Friday, January 6, 2017

Harry Hayden (1992)

Obituary from the September 1992 issue of the Socialist Standard

Harry, who died in July at the age of 88, joined the Party in 1932 after an association with the No-War Fellowship. After serving his apprenticeship he spent his working life as a lighterman on the Thames. During the 1930s slump he was unemployed and the resulting hardship left an indelible impression on him, as it did on many other workers who suffered during that period. He was a conscientious objector in the war, but was ordered to continue in his job as a lighterman.

During the post-war period he served on a committee representing lightermen which issued a journal warning of the redundancies that would result from the Devlin Plan for the reorganisation of the docks during the 1960s. Several of his fellow lightermen of those days attended his funeral.

Harry had a vast knowledge of both the history and geography of the Thames and in his youth was an accomplished sculler. He was well read in history, literature and the works of Marx, and gave classes in Marxist economics for the Party. He assembled a splendid collection of the works of Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Kautsky and William Morris which he donated to the Party. He was well versed in classical music, opera and literature. He can aptly be described as an educated and cultured member of the working class.

Having lived through the 1930s slump he took the view, when the question of capitalist economic crises came up for discussion in the Party, that the tendency was for world slumps to worsen. He steadfastly stuck to this view throughout the post-war period always maintaining the longer postponed the worse it would be. His passing results in a further diminution of the number of Party members who joined in the 1930s. We extend our sincere condolences to his family.
T. L.

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