Tony Benn, our President and constant source of encouragement has died. We will miss him terribly but will continue his fight for world peace and social justice. Tony was following events in Greece and there were plans for him to go to Greece this spring to show a bio-pic film in Athens with all proceeds going to the Social Solidarity funds.
Tony Benn was a tireless campaigner for social justice and world peace. He leaves behind a legacy of fighting for an equal society and opposition to endless war and militarism. His anti-imperialism also strongly underpinned his commitment to peace and his strong support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In his later years he became president of the Stop The War coalition, strongly opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He actively campaigned against the austerity policies imposed on the people of Britain and Europe. He was President of the Coalition of Resistance and in February 2012 issued an appeal for solidarity with the people resisting ‘austerity’ in Greece and became President of the Greece Solidarity Campaign (GSC). He was a consistent opponent of racism and fascism, more recently voicing his concerns about the rise of the nazi Golden Dawn in Greece.
Last year Tony Benn sent the following message to the Congress of the main anti-austerity party SYRIZA :
“From Tony Benn, former UK Labour M.P., government minister, and President of the Greece Solidarity Campaign: “I had hoped to be with you at your historic Congress this week. Unfortunately, health problems have meant that I have to stay at home. ~ I send solidarity greetings as President of the Greece Solidarity Campaign and as representative of socialists in Britain who see Syriza as a beacon of hope for those fighting austerity across Europe. ~ We were delighted to welcome your President, Alexis Tsipras, earlier this year, when he gave two important speeches in London, where he also met with a number of labour movement figures – including Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of our Trades Union Congress. ~ We would be very happy to welcome Alexis and other Syriza activists back to London very soon. ~ My best wishes to you all. If we stand together in these most difficult times, we can win through to build a better world for our children.”