“He taught us how to be socialists” – Tony Benn 1925-2014

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Photo: Chris Boland
Photo: Chris Boland

Maggie has paid tribute to the former Labour minister and lifelong socialist campaigner Tony Benn, who died this morning:

“Tony Benn was a truly great man, and a hero for me as he was for so many others.

“He taught us how to be socialists; he was a ferocious fighter when necessary, but also full of humour, openness, patience, and love. He trusted working people above elites, always – the mark of a true democrat.

“Instead of being tamed by his background or ministerial experience, he learned how the British state is run for vested interests. He struck a blow against the hereditary principle and demanded radical democratisation.

“He spoke up against the UK’s involvement in illegal overseas wars and was a great supporter of workers controlling their own workplaces through cooperatives.

“Tony Benn’s greatest legacy is the millions he inspired, who will continue his life’s struggle against elites, against war and for a more equal world.

“It has been a terribly sad week, in which we have lost Ailsa McKay and Bob Crow as well as Tony. But each of these great campaigners would be quick to remind us that there is greatness in us all. As another hero, American activist and songwriter Joe Hill said: Don’t mourn, organise.”