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12 December 2018

Obituary - Beth Roper (1990-2018) - comrade, friend and fighter

Comrades in South Wales are mourning the loss of Beth Roper, who was suddenly taken from us in an accident on a train on 1 December at the age of just 28.

Everyone who knew her will feel her loss. Beth was one of those rare people who always seemed kind and sincere.

People remarked that she was always patient and helpful, always listened to your answer when she asked you how you were.

She was no pushover though. Beth had steel, and was utterly intolerant of injustice.

She was always instantly and unquestionably on the side of anyone suffering under any form of oppression, always ready to defend them, and willing to put her own shoulder to the wheel to move things.

Beth had a penetrating mind too. She'd always challenge an idea or an argument if she wasn't convinced by it.

Beth went traveling during the Brexit referendum but followed the debate and posted letters from afar on social media challenging the idea that the European Union was a progressive force when it was treating refugees so brutally.

Beth cared about the victims of imperialist exploitation. She volunteered for some time with the Welsh Refugee Council and became so central to the work that they took her on paid - one of three jobs she worked.

I first met Beth ten years ago when she was in school. She helped set up a campaign in Penarth to save the local fire station from being gutted of two-thirds of its firefighters.

We won that campaign, thanks in no small part to the campaign stalls she helped run, the support gig she helped organise and the other activity she engaged in. She was ever the activist: fighting back against injustice was part of her DNA.

Beth was active in Cardiff Unite Energy and Services branch and was a delegate to Cardiff Trade Union Council.

Both organisations will keenly feel her loss. She was always impatient to find new ways for us to fight the terrible exploitation of service-sector workers.

She was also the chair of Cardiff West Socialist Party branch, and was on our district committee.

Beth was unobtrusive, totally without ego. I went to a Socialist Students meeting on climate change a few months ago, which she introduced.

She began by saying: "I'm not an expert on this issue. I've been asked to start us off with some points to get the discussion going," and then, after some self-deprecating remarks, gave an encyclopaedic account of the causes and remedies of the climate change threat! The student comrades will attest that it was one of the best meetings they've organised.

That episode summed her up. Unobtrusive, totally without ego, while doing the necessary, important work of building organisations to stand up against an exploitative system.

Beth lived her short life fighting for a fairer, socialist world and fighting to build the revolutionary party, the political vehicle we need to create that world. In her memory we rededicate ourselves to that struggle.

We send condolences to Beth's family and friends.

Ross Saunders