COMMEMORATION ARRANGEMENTSAlan's funeral will be on Thursday 8th November. Due to restricted places this is by invitation or for those close to Alan. Immediately afterwards will be an open commemoration/celebration of Alan's life from 3.30pm - 6.30pm at St John Vianney Hall, 386 West Green Road, N15 3QL. All welcome.
A Tribute & Celebration of Alan's Life (pdf document given out at commemorative event)
The Tottenham working class activist/campaigner Alan Woodward passed away on Saturday 20th October.
Alan had a stroke and fall on Tuesday 16th October and was admitted to the North Middlesex Hospital the following day. His close family* had rallied round during his hospital stay and were with him when he died peacefully.
Alan Woodward was a lifelong trade union activist and working class revolutionary immersed in support for workplace struggles and other anti-capitalist movements.
In 1961 he joined the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers Party). For three decades he ran courses for shop stewards. He was very active in the Haringey Trades Union Council. In recent years he gravitated towards independent libertarian politics, including the Haringey Solidarity Group – his view was it was necessary for workers to take direct control of all workplaces and through workers coordination councils create a new economy and society without capitalism or governments. In his writings he explained he was drawing on what he saw as the best traditions of revolutionary socialism and anarchism.
He actively supported and tried to attend every local workers’ picket line in Haringey, either as the organiser for the Trades Council or as part of local campaigns. In the last few years this included strikes by postal workers, local bakery workers, public sector pension disputes, railworkers picket lines and anti-cuts campaigning. When the Visteon Ford Car Parts factory in Enfield was due to be closed he joined in the workers week-long occupation of the site and later wrote a pamphlet on the experience.
At the same time he helped set up the Radical History Network of NE London** and as the RaHN Convenor he organised and wrote up summaries of dozens of local talks and meetings on a whole range of past disputes and struggles to ensure that the voices of those who took part in them would continue to reverberate and help us all in our struggles and movements today. He took RaHN stalls to many local and national events.
He produced a huge body of agitational, campaigning and radical literature, leaflets, strike bulletins, newsletters, historical snapshots, pamphlets and recently an autobiography***. Yet he underplayed his own role as he preferred to promote the collective self-activity of those involved in industrial strikes, disputes and working class movements.
He is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed****, but his influence will remain with us all as the struggle for a new society continues unabated.
Dave Morris (Tottenham, 21.10.2012)
** Alan’s autobiography ‘Poor Boy’s Tale’ (Vol 1 – ‘the first 60 years’) is available from Housmans Bookshop – as are some of his pamphlets on Workers Councils, Shop Stewards movements, NHS history, Visteon Factory Occupation, and on other London working class activists like Joe Jacobs and Joe Thomas. All were self-published by Alan under the name of Gorter Press. Many can be found, summarised or reviewed on the RAHN site (see below).
*** Radical History of NE London - http://www.radicalhistorynetwork.blogspot.co.uk/
**** Details of his funeral and any commemorative events or publications will be circulated. See the above site.