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Linda & Peter Taaffe


Ronnie Sookhdeo 1946–2014

(October 2014)

From The Socialist, No. 831, 29 October 2014.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

For almost 40 years, Ronnie Sookhdeo was a comrade in Militant and then the Socialist Party. Unfortunately, ill health in recent years prevented him from being active. However, he always gave generously to the Socialist Party and kept abreast of developments through our paper.

He emigrated from what became Guyana with his family as a young boy and lived in Islington. Later, he married Viv and they moved to the same street as us. Our families became good friends, starting with our children playing together. We soon realised we had common political ideas. His father had been a trade union organiser involved with Cheddi Jagan and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).


After a few discussions he quickly joined Militant. He was particularly eager to participate in our anti-racist and anti-fascist work. He played a leading role in the formation of the PNP Youth in Britain alongside others and later of Panther UK. This group organised the biggest indoor meeting of black and Asian youth in Britain, addressed by Bobby Seale, the well-known US Black Panther leader.

He was also a talented scientist, having been a chemistry lecturer at Kingsway College for many years, where he was also an active trade unionist. He read widely and avidly on politics, science and history, particularly black and Asian history; he also delved into the history of Ancient Greece and the Far East and was always keen to discuss what he had read. He also taught himself Russian.

He had a very sunny disposition and his infectious good humour touched many people. However, this did not prevent him from leaving the Labour Party in disgust when socialists were expelled. He could not tolerate the right-wing deserters of socialist principles.

He will be sadly missed, and our heartfelt sympathy goes to Viv, his wife, his five children, many grandchildren and all his family.

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Last updated: 9 August 2016