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Remembering John Molyneux 1948-2022

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Issue 2835
John Molyneux

John Molyneux

Here we publish our readers’ memories of John Molyneux. You can contribute yours through [email protected]

Alex Callinicos’s obituary of John is here You can view the memorial event for John Molyneux here

The SWP and Bookmarks Bookshop are holding an event “Remembering John Molyneux” on Saturday 11 March, 5pm, in London. Details here

A friend of Bangladeshi community in UK

This article was published in the New Age in Bangladesh, a national newspaper, here 

Dr John Molyneux was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in England in 1948. He grew up in London and attended Westminster City Grammar School. He studied at the University of Southampton where he completed a PhD in 1975. For decades, he taught historical and theoretical studies at the School of Art, Design and Media of the University of Portsmouth in England. As an academic, he specialised in Marxist theory and art. In August 2010, Dr Molyneux moved to Dublin, Ireland where he suddenly died of an aortic aneurysm on December 10, 2022.

In Portsmouth, Dr Molyneux was a guardian figure to the sizeable Bangladeshi community. He had frequently attended events organised by the Bangladeshis in the city and offered them support in times of crisis. When the Portsmouth Jami Masjid on Victoria Road North, Southsea, which was managed by the diasporic Bangladeshi community, was attacked, Dr Molyneux promptly organised a protest rally in front of the mosque. In order to boost the morale of the Bangladeshis, he declared: ‘Today we are all Muslim.’

In 2007, Dr Molyneux visited Bangladesh and delivered a lecture on ‘Imperialism and anti-imperialism in British Culture’ at the University of Dhaka. On December 22, 2007, Dr Nasreen Beena Shikdar, a researcher and a radical student leader in the 1980s, interviewed Dr Molyneux in Dhaka.

Nasreen Beena Shikdar: How did you come to visit Bangladesh?

John Molyneux: I came to Bangladesh at the invitation of my friend Dr Mahmudul Hasan (a faculty of the English Department, University of Dhaka, and now with International Islamic University Malaysia). We met at the University of Portsmouth in UK. Mahmud organised for me to give a lecture at the English Department in Dhaka University. This was my first ever visit to Bangladesh.

Nasreen Beena Shikdar: What were your impressions of Bangladesh?

John Molyneux: My visit to Bangladesh has been extremely interesting, informative and enjoyable. I am moved by the warm welcome I received both at Dhaka and in Mahmud’s village. People’s hospitality moved me. They have a lot of energy and potentiality, but the most obvious problem they face is widespread poverty. I believe this poverty has been caused by imperialism, both in its past and present forms. Also I am worried about the future of Bangladesh, because it is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This is not a problem caused by the people of Bangladesh, but by the western industrialised countries. Yet, it is the people of Bangladesh who will suffer.

Nasreen Beena Shikdar: How do you see the prospects of the anti-war movement around the world?

John Molyneux: There has been a very powerful anti-war movement around the world. When communism collapsed in Russia and Eastern Europe, the US believed that there would be a new world order which it would be able to control without a challenge. In reality, their power is challenged. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were part of the United States’ attempt to establish ‘full-spectrum dominance’. The resistance of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, in Palestine and also in many of the western countries such as Britain, Italy, and Spain and even in the US itself, has meant that the US strategy is falling apart. I think that the US and Britain could face a real prospect of defeat, of being forced to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nasreen Beena Shikdar: What are your thoughts on the future of the international socialist movement?

John Molyneux: When the USSR collapsed, many commentators throughout the world said that socialism was dead. Francis Fukuyama, the adviser to the US government, went so far as to say that history had come to an end, because capitalism was no longer faced with any serious challenge. However, there are many places in the world where imperialism has been challenged, and new socialist movements are emerging. The leading role here is being played by the working people of Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, but also in Bolivia, Argentina and elsewhere. Also many demonstrations and conferences are organised by the international anti-capitalist movement from Seattle to Porte Allegre, from Genoa to Mumbai. There are rising working class struggles of great importance in Egypt among the textile workers and in South Africa. For all its triumphs, international capitalism remains unable to meet the basic needs of the world’s people and threatens the survival of the planet through climate change, produced by unrestrained industrial growth and capitalist competition. For this reason, the revival of the international socialist movement is both necessary and possible. However, I believe the new socialist movement must avoid the tragic errors of Stalinism. There must be a genuine movement of working-class people from below and it must be thoroughly democratic.

Nasreen Beena Shikdar: How do you perceive the future of Bangladeshi people in the UK?

John Molyneux: The present situation is quite difficult because they face a combination of racism and Islamophobia, which is a recent development. These two forms of prejudice threaten to marginalise and exclude Bangladeshi people. In the context of the ‘war on terror’, Bangladeshi communities and other Muslim communities have been targeted by the media and also subjected to some degree of police harassment. There are positive signs and developments too. Many Bangladeshi people have been starting to organise themselves and participate more in British politics through their participation in the anti-war movement, particularly with the new Respect party. I think this is very important. Bangladeshi people along with other Muslims and immigrant communities should play an active part in British politics. I want to say, the left in Britain has a duty to defend the human and civil rights of the Bangladeshi and other immigrant communities and to support their positive involvement in society. I would repeat that this is very important, if we are not to allow the imperialist and racist policies of either the Bush Administration or New Labour to divide working people against each other.

Remembering my friend and mentor John Molyneux

Md. Mahmudul Hasan

My last Facebook communication with John Molyneux was on October 24, 2022. He posted a status update about – an obituary of – Waldemar Maxim (known to us as Max [1947-2022]) who had passed away the day before, on October 23, 2022. I commented on the post, saying:

“I have so many memories of Max, his broad smiles and firm handshakes whenever we met. The last time I met you [John Molyneux] and Max was in London in 2017 during the Marxism conference. He highly appreciated my co-edited book Displaced and Forgotten: Memoirs of Refugees.”

My last WhatsApp conversation with John was also in October 2022, and also involved a death-related subject matter. I shared with him the web link to my obituary of the scholar Yusuf Qaradawi that was published in New Straits Times (October 21, 2022). In the obituary I touched on Qaradawi’s July 2004 trip to London which attracted huge media attention and inspired two contrary reactions in the UK. Both John and I were in Portsmouth, UK at that time and were very much alive to the fetishization of the whole issue.

John’s comment on my obituary of Qaradawi read: “Thanks Mahmud. Hope you and yours are all well. Turbulent times in UK!  In a sense what is revealed in this investigation was obvious all along but it’s useful to have it documented. Very best John.”

