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Remembering John Moore – communist, anti-fascist and friend

13/12/1928 – 16/03/2021

JOHN MOORE passed away on Tuesday March 16 aged 92. John was a communist all his life and came from a family steeped in communist tradition. 

His father worked at Lockheed, Leamington, where he was a shop steward and stood as a communist candidate in Leamington just after World War II, very nearly winning the seat. 

John studied at Oxford University at the same time as Rupert Murdoch and Shirley Brittain (Williams). Interestingly, he said Murdoch was towards the left in those days! 

John joined the Communist Party in the 1940s and held various positions, including chair of the Midland district committee of the CPGB in ’70s and part of ’80s. 

The CPGB went through political difficulties in the 1980s and at that time John was chair of the city party committee and I recall being with him when we created the Communist Campaign Group and took the flame of communism into the Communist Party of Britain (CPB). 

He then became the first chair of the Coventry Branch of the CPB and until very recently was branch treasurer. 

John was a prolific reader and writer and he wrote many book reviews for the Morning Star. 

His reviews, unlike some, were readable, and if someone wanted to be a successful reviewer they could do no better than read one of John’s reviews. 

John read the Morning Star and its predecessor the Daily Worker all his life and until very recently was a frequent contributor to its letters page.  

John taught in further education in West Bromwich and Coventry and also taught at Bablake and Whitley Abbey schools in Coventry. 

My first recollection of John was meeting him on a NATFHE picket line when I was 18. On retiring from schools, John became education officer for the West Mercia Co-op.

John will be remembered for many achievements, but overwhelmingly for being a true internationalist. 

He once told me that as a boy he remembered with admiration those brave men and women who came back from Spain, having fought to save the world from the barbarism of fascism. 

He had a deep and long-time involvement with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and was active in Coventry Against Racism. 

During the battles against the National Front and British National Party, John could always be found at demonstrations and delivering leaflets.  

It was perhaps in his long life of international activity at a local level that John was best known. 

In 2009 John was presented the Good Citizen Award by the mayor of Coventry. The media at the time stated: “John Moore has given long, consistent and significant voluntary service in the development of Coventry’s image in overseas relations.

“He has been a member of the Coventry Association of International Friends (CAIF) for nearly 25 years, being secretary for many years, organising two-way links and visits with some of Coventry’s twinned cities, including Dresden (of particular note in this year the 50th anniversary of the twinning of these two cities) Volgograd and Kiel, and friendship cities Meschede and Vannes.

“He works constantly to uphold the city’s reputation as a centre for peace and reconciliation throughout the world, through his untiring, patient and calm encouragement of everyone he meets. 

“He is also a dedicated campaigner in community relations involving Coventry’s ethnic groups.

“John’s service to the city has been outstanding over a long and sustained period and he fully deserves to be called a Good Citizen of Coventry.”

He is, as far as I know, the only communist to have received such an award.

John as well as being a comrade was a friend. Despite his obvious wisdom and intellect he was a modest man, always more interested in others rather than in himself. 

He had friends across the political spectrum. He was a firm believer and follower of arts and culture. 

He regularly attended concerts and performances. Here, too, his links were international. 

I will deeply miss John, he was a friend who helped me more than once and was there when I needed to talk. 

His friendship stretched to my partner Denise and to many of the newer members in the Coventry CP branch.

Like many, I will miss him.

TONY CONWAY

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