Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stella Moutafis 1956 -- 2008

by Andy Brooks

THE PASSING of a comrade is a sad event at any time. It is much, much more so when that comrade’s life is cut short in the prime of her life. Stella Moutafis battled against mental illness for the best part of her life but she struggled against adversity till the end.
Stella joined the New Communist Party in October 1990 and she devoted her life to building the Party and the New Worker from the start. She worked as a volunteer at the Party Centre and an activist in her branch and the London District Committee.
Every week Stella would join the dedicated early morning team that despatches the New Worker on Thursday, joining in the lively discussion on the news of the day or telling us of the antics of her pet budgie, who we all heard cheeping away in the background whenever we rang her at home.
But while the “wrap” was a constant in her calendar Stella also came down from Epsom most Mondays or Tuesdays to help out at the centre or prepare for campaigns in the capital, cheering us all up with her enthusiasm and commitment to the cause.
Stella loved to be active in the broad movement as well as the Party working in solidarity with Cuba, Korea and Vietnam, CND, the Marx Memorial Library and the Labour Representation Committee. London District was reorganised following the rule changes in 2003 and Stella played a leading role in developing the Metropolitan Cell’s New Worker Supporters’ Group, the biggest in the country.
Stella had a thirst for knowledge, embracing the age of the Internet as soon as free access became available at her local library and then obtaining a home computer to explore the Web and develop her creative writing skills.
But she always returned to books. She studied the classic works of Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin as well as those on contemporary politics, and took part in many local and national schools. She was always a delegate to Congress and she ably represented the Party at many ceremonial events and embassy receptions over the years.
On demonstrations, and there were few she missed in London, she was out there through thick and thin: giving out leaflets, selling the paper or helping the team to carry the NCP national banner.
The Party was an important part of her life but it wasn’t a one-way road. She brought her love of the countryside, wild-life, music, science fiction and movies to us and this was reflected in her words.
Stella’s letters brightened up the columns of the New Worker, Morning Star and the local Epsom press and her keen observation, humanity and humour were demonstrated in her reviews of the London cultural scene that frequently appeared in our paper.
Above all Stella worked to see the Party and the New Worker grow. She was tremendously cheered to see the first colour edition of the New Worker come out in November. Sadly that was the last edition she ever saw.
Always modest and unassuming she never fully realised how she touched the lives of all those who had the privilege of knowing her. Stella was a great friend and a great comrade. She will never be forgotten.

Stella Moutafis died on 23rd November 2008. Her funeral, a small private ceremony at her family’s request, took place this week. NCP leader Andy Brooks and Dolly Shaer from the Political Bureau, paid their last respects on behalf of the Party. A New Worker memorial meeting will be held early in the New Year.