Little did I know at that time that John would be the subject of the next obituary that I would be writing.

My last WhatsApp message to John was never delivered. On January 22, 2023, I shared with him a web link to a newspaper article of mine. I noticed that John had not been on the messaging application for weeks. My antennae went up! Something must have gone wrong, as John was not someone who would remain inactive on social media for such a long time. I surfed the Internet and was shocked to discover through the Wikipedia entry on him that he had passed away on December 10, 2022.

I remained in a state of disbelief and inertia for about an hour. Then I took to WhatsApp and wrote to his son Jack Molyneux who told me that his father had suddenly died of aortic aneurysm.

Whenever John was late in replying to my Email or WhatsApp messages, I used to worry about his health. On all previous occasions, it was John’s very busy life which sometimes caused delays in replying to my messages (he was otherwise a very prompt, excellent communicator). This time it was his eternal rest that denied me a response!

I first met John in 2002. I was in Portsmouth studying for a doctoral degree. Our anti-war, anti-racist and anti-imperialist fervour and fight for the rights of the Palestinians and other oppressed peoples brought us closer and fostered a friendship that spanned the last two decades of his life. Our political activities in the form of meetings, rallies, gatherings and demonstrations were heightened in the run-up to the illegal war on and invasion of Iraq. I witnessed in awe John’s strong leadership in standing up to aggression and oppression and defending the rights of the oppressed.

A few weeks before the 19-20 March 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq, John organised an anti-war seminar in a meeting room at the 3rd floor of Norrish Central Library and Arts Centre (Portsmouth public library) in Guildhall Square. He included me in the list of the three main speakers of the event including the late celebrated CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) leader Bruce Kent (1929-2022). I was 28 years old at that time, and it was a great honour and educative experience for me. Maybe, John needed a representation from Portsmouth’s sizeable Bangladeshi community, and I fitted well in that context.

By the way, John was a great friend of the British-Bangladeshis in Portsmouth and stood by them in their hour of need. During my time in Portsmouth, once the Jami Masjid on Victoria Road North, Southsea was vandalised. In order to boost the morale of the Bangladeshis who run the prayer facility, John promptly organised a protest rally and appeared in front of the masjid with his friends and comrades. I was there and heard him declare during his speech: “Today we are all Muslim.” Almost every Friday, he used to be outside the Jami Masjid, leafleting and talking to people after congregational prayers.

Perhaps, our most memorable day in Britain was February 15, 2003 when under John’s leadership we went from Portsmouth to London in 15 buses to join UK’s largest peace rally in Hyde Park which was attended by approximately 2 million people. During the rally, I had the opportunity to directly listen to the writer Harold Pinter whose play The Birthday Party (1957) I had studied during my undergrad years at the University of Dhaka.

I was supposed to join John to go to London to attend International Peace Conference at the hall of the Royal Horticultural Society near Victoria train station on December 10, 2005. It was attended by Tony Benn, Tariq Ali and their like. The main attraction was the US peace activist Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who died in Iraq in April 2004. John really wanted me to attend the conference.

As I had stayed up late the previous night, I couldn’t wake up in time in the morning. John left and called me from London, persuading me to take a train from Portsmouth to London Victoria, which I did accordingly. When I reached the conference venue, he shoved some money into my pocket, and it was more than what the return journey cost me.

On the evening of April 26, 2006, I was coming back to Portsmouth from Royal Holloway, University of London after attending a daylong workshop on the Terror and the Postcolonial. I changed trains at Guildford and got on a Portsmouth-bound train where I met John. He was coming back from a University and College Union (UCU) strike in London over pay dispute.

During that Guildford-to-Portsmouth train journey, John and I had a long conversation. At one point, I told him that I would be submitting my PhD thesis for examination by the end of 2006 and would be going back to Bangladesh for good. I added: “John, you have spent your whole life fighting for the rights of the poor and the underprivileged, but you have never been to a truly poor (so-called developing) country.”

I suggested that he visit Bangladesh once I settled down there. He liked the idea.

Long story short, I defended my PhD thesis in June 2007 and went back to Bangladesh to teach in the Department of English of the University of Dhaka. On October 18, 2007, John emailed me that he would be arriving in Dhaka on Thursday December 13, 2007 and would be departing on Tuesday December 25, 2007. His daughter Sara’s wedding was on the 27th or 28th of December. In that sense, it was a tight schedule.

John stayed in our residence in Dhaka and visited our village in Brahmanbaria two times. On behalf of the Department of English of the University of Dhaka, I coordinated efforts to organise an important talk for him on the very evening of his arrival in Dhaka. It was held at the R. C. Majumdar Auditorium of the Faculty of Arts. Very much in command of his material, John spoke confidently and eloquently on “Imperialism and Anti-imperialism in British Culture” in front of a very enthusiastic, large audience that comprised my colleagues and students. On December 22, 2007, sociologist Dr Nasreen Beena Shikdar interviewed John in Dhaka. In that interview, John said:

I came to Bangladesh at the invitation of my friend Dr Mahmudul Hasan (Asst Prof of English, University of Dhaka). We met in the University of Portsmouth, Great Britain. Mahmud organised for me to give a lecture to the English Department at Dhaka University. This is my first ever visit to Bangladesh.

My visit to Bangladesh has been extremely interesting, informative and enjoyable. I am moved by the warm welcome by the Bangladeshi people both at Dhaka and in Mahmud’s village which I visited, and by being treated with so much hospitality. The people of Bangladesh have a lot of energy and potentiality, but the most obvious problem they face is widespread poverty. I believe this poverty has been caused by imperialism, both past and present. Also I am worried about the future of Bangladesh, because it is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This is not a problem caused by the people of Bangladesh, but by the western industrialised countries. But it is the people of Bangladesh who will suffer.

On December 27, 2008, John sent me an email, informing me about a protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza that he would be organising in Portsmouth on January 3, 2009. The rally gathered at the city’s Guildhall Square at 11 am and was followed by a march to BOYCOTT ISRAELI GOODS picket at TESCO. It was jointly called by Portsmouth Stop the War Coalition and the Portsmouth Network for a Just Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

John was briefly arrested and charged under Section 11 of the Public Order Act of 1986 with organising a demonstration without giving a 6-day notice. John appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday April 17, 2009, and pleaded not guilty, denying a public order offence.

In 2009-2010, I was doing a postdoctoral stint at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. From there I visited the UK in November 2009. On November 10, 2009, I went to Portsmouth to give a lecture at the university. John was there in the audience, and we had dinner at a restaurant in Southsea that evening, along with Alex Tickell, one of my PhD supervisors who arranged the talk for me.

