2010s >> 2014 >> no-1321-september-2014

Obituary: Andy Cox

Obituary: Andy Cox

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my twin brother, Andy, my lifelong and closest buddy, who succumbed to a massive and totally unexpected heart attack on 8 June. He was at the very prime of his life and, after a long period of huge personal distress, when things finally seemed to be looking up for him and his new partner, Kim, he was taken from us. All who knew him will recognise in him one of the nicest and warmest of human beings one could meet whose generosity of spirit, genuine humanity and concern for others could not be doubted.

Andy was a revolutionary socialist before I was and, in fact, was instrumental in me encountering the SPGB, He lived in Clapham in London for a short while in the early 1970s, not far from the SPGB Head Office. It was in his little bedsit that I saw my first copy of the Socialist Standard. Our early years together, first at a catholic boarding school in Pretoria and then serving in the South African army as conscripts (we both narrowly escaped being sent to Angola at that time, to fight the MPLA and the Cubans by dint of joining the regimental bugle band in Walvis Bay, Namibia) provided fertile soil in which our subsequent radicalisation took root. Apartheid South Africa in 1972 was a seething hotbed of liberal student protest . That was when Andy was first arrested and questioned by the police for distributing subversive literature; I was a little more fortunate in escaping the long arm of the law. Our long hair and bell bottoms were probably grounds enough for suspicion.

When the family emigrated to the UK that year, our political evolution continued – in my case from Heathite Tory, to green activist, to left wing zealot and, finally, revolutionary socialist. Andy beat me to that final place of ideological repose even if I joined the SPGB before him. He was less of an activist than I was but in no way was he less a revolutionary socialist. People sometimes conflate Party activism with commitment to the socialist cause. That is a mistake, I think. Andy was not much of a Party activist though in recent years, after I emigrated to Spain, he joined the South West regional branch and started attending branch meetings. However, his commitment to the cause was never in doubt. There is a long tradition of a kind of DIY approach to promoting socialism, both inside and outside the Party, and Andy was no exception in that respect.

This is no better exemplified than in the case of the website he set up called “A Point of View (http://andycox1953.webs.com/) which contains a number of his articles. These reveal his fine flair as a wordsmith and his ability to marshal empirical facts and ruthless logic, much as a gifted military strategist would deploy detachments of military units to confound the enemy. Andy had been helping me with a long term (and long overdue) project – writing a hefty tome on the subject of “socialist values” – and I shall sorely miss his wise counsel and sure-footed insights.

But, above all, I shall miss him and the person he was, as will so many who had the pleasure and the privilege of having known him. He was a truly remarkable man and a wonderful human being.


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