Sad news about Colin Parker

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Battlescarred
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Jan 23 2015 19:07
Sad news about Colin Parker

Colin Parker, one of the founders of what is now the Anarchist Federation, died on Wednesday night as a result of a brain embolism.
Son of a miner from the Durham village of Crook, he started work as a lathe operator in a local factory. He was sponsored by his union to attend Ruskin College and he then worked in further education for the rest of his life. Political from an early age, he joined the Communist Party and then passed through several Trotskyist groups before he developed towards an anarchist communist position. He singlehandedly founded the anarchist magazine Virus which he then offered as a mouthpiece to the Libertarian Communist Discussion Group, He was one of the three founders of the Anarchist Communist Federation, which later became the Anarchist Federation.
He and I stood side by side through many actions and struggles.
I am stunned and overwhelmed by his passing.

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boozemonarchy
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Jan 23 2015 19:17

Sorry for your personal loss and the loss to the movement. Rest In Power Colin Parker.

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rat
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Jan 23 2015 20:43

This news of Colin's death is shocking and sad.
Colin was a redoubtable anarchist communist. I always remember how he would challenge ideas to provoke debate.

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Serge Forward
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Jan 23 2015 20:48

Unbelievable news. Can't say anymore at the minute.

Burgers
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Jan 23 2015 22:20

Really sorry to here this sad loss, I know he will be missed sad

boomerang
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Jan 23 2015 22:36

I hadn't heard of him until now but I'm glad to finally learn of him and some of his contributions to the struggle through your post. Thanks for sharing that with us. It sounds like a life well lived. I'm sorry for you and anyone else who's grieving.

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888
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Jan 23 2015 23:14

I'm so sad to hear that. I remember Colin well from his great contributions to AF meetings, discussions and actions.

nastyned
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Jan 23 2015 23:30

Gutted to hear this. He was a great comrade and a big influence on me.

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Serge Forward
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Jan 24 2015 10:36
Quote:
I always remember how he would challenge ideas to provoke debate.

And how often everyone would end up disagreeing with him. And then he's say: "well, it looks like I'm in a minority of one again," and then we'd all move on, because any disagreements with Colin were never final, never fractious, but were always good humoured and good natured and just part of Colin... just as his crap jokes (that never failed to get a group groan), a regular feature of London group meetings as I remember them, were also part of Colin.

I remember him saying once, how he'd became an anarcho-communist. As Battlescarred says, he was in the CPGB for years before becoming disillusioned with them and flirting with various Trotskytist groups. Then one day, he stumbled across a book on Johann Most, read it and immediately became an anarcho-communist. This was in the early 80s, pre-internet, google and Libcom, and he didn't think there were any anarcho-communists left. So in his perennial "minority of one" he went off and wrote, photocopied and published Virus magazine and left a pile of them in Colletts - where it was soon picked up by Battlescarred and others... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Another thing I'll always remember about Colin was his generosity. In the 80s, when most ACF members were either in low-paid jobs or on the dole, I couldn't tell you how many ACF publications were financed by him because he had a 'proper job' and how many post-meeting pints were bought by big hearted Colin. He seemed to divide his wages into three parts: 1) family 2) ACF and 3) beer. He did enjoy a pint, though the last time I saw him, he was off it for health reasons.

The last time I saw him was at the 2013 bookfair. I was a bit poorly round about the 2014 bookfair so didn't go. But you know how it is, I thought I'd catch up with everyone next year. I know now that you can't always take that for granted.

Like Battlescarred, Colin and I also stood together through many actions, scrapes and the occasional punch-up. As I write this, it still hasn't sunk in that he's gone and I guess I'm too shocked to be upset.

Battlescarred
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Jan 24 2015 10:50

That's a wonderful tribute, Serge.
As you say , Colin was the most generous of human beings. His London flat was always open to comrades and you always received a warm welcome there.
As regards the beer. I first met him in the Lamb pub in Lamb's Conduit Street in Holborn. He'd written to the LIbertarian Communist Discussion Group about participating in activities and after a couple of phone calls we met in the pub. There he was, sitting at a table with his newspaper and pint. I soon discovered him to be a warm-hearted and engaging person, passionate about his politics. We were later joined by anoher LCDG comrade and we then went back to his flat around the corner to meet his family and be offered some of his hospitality.
That meeting meant that Virus from then on became the magazine of the LCDG and from there we built up enough members to declare the ACF. So, in many ways Colin's decision to throw his lot in with us led to fairly rapid developments and the founding of the organisation, for which we were eternally grateful.

Battlescarred
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Jan 24 2015 11:03

The latest edition of Basic Bakunin, which came out at the London Anarchist Bookfair , was dedicated to Colin , and he was fortunate enough to see this a few months before his death, It reads:"This edition is dedicated to Colin Parker, one of the founding members of the Anarchist Communist Federation (later shortened to the Anarchist Federation) who drafted the first edition and has provided invaluable insight into each revision,"

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Mr. Jolly
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Jan 24 2015 12:09

Terrible terrible news he was a lovely chap. My thoughts are with his friends, family and comrades.

syndicalist
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Jan 24 2015 15:21

Respect & condolences

Spikymike
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Jan 24 2015 16:58

Bumped into and 'crossed swords' with Colin from time to time over the years (had a quick pint with him only recently at the London bookfair) but he was certainly a warm and generous comrade who will be sorely missed by many and especially his close friends and comrades of the AF.

