Socialist Worker

Austin Mitchell MP pays tribute to Alan Walter

Issue No. 2142

Alan Walter, a socialist and working class activist, died at his home in Camden, north London, last Saturday.

Activists will be shocked and saddened at the news of his sudden death.

Most people will know Alan as a central figure in the Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaign, which he helped to initiate in 1998.

But he had been a tireless activist involved in many different campaigns since the 1970s.

Austin Mitchell MP worked with Alan in the DCH campaign. “Alan was the driving force behind Defend Council Housing,” he told Socialist Worker.

“He kept the campaign going through difficult years when the government refused to have anything to do with council housing and was hostile to the idea.

“It’s been getting better lately, since 2007. Both the housing minister Margaret Beckett and the prime minister have said they want councils to build new council houses.

“They’ve not yet provided the money, but things are moving in the right direction.

“Alan was an organiser of genius. He made the campaign wider by bringing the trade unions on board.

“His great achievement was to turn a tenants’ campaign into a national political force and push the issue of council housing into the mainstream political arena.

“I don’t know how we’ll manage without him.”

Alan’s death is a loss for the working class movement, but everyone on the left can celebrate his life and his achievements.

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