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Monday 14 April 2014

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Pat James, 1930-2014: Tony Benn's agent who became a TUSC supporter

Pat James

Pat James

Today sees the funeral of lifelong Bristol socialist Pat James, who sadly passed away on March 16th at the age of 83.

Pat was one of nine children and was born in the working class community of Easton, Bristol. Her hatred of the capitalist system developed at an early age. She joined the Co-operative youth club which helped form her socialist ideas.

She became very active in the Labour Party and was a staunch supporter of the Labour Party Young Socialists. She was a formidable organiser and at one point became Tony Benn's election agent during the period when he was an MP for Bristol South East.

After more than 30 years as a member of the Labour Party, however, she concluded that it was no longer a party that could represent working class people and looked for an alternative.

She continued to support the idea of a new workers' party and when the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was formed she was inspired that a real alternative could be built.

Even with the blow of Bob Crow's death, which she learnt of from her hospital bed, she did not give up hope - she said loudly to the rest of the ward "what we need to do now is to build TUSC!"

The obituary notice in the Bristol Evening Post asked for no flowers but for those who wish to mark their appreciation of Pat's inspirational life to make a donation to TUSC (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/donate ).