Cultural Revolutions

Sir Alfred Sherman, R.I.P.

Sir Alfred Sherman, R.I.P.  My dear friend and long-time associate Sir Alfred Sherman, who died in London on August 26, started his long political life as a Stalinist and ended it as one of the few “paleo” thinkers in today’s Britain.  He will be remembered as the man who first invented “Thatcherism” and then explained it to Margaret Thatcher in the 1970’s.  To those who knew him, however, Sir Alfred will always be the brilliant polymath and consummate homo politicus who did not suffer fools gladly and who never minced his words.  In the early 1980’s, he gave an interview to a Russian journalist in which he was quoted as saying, “As for the lumpen, coloured people and the Irish, let’s face it, the only way to hold them in check is to have enough well armed and properly trained police.”  To his shocked critics, Sherman dryly replied that the quotation missed the word “proletariat” after “lumpen” and denied using the phrase “well armed.”

Born in 1919 to immigrants from Russia, he joined the Young Communist League in his first year at Chelsea Polytechnic; as he later explained, “to be a Jew in 1930s Britain was to be alienated.  The world proletariat offered us a home.”  Within months, he was a machine gunner with the Major Attlee battalion of the International Brigades in Spain; he then...

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