Many comrades and supporters will be saddened by the news that Jane Elderton has died at the age of 62.
Jane was an active revolutionary socialist throughout her adult life. Having joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Bristol, Jane then went to the University of Sussex.
She threw herself into political activity in the early 1980s, joining the Socialist Worker Student Organisation group. She helped welcome the Right to Work March, played a leading role in three occupations and built solidarity with those across Britain opposing Thatcher.
When Jane moved to London in 1984, she started building solidarity for the miners as an activist in Lewisham Miners Support Group. At the same time, Jane also worked for Westminster council and played an important role building the Westminster branch of the SWP and organising at work.
In 1988 Jane became the South Wales organiser of the SWP. With her qualities of listening, debating and political leadership she helped create a vibrant district.
She was involved in the Cardiff Bay campaign. With the links she built there she was able to connect with the Cardiff 3 justice campaign a few years later.
A year later, Jane joined Socialist Worker as a journalist where her thoughtful, ideological analysis gave her the ability to build political relationships. When Jane went to FBU, NUT, MSF and NASUWT union conferences she could always be seen deep in discussion with delegates from across the country. This gave her reports a real insight for Socialist Worker readers.
Jane left the paper in the mid-1990s, working first for the charity Scope, where she recruited to the union and to the SWP. She then moved on to Kings College University as an administrator where she worked for over 20 years.
Again, her ability to build trade union organisation and offer incisive political clarity meant she was able to make lecturers, staff and students see that they were connected in the fight against the marketisation of education, and that to fight back they had to be united.
In 2019 Jane was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and a few months later her partner Neale with cancer. Neale sadly passed away in 2021.
By this time Jane needed carers. But this did not stop her from raging against the inequalities of the health system and the appalling work and pay conditions that the carers had to live with.
Jane spent time asking about their lives and their hopes and dreams and discussing how the world had to change. In the last week of Jane’s life, she was pleased to see that many of her friends had been on the demo defending women’s right to an abortion.
Our condolences go out to Jane’s parents, her son Jack, Emma and her family, and to Jane’s friends who said that they would not let her face her last few difficult years alone and stayed firm in that promise.