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: