There are many tributes to Comrade Peter Windeler from the International Socialist League and his union and activist friends
With great sadness and pride, I write Peter Windeler’s obituary. We send our condolences to Peter’s wife, son, grandchildren, his two sisters and brother.
By Martin Ralph – International Socialist League
It was shocking to receive the news that Peter died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours, 30 January. He was 70 years old and had been awaiting an ultrasound scan for his heart as some tests had picked up an irregular heartbeat. He was very fit and never complained of illness or tiredness.
A few hours before he died, at about 7.30 pm Saturday, we were texting about the next ISL meeting. In the afternoon, he had played lacrosse – a physically demanding team sport. He recently sent an article on Covid, “Covid – deadly profitable”, published on the litci.org/en website. Two days before that, he spoke on behalf of Stockport Trades Council at a “Stand Up To Racism” meeting dedicated to the holocaust and all people who had suffered genocide. There is a live video recording of the meeting, and Peter spoke very well.
In January, we had talked about the possibility of attending the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggle meeting to be held in Dijon in April – Stockport TUC delegated him.
Peter was very active and never tired of reading and studying Marxism, its history and theory, and he often read novels that dealt with struggle.
Peter was born in Stockport. As a student, he joined the WRP in London and moved back to work in Manchester. Later he was a founder member of the ISL.
His first job was working in Ardwick, Manchester, at the Avon Moseley Rubber factory, owned by the Moseley family. Many of those who had worked there for years had backs misshaped from years of toil. They worked in cellars winding by hand large machines which made the rubber compounds to make synthetic rubber. He used to say conditions in the factory Charles Dickens would have recognised. After that job, Peter worked in a bank before becoming a teacher many years later.
Peter was a stalwart of the ISL; he attended almost every branch meeting, he could write an article nearly every week for the Socialist Voice or the website. From 2018 he started travelling to IWL international meetings in Belgium and Spain as part of the ISL team.
Because of Covid, all the ISL comrades got to know him, as we started zoom meetings as soon as Covid began.
The struggle to build the IWL and rebuild the Fourth International was part of his life.
In the future, we will produce a special issue of Socialist Voice on his life and contribution to the ISL, the struggle for Marxism and the workers’ and oppressed struggle.
A few of the messages about Peter
We thank the International Workers League – Fourth International leaders and members and the contacts and sympathisers who knew Peter for wonderful messages of condolences from three continents. We have forwarded all messages to Peter’s wife, Sue and son.
Danny: “Oh, wow. That’s awful, just awful. I never met Peter in person (only on zoom), but he was a gent and a bit of a quiet powerhouse. Sad, sad news. Rest in power.”
Margarido: “I just can’t believe it. I met Peter, and he was just what Danny said and more. I don’t know what to say. We lost one of us. My condolences to his family.”
Ashley: “Peter was a great socialist and revolutionary, we would often talk during the car journey to meetings, events etc., not just about politics, but also history and personal interests in our private lives. I always greatly enjoyed our talks together; I will greatly miss Peter, a dedicated comrade and friend.”
John Pearson is a close contact, “I had known Peter since 1997 when we were founder members of Stockport Socialist Alliance. He was one of the most principled socialists and dependable and caring comrades I have known. I will miss him greatly.
Dawn Taylor, Secretary of Stockport Branch, National Education Union:
“Stockport has lost a great campaigner, and the voice of international social justice will be lesser without him.”
Alison Treacher, President of Stockport Trades Union Council
“He was a very knowledgeable comrade and knew so much about socialist history. His passing is a great loss to the movement.”
Belgium comrades: “It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of our comrade Peter. We send our condolences to his family, friends and comrades of the International Socialist League.
We remember him as an extremely gentle, caring and enthusiastic comrade. Peter was a discreet and generous comrade who spoke with equal passion about his work, political situation, and fishing trips in his native Scotland, which shaped his incredible accent.
He had come to Belgium in 2018 and 2019 during the North European meetings of the IWL, where we discussed the political situation with comrades from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Russia. Then comrades of the LCT met him again at the meeting in Spain on trade unions and the revolutionary party, where it was again an opportunity to exchange and benefit from his political experience and his practice of revolutionary internationalism.
Peter’s loss is even more difficult because it is sudden. He has gone without warning, leaving us orphaned of a valuable comrade who is already sorely missed.
Peter, you will live on in our memories and each of our struggles,
Peter Windeler, present!
Ligue Communiste des Travailleurs,
“I read the message from Sue Windeler about the death in his sleep of her husband Peter – initially I could make no sense of the words, but as they blurred into realisation my thoughts, condolences and sympathy reached out to Sue, their son and grandchildren and Peter’s siblings.
Peter was a quiet and sensitive, considerate person with a keen sense of humour, he was a private person and yet very public in his politics and his principles.
I think also of our loss, he was our comrade and our confidante. I can picture Peter now, in his smart suit and tie, a classy Trotskyist who would have been a match for Trotsky himself in his style.
Peter dedicated his adult political life to the fight for socialism. He was well-read in the writings of our historical teachers Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. Peter keenly studied class struggle history recognising its importance as a tool to be to understand, analyse and develop the tools to build a socialist programme for the world.
He was also an avid reader of contemporary literature and regularly developed serious analyses and critiques of contemporary bourgeois journalists and analysts. Peter selflessly shared his knowledge, ideas and thoughts in his discussions and writings. In his last article, he wrote about how Covid exposed the absolute degeneration of capitalism – it was well researched and thorough and Peter clearly exposed the contradictory nature of capitalism.
Peter jointly worked with Martin Ralph writing for the International Socialist League publication Socialist Voice and on reproducing the writings of Bill Hunter (who led the ISL from 1988-2015).
Lacrosse and fishing were two of Peters’ passions which helped him remain not just a very smart, committed and principled Trotskyist but a very fit Trotskyist too. We have yet to learn of the cause of Peter’s death but we can be certain that if there were such a thing as an afterlife he would be with all the great Trotskyists who have gone before, fighting for socialism and organising a Lacrosse match and a fishing trip.
Peter was well respected and admired in the international (International Workers League FI) and will be deeply missed by us all. The ISL knows we have suffered a great loss – but Peter will always be here – he contributed to building our consciousness’ in the knowledge that we are building a better world and better future.
Peter lives on – socialism always.”