After my talk at the University of Portsmouth on the evening of November 10, 2009.

In an email of December 30, 2009, John wrote to me: “Mary and I getting stronger and falling more in love each day, so my retirement to Dublin is becoming more imminent.” He emailed me on Friday August 13, 2010, informing me that he would be moving to Drimnagh, Dublin in Ireland on Monday August 16, 2010 to live there permanently. I visited Portsmouth again in September 2012. John was in Spain at that time, so we couldn’t meet.

On September 8, 2017, I received this email from John: “Dear Mahmud, Greetings. I have a request. The Irish Marxist Review (which I edit) editorial board met last night, and we decided we needed an article about Myanmar and the Rohingya people for our next issue. I wondered if you or you and Raudah [my wife] together would be prepared to write such an article.” The outcome was my essay “The Rohingya crisis: Suu Kyi’s false flag and ethnic cleansing in Arakan” which appeared in IMR later that year.

I very much wanted John to visit Malaysia where I currently live and work. That did not materialise. However, John spoke at two webinars that I organised on behalf of the Department of English Language and Literature at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) where I am currently based. In 2020, I was teaching a postgraduate course on Research Methodology in which one of the topics was Marxism. Instead of me speaking on the subject, my students and I organised a webinar on November 30, 2020 for John to give a talk on it. We titled the webinar “Marxist theory in art and literature” which attracted a large virtual audience. Again, on May 28, 2021, on behalf of the English department at IIUM, I organised another webinar where John was the main speaker. It was on “Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism: Reflections on Recent Israeli Atrocities on Gaza” which was attended by a larger virtual audience. Among other speakers was Ms Afaf Al Najjar from Gaza, Palestine. On a personal note, I was highly gratified that I could introduce John to my colleagues and students at the University of Dhaka and IIUM.

In Portsmouth, I regularly attended the SWP (Socialist Workers’ Party) fortnightly evening meetings on Sundays. During my time in the city, these took place at Citrus Café on Albert Road in Southsea. I participated in other meetings that John organised in the city. I was not a member of the SWP, but I learnt and benefited a lot from those meetings.

For decades, John taught Historical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art, Design and Media at the University of Portsmouth. Many of the topics he covered in his lectures were relevant to my research interests and hence, as a student at the university, I audited many of his sessions mainly at Eldon Building on Winston Churchill Avenue. His lectures were very enlightening and entertaining and always drew crowds of students. I saw close up the genuine and avid interest that students showed in his ideas and charismatic personality.

Ranging from lecture halls to informal discussions at the university, I learnt massively from John, particularly so because of his superb command of English literature and culture. I had two official supervisors at the university, and I always considered John an informal guide of my studies.

John and I exchanged hundreds of electronic messages to communicate and discuss our work and family. I always considered him a teacher and a mentor, and his death is a personal loss for me. He had great love for humanity and the environment. In that sense the loss is incalculable.

On a final note, I clearly remember how John felt when he saw street beggars in Dhaka. The sight was unbearable for him. Many of us shared with John this compassion and sympathy for others and the fight for justice. I believe this is the reason why we loved him and will remember him. He was a public intellectual par excellence as well as a man of the street and of the people. The day before he died, he was on the street holding a “Unite Against Fascism” banner and raising awareness of the refugee and housing crisis issues.

Dr Md. Mahmudul Hasan teaches English and postcolonial literature at International Islamic University Malaysia. Email: [email protected]


Students loved John
So sad to hear of John Molyneux’s passing. He was such an inspirational person to so many art students during his time at The Eldon Building at Portsmouth Uni. He fanned the flames of my love of Rembrandt, revolution, and Pre-Raphaelite art.
Many fond memories of the lectures he gave, invoking discussion, debate, and free-thinking (and many a wonderful exchange of views between him and Stuart Gard!) Although I never worked up the courage to tell John how much I appreciated his influence, I’m certain I won’t be the only ex-student in thanking him for what he did for us.
Such drive and passion. I hope he knew how much we loved him.
Tina Signorelli, a former student at Portsmouth Uni

So kind and generous

I’m writing on behalf of Tony Cliff’s family (Anna, Elana, Dan and myself) to say how very, very sad we are to hear the news of John’s death. Please pass this on to Mary too.

John was a wonderful man and a regular visitor to see Cliff and Chanie at Allerton Road. But the link continued well beyond in relation to Chanie. It was always such a pleasure to see him and hear him speak. He was not just an important revolutionary in his own right with a fantastic record of publications, speeches and indefatigable activity in the UK and Ireland.

Right up to the very end he was at the leading edge of whatever was going on, whether it was in Ireland, globally in relation to the climate, culture and so much more. And with that he was such a lovely person to be with, always so kind and generous with his time. A rare and fantastic combination of qualities.

One thing that always stood out with John was his intense integrity. He always stood up for what he believed in. We’ll all miss him, but I know that he’ll want us all to carry on the fight.

Donny Gluckstein

He combined theory and practice

For me and for many others John Molyneux was crucially important in his role as the founder, organizer, and main source of inspiration behind the Global Ecosocialist Network (GEN).

I first met John at the Marxism Festival in London, in 2018. I often read various articles by him in the Irish Marxist Review and Rebel News (Ireland). But it was when he wrote to me in October 2019 proposing the creation of what was to become GEN that he suddenly entered the center of my vision, a position he never left after that.

Although I was not able to help directly with GEN due to the weight of existing responsibilities, I signed on as an initial sponsor and helped out in various ways in the background. I also did a couple of interviews that John organized.

I was amazed at his ability to combine theory and practice, including the hard slugging of everyday organizing. Without him, it is clear that GEN would not have emerged. Without him today its continuation depends on others collectively (it would be impossible do so individually) coming together to fill his enormous shoes.

John Bellamy Foster, Eugene, Oregon

An unlikely beginning

We have all lost a comrade and many of us have also lost a friend. My partner and my eldest daughter were both devastated by the untimely death of John, who my daughter stills calls “Uncle John” from all the occasions mostly at Marxism where he completely over-indulged her.

The circumstances of my first meeting with John were not how a friendship would normally start.

I was a shop steward in a fairly large engineering works in Havant, close to Portsmouth.  This was the mid-1970s and there were a lot of strikes taking place. 

We were all subject to the “Social Contract” agreed between Harold Wilson’s Labour government and the TUC.  This agreement introduced “Annual Pay Awards”, and this would be your lot until the next round of pay bargaining.  Prior to this we could negotiate a pay rise if we thought we could get one and to offset the high rate of inflation, especially in a highly unionised workplace such as ours.

