Obituary: Paul Smith

It is with great sadness that we report the death, on January 11 1999, of comrade Paul Smith of Manchester. Paul was a lifelong socialist and a fighter for his class, who will be greatly missed.

Paul was a miner in the Yorkshire coalfield and a member of the National Union of Mineworkers for 18 years, until he became one of the first shot-firers in the new Kellingley colliery and transferred his union membership to Nacods.

In his youth, Paul was a member of the Leeds branch of the Communist Party and, although he left in the mid-1950s, he maintained fraternal links with many of his comrades. He met his future wife, Audrey, at the World Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957.

Moving to Manchester in 1965, Paul took up new employment as a lift engineer. He and Audrey actively and energetically supported working class struggles and, during the miners’ Great Strike of 1984-85, they were key organisers of support and solidarity work in the Manchester region.

After the defeats inflicted upon the working class from 1985 onwards, Paul and Audrey concluded that it was time for a new mass party of the class to be built and they became founding members of the Socialist Labour Party, until - along with many hundreds of other class fighters - they left the SLP in disillusionment at the witch hunting and the exclusivist, anti-democratic behaviour of the leadership. Latterly, when 200 careworkers in Tameside were sacked, Paul and Audrey were soon fighting for solidarity in their union, the TGWU.

Paul was a subscriber to the Weekly Worker and a financial contributor to the paper. He will be remembered with respect and affection by our comrades who knew him. We offer our deepest sympathies to Audrey and to their daughter, Sara Galina.

John Pearson