Obituary: Peter Miller 1943-1999

An obituary for anarchist Peter Miller by Phil Ruff, published in Black Flag #219, 2000.

Submitted by Fozzie on January 18, 2021

Peter Miller
5 April 1943 - 9 October 1999

Peter Miller, veteran anarchist, secularist, trade unionist and horse-racing enthusiast, has died in Leicester on 9th October (aged 56) following a brave fight against cancer.

Active in the secularist movement since 1961, and more recently a Trustee and Secretary of the Leicester Secular Society for over 10 years, Pete was well known as an untiring supporter of the Anarchist Black Cross and a regular writer and book reviewer in the anarchist press for over thirty years. He was also active in the trade union movement, and was a branch officer of Unison within Leicester City Council for many years (continuing to be involved with union matters until quite recently).

Originally a member of the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League (SLL) of Gerry Healey in the days when male comrades were instructed to ignore the long-haired rebellion of working class youth and affect a "proletarian" short back and sides, Pete moved to Anarchism (and long hair) in the mid 1960s. His long association with the Anarchist Black Cross was the result of a chance meeting with Albert Meltzer:

"I met him by chance in the 1960s and sent him a note to thank him for a kindness offered during our first passing contact. He replied and from that casual exchange of politeness has grown a correspondence lasting nearly thirty years" (Peter Miller, reviewing Albert Meltzers's I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels, 1995).

Pete's dedication to long-term correspondences helped sustain many class struggle prisoners in Britain and abroad with whom he was in regular touch over those years. His letters invariably brought a good dose of wit, common sense, good humour and intelligence into otherwise drab and cheerless surroundings. Such down to earth solidarity was highly valued by all who received it.

As well as his work on behalf of prisoners, Pete was a regular contributor to the anarchist press (Black Flag, Freedom, Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review, Anarchy Magazine) and was the editor and publisher of the idiosyncratic anarchist cultural magazine Z Review in the 1970s.

A highly erudite but completely unpretentious man, Pete was a great fan of the novels of Anthony Trollope. His passion for horse racing baffled many comrades, though providing an excellent excuse to travel outside Leicester and renew old acquaintances. But undoubtedly, Pete's greatest love was his family: his wife Jean and three children, Jen, Alex and Tim.

A kindly, tolerant, always dependable and completely genuine person, Peter Miller will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Phillip Ruff
London 11/10/99