It is with utter shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of our comrade Louise Rathbone on Saturday 19 September.
Louise suffered a suspected heart attack while out walking. She was a member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) throughout her adult life and had been a district organiser in a number of places.
She helped to recruit and develop many comrades active in the organisation today.
Most memorably Louise was the Birmingham SWP organiser during the campaign to save the Rover plant at Longbridge in 2000. The campaign culminated in a 100,000-strong march through the city.
Louise shaped and drove our intervention through the political lead she gave and her persistence in mobilising comrades.
Our arguments for renationalisation found echoes both on the factory floor and in the wider community. We showed how a small party of committed activists could punch above its weight, but were unable to break the inertia of trade union leaders in New Labour’s shadow.
Louise was a committed nurse before being an organiser and went back to work in the NHS and later in education.
As her son Ruben was born in 2003 her ability to intervene in the same way changed, yet her passion for politics remained.
Louise could always be relied upon to bring revolutionary clarity to the changing terrain.
Louise was utterly devoted to Ruben, who she loved and respected immensely. Ruben gave Louise so much pleasure and friendship, and she was rightly proud of her kind and thoughtful son.
Louise was a revolutionary and a friend, and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go to her son Ruben, her dad John, her sister Sally, and Ruben’s older sisters Karis and Keisha.
As they come to terms with such a tragic loss they are well aware that comrades will want to pay their respects to the family and welcome short visits and condolences.
We will pass on any messages and memories that comrades would like to share.
It will be followed by a celebration of her life at The Great Barr Hotel where the family hope that people will share memories of Louise on an open mic.
The Great Barr Hotel, Pear Tree Drive, Newton Road, Great Barr, West Midlands B43 6HS