This Day in 1983: British Communist leader tragically dies

Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), November 27, 2013

John Buckle

John Buckle

TODAY, November 27, is the 30th anniversary of the death in 1983 of John Buckle, then General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). He was just 34, and had led the Party since its founding in 1979.

On this occasion, we honour John’s memory, appreciating more than ever the sacrifice of those who, like John, came forward at a crucial time in history to contribute to providing solutions to serious problems of the times.

John Buckle came forward as an anti-fascist fighter and leader at a time when the state tried to float a fascist movement as a respectable political organisation, and he led the movement to smash this. John had joined the work of the forerunner organisations of RCPB(ML) as a student, and from then on dedicated his whole existence to the cause of the revolutionary transformation of society, taking up the work in Britain which led to the founding of the Party in March 1979. He died in a terrible air crash in Madrid, Spain, while on his way to attend an international communist conference in Colombia, South America. Thus his contribution was so tragically cut short, but the cause to which he dedicated his life lives on in the work today to renew all the arrangements at the base of society, provide it with a new economic direction and ensure that the political and social institutions are human centred, not capital centred.

John Buckle leading the fight against the fascists, Digbeth, Birmingham, 1978.

John Buckle leading the fight against the fascists, Digbeth, Birmingham, 1978.

Today, at a time the ruling class is engaged in all-sided wrecking and is perpetrating wars of aggression, having absolutely no way forward for society, it is common to rehash Cold War anti-communist rhetoric and try to dismiss those who came forward in the sixties, seventies and eighties, as well as the current generations, as extremists for believing that a better world is possible and working to bring about social change. It would be laughable if it were not so tragic to see virulently extremist and right-wing advocates of neo-liberal privatisation, and the rich who are becoming ever richer, blame others for extremism so as to give the impression that they themselves stand for something moderate. Furthermore, they criminalise those engaged in political activity and social action which upholds rights, so that no political movement of the people can coalesce. They commit horrible crimes in the name of human rights even as the world sees them trample the human rights of the most vulnerable the world over and say to hell with the human condition so long as they get richer and their private interests are served.

At the height of the time John Buckle became active, the US secret agencies launched Operation CHAOS in North America and Europe to create phoney “left-wing” groups which engaged in extremist activities, such as those of the Red Brigades, and then blamed the Marxist-Leninists. They also engaged in coups d’état such as that in Chile of 1973, and launched Operation Condor to commit horrible crimes against the people who demanded democracy and human rights.

John Buckle speaking at the historic Conference against Racism and Fascism, Conway Hall, London, June 7, 1981.

John Buckle speaking at the historic Conference against Racism and Fascism, Conway Hall, London, June 7, 1981.

It is important to study the work carried out by John Buckle and the Party which he led, in order to defeat the attempts of the ruling circles to use disinformation to bring down new tragedies onto the peoples, tragedies much worse than those committed by the Hitlerites in the thirties and forties because of the limitless power these ruling elites control today.

On this occasion, RCPB(ML) calls on everyone to channel the human power which is also without limitations so as to bring these reactionary forces under control.

May the life and work of John Buckle serve as an inspiration to the youth of today!
Long live his memory! Long live his example!


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