FALLEN HEROES OF 2017
This year, our movement lost a number of outstanding socialists whose lives remain an inspiration. The Morning Star pays tribute to some of the campaigners, trade union militants and revolutionaries who died in 2017.
Legendary socialist, peace and women’s rights campaigner Betty Tebbs passed away in January. Betty became an activist aged 14 on discovering a boy doing the same work as her at a paper mill earned two shillings a week more.
She chaired the National Assembly of Women and as part of the Women’s International Democratic Federation met Russian and US teams negotiating on nuclear disarmament, a cause dear to her all her life. Betty was a devoted friend to the Morning Star and kept in touch regularly until the end.
A giant of rank-and-file trade unionism, Kevin Halpin was a shop-floor militant who spent a lifetime fighting for workers’ rights.
He was a dedicated communist who acted as a friend and mentor to generations of trade unionists and never compromised on his socialist principles despite being for years a victim of blacklisting as a result.
Kevin often sold the Morning Star outside conferences and events and his comradeship, support and constructive criticism have been sorely missed since his death in January.
In May we learned of the shocking death of “Comrade Deano,” a passionate socialist and sometime member of the Morning Star’s management committee who volunteered his time and expertise to help the paper in its often troubled relationship with the world wide web.
Dean gave us invaluable assistance in the development of the Morning Star’s new website and dealt patiently and wittily with problems in frequently difficult circumstances.
Among other things, we remember him for his solidarity with the people of Cuba and their revolution.
For decades our solicitor, Michael Seifert was a socialist lawyer whose track record of representing workers in struggle stretched back to the miners’ strike and the Wapping dispute. Brilliant, generous and good-humoured, he provided first-class and often free legal advice for the people’s paper as well as other progressive organisations such as the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
The long-time president of the GMB was a trade union veteran whose work as a dinner lady inspired her campaign for free school meals for all pupils.
Many remember her contributions to the fight against the fascist National Front and her work in the Labour Party. As a battler for women’s rights she inspired thousands of young trade unionists.
The former Nupe and Unison general secretary was a titan of the left who campaigned tirelessly in defence of the NHS and helped bring solidarity with the people of Cuba into the trade union mainstream.
A close friend of the Morning Star, he was a much-loved trade unionist whose egalitarianism and dedication to ordinary members was an inspiration to many.
Our very own Fighting Fund organiser was a fixture at demonstrations, conferences and events for decades, selling the Morning Star, entertaining everyone with his wicked sense of humour and valued for his spot-on political instincts.
Ivan’s warmth and comradeship enriched the lives of thousands of socialists, communists and trade unionists and his example spurs us on to greater efforts in keeping the people’s paper alive and kicking.
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