Obituaries

Edward Said: A Culture of Resistance

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John Rose pays tribute to a scholar who fought a lifelong war against imperialism.

Socialists don't usually like to use the word 'charisma'. It pays too much attention to the individual and not enough to the circumstances that create those individuals who compel the attention of others. But it is tempting to make an exception for Edward Said.

Powerful

Obituary: How It Would Feel to be Free

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Mike Hobart pays tribute to the black singer and songwriter Nina Simone who died last month.

Nina Simone, who died recently aged 70, was one of the most compelling of the many innovative musical figures that were thrown up by the US civil rights movement in the 1960s. Like many black musicians of the time she believed music had a clear political purpose. Contrary to many of her obituary notices, it was a belief she carried throughout her adult life, and her deeply soulful voice, theatricality and often playful approach to music was allied to an uncompromisingly public political commitment to human emancipation.

Obituary: Turning Point in History

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Brian Manning pays tribute to Christopher Hill, an outstanding historian of the English Revolution.

'The object of this article is to suggest an interpretation of the events of the 17th century different from that which most of us were taught at school... This interpretation is that the English Revolution of 1640-60 was a great social movement like the French Revolution of 1789.' These are the opening words of Christopher Hill's essay on the English Revolution published in 1940. To a schoolboy like myself at the time, they were a sudden flash of lightning that lit a dark landscape.

And Justice for All?

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Alex Callinicos reviews the life of liberal political philosopher John Rawls.

The American philosopher John Rawls, who died last November at the age of 82, was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His reputation rests chiefly on 'A Theory of Justice', first published in 1971. This long and densely argued book singlehandedly rescued liberal political philosophy from the decay into which it had descended.

Joan Littlewood - Worker's Playtime

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Jane Shallice pays tribute to Joan Littlewood whose recent death robs us of one of the greatest and most left wing architects of modern British theatre.

For many of us the death of Joan Littlewood was the death of the woman of theatre, one whose reputation still carried a resonance of the 1930s through to the present. We can still see that figure from photographs, cigarette in mouth or hand, short dark hair sometimes hidden under a hat, a rather puffy face, talking or listening with an immensely intense gaze. Why was it that this woman became so influential, was so revered?

Duncan Hallas - Thinker, Orator, Revolutionary

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Alex Callinicos examines the extraordinary life of Duncan Hallas.

Duncan Hallas, who died on 19 September, was one of the outstanding figures of British Trotskyism. In him the best traditions of the British working class movement fused with the revolutionary Marxist heritage. As a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party he played a crucial role in transmitting this heritage to the new generations who emerged from the movements of the past 35 years.

'A Voice for the Exploited'

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Brian Manning looks back at the life of the distinguished historian Rodney Hilton.

This is an occasion to mourn the passing of Rodney Hilton on 7 June 2002, but it is also an occasion to celebrate a life devoted to Marxist history.

Rodney Hilton was concerned that Marxist theories of English feudalism were based on a few secondary authorities which were written by non-Marxists. His aim was to base a Marxist interpretation of English feudalism on research in the archives on the primary sources. This he did with great success.

The Measure of a Man

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Steven Rose pays tribute to the life and work of Stephen Jay Gould.

Professor Stephen Jay Gould, who has died of cancer aged 60, was an unlikely figure to have been canonised by the US congress, which named him as one of America's 'living legends'. A palaeontologist, he was based for most of his life at the museum of comparative zoology (MCZ) at Harvard. But he was best known for his unbroken sequence of 300 monthly essays in 'Natural History' magazine and republished in a seemingly unending stream of books.

Obituary: Red Barbara's Rocky Road

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The life of Labour left winger Barbara Castle.

I first heard Barbara Castle speak at a Young Socialist rally in Skegness in 1963. She was 53, I was 25. She was magnificent. She sensed an iconoclasm in the hall, with which she immediately identified. She had a way of rolling her body round her more eloquent phrases that gave the infectious impression of movement, passion and change.

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