We were taking action over management attempts to lower the rates for “piece rate workers” mostly fitters and turners and machine operators.  

We decided that we had a much better chance of winning this dispute if instead of walking out on strike we occupied the factory and stop management from moving out completed units. This would deprive them of income.

On the second day of the occupation, a  group of people including John appeared at the factory gates, asking if they could come in and talk to the workers taking action and sell papers.  

I was on the gates, so I went to ask the convenor if this would be OK. Our convenor was a bloody good trade unionist and one of the most militant workers I had met.  He was also a member of the Communist Party. 

I remember to this day his response.  “Go and tell that bunch of Trotskyist splitters to fuck off”. I went and simply said “No”. I did take a paper.  As a result of reading it, I went to the town centre on the Saturday after the occupation to seek out these “Trotskyist Splitters”. 

I wish I could say I joined the party there and then, but like a lot of other young socialists and trade unionists at the time I was still convinced that we could turn the Labour Party to the left.

I left Portsmouth shortly after this and did not return until the 1980s.  I had by then left the Labour Party. I was also completely disillusioned with the notion of revolutionary organisation, because of a few years as an entryist with the Militant tendency in both Brighton and North Wales.    

I was recruited to the SWP eventually by Huw Williams and Jon Woods, who would just not leave me alone. John was an absolute rock. Although the busiest person in the branch, he always had time for me and other members.

I eventually found myself working in the same building as John and got the opportunity to talk with him more often.  I was also a trade union rep again and secretary of the local Trades Council, helping to organise solidarity actions and local demos  

I owned up to not being able to understand all the arguments and debates going on within Marxist organisations.  John would explain in the easiest language and sometimes I understood what it was that these arguments were about.  But something John said to me that I’ll never forget— “It’s OK because you are an active militant worker”. 

Steve Berwick

A beacon to us all

There are so many things I would like say on behalf of Portsmouth Socialist Workers Party following John Molyneux’s death. It is such an immense loss in so many ways. We are devastated. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Sara, Jack and Mary and all of John’s family, comrades and friends.

I first met John in 1986 when I joined the SWP in Portsmouth and became an active member. John’s exceptionally deep understanding of Marxism and his ability to explain things in ways you could really understand was one of the first things that struck you. John had been part the revolutionary turmoil at the end of the 60s and had glimpsed how another world is possible. He was on the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and in Paris in 1968 when students and workers rose up. John’s writing about the future socialist society reflects this and in my opinion has never been bettered.

John excelled in all aspects of being a revolutionary socialist. He wrote wonderful books which have been read around the world in various translations. He was an inspiring and brilliant speaker, whether at a small meetings, at rallies in Dublin, at the Marxism Festival or on the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall.

He was an active trade unionist. He was a stalwart on Commercial Road selling Socialist Worker. He was instrumental in United Front work such as the Anti Nazi League and the Stop the War Coalition. He was completely involved in building the SWP and the International Socialist Tendency at the level of the branch, nationally and internationally.

For example, his books had big impact on comrades in South Korea and he played a very active part in the Cairo Conferences and work with our Egyptian comrades.

John did all this while working and bringing up a family. His work rate was phenomenal and he drove himself to such high standards throughout his life. His passion for getting rid of the “muck of ages” and freeing up the true potential of humanity never dimmed. John was truly an outstanding Marxist and his legacy and influence will live on in the international workers’ movement for years to come.

John could really write, whether short columns, articles or books. His last book of selected writings is something to treasure and gives us a flavour of the breadth and depth of his work. John’s passion for, and understanding of, art was unparalleled. His book The Dialectics of Art is amazing and many of us remember the wonderful talks he gave at the Marxism Festival on art. There are so many books that John wrote that are essential reading.

But John wasn’t just an exemplary revolutionary. He was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever known. If someone John knew was in need, John would always do everything he could to help. Class solidarity was not an abstract concept or just on picket lines for John.

His humanity was not confined to party members or activists. He understood at a very deep and personal level how the brutal system of capitalism wrecks people’s lives and how we need to support and care for each other. John was a wonderful example of what a revolutionary socialist should be like. He talked the talk and he walked the walk.

John’s influence has a profound effect on many of us. As Huw Williams has said, he was such an amazing resource for anyone who really wants to change the world. There are so many comrades who were influenced by John. We used to joke about if all the comrades who spent time in Portsmouth SWP Branch had stayed after finishing at the Polytechnic/University, we would have been the biggest in the country.

It is in large part a testament to John that many of those comrades are still very active and leading in the party.

John was truly an independent thinker. His knowledge of Marxism was second to none, but he did not shy away from hard arguments and being in a minority at times. His loyalty to the International Socialist Tendency and the SWP was never in doubt, but he was always in favour of open and honest debate.

When John moved to Ireland in 2010 it was a big loss for us in Portsmouth but we all knew we owed such a debt to John that we did all pull together to make sure he had a branch he could remain proud of. We loved keeping in touch with John and hearing about the movement in Ireland.

John was always interested in his comrades and what they were doing. Only two weeks ago John was in Portsmouth giving the eulogy to his dear friend and comrade, Max. We spent the evening with John in the pub and I’m sure many of us wish we had been able to tell him how much he meant to us and how much he changed our lives.

John Molyneux will never be forgotten, he will always be in our hearts and we will honour him by continuing the struggle for socialism, the struggle in which he was such a beacon.

Jon Woods, Portsmouth SWP

A global impact

John gave so much and still had more to give. A giant has fallen. I’ve known him for close to 50 years, since he was a lecturer at Portsmouth University and I lived close by.

I was always impressed by the number of students he recruited and then developed as leading cadres, with at least two becoming members of the SWP’s Central Committee.

His ability to explain Marxism was unsurpassed. His many books left a big impression on me, especially Marxism and the Party, which I keep returning to and have lent to many comrades.

John Molyneux and Ronnie Kasrils

John was an independent thinker and often found himself in the minority, but he never regarded differences as heresies, rather as a way of reaching better conclusions and maintaining unity of purpose, where we all learned more about politics and leadership.

His impact was global, not limited to Britain and Ireland. We recall his brilliant keynote lecture at the 1917 centenary in Johannesburg. The photograph shows him about to give that address. The chair is uMkhonto we Sizwe freedom fighter and former government minister Ronnie Kasrils.

His death will be a great loss to the Global Ecosocialist Network, which he founded and energised. He was a major theorist, but his writings were always rooted in practice and innovating new strategy, as with his role in People Before Profit in Ireland.

