Eric Levy, a veteran of the anti-imperialist movement, died on 20 July 2022 at the age of 94. Some of us had known him since the 1960s.
Born in 1928 in Manchester, spending his childhood in Egypt, he was an active participant in the working-class movement in the USA, before moving to London in 1958, where he threw himself into antiracist, anti-imperialist and communist work.
A friend, and lifelong admirer, of the great African-American singer, actor and progressive political activist Paul Robeson, he met Claudia Jones when Robeson came to London after the US government was forced to return his passport.
Claudia, a talented and dedicated communist and founder of the Notting Hill Carnival, who had been deported following her imprisonment in the United States, became a close friend and comrade of Eric’s. Indeed, it was Eric who found her dead after she passed away on Christmas Eve 1964 at the tragically young age of 49.
From 1960-62, together with his wife and infant daughter, Eric lived in Guinea. The west African country had just won its independence from French colonialism, and its president Ahmed Sekou Touré, who was resolved to take his country in an anti-imperialist and pro-socialist direction, had invited Eric, a fluent French speaker, to work as a teacher.
Eric joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1963, but, with the development of the split in the international communist movement, he became a staunch and active supporter of the anti-revisionist positions taken by the Communist Party of China and Comrade Mao Zedong, and remained so until his very last days.
There was no anti-imperialist movement or cause to which Eric did not give his wholehearted support – from the Vietnamese people’s struggle against US imperialism to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, the Zimbabwean people’s fight for liberation, the Palestinian people’s fight for national liberation and against zionist colonialism, the Irish people’s fight against the occupation by British imperialism of the six northern counties and for the unification of their country.
He gave wholehearted support to the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela in their fight against US imperialism’s attempts to strangle the revolutionary regimes of these countries.
Eric hated imperialist wars for domination, and he put his words into deeds. In 2003, he was a member of a team of international volunteers who went to Iraq to act as ‘human shields’ in an attempt to stop the then-impending predatory war of Anglo-American imperialism, which was to claim the lives of over a million innocent Iraqi men, women and children, and wreak untold destruction.
Earlier, he had lost his job as a teacher after he refused to conceal or deny his support for the Irish people’s struggle.
In Britain, he took part in antiracist movements and was a regular participant in the Stalin Society, whose chief aim was, and remains, to defend and propagate the earth-shattering achievements of the Soviet Union and of Josef Stalin, who led the USSR for three long decades of extraordinary difficulty and world-historic achievements.
In his last years, although in frail health, Eric directed every ounce of strength he could muster to free Julian Assange and to prevent his extradition to the USA to face imprisonment for 176 years.
There were many other worthy causes that attracted Eric’s support. He never lost his faith in the ultimate downfall of imperialism and the victory of the proletarian revolution.
In his last days, he was visited by one of our comrades who found him to be in a state of equanimity.
His death has denuded the anti-imperialist movement of one of its staunchest supporters. He shall be sorely missed.
Eric is survived by his daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter in Canada
Farewell Comrade Eric Levy!