1 September 2009
I often wonder how Karl Marx would react were he to find himself here, right now? After all, he too lived through momentous and world-changing times, perhaps even more so than the changes we are experiencing, given that his was the world that gave birth to the rise of the Machine and capitalism as we know it. Born on the cusp so-to-speak and I too, was born on the cusp, 23 July, 1945, a couple of weeks before the empire showed the world that it was truly barbarian when it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I also caught the tail-end of 20th century socialist culture, warts an’ all. But I did more than just catch the tail-end, I inherited the culture of the two generations of lefties that preceded mine, one that stretched from here in the UK to the edge of the Black Sea. Worker intellectuals are a unique product of the Industrial Revolution, my father was one of them. Self-taught, multi-skilled (and talented), his father started out working for some lordship or other as a plantsman, growing orchids I think; moved to the city were he managed a Cross & Blackwell warehouse. He was a socialist by nature, a believer in ‘natural justice’ and he communicated it to all of his eight kids.