Alexander Cockburn: 'He taught at least two generations how to think'

Radical left-wing journalist Alexander Cockburn has died of cancer at the age of 71.

Described as a “crusading” journalist by the Independent, Cockburn passed away on 21 July at a clinic in Bad Salzhausen, Germany.

He was a journalist up until his death, primarily writing for US newsletter Counterpunch, which he co-founded.

Having started his career in the UK, writing for the New Statesman, New Left Review and Times Literary Supplement, Cockburn moved to the United States in 1972.

After working as a freelance for a long period, notably for The Village Voice and The Nation, Cockburn started Counterpunch in California with journalists Jeffrey St Clair and Ken Silverstein in 1994.

‘Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret,’St Clair wrote on  Counterpunch. ‘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.”

St Clair added: “He taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of joyful and creative resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Despite having a number of medical commitments over the past few months, Cockburn only missed one column for Counterpunch, and also continued to write for The Nation and First Post.


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