Dave Hallsworth, who has died aged 78 of bone cancer, was a working-class activist who joined the Communist Party while on active service in Korea, but resigned in 1956 after the suppression of the Hungarian uprising. He finally found a political home within the small Revolutionary Communist party.
Born in Manchester, he left school at 14 and joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor. He was discharged after being jailed for a month for trying to organise sailors on a warship. Years of trade union work followed and in 1981 Dave led a long and bitter strike against redundancy at the engineering company of Laurence, Scott and Electromotors, in Openshaw, Manchester, where he worked. The strike featured in Ken Loach’s banned Channel 4 documentary, Questions of Leadership (1983).
Dave was secretary of the Tameside TUC Trades Council at a time when the Trades Council Movement was near its peak, TTC supported many of the most pressing issues of the day and unlike many labour movement organizations, it supported those who were at the time fighting for the reunification of Ireland, calling a conference to discuss the Northern Ireland troubles. As a result, the TUC sent its future general secretary John Monks to disband the council. Tameside was not the only Trades Council to receive a visit from the then TUC’s Witch Finder General Monks, as my own Trades Council also received a visit, although unlike Tameside we did not end up being disbanded. In 1983, Hallsworth stood as an Independent candidate for Ashton-under-Lyne in the general election, he received appro 400 votes.
Dave Hallsworth was active politically right up to his death, and contributed often to the online journal Spiked, which the remnants of the Revolutionary Communist Party set up after the demise of their party. This element seem to have moved more to the right with every donation they receive from corporate elements, indeed one of their number Mick Hume now has a column in the London Times, which in itself is no problem, but the fact that at times he writes right wing drivel is a sad indictment of many of those who move through the sects.
However not being an anorak of the UK left perhaps I am being unfair, as Dave Hallsworth in the days when I new him was solid. On the morning after PIRA volunteer Bobby Sands died, I was working for the south east region of the TUC out of the TUC headquarters Congress House; and it lifted my spirits no end when comrades from Dave’s RCP came rushing through the door demanding the TUC act in support of Bobby’s young comrades who were continuing their hunger strikes for political status. In doing this they were showing solidarity when it was desperately needed and I will always be grateful to the RCP for that.
He is survived by Elsie, his fellow activist and wife of more than 50 years, and their sons, Andrew and Duncan.
A longer assessment Of Dave Hallsworth can be found here.