THE SUDDEN death of Mike Cohen last week at the age of 67 is a sad loss to the labour movement. Mike was a familiar figure whenever ordinary people were fighting back. Rare was the strike or demonstration in London where he was not there, taking photographs for socialist publications, mainly the Morning Star and also for others including Socialist Worker.
The picture above was one of Mike's most famous. It appeared on the front page of Socialist Worker in 1972 under the headline 'Victory'. It records Con Clancy, one of the Pentonville Five, being carried triumphant from prison.
The five dockers had been jailed for defying anti-union laws and were freed by a massive wave of strikes, which played a key role in breaking the then Tory government. Thirty years on and Mike, as energetic as ever, was still taking photographs of working class struggle.
I spoke to him last Tuesday as he was taking pictures of a rally of striking London council workers. He was enthusing about the stop the war demonstration, and discussing what could be done to build the movement in east London, where we both lived. Mike was from a Jewish background and lost family members in the Nazi Holocaust. His central passion was the fight against fascism.
He was a founder member of the Searchlight anti-fascist magazine, and was always at the centre of anti-fascist activity, often using his camera to good effect in securing evidence exposing the Nazis. Mike was a courageous but unassuming man who will be missed not only by his friends and family, but by all those who knew him or worked with him.