The Strange Case of James Alexander's papers

Submitted by martinh on March 9, 2006

The anarchists wrong. We admit it! Didn't Dad Vlad say the Marxist State would wither away? All we could say was that in Russia only its opponents withered away. Look at Russia now. The Marxist State did wither away in the end, didn't it?

In a Marxist State, if you outlive your relations and don't leave a will, your possessions go by law to the Communist Party. Your feelings on the matter, as interpreted and proven by your friends, are ignored. But does it matter, if the Marxist State has withered away? In the former Soviet Union, yes, but not in the London Borough of Camden, controlled by Labour and whose MPs are enthusiastic 'democratic' Blairites.

When our friend James Alexander was murdered in his council flat, he had very recently come into money. Up to that time he thought it pointless to make a will. Within weeks he was murdered. It took two years for his friends to get the body released for burial, and a further three months to get the police to release part-payment for his funeral. We had to go through the Police Complaints Authority and the Treasury Solicitor (who takes the balance from the reluctant police). As he was in a sheltered council flat, the council reckons it was legally entitled to grab the other portable assets, including books and the manuscript for a book detailing Stalinist intrigues in British socialism.

Pamela Lockley, Asst Director of Housing, states in a letter that those named by Alex as acting next-of-kin or their nominees have no legal rights to anything. Under the Local Governmernt Act the Council can dispose of property 'in an appropriate way' . This was to give them to the Marx Memorial Library (the Stalinist rump of the old CP) as they had 'expressed an interest' (after reading an interview with me in the local paper). They (not us, apparently) 'are a legal organisation ...there was no reason why the Council could not let them take any books they felt would be of use."

This shameless bias and lack of sensitivity means anti-fascist council tenants in the same situation as Alex should note with a shiver some bureaucrat might decide an 'appropriate way' to dispose of their papers on their deaths would be to hand them to a legal organisation, like the British National Party, if it expressed an interest.

(The opening paragraph was intended for a collection of comments on Alex's book. I doubt if the appropriate legal owners of his forever-to-be-unpublished work will want it).

Albert Meltzer

Note: This first appeared in Black Flag #207 in early 1995. I suspect that Alex's book is still buried.