Staying Red: why I remain a socialist
Sadly, Norman passed away on 9 December 2013. However, this site will stay on line indefinitely in his memory and as a source of inspiration to readers.
STAYING RED by Norman Harding
Norman Harding has written a humane and often humorous account of a lifetime struggling for principles and for socialism.
As a national serviceman in postwar Germany he found friendships with working-class Germans with whom he had much more in common than with the British officers.
He joined the Trotskyist ‘group’ in the Labour Party in the early 1950s. As a trade unionist in the Leeds clothing industry he fought for wages, conditions, principles and the right to enjoy the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra concerts. As a tenants’ leader he campaigned for improved conditions and the demolition of slums.
In the 1970s and 1980s, as a full-time worker for the Socialist Labour League, later the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), Norman’s work was mostly behind the scenes. But party members recall that, in a regime known for its harshness and ‘discipline’, Norman always treated them fairly and had a kind word – even after sleepless days and nights printing or dispatching the party’s publications.
Norman explains his evolution as a Trotskyist, standing up for socialism against the betrayals of Stalinism.
These experiences meant that in 1985 he had no hesitation in challenging corruption and abuse in the heart of the party to which he had given the best years of his life.
His account is the only one written by a participant in the explosion that expelled party leader Gerry Healy from the WRP in 1985. What little there is on the internet and elsewhere is inaccurate and fails to grasp both what the party achieved and how its members dealt with the corruption.
Today Norman Harding is again participating in the tenants’ movement in Yorkshire, and his vision of a socialist society shines through everything he says and does.
July 2017 Grenfell Tower Comment from Norman’s long-term comrade Cliff Slaughter on the Grenfell Tower disaster – a cause that Norman would definitely have engaged with had he had the chance.
Treasured comments from readers of Staying Red
The printed edition of this book, published in 2005 by Index Books, may be ordered via http://www.indexbooks.co.uk or via Amazon.
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