On 26 April 2014, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) lost one of its stalwart activists and much-loved members with the passing of Comrade George Bennett following a stroke.
George was born on 8 September 1923 and came to Britain from Kingston, Jamaica as a young man. He was never a ‘pushover’ for anyone and always supported his trade union and fellow workers at his workplace – mostly the Post Office. Equally, he would always stand up to racism or any form of bullying, no matter where it came from or the odds against him.
From early on, he sought answers to the questions of the day and found them in Marxism Leninism. In 1991, when the Stalin Society was formed in Britain, George was there, supporting it from the start. George also found himself in the ranks of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), but he was never happy with the line taken by the leaders of that party on support for the Labour party, or with their belittling of the colossal achievements of the Soviet Union and of the leading role of Comrade JV Stalin in those achievements.
A long-standing friend and comrade introduced him to the CPGB-ML and Comrade George joined our ranks after a short period of studying the party’s line. George described the feeling he had when joining as being “like coming home!”
Always the optimist, he stood firm whatever the difficulties and never wavered for a second in his political beliefs or his commitment to our party. As a staunch admirer of Comrade Mao Zedong and of socialist China’s immense contribution to the struggle of the oppressed nations, Comrade George was also one of the first to join the Hands off China! campaign.
His last years saw him experience a lot of illness, mainly respiratory, but George remained his cheerful self and would always do whatever he could as one of our finest activists.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to know Comrade George and we are richer for the experience. An advanced worker in the true Leninist meaning of the term, he represented the finest qualities of the Jamaican, British and international proletariat – unwavering in his commitment to his family, friends, neighbours, workmates, comrades and the interests of the working class as a whole, independent of all nationality, and implacable in his hatred of the class enemy and all forms of oppression.
George was a man who really disliked any ‘fuss’ regarding himself or the work that he did for the cause – a truly humble but quietly proud man who just got on with things and was always where he needed to be standing.
On 14 May, following his burial at Highgate Cemetery, the resting place of Karl Marx, family, comrades, neighbours and friends gathered in his modest but comfortable home in the East End of London, just around the corner from Cable Street, site of the epic 1930s’ battle against fascism, to salute and honour Comrade George’s memory.
From the walls of his living room, framed pictures of Comrade Stalin and of South African communist leader Comrade Chris Hani looked down. They epitomised the world outlook of our comrade.
We pay him the highest accolade we can think of – he was a communist and we were truly proud to call him comrade.
A red salute to Comrade George Bennett!