John Gollan

Extracts from Speech at the Funeral of R. Palme Dutt

December 28, 1974

Source: Labour Monthly, Vol. 57, No. 2, February 1975.
Publisher: Unity Publishers Ltd
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Raji Palme Dutt’s contribution to the founding and development of our Party was great indeed. A foundation member, he was the youngest member of our Executive Committee for many years, joining at first in 1923 and continuing in it for 42 years. In 1985 when, along with his close comrades Peter Kerrigan and John Ross Campbell, he left the EC to make way for younger comrades, we said at our national congress in that year: ‘The tremendous debt our Party owes to these comrades who were amongst the small band who laid the foundations of our Party is impossible to exaggerate.’

But even before this, he was beginning to make his mark in British political affairs, and in giving leadership to the movement. For it was in 1921 that he founded Labour Monthly. This journal, with its world-wide reputation, and particularly his brilliant ‘Notes of the Month’, influenced the British labour movement for over half a century, From the beginning, he was the journal’s editor—an editorship which lasted 53 years.

It was a prodigious task, yet at the same time he did many other things. He was head of our International Department and attended many international congresses. He was a lifelong staunch friend of the Soviet Union.

It is a measure of the scope of his contribution to the British and international working class movement that It was for yet another area of activity that he was possibly more widely known here and throughout the world. His books and writings on fascism, imperialism and colonialism are not only an outstanding contribution to the science of Marxism-Leninism: they alerted, inspired and guided countless thousands of working people in Britain and abroad.

The close alliance of the socialist world forces, the national liberation movement and the working class of the capitalist countries is the triple force which is determining the course of human history, By his work on the national liberation movement and the role it could play, Raji made a signal contribution to the development of that alliance.

The rapidity with which the world is being transformed to socialism is the greatest tribute he could have. To speed that process is the best way for us to express our appreciation and regard for him.

His last years were a great burden to him in pain and sickness. But he lived them out in characteristic courage and devotion to his work.