Socialist Worker

Kevin McKillop 1934-2018

by Geoff Brown
Issue No. 2619

Kevin McKillop (right, on the end) with other members of the National Union of Seamen, Manchester branch

Kevin McKillop (right, on the end) with other members of the National Union of Seamen, Manchester branch

Kevin was born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, in 1934.

A seafarer by trade, he came to socialist politics through trade unionism in the late 1970s.

He was active in the National Union of Seamen’s branch in Manchester.

The branch chair was Paddy Neary, who had been jailed in the early 1960s for leading an unofficial strike in Liverpool.

These were years of rapid decline in the shipping industry.

Bosses constantly tried to cut costs as containerisation meant that fewer, bigger ships needed less skilled crew.

By the end of the 1970s the shambles of Jim Callaghan’s Labour government and the nightmare of Margaret Thatcher brought Kevin to revolutionary politics.

Kevin joined Salford branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1981—a generation or so older than most of its members.

He rarely volunteered to speak but, when asked, had incisive and clear contributions.

Always dependable, Kevin never missed selling Socialist Worker in the high street on a Saturday.

And he diligently ran the Salford SWP branch bookstall for many years and was always there for flyposting.

He would sometimes teach younger comrades how to flypost. When he left the ships, Kevin retrained as a decorator, often painting comrades’ homes, accepting only the most minimal payment for his work.

When pressed to accept more, there would be banter that got nowhere until Kevin finally agreed to accept a bottle of Black Bush whiskey.

Kevin became less active in the 1990s.

But he stayed involved with the residents committee of Thorn Court in Salford.

A class fighter and a committed revolutionary, Kevin will be missed by all who knew him.

Kevin’s funeral is 3pm on Thursday 30 August, Agecroft Cemetery, Salford, M27 8SS

Article information

Tue 28 Aug 2018, 13:33 BST
Issue No. 2619
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.