In memory of Martyn Richards

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Our comrade Martyn has lost a very painful struggle with cancer. His death in his early fifties is a heavy blow. Martyn was a close sympathiser of the ICC for nearly 30 years. He first made contact with us in the early 80s after experiencing at first hand the reactionary and dishonest character of the Trotskyist organisations (in this case the ‘Militant’ variety). After a brief phase of defining himself as a council communist he moved towards the politics of the ICC and remained convinced of our positions for the rest of his life. Even when he was very close to death he wanted to make it clear that he maintained his confidence in the ICC and has left to us his collection of political books.

For one reason of another – perhaps because Martyn had a tendency to underestimate the degree to which he really grasped our political positions, especially on the organisation question – he never became a member but he took a full part in many of our interventions, defended the organisation when it was under fire, and kept up a regular activity in his own home town of Leicester, selling the press, participating in political meetings and making contacts around him. During the 90s this activity bore fruit in the formation of a discussion circle in Leicester, which subsequently expanded to Birmingham and survives today as the Midlands Discussion Forum. Some of the ICC’s present membership in the UK initially passed through this circle but it always retained its character as an open forum where different tendencies within the working class could meet and debate; and this openness, along with the longevity of the circle, owes a lot to the role that Martyn played within the circle, above all the seriousness with which he approached political debate and clarification. 

Martyn’s interest in discussion was not limited to politics in the narrower sense but took in many wider areas such as anthropology, ancient history, art and music. He spent much of his working life as a printer, although more recently he went to university to study the history of art.He also became a father and was immensely proud of his son, who along with Martyn’s wife will be feeling this loss more than we can convey here. But Martyn will also be mourned by all who knew him as a comrade and a fighter for the communist revolution.

WR 7/2/11