Editorial: A century of Anti-Communism
If communism, as our opening editorial had it, was one of the defining political movements of the twentieth century, it was not just that communism itself helped define Hobsbawm’s ‘age of extremes’. Nor was it merely that communism’s positive influence, for good or ill, can be traced through a host of wider agencies. Communism also matters because so much else in twentieth-century politics was in some sense defined in relation to it, whether in rivalry, competition or open hostility. In addressing this theme of ‘A century of anti-communisms’, the present issue of Twentieth Century Communism, overspilling into the next, joins a rapidly increasing body of literature on the subject. Not only are these anti-communisms rightly seen as crucial to our understanding of the century that is now behind us. In the projection and anathematisation of new ‘extremes’, notably, of course, that of militant Islam, they also offer insight into the political uses of threat in our own times.