Comrades, family and friends of the late Chris Harman gathered to celebrate his life at a memorial meeting in London this evening.
Several hundred people listened to speeches from those who had worked alongside Chris, who was a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party and its predecessors for more than four decades.
Ian Birchall and John Rose were among those who paid tribute to Chris’s role in the radicalisation of a generation in 1968, and the central role that he played in transforming the International Socialists into a serious force.
In a video message Tariq Ali movingly told of how, in the late 1960s, Chris had helped defend him from police who were determined to arrest and deport him. He described Chris as an “organic intellectual” whose skills were placed entirely in the service of the revolutionary movement.
Ann Rogers worked with Chris during the 1980s while he was the editor of Socialist Worker. She told the meeting that his encyclopedic knowledge made her think of him as the “precursor to Wikipedia – but more accurate”.
Joseph Choonara, who in recent years assisted Chris in editing International Socialism journal, spoke of Chris’s importance to a new layer of Marxist thinkers. He said that many were particularly attracted to Chris because of the way he constantly fought to unite revolutionary theory with revolutionary practice.
The meeting also heard touching and sometimes hilarious recollections from Chris’s sister Carole, his partner Talat and his daughter Sinead.
A number of revolutionary socialist groups from across the world sent messages to the meeting. All of them pledged to continue the cause that Chris dedicated his life to – the fight to cleanse the world of exploitation and oppression.