Red salute to Comrade John Taylor

Proletarian writers

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Comrade John Taylor, seated front right

Proletarian writers

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We are sad to report the passing of our dear friend and comrade John Taylor on Monday 8 June, at the age of 91.

John was a communist at heart all his adult life. The time he spent serving as an officer in the colonial Indian Army, stationed in Burma, gave him a close-up view of poverty and exploitation, confirming John’s socialist convictions, and after the war he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), serving the party as a full-time organiser in London’s St Pancras.

However, in the turbulent period following Khrushchev’s infamous ‘secret speech’ at the Soviet party’s 20th Congress in 1956, John found himself at increasing odds with many of his comrades, who went along with the revisionist sickness that increasingly afflicted the party, obliging him eventually to sever his ties.

For the greater part of his professional life, John was involved in the world of theatre and entertainment. In the 1950s he worked with the socialist playwright Joan Littlewood and with Unity Theatre in London, helping to put on theatre with a political edge aimed at working-class audiences. Subsequently he worked mostly in theatre management, eventually moving to his adopted home in Llanelli, south Wales, where from 1978 he was the town’s Entertainment Centre manager until he retired in 1989.

John acted as the master of ceremonies at many local talent shows in Llanelli and took part in many stage productions himself, most memorably taking on the role of the villainous boss ‘Sweater’ in a dramatised version of Robert Tressell’s classic working-class novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist.

In retirement, John at last found his political home in the newly-formed Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), joining with comrades in Llanelli and Swansea in all the party’s activities. He will be much missed in particular by members of the Marxist Forum, a communist discussion group which meets in Llanelli.

John will always be warmly remembered by every comrade who had the good fortune to meet him, for his cheerful confidence in the future of the working class and of socialism. We in the CPGB-ML are proud to have been able to call this principled fighter for the working class our member.

John was predeceased by his wife Ena, and will be much missed by his daughter Sally, his son-in-law Adam and his four grandchildren, Georgia, Tom, Josh and Savannah.

Red salute to Comrade John Taylor!