Obituary: Kate Jones – 1953-2021 A life of socialist struggle
Gareth Bromhall, Swansea and West Wales Socialist Party
We were saddened to hear of the loss of long-standing Socialist Party member Kate Jones on 20 December. Most recently a member in Swansea, Kate was previously a member in Brighton and Llanelli.
A lifelong Marxist, Kate became politically active in her teens and joined Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party, in 1975. During the 1984-85 miners’ strike, Kate organised the Brighton support group, fundraising and organising accommodation for touring miners, and their wives.
She and her comrade Geoff got together at this time. They married in 1985.
Kate was a Labour councillor in Brighton, but never hid the socialist programme of Militant. In the 1988 elections, Labour won control of Brighton council. She was one of the leaders of the left minority in the local Labour group.
During the poll tax struggle, Brighton Labour council proposed paying bailiffs to reclaim poll tax debt. After a mammoth ten-hour meeting, the administration was only able to get this passed with the help of the Tories. This led to the suspension of Brighton Labour Party and Kate’s expulsion from Labour, something she wore as a badge of honour.
Kate was a contributor to the Global Warning section of Socialism Today, the Socialist Party’s monthly magazine. She would speak engagingly about the environmental movement.
After Brighton, Kate worked supporting people with Aids in Powys, and eventually worked on the tills in the local Co-op. There she played an active role in retail union Usdaw.
I first met Kate when I joined the Socialist Party in 2011. Kate was instrumental in setting up and building the now strong Swansea branch of Unite Community, the union for people not in work. Kate served as branch chair, and was well liked and respected within the union in Wales.
Kate became active in the campaign to save the Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery, which Swansea University was intent on shutting. Her love of public art and culture was a cause dear to her heart.
Kate was a valued and well-respected member of the Socialist Party branch in Swansea. Her contribution to our collective struggle will be missed.
The Socialist Party wishes to send condolences and solidarity to her husband Geoff, son Bryn and daughter-in-law Baru, and their newborn daughter Emilia, born on 1 January 2022, as well as friends and family across the world and all those who had the privilege to call her comrade.
Kate became chair of the Swansea and District Unite Community branch from the time it was relaunched.
A previous attempt at setting up a branch in our area had fizzled out – but there was no way this was going to happen again under Kate’s watch.
As our chair, she was always fair, and keen to include everyone and listen to their ideas. She always showed sound good sense and I appreciated the good counsel she gave to me between meetings.
She was a very intelligent and well-read person and was passionate about what she believed in. Climate change and the need for a green industrial revolution were causes dear to her heart.
As a carer for husband Geoff, she sometimes couldn’t make it to demos and picket lines we were taking part in, but we knew she was always there in the background encouraging us – well, telling us to get out there and do it really…
Kate was a good socialist and a good friend to us all. She was a key member of our branch and will be sorely missed by those who had the privilege of knowing her.
Most of all she was kind, and the world could do with a lot more kind people like Kate right now.