Goodbye my friend. Condolences to Mary, his partner, and to his family and loving comrades. Long live the memory of Comrade John Molyneux, long live!

Kate Alexander, South Africa

Rembrandt and revolution

It’s with great sadness that we learned of the passing away of John Molyneux. John was a great thinker and populariser of revolutionary socialist ideas. In the Netherlands, a lot of comrades over several decades were introduced to socialism through John’s books and articles.

He visited our Marxism Festival several times, the last time in 2018, often combining it with his interest in art. After finishing his book Rembrandt and Revolution, he took comrades for a tour of the Rijksmuseum, where many of Rembrandt’s paintings are located.

John was always very approachable and eager to talk with comrades about the environment they were organizing in and the debates they conducted. On political differences he could be hard, but always with a softness for the people.

We thank John for starting the Global Ecosocialist Network (Gen), that initially was meant as a revolutionary pole within the climate movement towards Cop26. Gen later kept on evolving in a broad network to connect ecosocialists across the globe. Gen is one of the great legacies that John left behind.

We would like to express our solidarity with John’s family and partner, Mary, and everybody who has come to know John over the decades.

Internationale Socialisten in the Netherlands

His books helped many new socialists

We have with deep sadness received the news of John Molyneux’s sudden passing. John was a great friend of the Danish group throughout our existence. At the annual Marxism event in London he always took time to talk to and support the comrades who came from Denmark. He has also been a guest at our Danish Marxisme.

His inspiration to us has been enormous. We have a whole range of his pamphlets and books—quite a few are translated— in our bookshop. His The Real Marxist Tradition has been sold to new comrades and been the starting point for many in their lives as revolutionary socialists. On a whole range of issues from philosophy to party building, he has been an inspiration.

This great person and Marxist will be sorely missed. We send our thoughts and condolences to his partner, family and close friends, and to all the comrades in the Irish Socialist Workers Network.

Charlie Lywood, on behalf of the Danish Internationale Socialister

He helped us build

We are deeply shocked about the sudden death of our comrade John Molyneux. His ideas and writing have helped us a lot to build marx21 as a network of revolutionary socialists in Germany.

He never hesitated to speak his opinion even when it was controversial in the International Socialist Tendency. We welcome his recent proposal to debate the question of fascism in the light of  Italian developments.

We will miss his support and his arguments. Our thoughts are with the Irish comrades and John’s partner and family.

Coordination Group of Marx21, Germany

Art and ecology

So sorry to hear that John Molyneux has died. He was a wonderful humane Marxist and art historian— and there are lots of inspiring commentaries appearing that testify to his brilliance. I just wanted to add a note about his embrace of ecology.

Over the last few years, from this sometimes lonely outpost in Mid Wales, I would send him articles I had written, or was writing, about the extinction crisis and other themes.

While that exercise with others would result in excellent and useful comments being made on documents, John would just ring me up to give me feedback and interrogate my evidence and ecological arguments in depth. Long conversations—peppered with warm humour despite the topics —would take place over tiny phone screens on WhatsApp and we would part company the richer; he in some ecology, and me with better ideas on how to shape and frame ecological arguments so that they sit within the class struggle.

In our final conversation a couple of months ago, after discussing wildfires and capitalism, we spoke about art, nature and ecology— particularly about Henri Rousseau’s 1891 beautiful and home-crafted painting of the tiger and jungle (‘Surprised!’) that hangs in the National Gallery.

He made so many wonderful points about Rousseau’s primitivism that I found myself having to write them all down on my desk because I didn’t want to get up for some paper and lose my concentration on what he was saying (I can see the words carved into the wood varnish in front of me as I type this).

He asked me what other paintings I admired in the Gallery and was pleased to hear that I liked Carravaggio’s ‘The Supper at Emmaus’. I told him that, together with other Carravaggio-stylistic elements (threadbare clothing, immaculate still life and use of shadow), I was particularly intrigued that the outstretched hands of the pilgrim seated to Christ’s left were out of perspective and proportion (the furthest hand being at least twice the size of the nearest).

I wondered naively if that larger hand was the hand of God. John responded that all great masters— having become great— just did as they wanted irrespective of norms, authenticity or accuracy (as with the disproportionate hands of Michelangelo’s ‘David’).

John’s greatness, in contrast, was tightly channelled by the struggle for a better world—an ecologically just world—and he leaves us a lasting and profound legacy for that endeavour. Hwyl fawr John!

Ian Rappel, SWP, Talgarth, Wales

A better world

Rest In Power John comrade!

Your life will continue to inspire everyone who knew you. We remember your contributions and your struggles for a better world. It will be a world where people will no longer work for money or exchange but for their love and commitment to contribute to something greater.

A world where working class children are no longer sent to fight in imperialist wars but rather will live in peace and unity, eliminating borders and all that divides us. John Molyneux, you will never be forgotten

Ibrahim Alsahary, Labor organizer at the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC-CTI), Montreal, Quebec

A giant of Marxism

The death of the great Marxist revolutionary John Molyneux is a huge loss to the International Socialist movement. A veteran of Paris May 1968, he had first-hand experience that workers had the potential to overthrow capitalism.

He also understood the necessity of the revolutionary party to that process. He kept faith with both in the course of his long, rich and productive life.

John was a great teacher of Marxism. His long-running column in Socialist Worker was crucial to my political development. I’m sure there are many comrades who owe him the same debt. It was the first thing I turned to every week,

It helped me apply Marxism as a tool of analysis and as a guide to action.I wish I’d told him that while he was alive.

John was a giant of Marxism, and he will not be forgotten.

His work will continue to light the road to socialism. My thoughts are with his partner Mary, his comrades in Ireland and his family and friends. Thank you for your service to the working-class John.

Rest in Peace.

Sasha Simic, Hackney SWP

Building organisation

It was a great shock to learn of the sudden passing of John Molyneux. John was a lifelong revolutionary who radicalized in the context of the great movements of the 1960s, and throughout the years he always projected his confidence in the revolutionary potential of the working class and in the explanatory power of Marxist ideas.

Socialists around the world, including in Canada, have drawn inspiration from his writings including Marxism and the Party, Arguments for Revolutionary Socialism, What is the real Marxist tradition and many others. But his activity was no less inspiring, and the two were closely bound together.

John had a remarkable energy, working on many different fronts at any given time. He was genuinely interested and curious about emerging new struggles, not in an abstract or detached way, but with a fusion of theoretical and practical concerns. He followed developments around the world with a sharp eye, allowing himself to be inspired while not shying away from raising sometimes difficult questions and disagreements.

