Revolutionary thinker Mick Brooks passed away in UK

 Mick Brooks spend entire adult life in development and exposition of Marxist ideas 


We are producing two obituaries on the death of revolutionary Marxist thinker Mick Brooks 1948-2021who died in UK. one is written by his partner and longtime comrade Barbara Humphries and another written by longtime comrade Heiko Khoo. 

 He became another prominent victim of coronavirus. His death is a big loss of the left movement. our deepest condolences to the family and comrades of Mick Brooks, (editorial board of www.insight247.news) 

Barbara Humphries

Mick Brooks who was the Political Secretary of the Labour Representation Committee has died from complications caused by COVID-19. He was admitted to West Middlesex hospital on Boxing Day where medical staff tried for over a week to save his life.

Mick was born in Eastleigh, Hampshire, one of five children. His father was a French polisher and mother a housewife. He went to the local grammar school and then on to Chelmsford Polytechnic where he studied law. However, he soon discovered that his real passion was politics. Like many young people at the time he was politicised by the war in Vietnam and went on many anti-war demonstrations. He joined the Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) as a teenager. He moved to Acton in the late 1960s.

Mick motivated many people to get involved in political activity. He always regarded himself as a Marxist. He was able to explain in simple terms the importance of Marxist economics and how the capitalist system works. He wrote regularly for socialist publications, including Labour Briefing.  Days before he was admitted to hospital he was planning to write an article on the government’s Brexit deal.  In 2012 he wrote a book on the causes of capitalist crises. He had a sharp sense of humour which endeared him to many comrades.

Mick was also consistently active throughout his life in the labour movement. He was secretary of the Ealing Anti-Poll Tax Federation in the 1990s. More recently he was chair of the West London UNITE community branch and active in the Ealing Save our NHS Campaign, attending street stalls, demos and lobbies on a regular basis. He was the political education officer for the Ealing Southall constituency. Last year he organised a public meeting to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Blair Peach.

I have known Mick for over 40 years. We first met when he was speaking at a meeting of Acton LPYS in 1971 on child poverty. I was then a student at Sussex home for the holidays. We got to know each other when I moved back to west London. He was my partner and soul-mate in every sense of the words. He supported and inspired me and many others and indeed made us what we are.

Farewell comrade Mick Brooks 1948-2021

Mick Brooks died at 2am this morning. After suffering from respiratory problems, a doctor examined him at home on 26 December and recommended that he be sent to the hospital. In hospital he tested positive for COVID-19, but his body proved unable to fight it off. My deepest condolences go to his partner Barbara Humphries and to his family.

Mick Brooks was a revolutionary whose whole adult life was dedicated to the development and exposition of Marxist ideas. He was active in the Militant Tendency, the International Marxist Tendency and in the Labour Party. Over the last eight years, we worked together running the Karl Marx walking tour.

I first met Mick around 1983 at the offices of the Militant newspaper in Mentmore Terrace, near Bethnal Green in London. I believe he was in charge of the bookshop at the time. To the casual observer Mick appeared to be aloof rather than inviting, and he was more than a little insecure when circumstance compelled him to engage in small talk. But this same Mick was transformed when he rose to speak at meetings, where his character, energy and strength resonated around the room. His voice pierced the air beginning with a firmly stated “comrades”. He would speak with clarity, authority and certainty, drawing on classical references from Marxist theory and weaving this into a clear and coherent analysis of the contemporary world.

Unlike many comrades in such meetings, Mick would not speak for the sake of speaking, but always to provide some unique view, or nuanced analysis of events. When Mick rose the emphasis in the discussion often changed course. His didactic skills in Marxism were used to explain the most complex theories in the most simple language possible, without ever compromising on precision.

Thus, Mick’s book “Capitalist Crisis: Theory and Practice” was designed to address the difficulties that readers have with reading something like Marx’s Capital. Indeed, when Capital was about to go to press, Engels wrote to Marx complaining about the long chapters, about ideas not being fully explained or reinforced before moving to a new concept, which made reading Capital into a struggle. No such difficulties exist for the reader of Mick’s book.

During bitter internal conflicts in the Militant Tendency and later in the International Marxist Tendency, Mick naturally inclined against bureaucratic and personal intrigues. He always remained on the high ground of theoretical analysis. And when these Marxist political groups adopted views that he found to be in contradiction to his interpretation of basic Marxist theory and practice, he would express exasperation.

He soldiered on inside the Labour Party’s left-wing faction the Labour Representation Committee, and what became its official magazine, Labour Briefing. For many years this relatively tiny organisation, composed mainly of older comrades, was directly linked to the Jeremy Corbyn/John McDonnell faction. Despite all the ups and downs of the Corbyn wave and its eventual defeat, Mick continued to doggedly pursue work in the LRC and Labour Briefing.

Mick’s dedication, motivation and energy despite innumerable setbacks is unique to those with an eye and sense for the broad sweep of historical processes. Drawing on the insights available through Marxist research, writing, and practical intervention in struggle, Mick stood as if on a mountain top, observing the motion of the masses with an almost other-worldly objectivity.

In April 2012, Mick led our very first Karl Marx walking tour with 4 students in attendance. They were delighted with the tour. Since then, we ran tours at least once a week, meeting many thousands of people from every corner of the world. Mick’s special didactic skills helped people at all levels of knowledge to grasp in a couple of hours what it might otherwise take weeks or months to learn. He drew on his entire life’s experience to furnish his exposition with the same precision and didactic clarity that marked his character and work.

It was always a pleasure to see Mick walking around Soho followed by a crowd. Often, in the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery, when he summarised the life and ideas of Marx, a cheeky sparkle flashed in his eye, as he drew Marx’s life story to an end. The story of Marx’s death was always followed by an affirmation of the vitality of his ideas.

A great deal of Mick Brook’s written work was published in pamphlets and documents that are no longer in print or circulation. Over the next months, I hope we can make much of his work available online.

                                        Heiko Khoo


1 comment:

  1. Mick was a dedicated marxista, Aye met him in nineties with our leftest friends in Uk .

    ReplyDelete

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