Sept 28 2020
Andre Vltchek published both of my books, but it’s not that they wouldn’t have been published without him - it’s that I would likely have never even had the courage to write them without so many years of his example.
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† Andre Vltchek 29 December 1963 – 22 September 2020[/su_panel]
I can’t say much about Andre without resorting to something like repetitive awe: he was astoundingly productive, his bravery in the subjects he dared to cover was consistently astounding, and his analyses and style were equally astounding for their clarity and humanity. I don’t think he had a peer, frankly.
In a just world somebody would have finally handed Andre the keys to a major newsroom one year earlier, when he was aged 56, and he would still be with us today.
Instead, he was always scrambling for funding. He had to publish his own books, and with no money for publicity. His sales totals… I can’t believe how low they are given the content he produced.
What’s worse, he was repeatedly shunned for his outspoken leftism. Top allegedly-leftist Western publications dropped him just as the pro-Hillary Russophobia campaign started, i.e. the time when Russian voices were the most desperately needed.
If it wasn’t Andre’s unrepentant demand for true leftism which got him into trouble it was refusing to accept the fake-left’s usual biases and stupidities: it’s incredibly telling about his intellectual openness and the quality of his heart that this total atheist published my book on Iranian Islamic socialism.
But that was Andre in a nutshell, and also why I think this staggeringly well-travelled journalist was not more fully embraced by the Western left: because he was a true internationalist. Andre was not more popular because he was not pro-Western, and that’s still a sin among many Western leftists.
If you asked Andre he would say that he identified as a “Cuban-style socialist”, but that’s because no socialist-influenced country is more internationalist than Cuba, and I’m certain everyone reading this knows that Andre was an internationalist above all else.
Andre was so staggeringly original, vibrant and necessary because he would go to places totally off the Western radar - like Oceania or Indonesia - and unearth examples of socialism which he insisted Westerners simply must learn from.
That’s not what many Western leftists want to read or hear, but Andre went even further: he openly refused to accept that the West had any intellectual, cultural or moral standing to be the self-appointed leaders of modern socialism, as many of them claim.
For example, I had a very tough time getting Andre interested in France’s Yellow Vests. I would relate to Andre that when you talked to them individually the serious Yellow Vests were internationalists and anti-imperialists, but Andre would insist (wrongly, I still think) on their bourgeois nature: “Ramin, these people are protesting to have better dinners in restaurants - they are spoiled and lazy.” Well… yes, partially, but….
The last time we talked was over the Black Lives Matter movement, which he did support. It was telling that what he was most interested in was learning about its anti-imperialist aspects, precisely because any true internationalist socialist correctly sees Western imperialism as the world’s biggest threat. Andre couldn’t have cared less about the US presidential election - a “circus”, he called it.
In truth, I am a bit mad at Andre for passing so soon, and I rather unfairly blame him, because we could all see it coming. He didn’t burn the candle at two ends but at three ends, somehow. He was a dynamo, and his energy, passion and inspiration shamed and encouraged many of us into action, but he also simply did not take care of himself with necessary time off. I would tell him that time and again, as many others did, but it was always, “No comrade, there is something happening in ___ which we must cover.”
The world needed a couple more decades out of him, but Andre simply did not rest. That is what made him Andre, but he is gone too soon. Woefully soon. An elder Andre had so many contacts and experiences across such a great number of countries that he really could have brought so, so many leftists together.
Because he left us so soon I am more upset that he did not get the attention he so very justly deserved, and it is also disheartening that he will likely be more appreciated posthumously outside of the West, as well.
However, I am so glad and I thank God that he died of natural causes and peacefully in his sleep. Considering all the danger he faced, who on earth would have ever guessed that? Final cause: a pulmonary embolism. Andre certainly was not what he would hilariously or quite bitterly call a “couch leftist”, and he was certainly no “hotel room journalist” wherever he visited no matter how dangerous it was out there.
Read him, watch him, listen to him - you will remember him because he was so staggeringly good. Andre Vltchek simply must be remembered by anyone who takes politics seriously, and his work will endure to provide us with a source of constant inspiration.
What a wealth of treasures this one man left to the world’s left. Thank you, comrade.
^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
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