Dave Osler last week opened his post “What Amber Wellesley-Smith hates about Ed Miliband” with two truly brilliant sentences:
AS A working journo myself, I do fully appreciate that the designation ‘Red Ed’ has attractions for tabloid headline writers that ‘meat and potatoes continental European social democrat Ed’ can never hope to match.
But even though Mr Miliband is the offspring of the second-greatest Marxist thinker Belgium ever produced, the latter is actually a rather more accurate description.
Not surprisingly, the debate opens on who the greatest Marxist thinker Belgium produced. The obvious contender is of course Ernest Mandel, who was born in Frankfurt and grew up in Antwerp. Others include Abram Leon, born in Warsaw but grew up in Belgium and my favourite Victor Serge, who was born in Brussels to Russian exile parents (nominated by Skidmarx). Andrew Coates mentions the syndicalist Andrew Renard, who gave his name to Renardism. Bob adds Marcel Liebman, a close friend of Ralph Miliband‘s. He’s not exactly a great thinker, but there is also Georges Vereeken, who played a key role in Belgian Trotskyism and in the international support for the POUM. Then, from Wikipedia, I learn of Todor Angelov, Manuel Abramowicz, Albert De Coninck, Bert Van Hoorick and Charles Plisnier, although none of them really counts, as far as I can tell, as a great thinker. However, for a small country, what a lot of Marxist talent.
By the way, I have created a new category on the blog, “Milibandism“, for all the posts on Ralph, Ed, Dave and co. Don’t ever say I don’t ride the waves of fashion.