Tag Archives: Manchester University

DAILY TELEGRAPH: Norman Geras—obituary


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

The Daily Telegraph

[First published in The Daily Telegraph]

Norman Geras, who has died aged 70, was a Marxist academic, cricket enthusiast and political blogger who broke with Left-wing orthodoxy to support the American-led invasion of Iraq.

Geras, a former Professor of Government at Manchester University, set up his website, Normblog, in July 2003, out of a feeling of alienation “from people I perceived as being in my neck of the woods”—academic colleagues, friends and sundry Guardian writers who saw the 9/11 attacks as a response to American foreign policy (notably its support of Israel), and opposed the invasion of Iraq.

“The next day [after 9/11], or the day after, I open the newspaper and see—within hours—people talking about ‘blowback’, ‘comeuppance’,” he recalled. “They didn”t even have the sense of horror, of shock, to wait. I was just appalled. I thought, ‘That’s it’.” His first post read: “In the immortal words of Sam Peckinpah. Let’s go.”

From then on he blogged almost every day, and his website became essential reading—not only for the tiny ranks of the pro-war Left, but also for the Neocon Right. For, despite his Leftist credentials, Geras praised President George W Bush and argued that the invasion of Iraq was necessary to oust the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein. His daily jottings earned him the nickname “Stormin’ Norm”. The Wall Street Journal reprinted one of his articles and his words were often cited by American pundits.

One of Normblog’s constant targets was the selectivity in the way people invoke “root cause”explanations for terrorist atrocities. In the wake of the 7/7 attacks in London, which many pundits on the Left attributed to Muslim anger over Western intervention in Iraq, he observed that while such arguments purport to be about causal explanation rather than excuse-making, they are invariably deployed on behalf of movements or actions for which their proponent wants to win sympathy.

“A hypothetical example illustrates the point,” he said. “Suppose that, on account of the present situation in Zimbabwe, the government decides to halt all scheduled deportations of Zimbabweans. Some BNP thugs are made angry by this and express their anger by beating up a passer-by who happens to be an African immigrant. Can you imagine a single person of left or liberal outlook who would blame this act of violence on the government’s decision or urge us to consider sympathetically the root causes of the act? It wouldn’t happen.”

Geras’s measured and tightly-reasoned critiques of fashionable Leftist nostrums were not universally popular, and he found himself denounced as an “imperialist skunk” and a “turncoat”. In one posting, following the Iraqi elections of 2005, he imagined awakening from a nightmare to see Ken Livingstone, Harold Pinter, George Galloway, John Pilger and other opponents of the war advancing upon him—only to raise a finger stained with the purple dye of an Iraqi voter. “Everybody and his brother has had a go at me,” he said. “But I started the blog because I was fed up with the prevailing left and liberal consensus that the war in Iraq was wrong.”

In 2006 he launched a more wide-ranging assault in what became known as the “Euston Manifesto”, a proposal for a renewal of progressive politics, which he put together with others in a Euston pub. The document called on the Left to support universal human rights; to abandon anti-American prejudice; to see all forms of totalitarianism as being essentially the same; to be willing to support military intervention against oppressive regimes; and to promote democracy, equal rights and free speech.

The manifesto was billed as an attempt to reclaim such principles for the Left, but it served only to highlight the gulf between the socialist democratic tradition represented by Geras and the anti-democratic, neo-isolationist and reflexively anti-American tendencies of the contemporary Left.

“I have been flattered by an invitation to sign the manifesto,” wrote another renegade Leftist, Christopher Hitchens, “and I probably will, but if I agree, it will be the most conservative document I have ever initialled. Even the obvious has become revolutionary.”

Norman Geras was born to Jewish parents in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, on August 25 1943, and studied PPE at Pembroke College, Oxford. After graduating with a First, he took up a post at Manchester University, where he remained until his retirement in 2003 as Professor of Government.

Responding to his critics on the Left, Geras was always keen to prove his radical credentials: “I am part of the 1960s generation. I was no Tariq Ali but I took part in demonstrations against the Vietnam War… I was at an academic conference in Italy the day the Left-wing Allende regime was overthrown by a coup in Chile in 1973. I left the conference to join a march in the streets.”

Geras wrote some eight books, ranging from rather obscure works of political theory (Solidarity in the Conversation of Humankind; The Ungroundable Liberalism of Richard Rorty) to books about cricket (for some reason he supported Australia).

In The Contract of Mutual Indifference (1998), perhaps his most important work, he sought to remedy the inadequacy of response to the Holocaust in political philosophy. Focusing on the so-called bystander phenomenon—the inaction of ordinary Germans, Poles and others while the Jews went to their deaths—he identified a “contract of mutual indifference”, a sort of inversion of the you-scratch-my-back code.

This ethos, he argued, is morally indefensible, yet it still prevails today, reflected in widespread indifference to torture, hunger and other varieties of suffering across the world. Any political philosophy which neglects the primacy of the human duty to help others, he concluded, is short-sighted and shameful.

