Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, November 19, 2012

Julie Waterson - legendary anti-fascist and revolutionary

Many anti-racists and anti-fascists internationally - alongside her friends and comrades in the British Socialist Workers' Party of which she was a leading member - will have been deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Julie Waterson on friday at the tragically young age of 54, for she was not only an outstanding revolutionary socialist but truly a thorn in the side of Nazis - courageous, brave and inspiring in her tireless indomitable opposition to them.  Yet despite the harassment and intimidation she faced from the likes of the Nazi BNP - from the times I met with her, she always remained a wonderfully warm and cheerful personality - ever ready to challenge and take the piss out of any kind of egotism, arrogance, hubris, hypocrisy or downright betrayal - especially when it came from those supposedly 'on the left'.  She was in many ways, to paraphrase the Bob Marley song, like 'a small axe, well sharp, ready to cut you down' to size.  And many, many socialists loved and respected her for this.  I first met her in 1998 as a first year student who had just joined the SWP in a student occupation for free education (Blair's New Labour had just imposed tuition fees) - she had come up to do a meeting in the middle of our occupation - and her passion for socialism and contempt for the capitalist system shone through.  I remember being amazed at someone who could talk so knowledgeably and powerfully about the world for over half an hour from so few notes (I think she had about five words written on her scrap of paper in front of her). Julie Waterson will be sorely missed in the struggles ahead - and if there is any consolation to be taken from her early passing - and there really isn't - it is that the British fascist movement has never really been in a weaker state, more divided and fragmented, at a time when it should really be the ideal conditions for a fascist movement to grow given the capitalist crisis and racism from mainstream politicians.  That the British far right is so weak in many ways stands as a kind of tribute to Julie's life and work - though sadly the state of the socialist movement in Britain isn't exactly much better - and socialists trying to rebuild that movement in Britain will have to try and do so now without the contribution of one of the greatest and most dedicated class fighters we have seen over the past few decades.  RIP Julie.

I will try and link to tributes below as and when they appear:

Obituary in Socialist Worker by Alex Callinicos
Obituary in the Guardian by Simon Hester
Tributes to Julie Waterson
Unite Against Fascism tribute
Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services tribute
Tithi Bhattacharya
Hazel Croft
James Drummond
Nick Lowles

Edited to also add: The Julie Waterson Internet Archive

 Edited to also add:
A memorial to Julie takes place in Bathgate, West Lothian, Saturday 15 December. Meet 10.45am for 11am at Glasgow Road cemetery, EH48 2AA, and then afterwards at the Royal British Legion, 50 North Bridge Street, EH48 4PL. If you would like further details or a map please contact charlie@swp.org.uk

Donations in memory of Julie can be made to the Socialist Workers Party, PO Box 42184, London SW8 2WD (cheques payable to SWP) or online at www.swp.org.uk or to St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 4SA (cheques payable to St Joseph’s Hospice) or online at www.stjh.org.uk

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