Sadly, our dear friend and comrade Frank Doleman died on 29 October after a decade of fighting cancer. He was a class act.
He grew up in Milton, a housing scheme in the north end of Glasgow. Frank was a socialist since he was 14 years old and a revolutionary socialist until the end of his life.
He was radicalised by the experience of growing up under Thatcherism and his first political act of defiance was taking part in the Right to Work March from Glasgow to Linwood in 1980.
Frank threw himself into campaigning and fighting every aspect of capitalism. He was very influential in mobilising and winning a wide layer of new young activists to socialist politics in the 1980s and beyond.
Frank joined the Socialist Workers Party in 1982 and was fundamentally convinced by the argument that only the working class had the power to rid the world of nuclear war, exploitation, racism and imperialism.
He was a trailblazer with attitude. He campaigned against the Falklands War, became the key figure in Youth CND in Glasgow, and played a key role in leading a school students’ strike against Thatcher’s hated Youth Training Scheme. This culminated in a 25,000-strong school students’ demonstration in George Square.
His first job when he left school was working as a printer. This led him to join the mass picketing in the dispute between the NGA print union and the Messenger Newspaper Group in Warrington in 1983. Cops arrested Frank and the court found him guilty of threatening behaviour.
But he always spoke proudly of how he defeated the prosecution case that he had assaulted the police and was cleared of that charge.
Like so many, it was the Great Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 that had the biggest influence on his life politically. He threw himself into the miners’ support groups and into building solidarity across the working class and socialist movement on Clydeside.
Frank moved to London in the mid-1980s and loved the years that he spent working in the SWP printshop to produce Socialist Worker.
Frank was also a very talented writer and at the age of 18 years old wrote a series of seven articles for Socialist Worker on the history of the Irish struggle. These articles were an early indicator of just how much talent and political depth Frank had.
Frank was excited by the growth of the anti-capitalist movement and took part in the great demonstrations in the early 2000s in Genoa and Florence. He was extremely proud of his involvement in Globalise Resistance and later the Stop the War Coalition in building mass opposition to capitalism and war.
Frank’s thirst for knowledge in all spheres of politics, history, science, literature and culture is well known to all those who knew him.
His desire to make the world a better place eventually led him into journalism and exposing miscarriages of justice through his sharp and insightful court reporting.
Frank rose to prominence during the Tommy Sheridan trial and was the first person in Scotland to blog and tweet from a live court.
He was nominated for the Orwell Prize for his reporting of the infamous phone hacking scandal. He took great pleasure in covering the trials of Nazi Tommy Robinson and always would make time to wind-up right wingers on Twitter.
He paid special attention to Christopher Hitchens when he became the pro-war megaphone for George Bush and Tony Blair’s wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. He launched Hitchens Watch; a sharp, ironic and scathing blog that tore apart virtually everything Hitchens said over many years.
Frank was also a huge Celtic football fan and he was delighted to see his beloved hoops flying Palestinian flags at Celtic Park in solidarity with the Palestinians.
He was the most devoted and kind friend anyone could ever wish for. We will never forget all the times that we were together during 40-plus years of political activism.
His good counsel, his brilliant analytical brain and his ability to tell you honestly what he thought of any situation were some of his outstanding qualities. Our deepest condolences and solidarity go to his sister Alison, to Jude, and all his friends and comrades.
Rest in Power, Frank
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