By New Worker correspondent
IT WAS A cold and wintry night but friends and comrades braved the harsh weather on Saturday to recall the life and times of Eric Trevett, the outstanding leader of the New Communist Party, who passed away last September.
Eric was a life-long communist, internationalist and peace campaigner who, together with Sid French, led the fight against revisionism on the Surrey District of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Sid French and Eric Trevett opposed the revisionist line of the CPGB as expressed in its programme, the British Road to Socialism. For many years they fought within the party against this departure from Marxist-Leninist ideology through the CPGB’s internal structure.
But in 1977, when the revisionist leaders moved to violate their own rules and basic communist norms and expel Sid and Eric to push through a more blatantly revisionist programme, the formation of a new party became inevitable.
Eric was a founder member of the NCP in 1977 and he was elected general secretary of the Party following the death of Sid French in 1979. He held that post until his retirement from full-time party work in 1995. He was subsequently elected president and remained in post until his death last year.
Friends and comrades had paid their last respects to Eric at his funeral in Crawley in September. But they, and many others including Eric’s daughter, Susan, and veteran communist Monty Goldman from the Communist Party of Britain, returned to the Party Centre in London last Saturday to remember Eric’s life and his tireless commitment to the communist ideal.
The formal part of the memorial meeting was opened with the Eric’s last address, which he recorded for his own funeral. He said that he “never took himself seriously but always took what he believed in very seriously”. A point which was taken up by Party Chair Alex Kempshall who spoke about Eric’s sense of humour and his love of jazz music as well as his commitment to the cause.
Thae Yong Ho from the DPR Korean embassy in London, who accompanied Eric when he went to the DPRK in the early 1990s, spoke about Eric’s meeting with great leader Kim Il Sung and the two hours that the two communists spent discussing the problems facing the movement in the aftermath of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and the need to rally the forces for socialism all over the world to confront imperialism.
Dermot Hudson from the Korean Friendship Association highlighted Eric’s solidarity work and that of the NCP as a whole in support of Democratic Korea while NCP leader Andy Brooks recalled Eric’s efforts to build the Party and the New Worker – work that continued until his last days at his care home.
Many others then took the floor to speak of their own fond memories of Eric including Ann Rogers, the former editor of the New Worker and Ray Jones who worked at the Party Centre for over 20 years.
Michael Chant, the general secretary of the RCPB (ML) could not be with us on the night. But he also spoke of Eric’s legacy and his commitment to communist unity in a message of condolence that ended: “We are comrades in arms together in holding high the banner of communism. Together, at Eric’s behest, let us carry this banner forward.”
Eric was always busy with organisational and practical work Andy said. He never had time to write books but his monument is the Party he founded and the paper he loved.
That, naturally enough, was taken up by National Treasurer Daphne Liddle in her spirited call to boost the New Worker fighting fund and remember Eric in the way he would have always wanted. They did with a collection that came to £1,377!