The Socialist 2 September 2008 |
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Terry Fields memorial meeting
"TERRY FIELDS was a great comrade, loved and respected by many socialists, trade unionists and political activists. Most of all he was loved by working-class people, especially in his former constituency of Liverpool Broadgreen", said Peter Taaffe at a memorial meeting for Terry Fields on 27 August.
Even after his sad death in June 2008, Terry Fields is still able to attract hundreds to a political meeting. Around 200 people attended the commemoration, organised by Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP).
The event opened with a film showing different times in Terry's life. Footage from 1988 showed him addressing a huge crowd of strikers and giving them his support during the postal workers' strike at Copperas Hill mail centre.
It was followed by extracts from his general election speech in 1992, and from Pete Naylor's Tales from the Riverbank with Terry reflecting on the last three decades, including his imprisonment for refusing to pay the Poll Tax and the role of the 49 Liverpool councillors who stood up to Thatcher. This montage reflected Terry Field's life and contribution as a great socialist, a man of principles but also a human being with a great sense of humour.
It was great to hear Terry speak for himself and remind comrades that they should carry on his struggle and great work to better the life of the working class. Paul Astbury, former deputy leader of Liverpool council during the 1980s introduced several speakers.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, recalled with emotion how he was inspired by former firefighter Terry when he first joined the FBU.
Terry's son Stephen Fields gave an emotional and determined account of what his dad believed in and how, all his life, he followed his word. Peter Taaffe, former editor of Militant, gave an inspirational address to much applause, denouncing New Labour for its betrayal of working people and its adhesion to capitalism. And Dave Nellist, a Socialist Party councillor in Coventry and former Militant-supporting MP alongside Terry Fields, recalled his time with him.
There was also a video address from Tony Mulhearn, president of Liverpool District Labour Party during the 1980s battles, who could not attend the memorial meeting due to a prior commitment.
With hundreds of new CNWP supporters and £600 raised in the collection, this important event testified that many people want another society. In these times of the 'credit crunch' and rising inequality, it is so important to rebuild the labour movement. Not with New Labour and the lapdogs of capitalism, but with a real alternative, a new workers' party. As Terry said so well: "You could despair, but as a socialist, as a Marxist, you always feel then, perhaps one day..."
Next Merseyside CNWP meeting: Thursday 18 September, 7.30pm, The Casa Club, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool.