Jim Kelly, chair of London & Eastern Region, repor...

Jim Kelly, chair of London & Eastern Region, reports and reflects from Bob Crow’s funeral

25 March 2014

Unite members attended Bob Crow's funeral in East London yesterday to pay our union's respects to a great working class fighter. 

Bob was a man of vision and principle. His whole life was dedicated to the working class and the labour movement. 

Bob was a product of the East End, an East End of the Matchgirls and the Great 1889 Docks Strike. As well as the heroic struggles against fascism that culminated in the Battle of Cable Street in 1936. These two struggles still resonate and impact on the politics of the East End. 

In recent times the East End was the centre of the fight against fascism in the 1970s at Brick Lane and the struggle against Murdoch at Wapping in the mid 1980s. Nearly all of these events occurred within a few miles of Bob’s birthplace in Shadwell. Bob was, I am sure, a major player in these last two events. They can’t have failed to impact on his politics. 

Bob stands with the giants of these working class struggles, like Tom Mann and Jack Dash. He was an anti-fascist and an internationalist. He was an uncompromising opponent of injustice and a principled fighter against capitalist war and oppression. 

Since 2010 he was a leading figure in the fight against austerity, exposing the lies of the Con-Dem coalition while standing at the front line of the struggle, most recently during the RMT/TSSA strike against booking office closures in February. 

The more the right wing press attacked him the more the London public admired him. Forget the hollow praise of Farrage and Johnson, Bob will be missed most by his family, his union, our movement but also by millions of working men and women who instinctively saw him as one of their own. 

Bob has passed away, but his struggle continues. Unite will stand side by side with our comrades in the RMT to ensure our movement defeats this coalition and builds the struggle for a just society and a socialist republic.

Jim Kelly

Regional chair