Socialist Party
| Print

7 May 2018

Obituary: Roger Shrives, 5 April 1947 - 1 May 2018

Roger Shrives, a very long standing member of the Socialist Party in south London, has sadly passed away.

He had been a full-time organiser for Militant and the Socialist Party for 39 years, of which he was a member of the editorial team of the Militant and the Socialist newspapers for 37 years.

Roger became active in socialist politics as one of the first students at the New University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 1968 - at the very beginning of 'the Troubles'. It was here that Roger was introduced to Militant.

In December 1969 he helped establish the left-wing Coleraine Labour Party. In May 1971 Roger joined Militant.

That same month he campaigned in a council byelection in which the Northern Ireland Labour Party stood a local factory worker in a straight contest with the Unionists - securing 40% of the vote on a fighting, working class programme.

Returning to London after graduating, Roger resumed work at Lewisham social services where he became an active member of the Nalgo union.

He also helped establish the Labour Party Young Socialists Irish solidarity campaign at this time.

In November 1975 he and three other members who shared a rented flat in south London were accused in a witch-hunting Sunday Express article on Militant of being 'bed-sit Trotskyist infiltrators' of Labour under the, hilarious to Roger, headline: "Why the secret of 13 Elsiemaud Road shocked Mrs Box" (she being the landlady).

This article was a precursor of a generalised witch-hunt against Militant (see The Rise of Militant, by Peter Taaffe).

In 1976 Roger became a full-time organiser for Militant, working at our then central offices in Hackney, east London.

He was an incredibly industrious party worker, never missing an important demo or party activity, and was a stalwart of our successful council election campaigns in Telegraph Hill, Lewisham, in the 1990s and 2000s - where he tutored a younger generation of members in sound methods of party building.

He possessed razor-sharp proofreading skills, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the party and almost everything else, and an amazing ability for remembering dates - give him your date of birth and he would instantly tell you what day of the week you were born - as well as knowing all the London postcodes!

He did, however, exhibit disdain for modern technology and would frequently curse his misbehaving computer in scenes reminiscent of the character Basil in the sitcom Fawlty Towers!

Unfortunately, Roger had many long-term health problems, including the legacy of a stroke, and he finally retired as a sub-editor in October 2015.

But as an old trooper he continued to be an active member of Lewisham branch, all too often ignoring advice from fellow comrades to take it easy.

He set high standards for selling the Socialist - even in the ambulance taking him to hospital the day before he died Roger complained to an accompanying comrade about a reported low sale of the paper on a branch activity!

He enjoyed a pint, he liked listening to jazz and he possessed a wit which, when joking about fellow comrades, bordered on the rude!

He will be missed.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 May 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/27311




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle19 Feb Striking to fight education cuts and marketisation

triangle19 Feb Labour Party and trans rights

triangle19 Feb Keep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E

triangle19 Feb 'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

triangle19 Feb Coronavirus crisis shakes Chinese regime

triangle19 Feb Javid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions

triangle19 Feb Cuts and climate change cause floods

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle19 Feb Hackney Socialist Party: Scottish independence - Will it happen?

triangle20 Feb Caerphilly Socialist Party: A socialist programme for the Welsh Assembly

triangle20 Feb East London Socialist Party: Coronavirus and the failure of capitalism

triangle20 Feb Bristol South Socialist Party: Why is a revolutionary party necessary?

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999