John’s legacy as a revolutionary can be seen in the numerous tributes from his many comrades and friends around the world, and we cannot do justice to it here. But his single-minded focus on the need for socialists to bend every effort to build revolutionary organization stands out to us as one of the most powerful and enduring.

In his important book Marxism and the Party, he wrote: “…running through everything that the party is and does, the thread connecting all its key characteristics and tasks is the striving to unite theory and practice. The party exists to translate the general aims of socialism into concrete practical activities and to link every immediate struggle to the ultimate aim of socialism. Through the party, theory – the materialist interpretation of history, the analysis of capitalism and its contradictions and the understanding of the historical role of the working class – informs practice, and through the party, practice – the struggle to change the world – stimulates, directs, tests and ultimately realises theory.”

John gave every fibre of his being to the revolutionary struggle to overthrow capitalism, to working class self-emancipation, to international socialism – right to the very end of his life. Days before he died, he was part of organizing an anti-fascist protest in Dublin, and was interviewed in local media.

His example and legacy live on in the activity of the many individuals and organizations he collaborated and polemicized with around the world. Our condolences to his partner Mary Smith, his children, and comrades in Ireland, the United Kingdom and around the world.

Rest in power, John Molyneux. La lutte continue.

Carolyn Egan and Michelle Robidoux, International Socialists, Canada

An immense contribution

It’s impossible to put into words how devastating the death of John Molyneux is. On a personal note I have known John since 1985 when I moved to Portsmouth already an active revolutionary and became part of the local SWP branch.

I had of course read his weekly column in Socialist Worker, seen him speak at the annual Marxism festival which had been running for a few years and read his first major book “Marxism and the party”. I was 20 years old.

I last spoke to John on Friday discussing arrangements for the couple of days he was going to visit between Xmas and new year. He was delighted to hear about a local anti-racist “Riot ” in a Bristol school and wanted to know how my son Dylan’s first meeting had gone and how I must be really proud and whether he could get a card to him for his 18th birthday or leave it until he came to stay.

We discussed China, Iran and the UK strikes and he outlined his concerns about the recent racist mobilisation in Dublin and how this could be combatted. The World cup also featured but not for long.

This would be a fairly typical conversation with John. We would often start a conversation with a statement like “Will have to be quick” but end up as then speaking for over an hour.

We became very close comrades in Portsmouth and afterwards even closer as friends and have remained so for the following 37 years.  I consciously took the decision to take advantage of being in the same branch as him and discuss and debate and pick his brains as much as possible.

The recollections of those days sitting in his house after the weekly branch meeting, smoking  , drinking whiskey sometimes until the light came up will always remain. He had an amazing ability to do this and then around 5am we would discuss what next week’s “Teach yourself Marxism ” column should be which he would then write up and in those days phone in to Socialist Worker. I would head off home to my bed shattered. He would go to work in the local FE college!

I think we worked out he wrote about 650 of these columns. He didn’t seem to sleep at all.

Then myself and two other young members Jon Woods and Richard Peacock moved into a house on the same road as John. John would often pop in after work and being utterly skint we would cadge his beloved Golden Virginia roll-ups which he would then leave and say he’d forgotten them.

We built a relatively large branch in Portsmouth and some of us thought John was conservative (John I think got the scale of the miners’ defeat in a way I simply didn’t) and we had, I remember, a meeting in Tony Cliff’s chalet at the party’s annual Skegness event to iron out the difficulties.

John could well have been pissed off with me but was the exact opposite and said young revolutionaries should be impatient. He lent me book after book, article after article, got me to do meetings in Portsmouth and ringing up other branches to book me, and encouraged other young comrades to do likewise.

He listened to people and wanted to know what they were thinking and why.

John politically was yes an independent thinker and I think the IS/SWP tradition was encouraging of that and it’s what he loved about it and for a period I guess in the ’90s felt a bit of despair of our defensiveness sometimes.

Debate and questioning everything was John’s way. He was so shaped by 1968.

When we recently discussed what chapters should be in his book we laughingly (not seriously) discussed one that could be entitled  “Articles that have got me in the shit”.

John however was to his core a revolutionary who was totally committed to building revolutionary organisation. He was and totally remained very much someone shaped by the politics of Tony Cliff even when he disagreed with him!

John didn’t do much reminiscing but when he did it was often related to Cliff and his impact. John I think encapsulated the SWP at its best—one of a relatively large number of very serious Marxists who wrote and thought and debated even if they weren’t on the central leadership of the organisation which in John’s case was in my view a bad mistake.

He was however I think pretty unique in that he combined this with daily revolutionary activity and had very sharp disdain for academic Marxists not engaged in practice.

He would be involved in a myriad of campaigns both national and local, workplace and community. He was also for a while a Natfhe union branch sec. He booked the speakers for the party branch for about 30 or more years!

He was always talking and thinking about the future and how radical revolutionary politics needed to connect with much wider forces.

Lastly, the loss of John will I know be of huge sadness for his children Jack and Sara and his grandchildren. He was so proud of them all.

He was really looking forward to seeing them all at Christmas. When John’s partner Jill tragically died this had a terrible impact on John who shortly afterwards said to me he wasn’t going to write about politics anymore but only occasionally about art.

John was in a very dark place at that time and I am sure I wasn’t the only person to think this was going to end soon in tragedy. 

How come then he was at his most industrious writing large numbers of articles and books in the following years?

The simple answer it seems to me was for him to meet Mary Smith and decide life was still worth  living.

Anyone who could get John to go walking, lose lots of weight and eat healthily must have meant the world to him. And it was so abundantly clear she did.

He had such huge respect for Mary obviously, but also politically and the move to Ireland and its new politics opened up for John a new lease of life. He said to me he learned so much from the Irish comrades and that it gave him a new perspective on revolutionary organisation and its relationship to the working class.

So today is an awful day and I am no writer but the thought of not seeing or talking to John ever again is very painful.

Dylan said to me that John was like family and that was sort of true. However when I was sat at home devastated I thought of John and jumped in the car and went to the postal workers’ picket line as I know he would have said that’s where we need to be.

These workers wouldn’t have known or heard of John but is it too trite to say he was there in spirit? I don’t think so.

Huw Williams, Bristol

Fifth best poker player in Britain

Jules Townshend, (later Professor of Politics at Manchester Met) Mel Doyle (later DGS of the WEA) and myself were mainly responsible for enrolling John into the Southampton branch of the IS.

