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Obituary: Stan Parker

Stan Parker, of North London branch, died at the beginning of June at the age of 84. In 2008 he wrote his own obituary which we publish below.

In it he refers to “writing a few books, mainly on work and leisure”. He was in fact a pioneer in the field of leisure studies not just in Britain but across the English-speaking world, respected by his peers who in 1997 made him the first honorary member of the Leisure Studies Association. After his retirement from the social survey division of the Census Office, he taught at the University of the Third Age in Britain and Australia. He also represented the Party in local elections and the 2009 European election.

Here is the obituary he wrote.

“Stan Parker, who first joined the Party in 1950, has made up his time sheet. Orthodox, conformist, non-controversial, unimaginative are not among the best descriptions of Stan’s life and work. He drafted this obituary himself, offered it to the editors, and agreed to some minor changes they imposed.

Stan met the Party in the politically exciting WW2 end year 1945, at the Hyde Park platform, notably that of Tony Turner. Stan found the Party’s Object clear, concise and inspirational. But he took 5 years to get his head sufficiently round the archaically-worded D of P to apply for membership. He soon became a regular writer for the Socialist Standard and in 1952 was appointed one of the editors of Forum, the newly launched internal Party journal.

Although the early 1950s saw a big growth in Party membership and activities, it was also a time of what one member called ‘introversy’. In 1955 Stan, Tony and a few other ‘dissidents’ were obliged to resign or face a charge. For the next 37 years Stan wandered in the socialist wilderness, pursuing academic and civil service careers and writing a few books, mainly on work and leisure.

By 1992 he had lost most of the arrogance of youth and the Party, having expelled two undemocratic branches, had become more tolerant. So he rejoined and again became active, even being elected to a few Executive Committees. Stan never thought that opposition to capitalism would be enough to abolish it. He constantly stressed the need to start building the new socialist world society now. His books, Stop Supporting Capitalism, Start Supporting Socialism (2002, reviewed Socialist Standard, March 2003) and Towards 2100: From Capitalism to Socialism (2004) are available at or from Head Office, free of charge.”