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Tributes to Neil Faulkner

Remembering Neil ; 22 January 1958 – 4 February 2022

Sunday 13 February 2022, by siawi3

Source: https://anticapitalistresistance.org/neil-faulkner/

Neil Faulkner

Friday 4 February 2022,

by Anti*Capitalist Resistance

Neil Faulkner, a well-known Marxist historian, archaeologist and leader of Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR), has died in London at the age of 64. Neil had been suffering from a very aggressive form of blood lymphoma for seven months. During most of that time, Neil remained optimistic and kept up his incredible work rate.

Neil was the author of nearly 20 books, including the ambitious Radical History of the World that has just been translated into Chinese. He was the author of books on historical topics as varied as Lawrence of Arabia and the first great Jewish revolt against Rome, as well as contemporary political issues like Creeping Fascism and System Crash. He was also the editor of Military History Matters magazine.

All Neil’s work was aimed at transmitting the heritage of Marxism, and its relevance to contemporary struggle, especially to young people. Since the merger of Mutiny and Socialist Resistance to form the ACR, he had played a leading role in the organisation, both on its steering committee and on the editorial board of its very successful website.

Neil’s death is an irreparable loss for the ACR, for his partner Lucy and the rest of his family, and for his many friends and collaborators, both in the socialist movement and in the archaeological community. During his illness, he felt that he had never been so productive. All the more tragic that he should have died at what is today a very early age and when his future work would have been immensely valuable.

Anti-Capitalist Resistance will be publishing details of commemorative events and more detailed tributes. We send our solidarity to his family, and assure all his comrades, inside and outside the ACR, that we will continue his struggle, and like him never give up.

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Source: https://leftunity.org/tribute-to-neil-faulkner/

Tribute to Neil Faulkner

samedi 5 février 2022,

by Left Unity

Left Unity is very sad and shocked to hear of the death of Neil Faulkner. We worked with Neil on a series of campaigns against Brexit and the rise of the far right. He was one of the main speakers at the No Pasaran conference that we organised in 2019. A new edition of Neil’s ‘Creeping Fascism’ that he wrote with Samir Dathi, Seema Syeda and Phil Hearse was especially prepared for the conference. He was in the vanguard of those recognising the dangers of the rise of the far right throughout the world.

Neil was a member of Left Unity for a period though he was primarily interested in developing a revolutionary Marxist organisation and left to found and lead the Anti-Capitalist Resistance. We continued our work with Neil and with the ACR via the Eco-Socialist Alliance. He was also a member of the editorial board of Transform the theoretical journal linked to the European Left.

He cut his political teeth in the Socialist Workers Party which he joined in 1980 and was a member for nearly 30 years. He left with others when he helped to form the Counterfire grouping in 2010. He retained an affinity for Tony Cliff’s International Socialist political tradition. He always felt that the IS period and the original Socialist Review group of the 1950s and early 1960s was the political organisation that he most admired and thought most effective and creative. He often said that he wished to recreate the spirit of that organisation.

Neil was a prolific writer and polymath having nearly twenty books published. At the time of his death he was working on a book of the writings of Tom Wintringham. Like Wintringham, Neil was also a military historian and Neil was interested in Wintringham’s ideas about a military strategy for the working class. He felt Wintringham a much overlooked figure on the left. Neil was also re-examining the work of Wilhelm Reich and Reich’s understanding of the mass psychology of fascism. He was always looking for ways to take his politics to a mass audience. He set up with Pluto books the new Left Book Club which modelled itself on Victor Gollancz’s LBC of the 1930s. One of his most inspiring initiatives were the Brick Lane Debates which he organised with Tansy Hoskins and others. The Brick Lane debates drew hundreds of young people into political discussion and were the model for those organised by the The World Transformed. Several of the comrades who worked with Neil on the Brick Lane Debates went on to help build Momentum and the new left inside the Labour Party.

Neil was also a skilled and talented archaeologist. This is a link to his obituary in Archaeology Worldwide [1].