John arrived at Southampton University in 1967 having originally attended Cambridge, but rejected it after a term and walked out. In between, he was able to make a living as a poker and chess player.

He modestly claimed he was the fifth best poker-player in the country at the time and was certainly good enough to be welcomed at the Victoria Sporting Club among the high rollers, even though he was a scruffy student.

Having been robbed on a visit to New York, he was able to support himself by playing chess for money against the locals and came back with more money than he took with him.

So he was very, very clever, and hungry to learn about Marxism and socialism. We were ahead of him in this, and in our shared student house in Thornhill he would drain our brains with endless questions and follow-up discussions.

You felt him coming up on the rails, ready to fly past you. We had recently set up the IS in Southampton, mainly with student members, and a few campaigns around the docks and other industries. John’s focus was on Socialism and Marxism, rather than nuts-and-bolts trade union struggles, and this is what he concentrated on throughout his life, linking these to jazz, art and culture.

Dr John Fisher, formerly Director of Research and Education, TGWU (now Unite)

We have lost a big figure

The news of John Molyneux’s sudden death came as a terrible shock. Right until the last he was contributing to the struggle—on picket lines and protests, writing and editing, fighting for the better world he knew was possible.

John has been a major figure in my life for more than 40 years, from near and far. As a young member of the Portsmouth branch of the SWP living in rural Hampshire in 1981, I’d get regular calls from him patiently convincing me that the upcoming branch meeting was very important, important enough to drive into town after a long day at work.

John was a major theoretician but he knew all too well that theory meant nothing without the humdrum tasks of branch building.

 Those calls paid off when war broke out with Argentina the following year over the Falklands/Malvinas. The SWP’s clear anti-imperialist politics meant we stood against the jingoism— and the patient branch-building meant that we could organise anti-war protests in Portsmouth, the historic home of the Royal Navy.

I was proud to stand with John and other comrades against the deluge of pro-war propaganda.

 John was a prolific author and speaker. In more recent times he’s best known for his books on art and his activism around the environmental crisis. But for me, his contribution to clarifying the real Marxist tradition and the role of the revolutionary party was seminal. I’ve benefitted from reading many of John’s books, not least Marxism and the Party and What is the Real Marxist Tradition? What was the key message? John could boil it all down to a simple but powerful proposition: Marxism is the theory of international proletarian revolution.

I was in the audience at the Marxism festival in 1985 when John debated Monty Johnstone from the then considerably more influential Communist Party on the question of Trotsky. Like many young SWP members, I’d cut my teeth in debates with the various Trotskyists of the various Fourth Internationals, lampooning their sometimes cartoonish efforts to squeeze random Trotsky quotes into current realities. We all knew one thing for sure—we weren’t Trotskyists, we were “state capitalists”.

That is until John spoke. He outlined four reasons why Trotsky was of crucial importance today: the central role of the working class in changing the world; the need for internationalism; the case for revolution rather than reform; and the need to build the revolutionary party.

By the time he finished, I like many others in the audience was a Trotskyist and I remain proud to call myself so. 

John argued that the revolutionary party had to be democratic, not for abstract reasons but so the party could collate, debate and synthesise the real experience of workers, all the better to lead. He lived that democracy, arguing against the SWP’s position in a debate that ran from 1984 to 1986 over the question of whether working class men benefit from women’s oppression.

I think John was wrong, but we all learned a lot in the debate, not least how to carry a position within the party without damaging its collective work.

I moved to Australia and John, much later, to Ireland. Our contact was mostly reduced to the occasional Facebook message. I watched every video of him speaking at Marxism and wrestled, not always satisfactorily, with his arguments about art.

But I always knew that somewhere, across the globe, John was a comrade in the ongoing struggle. Until, suddenly, this week he wasn’t. The movement has lost a big figure in every sense of the word. My condolences to his partner, Mary Smith, his family and comrades everywhere.

David Glanz, Solidarity, Australia

Incident at a restaurant

Still trying to deal with the shock of hearing that my dear friend and comrade John Molyneux has died. I worked closely with John in the Portsmouth branch from 1998 to about 2005. He helped me at Portsmouth Uni on my (still unfinished) Phd on the language of the Blues, introducing me to the work of Bakhtin, Voloshinov and Walter Benjamin. 

He was a Marxist writer and speaker of great effectiveness and a central figure in the building nationally of the IS and the SWP. But he was also engaged with building Portsmouth branch at many levels. On a rainy, windy Saturday, often accompanied by his friend and comrade Max, he was always first at the town centre paper sale, unfolding the table and generally setting things up. As a writer and speaker, he had that rare ability to explain complex things simply, which was why for years before I met him, his regular Socialist Worker column was always the part of the paper I read first. He was a demon at chess and poker. Watching him eviscerate an opponent at chess was a delight as well as an education. 

But there was one incident that I remember as summing up so many aspects of the man. He and I were in a Chinese restaurant opposite King’s Cross. It was fairly late when a group of about seven customers decided it would be a good laugh to get up and leave without paying.

It was a small family restaurant and the stunt was clearly racist. The small, middle-aged Chinese woman on the till was begging them. Seven meals with lagers was a lot of money. John got up, walked over and engaged the ringleader in conversation. Quite quietly and calmly he questioned the man: did he really think it was a good idea to take money off these people, who had very little to start with, and who worked all the hours in the day to be able to afford the rent? Would he have done the same if the restauranteurs had been white? And so on in the same vein, without a trace of anger or aggression. And in the end, amazingly, the group paid up. 

That was John. We have lost not just a brilliant Marxist, but also a fighter against injustice and an implacable tribune of the oppressed. Rest in power, my friend.

Tim Evans, Swansea Branch

Qualities of leadership

It was with shock and deep sadness that I learned of the sudden death of John Molyneux. I first got to know John when I was the NC member liaising with the Portsmouth branch in the late 60s and early 70s. As a student, then a lecturer at Portsmouth Polytechnic, later the University of Portsmouth, John displayed the finest qualities of revolutionary leadership.  He achieved this with an unusual combination of decisiveness and sensitivity. And it was with these qualities that he approached workers in struggle, never imposing, but always helping them understand their potential, their hidden strengths, and their capacity to change the world. It was reminiscent of what one had read about Lenin’s relationship with the working class.

At the same time as providing local leadership, John made a significant contribution to the development of the SWP’s national strategy and tactics. Just as at local level, he had a profound grasp of the broad trend of the UK-wide national, indeed of the international, struggle. And as Alex and others have remarked, he always retained an independent approach, never shying away from disagreeing with the leadership if he felt we had got something wrong.  He would, moreover, always launch himself into any struggle where he felt he could make a contribution. It was typical of his daring and initiative that, having moved to Dublin to live with his partner Mary Smith, he joined the People Before Profit campaign and helped to set up the Irish Marxist Review of which he became the editor.

