Ernest Ezra Mandel, also known by various pseudonyms such as Ernest Germain, Pierre Gousset, Henri Vallin, Walter etc. (b. Frankfurt April 5, 1923 - d. Brussels July 20, 1995). He was recruited to the Belgium section of the international Trotskyism movement, the Fourth International, in his youth in Antwerp. His parents, Henri and Rosa Mandel, were Jewish emigres from Poland, the former a member of Rosa Luxemburg's and Karl Liebknecht's Spartacist League. Ernest's entrance to university studies was cut short when the Nazi Germany occupying forces closed the university down.
During World War II, he escaped twice after being arrested in the course of resistance activities, and survived imprisonment in the German concentration camp at Mittelbau-Dora. After the war, he became a leader of both the Belgian Trotskyists and the youngest member of the Fourth International secretariat, alongside Michel Pablo and others. He gained respect as a prolific journalist with a clear and lively style, as an orthodox Marxist theoretician, and as a talented debater. He wrote for numerous media outlets in the 1940s and 1950s including Het Parool, Le Peuple, l'Observateur and Agence France-Presse. At the height of the Cold War he publicly defended the merits of Marxism in debate with the Social Democracy and future Prime Minister of the Netherlands Joop den Uyl.
After 1946 World Congress of the Fourth International, Mandel was elected into the leadership of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International. In line with its policy, he joined the Belgian Socialist Party where he was a leader of a militant socialist tendency, becoming editor of the socialist newspaper La Gauche (and writing for its Flanders sister publication, Links), a member of the economic studies commission of the General Confederation of Labour of Belgium and an associate of the Belgian syndicalist André Renard. He and his comrades were expelled from the Socialist Party not long after the Belgian General Strike for opposing its coalition with the Christian Socialists, and its acceptance of anti-strike action legislation.
He was one of the main initiators of the 1963 reunification between the International Secretariat and the majority of the International Committee of the Fourth International, a public faction led by James P. Cannon's Socialist Workers Party (USA) that had withdrawn from the FI in 1953. The regroupment formed the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI or "Usec"). Until his death in 1995, Mandel remained the most prominent leader and theoretician of both the USFI and of its Belgian section, the SAP-POS(Socialist Workers' Party).
Until the publication of his massive book Marxist Economic Theory in French in 1962, Mandel's Marxist articles were written mainly under a variety of pseudonyms and his activities as Fourth Internationalist were little known outside the left. He resumed his university studies and graduated from what is now the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris in 1967. Only from 1968 did Mandel become wellknown as public figure and Marxist politician, touring student campuses in Europe and America giving talks on socialism, imperialism and revolution.
Although officially barred from West Germany (and several other countries at various times, including the United States, France, Switzerland, and Australia), he gained a PhD from the Free University of Berlin in 1972 (where he taught some months), published as Late capitalism, and he subsequently gained a lecturer position at the Free University of Brussels. In 1978 he delivered the Alfred Marshall Lectures at the University of Cambridge, on the topic of the Kondratiev waves.
Mandel campaigned on behalf of numerous dissident left-wing intellectuals suffering political repression, championed the cancellation of the third world debt, and in the Mikhail Gorbachev era spearheaded a petition for the rehabilitation of the accused in the Moscow Trials of 1936-38. As a man in his 70s, he travelled to Russia to defend his vision of a free and democratic socialism.
In total, he published approximately 2,000 articles and around 30 books during his life, which were translated into many languages. In addition, he also edited or contributed to many books, maintained a voluminous correspondence, and went on speaking engagements worldwide. He considered it his mission to transmit the heritage of classical Marxist thought, deformed by the experience of Stalinism and the Cold War, to a new generation. And to a large extent he did influence a generation of scholars and activists in their understanding of important Marxist concepts. In his writings, perhaps most striking is the tension between creative independent thinking and the desire for a strict adherence to orthodox Marxism.
He is probably remembered most of all for being an indefatigable rationalist populariser of basic Marxist ideas, for his books on Late Capitalism and Long-Wave theory, and for his moral-intellectual leadership in the Trotskyist movement. His critics however claim that he was 'too soft on Stalinism', eclectic and unsystematic in his economic theorizing, an over-optimistic politician, a supporter of reforms within capitalism, or simply that he wrote more than he could do well.
A satirical novel featuring among others Ernest Mandel (in the guise of the encyclopedic, computer-brained genius Ezra Einstein) is Tariq Ali Redemption (Chatto & Windus 1990 (ISBN 0-7011-3394-5), Picador, 1991).
Bibliography of Ernest Mandel's main books
Marxist Economic Theory (2 vols.). The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx, 1843 to Capital La Longue Marche de la Revolution Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory Europe versus America: Contradictions of Imperialism Decline of the Dollar': a Marxist view of the Monetary Crisis The Second Slump Revolutionary Marxism Today Revolutionare Strategien im 20e Jahrhundert Trotsky: A Study in the Dynamic of his Thought From Stalinism to Eurocommunism Late Capitalism Verveemding en revolutionaire perspectieven Offener Marxismus Réponse à Louis Althusser et Jean Elleinstein Long Waves of Capitalist Development Introduction to Marxism Delightful Murder: A social history of the crime story De la Commune à Mai 68: Histoire du mouvement ouvrier international Karl Marx: die Aktualitat seines Werkes La Crise The meaning of the Second World War Beyond Perestroika: the future of Gorbachev's USSR October 1917: Coup d'état or Social Revolution? Trotsky as Alternative Kontroversen um "Das Kapital" Power and Money: A Marxist Theory of Bureaucracy The Place of Marxism in History Cash Krach & Krisis: Profitboom, Börsenkrach und Wirtschaftskrise Revolutionary Marxism and Social Reality in the 20th Century Why they invaded Chzechoslovakia
Books (co-)edited by Ernest Mandel
50 Years of World Revolution 1917-1967: an International Symposium Arbeiterkontrolle, Arbeiterrate, Arbeiterselbstverwaltung Ricardo, Marx, Sraffa: the Langston Memorial Volume New Findings in Long-Wave Research
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/