The Popular Front and Marxism in Eric Hobsbawm’s Historical Works
Keywords:Marxism, Eric Hobsbawm, National Front, Communist Party of Great Britain
This essay attempts to offer an understanding of the relation between Eric Hobsbawm’s historiography and politics. In order to grasp effectively this complicated relationship, we need to distinguish between his Marxist methodology (that he used in his historical studies as the main, though not exclusive, analytical framework) and his popular national frontist understanding of politics along with the support for the USSR in the postwar era, as the former is not reducible to the latter and vice-versa. The Marxian analytical tools Hobsbawm used in his works, chosen according to the needs of those studies, derived from debates developed mainly within the Communist Party Historians Group and, secondly, in discussion with other historians and intellectuals. The National Po- pular Front politics that he projected as the ideal strategy in different historical conjunctures and the endorsement of the USSR as a global counter-pole to the USA’s hegemony were an outcome of Hobsbawm’s politicisation during the 1920s and 1930s in the ranks of the Communist International. It is true that those formative experiences were coincidental and inextricable, but they are characterized by a relative autonomy.