Neil had a deep understanding of the need for revolutionary change. He had no time for routinism and the pace of the development of the movement was often a frustration to him but he saw hope in the Black Lives Matter, Kill the Bill and Extinction Rebellion campaigns and in mass struggles of workers around the world. Although he has left his books and his many on-line lectures for which we should be grateful, the tragedy of Neil’s death is that he still had so much more to contribute.

Left Unity sends our condolences and love to his family, friends and comrades.

Notes

[1] Avaliable on ESSF (article 6097), Resistance is fertile ! - Action network Global Agriculture mobilises against the G8 summit :
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article60970
and here :
https://www.archaeologyworldwide.com/post/neil-faulkner-obituary

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Source: https://www.archaeologyworldwide.com/post/neil-faulkner-obituary

Neil Faulkner : obituary

vendredi 4 février 2022,

par Archaeology Worldwide, Nadia DURRANI

Remembering Neil ; 22 January 1958 – 4 February 2022

It is with immense sadness that we write of the death of our friend, the co-founder and contributing editor of Archaeology Worldwide, Dr Neil Faulkner.

Neil was well-known as a fieldwork archaeologist, historian, magazine editor, author, lecturer, broadcaster, and political activist. A Hegelian Marxist, his politics infused everything he did.

One of the most proactive archaeologists of our time, Neil excavated widely and indefatigably – from his Great Arab Revolt Project in Jordan to pioneering the archaeology of the cinema. While his long-running research project at Sedgeford, UK, not only produced fascinating insights into the workings of the Anglo Saxon period but also introduced hundreds of people to archaeological excavation and research.

Neil was a talented and prolific writer, covering archaeology, history, and politics – typically combing all three in any given text. With a history degree from Cambridge University, Neil took a PhD in Roman archaeology from UCL. His many books include Empire and Jihad : The Anglo Arab Wars of 1870-1920 (2021), Lawrence of Arabia’s War (2016), and A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics (2012).

His unusual breadth of knowledge, and sharp political insights, meant Neil had a nose for a good and novel story. For Neil, a bit of broken bit of pottery from Ipswich or Istanbul was not simply a bit of broken pottery. Instead, he could use the humblest of sherds to open a window onto the entire social order behind the pot.

An expert speaker, Neil frequently appeared on TV and radio, lectured widely, and led numerous historical/archaeological tours. We have uploaded a series of films on the history of the world, from Neil’s perspective here [1].

Neil’s light shone very brightly. His generosity of spirit was second to none. Having trained as a schoolteacher, he was mentor to many. He linked arms with the oppressed, spoke up, and pushed for change in the world.

Above all, Neil was the partner of Lucy Harris, and father of their three children, Tiggy, Rowena and Finnian. Our love and thoughts go out to the family.

Nadia Durrani and all at Archaeology Worldwide

Note

[1] https://www.archaeologyworldwide.com/broadca

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Source: https://tansyhoskins.org/the-only-thing-worth-doing-is-fighting-to-bring-down-the-system-and-ones-humanity-is-central-to-that/

A personal reflection of grief on the loss of Neil Faulkner

Saturday 5 February 2022,

by Tansy HOSKINS

This is a personal reflection of grief on the loss of Neil Faulkner which I hope will bring some comfort to Neil’s comrades and friends. My heart, and sincere condolences, goes out to Neil’s family who have lost a beloved husband, father and companion. By Tansy e Hoskins.

The only thing worth doing is fighting to bring down the system, and one’s humanity is central to that

HE COULD USE THE HUMBLEST OF SHARDS TO OPEN A WINDOW ONTO THE ENTIRE SOCIAL ORDER BEHIND THE POT - ARCHAEOLOGY WORLDWIDE

In 2012, seeing their salaries slashed by over half, the Association of Greek Archaeologists launched an international appeal against massive government cuts and to stop the targeted, professional looting of archaeological sites and museums. Here in the UK, Neil emailed the Greece Solidarity Campaign (GSC) saying he really ‘ought to do something.’ In his self-effacing way, Neil explained that he had ‘quite a high profile’ in archaeology, knew Greece well, and had just had a book out on the Ancient Greek Olympics. He sent a list of ideas for what the campaign could do but stated that he did not ‘do Facebook’ so I would have to connect him with the Greek archaeologists some other way.