It was from this perspective that he supported the invasion of Iraq.

After retiring from Manchester, Norman Geras and his wife Adèle, an award-winning children’s writer, moved to Cambridge.

She survives him with two daughters, one of whom is the poet and crime fiction writer Sophie Hannah.

THE TIMES: Professor Norman Geras


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Oliver Kamm

[first published in The Times]

Wide-ranging political philosopher who was an unswerving enemy of tyranny and terrorism and found late fame as a blogger

Norman Geras was a penetrating political theorist who found fame in retirement as a pioneering blogger.

In his scholarly work he made substantial contributions to the study of Marxism and of international ethics. He served his entire academic career at the University of Manchester, where he was head of the Department of Government from 1998 till 2002, and ended as Professor Emeritus of Politics.

He then made skilful use of the new medium of the internet to inform and entertain a much wider audience. In dismay at what he considered their failure to defend Western democratic values against totalitarianism, he broke with many of his former comrades on the Left.

Continue reading

ANDREW WILSHERE: Normblog made me reconsider almost everything on which I’ve ever had a political opinion


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Andrew Wilshere

[first published on Andrew’s blog]

I don’t quite remember how I began reading the weblog of Norman Geras. I know it was before I began my Master’s in 2006, because perhaps his greatest book, The Contract of Mutual Indifference, was on the course reading list. It must have been before that, because I remember it taking several months before I realised that this Norman Geras with the weblog was the same Norman Geras who appeared on my university reading list. I was so taken aback that I emailed him to check that I hadn’t made a mistake. “I’m only surprised,” he wrote, “that you didn’t see the Norman Geras connection earlier”.

Continue reading

KUNEBLOG: Normblog


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

[first published at Kuneblog]

In the mid 90s I attended an interview at the University of Manchester for a PHD place. I was waiting outside the room of one of the academics who was having a very heated debate on the telephone. This academic (I won’t name him) was clearly losing the argument, which was about of all things football. I was kept waiting while two Academics debated football. At the time I felt confused, and it probably showed. The winning academic was Norman Geras, who at that stage I knew only for the article about Marx and Justice.

Continue reading

MARTIN ROBB: R.I.P. Norman Geras (1943 – 2013)


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Martin Robb

[first published on Martin’s blog]

It must have been some time in 2003 that I came across an article in a Sunday newspaper, about a Marxist professor who supported the Iraq war. Although it had been a long time since I’d called myself any kind of Marxist, and at the time I was sceptical of the rationale for invading Iraq, I was intrigued. Perhaps it was because I’d been having my own internal debates with conventional Left thinking and was increasingly disappointed and depressed by my fellow progressives’ failure to condemn (and in some cases their tendency to find apologetic ‘explanations’ for) terror and tyranny, as long as it was directed at the ‘imperialist’ West.  To my shame, I hadn’t heard of Norman Geras before then, despite the fact that he was a recently retired professor at Manchester, where I’d been a postgraduate student.

The newspaper article mentioned that Geras wrote something called a ‘blog’ – the first time I’d come across this neologism. Curious, I looked up the eponymous normblog and was immediately hooked. I found myself nodding in frequent agreement with Norm’s concise but elegant posts and reading his disquisitions soon became a daily habit. From normblog, I branched out to read the bloggers and commentators that he linked to, many of them associated with the Euston Manifesto, of which Norm was one of the key authors, and the broader anti-totalitarian, liberal-interventionist Left. As well as finding myself in immediate sympathy with many of Norm’s political opinions, I’m happy to acknowledge that he was also influential in changing my mind on a number of important issues, most notably Israel. In fact, as time went on, I came to see Norm as one of the key influences on my political thinking, on a par with figures like Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall at earlier stages in my life. Of course, it wasn’t all about politics: Norm was just as stimulating and entertaining when writing about Jane Austen, country and western music, John Ford movies, cricket or his beloved Manchester United.

Continue reading

COLIN TALBOT: Norman Geras: For Human Nature


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 700

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/wordpressence/apps/normorg/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 707

Colin Talbot

[first published on Colin’s blog]

Marx And Human Nature, 1983

Marx And Human Nature, 1983

Norman Geras died today. Many people will never have heard of a retired politics professor from Manchester, who wrote books on obscure German revolutionaries (Rosa Luxemburg) or human nature in Marx. Some may have seen his more recent normblog or maybe even heard about his support for the Iraq war. But Norman’s influence has been profound on many people, including me.

I met Norman back in the early 1970s when I joined the International Marxist Group (IMG), the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International. The Manchester branch of the IMG was a revelation to a working class boy from Barrow—full of powerful intellects like Norman and Ian Gough, and teeming with debate and ideas.

I haven’t seen Norman in many years, although we did exchange some emails when I came back to Manchester a few years ago. He’d retired by then and was writing Normblog and I was busy with my academic and domestic life, with a new son to look after. We said we should meet up, but it never happened.

When I found out Norman had died this morning my first reaction was to find my copy of one of his books, from 1983. Here’s why:

Continue reading