Socialist Worker

Arthur Johnson 1926 - 2013

by Ian Thomas, Richard Morse, Des Mannay, for Newport SWP
Issue No. 2389

Arthur Johnson

Arthur Johnson

Socialists in Newport, South Wales, were very saddened to learn of the death of our comrade Arthur shortly before Christmas.

Arthur first became a committed socialist in the late 1940s in Canada after coming into contact with the Canadian Communist Party.

The party helped him with money as he was out of work at that time. 

Ever the free spirit he hitchhiked from Canada to the US in this period.

In his younger days he did many jobs. For a while he was in the navy, jumping ship on more than one occasion. 

In the 1960s he jumped ship in Australia and lived in a rural area for a couple of years. He was a Trotskyist by this time and joined the Fourth International. 

He was active against the war in Vietnam and worked as a docker.

Arthur returned to Britain and his hometown of Newport and was a member of the International Marxist Group (IMG).

He joined the Labour Party when the IMG did and was active in the Troops Out Movement in Ireland with his great friend Mary Crofton.

Mary used to amuse us with tales of Arthur sleeping on the floor under the downstairs window so that any bricks that came through wouldn’t land on him.

In the early 1990s Arthur became a committed member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). He regularly sold the paper and Socialist Review, and was always the top seller in the branch.

He never lost his optimism in the working class and was particularly concerned with industrial struggles.

So effective was he in delivering solidarity to striking RMT signal workers in 1992 that there is still an open invitation to the SWP to attend RMT meetings in Newport.

He regularly attended Marxism until a couple of years ago when he became too frail to attend. 

He was well known to enjoy a drink—half a beer and a double whisky usually.

Many people will have humorous stories of times when he might have had one too many!

He enjoyed rugby, watching Newport RFC. 

He was knowledgeable about music and the history of socialist organisations in Britain and elsewhere.

We remember Arthur as an independent, free spirited, gentle, unassuming man who had a full life and was deeply committed to the socialist cause. 

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Article information

Tue 4 Feb 2014, 16:21 GMT
Issue No. 2389
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