Socialist Worker

Brian Rose 1938–2008

by Geoff Brown on behalf of Manchester SWP
Issue No. 2130

Brian Rose

Brian Rose

Brian started his political life as a committed activist in CND in Kent, among other things getting jailed in Wareham prison for a week for breaking into a missile site.

He did many different jobs before becoming the first dustman to go to the LSE. There he became a revolutionary socialist, joining the International Socialists (IS), forerunner of the SWP in 1969.

Brian moved to Manchester in 1971 where he helped found the Salford IS branch, organising around the Manchester engineering factory occupations in 1972 and many other disputes. He was arrested at a demonstration against the National Front.

Brian became the lecturers’ union rep for Moston College.

In the early 1980s he was the Natfhe union secretary for the colleges in Manchester, leading 2,000 colleagues in the “Hold the line, don’t sign” dispute after management sacked every lecturer in an attempt to intimidate people into accepting an inferior contract.

This was a rare success at a time when Thatcher’s anti-union offensive was under way.

Brian was never happier then when organising against management stupidity, incompetence or worse.

His sharp intelligence, disguised by a deep-rooted modesty, brought many a victory in the workplace. His often wicked sense of humour kept up the spirits of comrades through many a difficult time.

Having his glasses smashed in a confrontation on a picket line didn’t stop Brian describing it as one of the best days of his life.

An inspirational teacher, Brian enthused others in whatever he did, not least when he put his talents as a gardener into practice.

In recent years, Brian’s health declined – having been one of the world’s great smokers didn’t help. But it was the loss of Eileen, his partner of over 20 years, at the beginning of this year that hit him hardest.

Our sympathies go to his sons Danny and Joe and their mother Sandy. We shall all miss him.

Article information

Tue 2 Dec 2008, 18:43 GMT
Issue No. 2130
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