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Issue # 1400      25 February 2009

“Kindness”, “patience” and “socialism”:
Peter Symon remembered

Newspaper editors rarely allow the words “kindness”, “patience” and “socialism” to coexist in one sentence. However, you’ll need to indulge us, as we write to you in remembrance of the life and times of our Comrade, and former Chippendale-Darlington Community for Peace Group member, Peter Symon.

Prior to its hasty formation in the weeks before the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, few of the founding members of our peace group (The Chippendale-Darlington Community for Peace), had ever heard of – let alone met – Peter. However, his energy quickly inspired the rest of us, young and old, strengthening us with the wealth of his decades of experience in the peace and labour movements. Peter consistently encouraged us to mobilise hundreds of South Sydney locals in the cause of peace, and was central to our hosting several successful local public meetings. These meetings made our group a focal point for the hundreds of South Sydney locals keen to sabotage the bloodthirsty acts of John Howard, Tony Blair, and George Bush against the people of Iraq.

It is no coincidence that our group – and its thousands of equivalents across the world – well outlived the respective political careers of this bloodstained trio. Peter’s contribution was instrumental in ensuring the longevity of our community group. Despite the occasional political disagreements, Peter’s loyalty and solidarity assisted greatly in maintaining cohesion between us and epitomised the spirit of collectivism that is evidence of decades of commitment to creating progressive social change.

No doubt his endless patience and his inclination to thorough, open-minded intellectual inquiry sustained him at such times. It certainly sustained us collectively on more than one occasion, especially as Peter continued his involvement in our local peace group through the uneasy cleavages that wracked the broader Australian peace movement. This vision for activist collaboration was not only impressive but commanded respect from all peace group members, especially as it was maintained in the face of unfortunate displays of sectarianism.

It is a testament to Peter’s humanity and kind spirit that such a politically-diverse group of comrades as ourselves can proudly thank him – and the political tradition from which he came, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) – for his countless hours of service to our group and our collective cause. That this contribution was often made in times of poor health, only heightens its significance.

Peter’s death is a blow to the class for which he stood (and tirelessly fought) – the global working class – and we proudly stand together with the CPA, and his bereaved loved ones, including his widowed wife, Natasha, in deference to the distinguished contribution he made to our common cause – a world without war, hatred and privilege: in other words a world won to socialism, and therefore to the rule of working men and women.

In peace and solidarity.

Peter’s Comrades from the Chippendale-Darlington Community For Peace Group.    

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