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If you think all the big political parties are the same - you're right! The bosses have got three parties - isn't it about time we had one of our own?
a workers' MP on a workers' wage
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.
Even after his sad death in June 2008, Terry Fields is still able to attract hundreds to political meetings. On Thursday 27th August around 200 people attended a commemoration of Terry, organised by Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers’ Party.
This 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 Fields’ 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. Several speakers were introduced by Paul Astbury, former deputy leader of the Liverpool council during the 80’s. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, recalled with emotion how he was inspired by Terry when he first joined the Fire Brigades Union. 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 their betrayal of working people and their adhesion to capitalist rules. And Dave Nellist, Socialist councillor in Coventry and former Militant-supporting MP with Terry Fields, recalled his time with Terry in Parliament with humour and emotion.
With hundreds of new CNWP supporters and over £500 raised in the collection, this important event testified that many people want another society. In these times of the so-called “credit crunch”, of 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…”
Note: The success of the meeting will be built upon with future events organised by Merseyside CNWP. During 2008 different cultural and political events have been organised by the local campaign to highlight the role of the working class in Liverpool’s history and culture. Last March, Ken Loach attended a successful meeting to discuss his “Flickering Flame” film about the 1995-97 Dockers’ strike. This summer, a photographic display showed the work of former Militant photographer Dave Sinclair. On 16th October, a film showing of “Land and Freedom” about the Spanish civil war will welcome local actor Ian Hart to raise awareness of the rise of fascism and the BNP – 7.30pm at Liverpool Community College on Myrtle St.
All are welcome to attend those events, check out www.myspace.com/cityofculture08
Next Merseyside CNWP meeting: Thursday 18th September, 7.30pm, The Casa Club, 29 Hope St.