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Issue #1530      7 December 2011


Con Iliopoulos

A true working class battler

After a long battle with cancer the well known stalwart working class fighter Con Iliopoulos passed away in Sydney. Throughout his life Con struggled with unbending devotion for a world without exploitation of man by man, for a better society for the working people, for freedom and justice.

Con was born in Greece in 1941 into a large working class family and after serving his compulsory term in the Greek armed forces, he worked for a few years as a professional painter. He lived through the extremely difficult years that followed the end of the civil war and the defeat of the revolutionary movement and acquired a working class conscience and militancy, qualities that were going to shape his whole life and never abandon him.

In the middle 1960s he migrated to Australia where he initially lived in Brisbane for a while and then moved to Sydney.

Con had a restless and inquisitive mind. As soon as he settled in Australia he joined the progressive Greek organisations, first the Palamas club in Brisbane, and later the Atlas League in Sydney and the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW. He was one of the original members of the Lambrakis Youth in Australia. He took up employment on the Sydney waterfront and became an active member of the Waterside Workers Federation. His colleagues on the waterfront still remember him as a hard working man, always prepared to assist the new members who had no experience of the demanding waterfront work, as a militant worker who was always at the forefront of all strike actions and other union struggles.

Finally he joined the Communist Party of Australia and was a member of the Beloyiannis Branch of the Party for many years. From the ranks of the Party and the other progressive mass organisations, Con worked tirelessly for the cause of the working class with rare steadfastness and belief in the justice of the cause he was serving.

Con Iliopoulos was a man of not so many words. He preferred to be meaningfully active. He didn’t mince his words either. He was always straightforward, simple, unambiguous and honest. He spoke his mind under any circumstances, he was never afraid to express an opinion, however displeasing it might be to the ears of those he spoke to. He was sometimes abrupt and sounded hard to those who didn’t know him well. All his friends however admired his honesty, his truthfulness and sincerity. He was a difficult person to argue with. He always defended his point of view vigorously and never gave up an inch to any one and never tailed behind any one.

In all the struggles the Party and the progressive movement conducted all these years Con was an exemplary worker inspiring with his tireless activity and straightforwardness many younger comrades and participants to the campaigns. He will certainly be missed by family, friends and all his comrades.

Con is survived by his caring wife Georgia, two lively daughters Joanna and Pauline as well as two grand children. To his family the Beloyiannis Branch of the Party extends sincere condolences.

A large number of relatives, friends and comrades paid their last respects and farewelled Con at the Rookwood Crematorium on Thursday December 1. A few days earlier at a fund raising function of the Beloyiannis Branch a number of comrades and friends contributed, in memory of Con, to the Party Branch: Total $620.  

Next article – Weakened Murray Darling Plan rejected by everyone

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