About New Left Review, and the forceful reformation of its editorial committee. An abbreviated version of this article was published as ‘Beastly Troubles of the Last Politburo’, Guardian, 17 July 1993. The fuller version appeared as ‘Aufruhr im letzten Politbűro’, Freibeuter, 58, 1993, pp. 149-156.
Robin Blackburn, the editor of New Left Review, displays the experienced calm of a former Trotskyist who has weathered countless internal feuds. Sitting in his office near the top of a gracious Queen Anne townhouse in Soho’s Meard Street, he warns that the truth will not necessarily be found in the nasty things former comrades say about one another when they fall out. ‘We acted in a high-handed way’, he admits of the most recent bust-up. But he also pleads a ‘fierce survival instinct’ and a determination that his journal should not go the way of Marxism Today, New Socialist, Spare Rib, and other defunct publications of the left.
His antagonists, meanwhile, who identify themselves as ‘the former editors of NLR’, were holding a ‘wake’ to celebrate their own ‘death and rebirth’. The invitations to this symbolic event opened with a coded quotation derived, with a multitude of nudges and winks, from James Joyce: ‘I come to bury you deep my cold feary father poor old perryburns arsyverso all the auld Angry-Oirish sprung from the Garden of Eton gone into the dark La La La but hark! the childer is astirring Finn again wake!’ Welcome, then, to another story of our times…
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