Alan Woodward (1939-2012)
Published in Socialist Worker 30 October 2012.
Alan Woodward was a stalwart member of the Socialist Workers Party and its predecessor organisations for about 40 years.
He first made contact with Tony Cliff when he was training to be a teacher.
He moved to Tottenham in 1964, and was central to building the Tottenham branch of the International Socialists (IS).
In 1967, when Haringey’s Labour council increased rents for council tenants, Alan was the driving force of a campaign that led to the setting up of tenants’ associations in the borough.
He spent some years working in Enfield. He moved to Coventry and became a trade union studies tutor, then returned to Tottenham in the 1980s.
In 1987 Alan had cancer, but made a remarkable recovery. In the early 1990s he was involved in confrontations with BNP Nazis at Brick Lane.
Alan always prided himself as being someone who did not accept the party orthodoxy, but around ten years ago his differences became much sharper.
He left the SWP, rejecting the whole Leninist tradition, though he spoke positively of the IS in the 1960s. He now called himself a libertarian socialist. He wrote extensively, in particular about working class history.
He was active in Haringey trades union council and in 2009, just before his 70th birthday, he joined the occupation at the Enfield Visteon factory and spent a week sleeping on the floor.
Our deepest sympathy to Alan’s two sons, and to all his family and friends.