Colin Barker obituary

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Colin Barker obituary

In 1965 a labour sociologist got here in Manchester, fresh from Oxford University, to carry out an ethnography of the lives of the generally female employees in an engineering factory. Convivial and plain, and an accomplished cook too, Colin Barker was “embraced” by the females in the middle of substantial amusement. When he left, among them composed him a letter stating they “missed him and his little dumplings”. He kept it pinned on his wall for several years.

My pal Colin, who has actually passed away aged 79, was a scholastic, Marxist intellectual and activist. A thinker who enjoyed questioning gotten orthodoxies, he released a series of books on social motion theory and popular democratic uprisings, consisting of Revolutionary Rehearsals (1987) and Celebration of the Oppressed: Uniformity, Reform and Transformation in Poland, 1980-81(1995). He likewise established, with Mike Tyldesley, the Alternative Futures and Popular Protest conference at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in 1995; it is now in its 24 th year.

Born in Ilford, Essex (now in Redbridge, east London), to Edith (nee Veitch), a homemaker, and her partner, Fred Barker, a glass designer, Colin was informed at Bancroft’s independent school, Woodford Green, thanks to a regional authority scholarship. At Pembroke College, Oxford, he studied English, and a profession in theatre beckoned, however advocacy in CND and the International Socialists (IS) sustained his interest in social sciences: a postgraduate diploma in public and social administration at Oxford and an MA in sociology at Manchester University followed. His very first lecturing position was at Manchester University (1965-67), then Manchester College of Commerce (now MMU), where he stayed till retiring in 2002.

In the 1960 s and 70 s Colin’s syndicalist-tinged socialism and generous and joky character, constantly motivating uniformity and resistance, brought him into close relationship with “militant minorities” throughout a series of shopfloor battles– consisting of amongst building and engineering employees in London and Manchester. A world-shaking year for Colin was 1968, not just for the labour and black power motions, however due to the fact that it was then that he satisfied Ewa Widowson, a physicist, instructor and jeweller, at an IS conference. 2 years later on they were wed.

Colin’s socialist advocacy likewise led him and Ewa to support the Anti-Nazi League and the Solidarność (Solidarity) uprising of 1980-81 in Poland.

In 1997 he administered as good-hearted godfather at the birth of the journal Historical Materialism, motivating, encouraging and contributing an essay for the very first problem. His last years were committed to constructing the organisation rs21— advanced socialism in the 21 st century: composing for its site, arranging and speaking at occasions.

With his eager intelligence and evergreen interest in the concepts of fellow activists and scholars, along with his infectiously amusing and warm character, he motivated lots of dedicated buddies and pals around the globe, including myself.

He is endured by Ewa, their children, Hannah and Nancy, and his brother or sisters, Linda and Martin.