Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 21, 2012

Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012

Filed under: Alexander Cockburn,obituary — louisproyect @ 12:40 pm
Counterpunch Weekend Edition July 21-23, 2012

Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012

Farewell, Alex, My Friend


Our friend and comrade Alexander Cockburn died last night in Germany, after a fierce two-year long battle against cancer. His daughter Daisy was at his bedside.

Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret. Only a handful of us knew how terribly sick he truly was. He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy. He didn’t want to blog his own death as Christopher Hitchens had done. Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.

In one of Alex’s last emails to me, he patted himself on the back (and deservedly so) for having only missed one column through his incredibly debilitating and painful last few months. Amid the chemo and blood transfusions and painkillers, Alex turned out not only columns for CounterPunch and The Nation and First Post, but he also wrote a small book called Guillotine and finished his memoirs, A Colossal Wreck, both of which CounterPunch plans to publish over the course of the next year.

Alex lived a huge life and he lived it his way. He hated compromise in politics and he didn’t tolerate it in his own life. Alex was my pal, my mentor, my comrade. We joked, gossiped, argued and worked together nearly every day for the last twenty years. He leaves a huge void in our lives. But he taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the coming days and weeks, CounterPunch will publish many tributes to Alex from his friends and colleagues. But for this day, let us remember him through a few images taken by our friend Tao Ruspoli.


  1. Cockburn had his eccentricities, but he, and his publication, Counterpunch, played a major role in my radicalization in the late 1990s and early part of this century. I still remember watching him talk in Sacramento about 6 or 7 years ago, and admit that he didn’t think Counterpunch would do well when St. Clair broached the idea back in 1997 or 1998, but responded that he’d give it a try.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 21, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  2. Alex will be greatly missed. I had the pleasure of getting to know him by his eccentric collection and love of older cars. He would bring his cars into us to work on at Fortuna Wheel & Brake. He would tell us his great find and then bring it into us for any repairs it might need. They were all drivers, nothing pretty, but they were in his eyes. From his 1956 Newport, to his 1959 Crown Imperial. He would share some of his stories of his latest travels and have a piece of my homade cake. I will miss his hello and the sparkle in his eye.

    We’ll miss you.
    Kathy Wildgrube & Ryan Walters

    Comment by Kathy Wildgrube — July 21, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  3. He was man enough to admit that his love for older cars made him “partial” on the sky is falling environmentalists.

    Comment by chrisb93 — July 21, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  4. […] Tribute to Alex Cockburn – Jeffrey St Clair […]

    Pingback by Alexander Cockburn has died « Tomás Ó Flatharta — July 23, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

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