which titles to order from London.
The amazing Fred Hampton (1948–1969), Chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther party who saw himself as a revolutionary socialist, describing racism as a ‘byproduct’ of capitalist oppression. He was 21 when he was murdered in his sleep by the Chicago police acting with FBI collusion.
‘German capitalism did not need Auschwitz: but it needed the Nazis, who needed Auschwitz.’
“A writer or painter cannot change the world. But they can keep an essential margin of non-conformity alive. Thanks to them, the powerful can never affirm that everyone agrees with their acts. That small difference is very important. When power feels itself totally justified and approved, it immediately destroys whatever freedoms we have left, and that is fascism.
Dragan Müller-Ozren is one of the more enigmatic forgotten communist party intellectuals. Originally from Yugoslavia, he was never a Yugoslav communist in the proper sense of the term, and spent most of his creative life abroad.
Paul Nizan (1905–1940), novelist and committed socialist, who left Europe for Aden in September 1926 when he was just 20, to spend six months there and write the philosophical memoir for which he is best known today. This brilliant piece of writing, called Aden, Arabie, published in 1931, was eventually reissued in 1960 with the proverbial Sartre preface.