Obituary: Arthur Deane
We are sad to learn of the death of Arthur Deane, an active worker in my early years in the Trotskyist movement. I first met Arthur at the central committee of the Socialist Fight Group (SFG) in the late 1950s. I travelled to the meetings in the back of his brother Brian's van!
Arthur was on the London-based executive committee which decided that I should move to London from Liverpool to do youth work in 1962 and then Peter Taaffe to become editor of the new paper Militant in 1964, and later general secretary.
Arthur was then a Chemical Workers Union shop steward at Allan & Hanbury, Bethnal Green, later to become a national full-time union organiser.
I had a few healthy meals from his then wife Rose, with him and the children at their flat in Hackney. They probably thought I needed it as a single young comrade, as did Arthur's brother Jimmy, who lived nearby in Stoke Newington, and was the general secretary before Peter.
Arthur drifted out of contact in the early 1970s but, through some of the early struggles, had helped to strengthen the ideas of Trotskyism. One of the last battles he was involved in was when, in 1949, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) split and a large number went into the Labour Party.
However, a majority were against this move, but their leaders prevaricated for at least a year before also deciding to go into the Labour Party. Arthur was among an angry group who then formed an 'Open Party Faction' against Ted Grant and the remaining RCP leadership.
Although, when I became active in SFG almost a decade later, Arthur was part of the leadership. Others in the 'Faction', such as George Leslie and Sam Bornstein, attended our central committee meetings, but there never seemed to be a comfortable relationship which was never explained to me at the time.
Arthur's contribution to the struggles of the working class movement are recorded and will be remembered, and he would have wanted us to learn from them.
We send our condolences to his wife Margaret and all his family, comrades and friends in their loss.