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Awesome Dude
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Jan 24 2015 18:01

Sorry to hear of this sad news.

Got to know Colin when I was in London AF some years ago. His contributions were honest and to the point (particularly about the poisonous influence of Leninism). Both very good qualities to have in a revolutionary milieu overwhelmingly dominated by Trotskyist parties.

Sympathies go out to his family, friends and comrades.

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Devrim
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Jan 24 2015 19:37

My condolences to his friends and family.

Devrim

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AES
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Jan 24 2015 19:58

My condolences. Sorry for your loss.

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Steven.
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Jan 25 2015 00:43

This is terrible news, I'm so sorry to hear this, and so sorry for you, Battlescarred, and everyone who knew him well. He was a great bloke, and really excellent at explaining his politics in a clear, simple and down-to-earth way. The most time I spent with him was a few years ago now when we were being interviewed about anarchism on LBC radio. I was really nervous, but he very kindly gave me lots of words of encouragement and advice. And in the actual interview I was shit, basically I wasn't able to think quickly enough and translate my ideas into words but he was really good, and explained the basics of the anarchist idea which made it sound eminently reasonable and commonsense.

Sincere condolences to his friends and family

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Jan 25 2015 01:38

That reminds me, Steven, Colin was also a fantastic orator who did some really good, old school tub-thumping, table-banging speeches that were funny, entertaining and persuasive. On the occasions I shared a platform with him, I was really glad he spoke last because he would have been a very hard act to follow otherwise.

He was very critical of marxism-leninism, probably due to his experience of the CPGB, the SWP, etc. Just after he broke with the CP, I gather, as a former prominant party militant, he was considered a bit of a 'catch' by the various Trotskyist groups. One of his stories was of how the old WRP wheeled out their big guns to get him signed up to the party. So he had one of the Redgraves, I think it was probably Vanessa, turning up on his doorstep to recruit him to the WRP, and him then finding it hard to get rid of her. He said, "I couldn't get her out of my bloody kitchen!" Anyway, they had no luck and Colin binned them all off for anarchist communism. That kitchen, by the way, was where we had the early London ACF meetings. I can't remember where I first met him. Probably at a meeting round his flat or else in the Lamb. I think I'd only been aquainted with him for five minutes before I knew I'd made a real friend.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 25 2015 08:24

My condolences to those who knew him.

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Alf
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Jan 25 2015 10:39

I have a nice memory of Colin coming with Battlescarred as guest speakers at the 'government and politics' A-level group at the college where I worked, to talk to the students about anarchism, which is on the curriculum (it's not my subject but I have been volunteering to do the marxism slot each year). He gave a very lively and earthy speech, with plenty for me to disagree with (Battlescarred also had some disagreements with him...). He was pleasantly surprised by the level of participation from the students, with some of the most radical views being expressed by girls in hijab, and the discussion over disagreements carried on into the pub later on.
Solidarity with the comrades of the AF and Battlescarred in particular.

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McCormick
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Jan 25 2015 13:40

I first met Colin at what was then an Anarchist Communist Discussion Group meeting in his flat in London. I had never really met anarchists of his age before. He must have been in his thirties!
Colin was just a great comrade and a great person generally. Generous, funny, compassionate and often a bit naughty. He could play the Devil's Advocate sometimes (sometimes!), but like Serge has suggested, at the end of any disagreement you always felt you were on the same side. I benefited greatly from knowing him.
In my estimation probably the best speaker the Fed has ever had. Despite his passionate committment to anarchist communism, he never came across as an ideologue or narrow-minded and there was usually an opportunity to have him change his mind on things tactical. His experience of Marxist-Leninism had made him very suspicious of Marxism generally, which I sometimes had issues with. He was, however, instrumental in my own (later) appreciation of the importance of Bakunin.
It didn't take much to make Colin happy and I remember vividly how excited, how bloody ecstatic he would be when he heard about a new member in Croydon, an enquiry from Portsmouth or a new subscriber in Hexham. I'm going to dig out my old photos of him.
If you knew him, next time you're in London, raise a pint of his favourite ale (Chiswick Bitter, 3.5%) to his memory.

fidel gastro
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Jan 25 2015 13:58

Sad news indeed RIP.

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Serge Forward
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Jan 26 2015 16:49

Will bump this until the funeral, so occasional visitors to Libcom spot it.

hard drive
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Jan 26 2015 19:16

having recently started the path to coming over to anarchism myself from a marxist/ trotskyist background i can well identify with the late comrades political journey. I am learning all the time about anarchism and opening my eyes to the questions i never had answers to. I too am hugely critical of leninism having experienced it first hand through the Socialist party of England And Wales.

Battlescarred
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Jan 26 2015 20:47

Colin's memorial event ( no, not a funeral, he insisted on not having that) will take place at 2pm at Coundon crematorium on February 6th in Co. Durham. PM me if you wish to attend.

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Entdinglichung
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Jan 26 2015 21:41

Colin presente!

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Serge Forward
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Jan 27 2015 11:12

Bump

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red_blackmanthinks44
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Jan 27 2015 16:02

Condolences to Colin`s friends and family. I was not fortunate enough to meet him, nevertheless, Rest Easy Comrade.

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jahbread
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Jan 27 2015 20:28

Don't rest in peace, comrades

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Jan 28 2015 09:44

Bump.