In commemoration of the death of author and publisher François Maspero, who passed away on Saturday, April 11 at the age of 83. Verso presents this translated interview with the founder of Éditions Maspero, the publishing house which has served as an inspiration for radical left publishing since the fifties.
François Maspero (19 January 1932 – 11 April 2015)
We see the publisher François Maspero as having played a leading role in ‘smuggling across’ the communist and anti-colonial thought of the postwar period and preserving its heritage. Indeed, Éditions Maspero is an unavoidable reference point for any discussion of critical publishing in France. Maspero’s output was the theatre of important debates on the far Left in the 1960s and 1970s, and played a pioneering role in many fields. It was Maspero who published Fanon, the political writings of Baldwin, Malcolm X and Che, anthologies of classic labour-movement works, Althusser’s ‘Théorie’ collection, the journal Partisans… We wanted to ask him about his project and the editorial ambitions that he had at the time. Here we reproduce what he calls an ‘attempt at a response’ to our questions.
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Hugo Chávez (waving a replica of 19th century revolutionary Símon Bolívar's sword) has once again triumphed over the bastions of neoliberal capitalism. After 14 years in power, he won 55% of the vote on a record 81% turnout, proving to the World Bank, the IMF, Barclays, and the United Statess (among others) that the people want socialism, not corporate imperialism. As Seamus Milne notes in the Guardian, despite the fact that Chávez's opponent Henrique Capriles was backed by the US (whose antagonism toward his government is well-known and most noteably manifested itself in a failed coup in 2002) and outspent him three to one using virtually all of the private media to his advantage, it was a decisive victory. Only two states, in which most all of the wealthy & bourgeois reside, went to Capriles. The other twenty-one went to Chávez. Milne celebrates the importance of this victory,
Venezuela and its Latin American allies have demonstrated that it's no longer necessary to accept a failed economic model, as many social democrats in Europe still do. They have shown it's possible to be both genuinely progressive and popular. Cynicism and media-fuelled ignorance have prevented many who would naturally identify with Latin America's transformation from recognising its significance. But Chávez's re-election has now ensured that the process will continue – and that the space for 21st-century alternatives will grow.