Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/540/6225

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 July 2008

Obituary

Terry Fields

Socialist, friend and fighter

1937-2008

Tragically Terry Fields has died from lung cancer at the age of 71. Terry was a supporter of Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party, and a defender of the working class. In 1983, after many years as a lay official for the fire fighters' union, he was elected as an MP for Liverpool Broadgreen on a clear socialist programme. His campaign slogan was 'vote for a workers' MP on a worker's wage'.

Terry Fields addressing a demonstration in support of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s, photo Socialist Party

Terry Fields addressing a demonstration in support of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s, photo Dave Sinclair

There was no doubt in the minds of the Broadgreen electorate that Terry was a dyed-in-the wool radical socialist, because it was published in his campaign material and the capitalist press told them so. Terry was celebrated for his dedication to workers in struggle. He was a regular on the miners' picket line. He supported the printers at Warrington when they fought Eddie Shah, the stalking horse for the press magnates who were preparing to smash the print unions.

It wasn't only British workers who enjoyed Terry's support and solidarity. He was invited in 1990 to a conference in Novokuznetsk setting up a Confederation of Labour of the USSR. As a socialist and internationalist he addressed the 600 delegates and visitors - mostly mineworkers - congratulating them on their strikes and struggles to throw off the old, parasitic bureaucracy. He warned them against taking the "road to the market", and defended the ideas of genuine socialism against both Stalinism and capitalism.

In addition to fighting for a remedy to the problems facing working-class families in his constituency, he gave unconditional support to the Liverpool 47 in their titanic battle with the Tory government and Labour right wing. The Liverpool 47 were Liverpool's socialist councillors who built five thousand houses, created thousands of jobs, and opened many nursery schools in 1983 - 87.

Terry kept his pledge to take only a worker's wage and donated the remainder back to the labour movement. On this score he invited the bile of career MPs whose snouts in the parliamentary pig trough have been an ongoing scandal.

Terry played a leading role in opposing Thatcher's hated poll tax. The non-payment campaign eventually defeated both the tax and Thatcher. Alongside 18 million people he refused to pay the tax. For this he served 60 days in Walton jail. In his response to Terry's imprisonment, former Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, showed his true colours. His reaction was not a condemnation of the poll tax, but an attack on Terry for breaking the law!

Terry supported the slogan of the imprisoned Poplar councillors of 1919, adopted by the Liverpool 47: 'Better to break the law than break the poor.' He pointed out that if people had not been prepared to break unjust laws in the past there wouldn't be a Labour Party for Kinnock to lead.

He refused to pay his poll tax even though some, who later deserted Militant's ranks, urged him to pay it. (See Rise of Militant available from Left Books , www.leftbooks.co.uk)

A role model for today

Standing over six feet, Terry was a big man in every sense. His lifestyle was that of the working class. Not for him the fancy cars and silk suits. In fact he was known in parliament, to the annoyance of the chief whip, for wearing his trademark leather jacket.

He had a deft turn of phrase. At a meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the 47 councillors' surcharge he said: "Neil Kinnock had been a young firebrand with socialism spewing out of every orifice - but he finished up with something else spewing out of every orifice!"

In his private life he enjoyed a social life in the local club mingling with working people from the community. He was a good singer and sang with a skiffle group in the 1960s, and he was no mean bingo caller.

These days there are calls for millionaire professional footballers and other sporting celebrities to act as role models for the youth. Terry Fields was the perfect role model for today's young people who look for a solution to their everyday problems of work and security for the future. But they look in vain at the current crop of parliamentary miscreants.

Tony Mulhearn

[Tony Mulhearn was leader of the district Liverpool Labour Party during the rise of Militant in Liverpool in the 1980s - ed]

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 2 July 2008:

Hands off our NHS!

Feature: 60 years of the NHS


Socialist Party campaigns

Local government strike action: Workers say: 'enough is enough!'

Fight Labour's welfare privatisation

91% of pay deals are below inflation

Workers united against pay freeze


Socialist Party news and analysis

Education - class segregation grows

Boris Johnson reveals his real policies

Royals down to their last crown?

Union support for demo to stop BNP 'festival'


National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network: Rebuilding trade union strength


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Obituary

Obituary: Terry Fields


Socialist Party LGBT

LGBT London Pride: No to homophobia


International socialist news and analysis

Mugabe clique tightens its grip on Zimbabwe

Big oil returns to Iraq

Poland: Thousands join 'hands off the Labour Code' demo


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS shows action gets results

Visteon workers win 5%

For a fighting, democratic Usdaw

Tube cleaners in pay strike

Victory for Belfast Airport shop stewards

East London street cleaners fight privatised employer


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Terry Fields:

triangleMPs take 1k raise

triangle1983: A political voice for the working class

triangleHillsborough - eventually, the truth

triangleMPs' expenses scam continues: for workers' MPs on a worker's wage

Liverpool:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: Tony Mulhearn - the making of a Liverpool Militant

triangleBook: The Making of a Liverpool Militant by Tony Mulhearn

triangleTony Mulhearn 1939-2019: Courageous fighter for the working class and socialism

triangleTony Mulhearn 1939-2019

Militant:

triangleActive and strong member of Socialist Party reaches 80

triangleFar right makes gains in Germany

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The rise of Militant

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/10/19

Postal workers

Massive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"

16/10/19

PCS

General secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

16/10/19

Socialist Party

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party

16/10/19

Waltham Forest

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

16/10/19

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure

16/10/19

Climate change

Trade unionists discuss climate change

16/10/19

National Education Union

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

16/10/19

Hackney

Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory

16/10/19

RMT

RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

16/10/19

Wales

Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

15/10/19

Derbyshire

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

9/10/19

Caerphilly

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

9/10/19

PCS

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

9/10/19

York

York freshers success

9/10/19

Leeds

'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999