Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1105/31478

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 October 2020

Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020

Raph Parkinson, photo Unison North West

Raph Parkinson, photo Unison North West   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in Liverpool and elsewhere, and Unison activists, members and staff, are shocked and saddened by the death, as a result of coronavirus, of our comrade Raph Parkinson.

It is a sign of his unassuming nature that few people are even aware of his full name, Raphael Peter Parkinson; he was just plain Raph to us all.

On leaving school, Raph started working for Merseytravel, where he first joined Nalgo, the union that was later to merge into Unison, and became a Nalgo representative within a short time of starting work. Following that, he worked for Liverpool City Council, and continued his trade union activity for many years before working for Unison itself.

During the 1980s he was impressed by the determination of Liverpool's Militant-led Labour council to defend jobs and services in the city, and to build houses to get working people out of slum property, so he became involved with Militant himself. This was no mean feat. In Raph's community in Liverpool 8, the Black Caucus, fundamentally hostile to the council, had a degree of influence, and the leadership of the Nalgo branch in the city council was prone to exhibit hostility to the council campaign. But Raph was firm to his principles, and was unaffected by such pressures.

When Unison introduced reserved seats, later to become black members' seats, on its National Executive Council (NEC), Raph was in the first cohort to be elected, and held his seat for a number of years.

His mild, soft-spoken manner belied his determination. He fought hard for his socialist ideals within the union, particularly in combatting racism, and was instrumental in getting the union to support the campaign against racism on the football terraces, Show Racism the Red Card, initiated by Militant supporters. Raph was an ardent Liverpool supporter but, unusually for Merseyside, was also a keen cricketer, a legacy of his Caribbean heritage.

Raph's work on the NEC was not all plain sailing. On one occasion he chaired a disciplinary panel that eventually expelled an active fascist from Unison's ranks. The hearings for this case were 'lobbied' by members of the British National Party, in a continuous attempt at deliberate intimidation.

As a Socialist Party member, Raph spoke out against the leadership of Unison when it took action against four party members in what came to be known as the 'Three wise monkeys' case. He was particularly angered by the false accusations of racism levelled against them, and was ecstatic when the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal upheld the case of the four.

The recent dispute within the Committee for a Workers International unsettled Raph, and he stepped back for a brief period of reflection, before deciding that the party leadership in Britain was correct, coming back into full membership.

Raph's last act as a party member was probably to ring Hugo Pierre and wish him success in the forthcoming election for the general secretary of Unison.

We send our condolences to Raph's family, and in particular to his partner Laura and his sons Joel and DJ.

Roger Bannister

I just can't believe the really sad news that my friend and comrade Raphael Peter Parkinson has died. Such a great, principled fighter who always had your back. He was never afraid to speak up for and defend the right ideas, even when these were unpopular.

I first met Raph in the heat of the struggles of Liverpool city council in the mid-1980s. He stood squarely with the 47 councillors and argued for a class position, and never backed down from that. We later fought together as comrades in our union, Nalgo as it was then. I was really proud when Raph became the first person to hold a black members' seat on the Unison national executive council (NEC). He was a pioneer in that role, something I can only hope to emulate following in his footsteps.

Raph was a proud socialist fighter, steeped in the traditions of Marxism. Hearing the news of his untimely death is heartbreaking. But it's giants like Raph that will continue to inspire us.

Of course, like all of us he had his faults, supporting Liverpool being the main one! But he had great banter, and of course passion for that and his love of music.

RIP Raph, and condolences to all his family.

Hugo Pierre, national black members' rep on Unison NEC (personal capacity)

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 14 October 2020:


Coronavirus news

Locked down, hard up, fight back!

As school cases soar - is contact tracing 'near breaking point'?

Even more delay in stopping school transmission?

National Education Union must launch action now

Nottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement

Under the microscope


Students

Students not to blame for unsafe uni conditions

"It's not fair" - lockdown students demand free education

Students speak out: isolation and uncertainty reign

Building a movement to fight for free education


What we think

Unite votes to cut affiliation fee to Labour


Workplace news

Usdaw elections: the battle for a fighting union

NEU Special Conference: A fight for safety in schools is urgently needed

Napo AGM 2020: Celebrating probation victory and preparing for challenges ahead

University workers ballot for action against in-person teaching

Stop Royal Mail's profit-driven plans to force postal workers to share vans

Unison: The Socialist is backing Hugo Pierre - for a fighting socialist general secretary!


Co-ops

Are cooperatives the answer to a failing capitalist system?


Campaigns

Stop NHS meltdown

Transport for London funding crunch

Oliver Campbell - Still fighting for justice

Fighting Fund - we're off to a good start


Obituary

Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020


International news

Greek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

Nigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit


Readers' opinion

Non-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 October 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Obituary:

triangleObituary: Paul Chettle

triangleKen Douglas

triangleMick Cotter

triangleObituary: Rob Crabb

trianglePeter Hadden remembered

Unison:

triangleWomen workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

triangleCroydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

triangleUnison general secretary candidate and Socialist Party member Hugo Pierre speaking during an anti-racism demo in 2017. Click here for the latest article in the Socialist on the general secretary contest.

triangleWhy I am backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Council:

triangleTUSC sets out core policies for May 2021 local elections

triangleLittle Ilford school strike stands firm - council must use reserves!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Liverpool:

triangleLockdown: suspicion and anger

triangleBeware the billionaires bearing gifts

Union:

triangleCovid crisis: "We won't pay the price"

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

25/11/20

Disability

CripTales: A painful reflection of a system that pits us against each other

25/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

25/11/20

Racism

Mangrove: When the black community made a stand against state racism

18/11/20

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

18/11/20

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle

11/11/20

Trump

Trump is out - our readers react

11/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

11/11/20

Trotsky

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

11/11/20

The Socialist

Readers of the Socialist react to effects of lockdown

11/11/20

Schools

Schools need union action for safety

4/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

28/10/20

Government

The Socialist Inbox

28/10/20

Miners

Books that inspired me: Germinal

14/10/20

Obituary

Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020

14/10/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999