Comrade John Percy

Tireless Socialist And Friend of India’s Revolutionary Left

Comrade John Percy, leading socialist organizer in Australia, passed away on August 19th, 2015 in Sydney after a severe stroke. His passing is a great loss to the Australian socialist movement and to the international revolutionary Left movement, for whom Comrade John Percy was a firm friend.

John along with his brother Jim had been radicalized during the student movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, being influenced by the Trotsyist movement. Ever since then they had both striven to build a revolutionary mass party with firm internationalist foundations. To remember John’s life is to turn the pages of Australia’s revolutionary Left movement.

John and Jim Percy had by the 1970s built a youth organization called Resistance (also called Socialist Youth Alliance for some time) and then the Socialist Workers League, which later became the Socialist Workers Party and then finally the Democratic Socialist Party and Democratic Socialist Perspective.

In an obituary in Red Flag, Allen Myers writes of him, “John himself led many different areas of party work, including being a branch organizer, editor, writer, national president, national secretary and public speaker. He was widely known both inside and outside the DSP as the partisan of a regular, attractive and party-building revolutionary press. Over the years, literally thousands of people met John selling a revolutionary paper on the streets of Melbourne or Glebe, at demonstrations or picket lines, wherever he could come into contact with people who might be thinking about politics.”

As National Secretary of the DSP in the 1990s, Comrade John visited India to attend the CPI(ML) Liberation’s Sixth Party Congress in Varanasi, October 1997 as a guest, and won great respect of all delegates with his warm smile, revolutionary optimism and great internationalist commitment. In John Percy and the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia the CPI(ML) and the revolutionary Left movement of India found a new friend.

He helped establish Links, an international journal where comrades from different Leninist streams across the world could exchange ideas. The DSP hosted a series of international conferences which allowed revolutionary Left activists from different countries and streams to interact and learn from each other in Australia.

The DSP subsequently went through many changes. In 2008, Comrade John Percy along with other comrades formed the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), which later merged with Socialist Alternative (SA). But the CPI(ML)’s ties with the radical Left movement of Australia have remained intact. Since 1990s several of our leading comrades including Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Sivaraman, Jayanta Rongpi, Srilata Swaminathan, Kavita Krishnan visited Australia to attend Asia-Pacific solidarity conferences and came back with great memories of the time spent with Comrade John Percy and his partner Comrade Eva.

Comrade John Percy we will continue to remember you in our struggles and dreams for our shared socialist future!

Lal Salaam!

Liberation Archive