The Socialist

The Socialist 9 May 2018

Tories out!

The Socialist issue 994

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Roger Shrives selling the Militant, photo Andy Walker

Roger Shrives selling the Militant, photo Andy Walker   (Click to enlarge)

Obituary: Roger Shrives, 5 April 1947 - 1 May 2018

Roger Shrives, a very long standing member of the Socialist Party in south London, has sadly passed away.

He had been a full-time organiser for Militant and the Socialist Party for 39 years, of which he was a member of the editorial team of the Militant and the Socialist newspapers for 37 years.

Roger became active in socialist politics as one of the first students at the New University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 1968 - at the very beginning of 'the Troubles'. It was here that Roger was introduced to Militant.

In December 1969 he helped establish the left-wing Coleraine Labour Party. In May 1971 Roger joined Militant.

That same month he campaigned in a council byelection in which the Northern Ireland Labour Party stood a local factory worker in a straight contest with the Unionists - securing 40% of the vote on a fighting, working class programme.

Returning to London after graduating, Roger resumed work at Lewisham social services where he became an active member of the Nalgo union.

He also helped establish the Labour Party Young Socialists Irish solidarity campaign at this time.

In November 1975 he and three other members who shared a rented flat in south London were accused in a witch-hunting Sunday Express article on Militant of being 'bed-sit Trotskyist infiltrators' of Labour under the, hilarious to Roger, headline: "Why the secret of 13 Elsiemaud Road shocked Mrs Box" (she being the landlady).

This article was a precursor of a generalised witch-hunt against Militant (see The Rise of Militant, by Peter Taaffe).

In 1976 Roger became a full-time organiser for Militant, working at our then central offices in Hackney, east London.

He was an incredibly industrious party worker, never missing an important demo or party activity, and was a stalwart of our successful council election campaigns in Telegraph Hill, Lewisham, in the 1990s and 2000s - where he tutored a younger generation of members in sound methods of party building.

He possessed razor-sharp proofreading skills, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the party and almost everything else, and an amazing ability for remembering dates - give him your date of birth and he would instantly tell you what day of the week you were born - as well as knowing all the London postcodes!

He did, however, exhibit disdain for modern technology and would frequently curse his misbehaving computer in scenes reminiscent of the character Basil in the sitcom Fawlty Towers!

Unfortunately, Roger had many long-term health problems, including the legacy of a stroke, and he finally retired as a sub-editor in October 2015.

But as an old trooper he continued to be an active member of Lewisham branch, all too often ignoring advice from fellow comrades to take it easy.

He set high standards for selling the Socialist - even in the ambulance taking him to hospital the day before he died Roger complained to an accompanying comrade about a reported low sale of the paper on a branch activity!

He enjoyed a pint, he liked listening to jazz and he possessed a wit which, when joking about fellow comrades, bordered on the rude!

He will be missed.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 May 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.


In this issue


Local elections 2018

Local election results are a major warning sign for Labour

The Tusc results

Southampton: Keith Morrell, anti-cuts councillor, re-elected

Haringey councillors need to fight austerity now

TUSC vote up in Waltham Forest but many voters stay away

TUSC stands against Birmingham council's cuts and attacks on workers

Strong TUSC result in Huddersfield


France '68

France '68: History's greatest general strike erupts


Socialist Party news and analysis

US president suggests gun control to blame for London knife deaths

Use TUC march as launch pad for action on pay

Breast cancer screening scandal


Israel/Palestine

Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

Socialists in Israel-Palestine reject establishment antisemitism charge against Jeremy Corbyn


Obituaries

Roger Shrives, 5 April 1947 - 1 May 2018

Keith Pattenden 28 September 1955 - 1 May 2018

Obituary: Tony Byrne 1939 - 2018


Socialist Party workplace news

Hull Energy Works: Unofficial strike action reinstates victimised workers

Defend Hull FE College - defend our city!

Victory against academisation at Avenue Primary

Firefighters ballot for action

PCS: A fighting strategy to defeat the Tory pay cap


International socialist news and analysis

Teachers revolt in Trump country

China: Impressive, coordinated and daring crane drivers' strikes

CWI news in brief


 

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9 May 2018