Remembering departed comrades

Proletarian salutes the memory of three veteran comrades who passed away at the end of 2008 after a lifetime of service to the working-class movement.

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Cathie Majid was a founder member of the Stalin Society, serving as its first Secretary from 1991-1996 and as a committee member for a further two years.

A lifelong communist, she was born and grew up in a Scottish mining town and both her parents were members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). In the early 1950s, she married Kamal Majid, an Iraqi communist, and moved with him to Baghdad a few years later.

Cathie played a full role in the revolutionary struggle of the Iraqi people, editing the Iraqi Review, the English-language publication of the Iraqi Communist Party.

Her experiences in Iraq reinforced her rejection of Khrushchev’s revisionism and consequently she was one of the many genuine communists expelled by the CPGB’s revisionist leaders in the early 1960s.

Marie Shapiro joined the underground Young Communist League in Poland at the age of 15. Whilst still in her teens she served a prison sentence of nine months for distributing the Communist Party of Poland’s May Day leaflet.

Deported to Britain, where she had been born in 1913, she became active in the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Tailor and Garment Workers’ Union.

Marie’s varied revolutionary career embraced organising young women workers in east end sweatshops, fighting fascists on the streets, managing the Communist Party’s bookshop, Central Books, working in the embassy of the newly founded People’s Republic of Poland, teaching English to Chinese comrades working in London, and much else.

On 19 January 2008, Marie, a staunch fighter against revisionism over many decades, accepted honorary membership of the CPGB-ML.

Teja Singh Sahota joined the Communist Party of India when the country was still fighting for independence from British colonial rule. When his home province of Punjab was partitioned between India and Pakistan, he actively participated in saving numerous muslim families from chauvinist mobs.

Teja joined the Communist Party of Great Britain on his arrival here in 1953. For more than five decades he was an important leader of the Indian Workers’ Association (IWA GB), including serving as President from 1967-1991.

Together with the late Comrade Jagmohan Joshi, Teja built the IWA into one of the most militant and effective anti-racist campaigning organisations in Britain. He was also well-known as a trade unionist and shop steward in the Midlands area.

Rejecting the revisionism of the CPGB, in 1966 he became a founder member of the Association of Indian Communists in Britain (AIC) and was elected as its General Secretary in 1967.

> A red salute to departed comrades – Lalkar January 2009