He and his wife, Raisa, were conscientious self-educators, assembling in their provincial apartment a library of Marxist classics, books by flaky Eurocommunists
, and controlled-circulation (even forbidden) works by the likes of Andrei Sakharov.
There are few historians whose ideas have been discussed by Peruvian trade unionists, Italian Eurocommunists
and Cuban Communist ideologues, but the universal Marxist themes that underpinned Hobsbawm's writing made his work accessible to very diverse audiences.
The millennial Marxists explicitly see themselves as in continuity with those on the socialist left who tried to find a way between Leninism and social democracy, including the Eurocommunists
, the British Labour left and strands of the New Left.
They are real Communists, too, unlike the namby-pamby "Eurocommunists
" who sought popular support in Western Europe by disavowing violent revolution in the final decade before the collapse of Communist power in Eastern Europe in 1989-91.
' who now came to the fore in Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere stated that they would respect democratic institutions and practices, and that the socialism they sought would consist precisely in the fullest possible extension and application of democratic methods and values.
But while it seems clear Alexis Tsipras's barnstorming alliance of Maoists, Marxists, Trotskyists, Socialists, Eurocommunists
and Greens will comfortably see off the conservatives of the prime minister, Antonio Samaras, they are far from certain to win the 151 seats they need to govern alone.
Some might be dismissed as satellite states; but as subsequently polycentrism and the Sino-Soviet split became a reality, there were now openly competing centres for communist allegiances, from the Italy that was beloved of Eurocommunists
to the Albania of Enver Hoxha that was not.
In practice, of course, neither the Trotskyists nor the Gramsci-reading Eurocommunists
of the CPGB got their way.
Rather, there would be an orientation towards ongoing reform, including the kind of 'revolutionary reforms' imagined by the Eurocommunists
, re-emerging through socialist and social democratic tradition.
`In France and Italy', he said, `the Eurocommunists
were parties in their own electoral right, but in Britain Marxism Today, having broken with the "Stalinists", had no comparable base.' In essence, then, the New Times prognosis was an attempt by a narrow but influential group to serve as something of a think-tank and help modernise the Labour Party -- in the image of Thatcherism itself, as it turned out.
A serious person, the Italian Eurocommunists
I can remember when the crowd-pleasing Italian "Eurocommunists
" were known as "Gucci Marxists." Still, the whole weight of Western interest was deployed to prevent them from achieving a share of power.