Tony Southall

Saturday 15 June 2002, by Gordon Morgan, Terry Conway

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Tony Southall, a life-long socialist and peace campaigner, has died in Glasgow on 27th May 2002, aged 59.

At the age of 16, in 1959, Tony became involved with the Young Socialists, and with CND and the Aldermarston ’ban the bomb’ marches. He helped found Croydon Youth CND, and was added to the famous ’Committee of 100’, following the arrest of 36 members including Bertrand Russell. In 1961/62 he became acting Secretary of the Committee of 100.

Tony was thus involved in the events that led to a huge mushrooming of the anti-nuclear movement in Britain, and the fight against nuclear weapons remained close to his heart all his life.

In 1962, whilst still a student at Cambridge, Tony got involved with a Trotskyist group called The Week. This group, based in the East Midlands town of Nottingham, was later to become the International Marxist Group, British section of the Fourth International.

Tony’s association with the Fourth International was to last for 40 years. His close friendship with Charlie van Gelderen, who was present at the founding conference of the Fourth International and who died last year, also began at this time.

In the mid ’60s Tony was a founder member of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, and a key organiser of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Tariq Ali, when he heard of Tony’s death, remembered the tremendous efficiency with which he made sure Tariq got to meetings or demonstrations whilst he was staying with him in Glasgow.

In the early ’70s Tony and his family went to teach in Africa. He continued to work on the Africa Commission of the Fourth International, contributing to the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.

On returning to Glasgow, Tony resumed his work with CND and the Labour Party. He founded Scottish Labour CND, and through tireless work ensured that the Scottish Labour Party remained committed to nuclear disarmament.

Despite developing MS and being confined to a wheelchair, he became Joint Secretary of Scottish CND, and his Glenapp Street house became a centre for CND and community activity. He continued to participate in the direct action demonstrations at Faslane nuclear base.

Eventually Tony left the Labour Party and a few years ago joined the Scottish Socialist Party.

Tony remained politically involved to the end. He insisted on getting a Palestinian flag for his hospital bed. He followed every political development and was keen to discuss with his many visitors. His death is a great loss to the Socialist movement in Scotland and internationally, and personally to his many friends and comrades.