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Anthropologist, author and activist David Graeber dies, aged 59

THE anthropologist, author and anarchist David Graeber died aged 59 on Wednesday, his partner Nika Dubrovsky announced on Twitter today.

“Yesterday the best person in a world, my husband and my friend died in a hospital in Venice,” Ms Dubrovsky announced.

The cause of death was unknown, but Graeber had tweeted in August that he had “been sick for a month” with an illness that caused a “weird soapy taste in my mouth, exhaustion, stomach [and] lung-ache.”

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell was one of hundreds of left-wing figures across the world who sent their condolences to Ms Dubrovsky today.

“This is so shocking,” Mr McDonnell said. “I counted David as a much valued friend and ally. His iconoclastic research and writing opened us all up to fresh thinking and such innovative approaches to political activism.

“We will all miss him hugely. I send my deepest sympathy.”

Rapper Lowkey said: “David Graeber was someone I learned from every single time I spoke to him, heard him speak or read his work. His loss can’t be underestimated.

“I hope his legacy can come to offer some form of solace to his loved ones.”

Fellow anthropologist and author Jason Hickel said: “One cannot overstate the significance of David’s contribution to struggles for justice in the US, UK and many other parts of the world.

“Millions of people have learned from and been shaped by his writing, teaching, and example … There was no myth he would not question, no hegemony he would not expose. He saw through every ruse that the powerful have going.”

Despite being an anarchist, Graeber supported Jeremy Corbyn during his time as Labour Party leader.

Graeber, who was born in New York City to Jewish parents in 1961, pleaded with the media, right-wing politicians and others to stop portraying Mr Corbyn, the party, its activists and supporters as indifferent or even sympathetic to anti-semitism.

In an interview with Double Down News this year, Graeber said: “The fact that they are taking our safety, our culture, our traditions and using it as a weapon to fight against someone who wants to redistribute some money so there aren’t homeless people on the streets — it’s a deep, profound insult to the humanistic spirit which is at the core of Judaism.

“It is itself anti-semitic.”

Graeber was the author of Debt: The First 5000 Years, The Utopia of Rules and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, and worked as a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

He rose to prominence as a left-wing activist during the Occupy movement in 2011 and is credited with coining the term “We are the 99 per cent.”


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