The Long Goodbye

Ten years after its death, communism's elegists--Eric Hobsbawn chief among them--have yet to give up the ghost.

Issue: Summer 2001

The funeral of communism will last for thirty years, prophesied François Furet in 1995. "The funeral procession will be accompanied by an immense crowd", he added, "and there will be much weeping. Even young people will join the cortege, trying here and there to give it the air of a rebirth." Hopes of a rebirth were vain, for the faith in communism was irretrievably tattered, but the funeral would last for years because "anti-communism remains more than ever a damnable heresy . . . more universally condemned in the West than in the great days of victorious anti-fascism." Furet was not thinking only of France; he explained that in the United States the revisionist mourning party would prolong the funeral indecently, laboring as diligently as the Holocaust deniers but ever so much more respectably.

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