Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pierre Broue, revolutionary historian, R.I.P.

Histomat has been criticised of late for generally being 'bone idle' and failing to celebrate the deaths of Fascist John Tyndall and Tory Ted Heath in a suitable manner. I can only plead guilty - and apologise. Similarly, and more seriously, in the aftermath of the bombings, I have also been criticised for not commenting on the British state's murder of the young Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. He was killed for simply doing what we would all do when confronted with what must have looked like a group of violent psychopathic muggers wielding guns - run for your life. He never made it.

But the writer of this blog is unfortunately not going to be able to comment on current events as they happen. If you want such a blog, go to something like this If you want to know more about what to do about this, go to here or here

However, there is one recent death that has provoked me to comment - that of French Trotskyist historian Pierre Broue. He was 79, and had fought in the French resistance against Nazism in the Second World War. After passing through the Young Communist League, he became a Trotskyist and remained a revolutionary Marxist until the end. The French historical school of revolutionary history is one of the finest in the world, with a tradition going back to Jules Michelet, and Pierre Broue deserves to be remembered alongside such figures as Louis Blanc, Jean Jaures, Albert Mathiez, Georges Lefebvre, Albert Soboul, Aulard, Daniel Guerin. Yet while they dwelt on the Great French Revolution, Broue, ever the internationalist, defended the historical record against the 'Stalinist school of falsification' for the social revolutions of the Twentieth century in Germany, Russia and Spain (see in particular his joint work with Emile Temime, The revolution and the civil war in Spain). Personally, I will always hold Pierre Broue in my memory as I once wrote a 12,000 word dissertation on Stalin's Terror, an attempt to try to further explore an idea in an article by Broue on the '1932 bloc'. I fear I failed to do him justice, and my dissertation was not well recieved by my (conservative) tutor in any case, but I still maintain that Broue's argument is worth exploring and indeed holds the key to understanding why Stalin's Terror went deeper than Stalin's paranoid psychology. The Russian historian Rogovin, author of 1937, Stalin's Year of Terror, has written about Broue's thesis in depth - and one of Rogovin's speeches on the topic, for those interested, can be found
here Broue identified with those genuine communists who resisted Stalinism even in the darkest period of the Twentieth century, just as he always stood with those on the recieving end of counter-revolutionary brutality. I will put up more links/tributes/obits to this inspiring scholar and heroic revolutionary as they appear.

SW Obituary

Ian Birchall

Broue history archive

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At 1:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My apologies for the "bone idle" accusation - it was borne out of a copper-induced fit of pique...

At 3:05 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

That's okay - its fair comment really.

You should really get your own blog going - it is not actually that hard to do...


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