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A Tory communist

Why did Eric Hobsbawm remain loyal to the blood-soaked communist cause for so long?

By Ian Buruma   October 2002

Was the omelette really worth cracking so many eggs? The number of deaths due to famines, mass murders and other man-made catastrophes under communist regimes is something between 85m and 100m. In Cambodia, almost the entire educated population was liquidated. Mao Zedong was responsible for about 30m deaths in the lunatic great leap forward alone. Stalin’s gulag swallowed millions in its dark, frozen maw. And North Koreans are still dying of hunger.

To have remained a member of a communist party until the late 1980s, there must have been a residue of belief somewhere, deep down, that it might have…

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