Chris Harman 1942-2009

Solidarity (Australia) joins other socialists around the world to mourn the passing of Chris Harman. International socialism has sadly lost one of its greatest thinkers.

Our sympathies are with Talat, his partner, his children, Seth and Sinead, and the comrades in the British SWP.

In Australia, as in many other places around the world I suspect, the answer to many questions from new and older comrades, alike was, “You should have a look at what Harman’s written…,” – on the party, imperialism, economics, history, philosophy – on so many things.

Chris has left us such a wonderful body of theoretical work, that, ‘have a look at what Harman has written…,’ will continue to be provide insights for new generations of revolutionaries.

Harman wrote in the introduction to How Marxism Works, “There is widespread myth that Marxism is difficult.” But it was Chris’s grasp of Marxism and his ability to make complex issues intelligible which helped so much to expose that myth.

If Cliff provided important political foundations, it was often Harman that elaborated and finessed the application of the big ideas to the challenges of building revolutionary organisation.

His commitment to the working class as the subject of history is what shines through everything he wrote from Party and Class, to the Lost Revolution, to his incisive writings on the revolutions in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the global financial crisis.

Harman has left some very big shoes to fill – but he has also left us with a deeper understanding of Marxism, and the inspiration, that will allow us to try.

Ian Rintoul
(for Solidarity, Australia)

Solidarity will be hosting memorial meetings to celebrate Chris’s contribution to the Marxist tradition:


Chris Harman and the development of modern Marxism
6.30pm Tuesday November 24
New International Bookshop, Trades Hall, corner of Victoria Parade and Lygon Street, Carlton

Chris Harman 1942-2009
7pm Thursday November 26
Brown st hall (above Newtown library off King st at corner with Clem’s chicken)

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  1. Almost every British SWP speaker that visited Australia used the term “standing on the shoulders of a giant”, when talking of Marx and Trotsky. With the passing of Chris Harman, we can add we are standing on the shoulders of a giant. Lotta Continua


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