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Obituary:Jack Bradley


We regret to announce the death of Jack Bradley, aged 85, at his home on 7 November.

Jack joined the party in 1949. Before that he had come across the works of Marx and Engels, not as you might expect in the bookshops in Charing Cross Road in London, but whilst serving with the RAF in India towards the end of World War Two. He used to recall how British troops in India were incensed when at the end of the war they were told that strong armed forces would have to be maintained to fight the next war.

Like many of his generation he was expecting great things from the new Labour government and joined the Labour Party, but he was particularly disappointed to learn that the former owners of the newly-nationalised industries were not being given one-off payments, but rather government bonds, which didn’t change their privileged positions.

Jack was an active member until a few years ago, particularly in publicity where he favoured emphasising the “one world” nature of socialism. The dangers of nuclear weapons was one of his special interests. In 1954 when the Japanese tuna fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon 5) was contaminated by nuclear fallout from a US atom bomb test in 1954, Jack and other members of the then Wood Green & Hornsey Branch wrote to the local paper of the nearest town to the incident offering their sympathy. Residents wrote to the Hornsey Journal to thank the branch for their letter. The editor, however, unjustly suspected some sort of put-up job and only made a guarded reference to the matter.

He always kept his eyes open for political ideas which were close to ours like those of the French ex-Trotskyists of Socialisme ou Barbarie and the German ex-Trotskyists of Contemporary Issues, alerting other members that these had come round to the view that Russia was state-capitalist. Murray Bookchin (under various pseudonyms) was associated with this latter group for a time and Jack circulated his articles on how capitalism was destroying the world’s ecology long before the Green Party was heard of. He himself liked to describe socialism as “one green world”.

He was a collector of books and pamphlets on socialism and related subjects, and had several rooms full of them. He also amassed a collection of leaflets and documents of leftwing political organisations, some of which they might have preferred to forget. He did considerable research to see if the 17th century communist Gerrard Winstanley could have had any knowledge of Thomas More’s Utopia via the publisher of a contemporary re-edition of its English translation. Unfortunately none of this original research was ever published.

He didn’t fly aircraft when he was in the RAF, but in later years he obtained a pilot’s licence for light aircraft—he had contempt for airliners, describing them as “flying computers”.

Until a few years ago, he was a regular attendee at Enfield & Haringey branch meetings, but because of his slight build and age, he began to feel more and more apprehensive about venturing out at night, although he would still attend when he was able to get a lift from a member. His last job was for Westminster Council where he became a night duty officer.

We offer our condolences to his daughter, Alyson.

J.V.