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New Left Review I/213, September-October 1995


Robin Blackburn

Ernest Mandel 1923–1995

Ernest Mandel, who died at the age of seventy-two on July 20th, was possessed of outstanding talents as thinker, speaker and political leader, in a combination that has become rarer as the century has progressed. He was one of the world’s leading Marxist economists, and author of more than twenty books published in as many languages, yet never pursued an academic career. He was an inspiring speaker in half-a-dozen languages and an indefatigable campaigner and organizer. He passionately defended the ideas of Leon Trotsky at a time when this was both unpopular and dangerous and he was a leading member of the Fourth International for over four decades. Yet, in contrast to many leaders of groupuscules, he was possessed of a lofty outlook and commanded affection, respect and admiration from wide layers of the Left. Perhaps more than any other single person he was the educator of the new generation recruited to Marxism and revolutionary politics by the student revolts of the sixties, especially in Europe and the Americas. For several years the United States, France, West Germany, Switzerland and Australia denied him entry, deeming his very presence a threat to ‘national security’. His Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory (1968) sold half a million copies worldwide. For over thirty years Ernest Mandel was a regular contributor to New Left Review and Verso was proud to be the publisher of many of his books. His friendly admonitions and irrepressible optimism will be sorely missed.

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