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Chris Harman (1942-2009)

Dedicated socialist, workers’ defender and respected Intellectual

IIRE tribute

Monday 9 November 2009, by Bertil Videt

The staff and friends of the IIRE were saddened to hear about the sudden death of Chris Harman on the evening of 6 November, in Cairo, where he was giving a talk.

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Chris Harman
Photo: IIRE.org

A towering figure of the left in Europe, Harman was a pillar of the British revolutionary, anti-capitalist organisation, the Socialist Workers Party, and editor of the journal International Socialism. In 1999, he published his monumental work A People’s History of the World, which represented the first attempt to provide a single bottom-up account of the development of human civilisation.

Chris Harman was dedicated to socialist politics, a defender of worker’s struggles and a highly respected intellectual of the international left. His famous 1992 debate with Ernest Mandel, founder of the IIRE, on the bureaucratic Stalinist dictatorships in Quatriéme Internationale was translated into English and is still in print as The Fallacies of State Capitalism.

His death was especially shocking for those of us who spent time with him in October, here at the IIRE in Amsterdam, when he participated in our first international Seminar on the Economic Crisis. During the seminar, Harman took part in a public meeting on the same theme, together with economists Claudio Katz from Argentina and Michel Husson from France. The talks from this public meeting can be downloaded as mp3 files here.

The IIRE extends its warm condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Chris Harman.

The International Institute for Research and Educations published this statement on 9 November.