Malcolm Caldwell: Pol Pot’s Apologist

Malcolm Caldwell, Scottish Marxist academic at the School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London (SOAS) was born in 1931. A lifelong man
of the left, he had been the Chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
and a long-term member of the Labour Party [1] – even standing as a Labour
candidate in the 1977 local elections in Bexley, Kent. [2] He had also been selected
by Bertrand Russell to be on the founding board of a radical monthly magazine The
Spokesman that was supported by the Russell Foundation. [3] He was known to
make some absurd and preposterous prophecies, claiming that by the 1990s there
would be no oil left in the world [4] and that by the mid-1980s, Scotland would be
independent of England. [5] But Caldwell was most in his element when writing
about ‘the demonstrated strengths of the communist system.’ [6] With a persuasive
ability, he helped to transform at least one person’s ‘anti-authoritarianism – and
love of ordinary people – into a fierce and angry communism.’ [7]

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