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Lest we forget

Obituary from the January 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is with regret that Glasgow Branch reports the death of long-serving member Peter McKenzie. Peter had been a Glasgow member since 1940. He was an active and enthusiastic one who was especially valuable as a chairman at Branch meetings: when Peter was in the chair the business was always dealt with in an efficient and thorough fashion.

He was in many ways a link between the younger members of the Branch and the pre- and early-war periods. He was full of anecdotes and stories of the Party’s activities in those days. A cheerful character who had a clear-cut, no-nonsense style of propaganda, he introduced many workers to the Socialist case. A railway worker, he made many useful contacts among his workmates.

One story illustrates the effect he had in discussion in railway bothies when the talk got round to politics. During the war, when hysteria and hatred gripped many workers, he argued consistently against war and the other horrors that capitalism produced. Returning to his home from work, after midnight, he found two “gentlemen” awaiting him. They asked where he was born, where his father was born and—being thorough—where his grandfather had been born. After Peter had convinced them that he wasn’t a German spy, they told him he had been reported by one of his workmates. With great relish, Peter told how he returned to his bothy discussions and tried to figure out who among his political opponents was the "patriot”!

He was an outstanding example of the older generation of Glasgow members—a mature man thoroughly grounded in the basics of Marxism and a fearless advocate of Socialism. Besides the Branch’s loss of a valuable member, many of us have lost a warm friend. He is survived by his wife and five children, one of whom is a Party member. To all of them, we extend our sympathy at their sudden bereavement.


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