The appeal for donations to fund the shipment to Indonesia of John Percy’s excellent book and journal collection for a community and activist library has achieved an excellent result. More than AUD$9,000 has been raised. This comes from members of John’s Australian political family, as well as a few more distant supporters. Special mention must be made of the donation by Margaret P., from Wollongong, of AUD$5,000
This money will fund the shipment of more than 60 boxes of books and journals to Indonesia, their storage and care in Indonesia until the library building currently being constructed is finished late this year or January-February, 2017. It will also fund final delivery to and unpacking in the Library.
Rally talk at DSP educational conference, January 3-7, 1998
Perhaps around the Xmas dinner table this year, being quizzed by parents you haven’t seen for many months, or an aunt you haven’t seen for years, comrades have been met by a familiar refrain:
You’re a socialist? How could you be a socialist today?
How could you be a socialist after what happened in Russia? Isn’t socialism finished with now?
Or perhaps more regularly, as you’re arguing the point with a potential Green Left Weekly buyer, you get similar questions:
How could you be a communist today? or:
Yes, in principle it’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t work, does it?
by John Percy
[This talk was presented to an anti-war teach-in on October 28, 2001, in Sydney. At the time Percy was national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Party. Expelled from the DSP in May 2008, he is now the national secretary of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.]
A New Antiwar Movement Needed
In the wake of the devastating September 11 suicide aircraft bombings in New York and Washington we’re faced with the most incredible, bloodthirsty and reactionary war drive by imperialism led by George Bush, and with Howard and Beazley groveling behind.
They’re killing hundreds of ordinary people in Afghanistan at the moment, with millions at risk of dying from starvation, but this war of retaliation is not just aimed at Bin Laden, or the Taliban, or “terrorists”, but at the people of the Third World, all those who have been oppressed and exploited by imperialism. And it’s aimed also at any dissenting voices at home, the movement against globalisation, the radicalised generations who provide an opposition to the capitalist status quo, anyone who looks or thinks differently. And it’s aimed at any democratic gains we’ve won in past decades.
Max was extremely disappointed that he could not attend the memorial service for John Percy. Max was unable to attend because he was undergoing treatment for a cancer in a saliva gland under his ear. He had a major operation, losing his right ear and severing some facial nerves on the right side of his face. Max has just finished radiotherapy on the same region and is now undergoing the treatment to deal with the side effects of the radiation.”
I am sad but proud to be saying these few words at the funeral of comrade John Percy. It is difficult however. How do you sum up the life of a man who dedicated his whole adult life – 50 years – to the socialist movement and to the central task of building a revolutionary cadre party. 50 years without a detour or break. Not only is this such an amazing example of dedication to the conviction of the necessity and rightness of this cause, but John contributed so much to actual, real and great achievements. His achievements were those of his party. Many comrades in their tributes have noted how John was never a pushy or limelight seeking leader.
One of his most endearing but powerful attributes was they he was able to fuse being himself, able to present his own ideas, with being a member of a team; a leadership team but also the big team that was the party as a whole. He was himself and he was a member. He led by example in upholding a key norms expected of all members – selling the newspaper. And he did this, I can say without doubt, in a way more consistent and exemplary than any other member who ever spent a decent amount of time in the party.
19 August 2015 | Allen Myers
John Percy, a central figure in the development of the Australian revolutionary socialist movement over the past half century, died on Wednesday 19 August in Sydney, after suffering a severe stroke on 20 July and another on 13 August.Throughout his political life, John was a revolutionary party builder. “Party builder” was the highest praise he could bestow on another political activist.
John and his brother Jim, his closest political collaborator until Jim’s death from cancer in 1992, were key figures in the radical anti-imperialist wing of the movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Their early political development was influenced by individuals who had been part of or close to the Trotskyist movement in Australia during and after World War 2, and this helped them to understand and oppose the class-collaborationist politics of both Stalinism and social democracy.