John’s contribution wasn’t limited to strategy and tactics. As we know,  John was a remarkable writer. He had a unique capacity for conveying Marxist ideas in accessible language, always reaching out to actual and potential working class readers. His writings about art were similarly aimed at conveying to workers ideas and experiences that had been denied to them by the limited cultural opportunities of the capitalist education system. Those works seemed to have been inspired by the efforts of the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s to convey the great achievements of  bourgeois art to a culturally deprived working class. 

John was always to be found at the cutting edge of both the crisis and resistance at the heart of capitalism. His final commitment, both practically and as a writer, was to join the SWN leadership and the campaign against climate change.

John wasn’t just a comrade but a good friend. I shall miss not seeing him on his periodic visits to London. My thoughts go out to Mary, and John’s children Sara and Jack, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sabby Sagall

He opened our minds

I have fond memories of John Molyneux when he was one of my university of Portsmouth tutors. John was a well-respected kind and gentle giant who everyone paid attention to. He opened our minds to socialist issues that were current affairs. 

It’s thanks to John, that I joined in the strike and march where teachers, student teachers and students carried a coffin to strike for fair pay for tutors and teachers. Then a profession I was on a pathway towards. This opened further doors for me into politics post-graduation. 

I will always remember John standing in a sunny spot in Commercial Road, Portsmouth selling copies of Socialist Worker and explaining what his latest article in it was about to be and on occasions helping him sell some for a bit. 

 His wisdom, warm smile and radiant personality will be missed by many. My deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to his family and friends, may his spirit soar and his soul rest in peace,

Avril Coelho 

Profound humanity

I worked closely with John when I first joined the University of Portsmouth in the 90’s. We shared an office, as we both taught History and Theory of Art in the School of Art, Design and Media. John did so much to teach students the value of understanding art from a social and socialist perspective. When he retired and I had moved into another role in the University we kept in touch, continuing the debates on the dialectics of art. I lost touch with John latterly, but I know I was and still am hugely influenced by the dedication and clarity of his thinking and his profound humanity.

Dr Jenny Walden

His columns were crucial

When I joined the Socialist Workers Party in 1989, at the age of 18, John Molyneux’s weekly Teach Yourself Marxism columns in Socialist Worker and his book Arguments for Revolutionary Socialism (which collected many of those columns) did more than anything else to wed me to the Party’s politics.

From the nature of the Stalinist regimes to the abolition of money, John explained complex issues in terms that were brilliantly clear, while never over-simplifying his subject or patronising the reader.

Whenever I encountered John in the three decades that followed, I was always impressed by his uncompromising intelligence, his patience and his kindness. He was an exemplar of the Marxist as humanist.

 Mark Brown, Glasgow SWP 

So clear and incisive

I, like many, will so miss John Molyneux. I remember when he started curating art exhibitions in the SOAS basement at Marxism and included a piece by myself.

I was particularly amazed the next year when we all could see the incredible stone bust of Tony Cliff by Chanie Rosenberg amongst other 3D pieces.

His meetings and contributions were always so clear and incisive.

Dave Holes

‘I carry his pamphlet in my backpack’

The news of Joh Molyneux’s death came as a shock to socialists in many countries around the world, including us in Poland. John made a very important contribution to what—following the title of one of his pamphlets—we can call the real Marxist tradition.

He explained Marxism with great clarity in a very accessible style, both when he wrote and when he spoke— about everything from the potential reality of a future socialist society to showing what a revolutionary party is and what it isn’t. He was able to locate great artists in their historical time and place, while illustrating what was distinctive about their art. He was always an activist, taking part in, and helping to organise, small pickets as well as big demonstrations. A model revolutionary.

John’s arguments about genuine Marxism are important to socialists everywhere. In countries like Poland, where a few decades ago fake Marxism was in power, they have a particular relevance. We have translated many of John’s writings over the years. They are a great resource for our members, young and old. This is what one of our members, Marek Uchan, said after hearing the sad news of John’s death. “The day before yesterday, while browsing the video list of Marxism 2022, I picked out and watched his presentation on the art of Francis Bacon. I always carry John’s pamphlet on socialism from below in my backpack.”

We last saw John passionately engaging in the International Socialist Tendency online meeting on climate catastrophe and the need for revolution. Personally I have known him since the mid-seventies and always found him warm, friendly and able to argue without animosity.

We send our condolences to all the comrades who knew John, his family and especially his partner Mary Smith.

Andy Zebrowski, Pracownicza Demokracja (Workers Democracy) – the SWP’s sister organisation in Poland

A sketch
A sketch of John Molyneux
In the summer of 2020 I drew this sketch of him from a photo I found on the net. I had posted the picture to him at the time to ask, if I may post on social media and if he was happy with the likeliness of the portrait.
He was so kind to write that it is ok to post it and the likeness was very good (gently correcting my English ♥️).
We all learned so much from him. He influenced our way of communicating within the class very much, stressing clarity and comprehensibility.
Best regards from Cologne, Germany, 
Francis Byrne 

An untiring commitment 

Solidarity comrades in Australia were shocked and saddened to hear the news from Ireland that John Molyneux had died.

John’s books and pamphlets such as “The Future Socialist Society”, “The Real Marxist Tradition,” “Marxism and the Party,” and “Anarchism, a Marxist critique,” are an invaluable contribution to the international socialist tradition and indispensable reading for comrades.

John had an untiring commitment to socialism from below and building the revolutionary organisation needed to make that vision a reality.

His long-standing contribution has enriched the Tendency. He will be sadly missed in Australia and by comrades across the world.

Ian Rintoul, National Committee, Solidarity, Australia

Inspired by his role

We’re deeply saddened by the shocking news that John Molyneux passed away.

Apart from his invaluable theoretical contributions to the tradition of socialism from below, for dozens of years he’s been a great and consistent fighter against racism, climate change, exploitation and all sorts of ruling class ideas suppressing and dividing the working class.

We are inspired by his role in building the organisations of the International Socialist Tendency in Britain, Ireland and all over the world.

Many new generations of socialist activists will have a lot to learn from his writings on Marxist theory, defending the centrality of the working class in order to bring real social change and building a revolutionary organisation in this regard.

We wish to communicate our condolences to his partner, family, friends and comrades.

Warmest revolutionary greetings from Turkey,




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