Neil’s intervention was remarkable – he quickly had an event called Archaeologists Against Austerity: Solidarity with Greece arranged at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, plus further events at Bristol University and in Newcastle which allowed archaeologists Despina Koutsoumba and Fotis Georgiadis to come to the UK, speak at these events and make headlines in Greece.

Nancy, Despina, Fotis, Tansy, Sam, Fran, & Neil - photo Paul Mackney

Neil’s good friends in archaeology supported the tour, some of the establishment boycotted the events as they were unhappy at the politics. The best bit was holding a protest inside the British Museum, with Despina and Neil holding up a banner saying Can’t Pay Won’t Pay – Solidarity With Greece, and demanding the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

Here is Neil at his best explaining the living breathing significance of these stolen revolutionary treasures:

HISTORY IS SANITIZED. THE ROLE OF THE PEOPLE IN MAKING THEIR OWN HISTORY, THE IDEA THAT IT’S PEOPLE ORGANISING THEMSELVES TO BRING ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE IS NOT SOMETHING THAT OUR RULERS WANT US TO CELEBRATE AND TALK ABOUT. SO WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT THE OBJECTS ARE RIPPED OUT OF THEIR ORIGINAL CONTEXTS AND TREATED LIKE ART OBJECTS WHICH YOU APPROACH IN A HUSHED AWE IN AN ENVIRONMENT LIKE THIS.”

[Video]

This ’People’s History’ approach was reflected in a recent letter Neil published in support of the ‘ritual killing’ of the Colston statue by Black Lives Matter protesters [1], a cause which for Neil represented huge power and hope. Neil was deeply committed towards making the world a better place. He once wrote to me:

BTW I BECAME A REVOLUTIONARY ON THE GRUNWICK PICKET-LINE IN 1977. A GROUP OF ASIAN WOMEN SACKED FOR JOINING A TRADE UNION BY A SWEATSHOP BOSS, AND HUNDREDS OF POLICE MOBILISED TO SMASH A WAY THROUGH THE MASS PICKET TO GET BUSLOADS OF SCABS INTO THE FACTORY. THAT WAS WHEN THIS INNOCENT GRAMMAR-SCHOOL BOY FROM TUNBRIDGE WELLS BEGAN TO GROW UP!’

Neil was also heavily involved in organising a South Africa disinvestment campaign on his campus in the late 70s, and then worked for two years in the head office of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He was also instrumental in creating the No Glory In War commemorative WWI campaign with Stop The War Coalition and Jan Woolf. You can read more about his political work here.

Anyone who met Neil knew he was whip smart with an extraordinary intellect and capacity for writing brilliant books including the extraordinary A Radical History Of The World. I was suitably intimidated when I wrote to Neil in his role as series editor at Pluto Press to ask him to take a look at a book idea I’d had. He was immediately warm, kind and encouraging: “If this is your first such venture and you are unsure about all this book publishing stuff, very happy to talk on the phone.”

Neil gave me the courage to write Stitched Up – The Anti-Capitalist Book Of Fashion and to do it to the best of my ability. He was an intellectual safety net who I could explore Marxist theory with and who expected me to be smart and inquisitive, to read extensively and push ideas forward. In the acknowledgements I wrote: ‘To Neil Faulkner for polishing this book from a rough diamond to something I wanted everyone to read. For patience, guidance, and letting me phone you at all hours to discuss topics from Chanel to use-value.’ (Last time I phoned him to discuss something random and fashion related was to get his thoughts for this article on Klarna and debt schemes. Once again, his answers to my questions made everything click into place.) When the book launched, I was so proud to share a platform with Neil, he was warm with the audience and also very funny – though sadly he did not wear one of his definitive waistcoats to the event.

Photo: Neil & I onstage at the launch of Stitched Up

I saw Neil’s ability to inspire confidence in people extend through the work of the Brick Lane Debates a political group whose aim was to mix politics with culture and attract wide audiences to discuss and act on crucial topics of the day. The group was mostly in their twenties and thirties and we punched well above our weight and ahead of the times – holding large symposia in East London - Changing The Climate, We Should All Be Feminists, and I Can’t Breathe. Neil provided energy and intellectual vigour to the creation of this work.

Last night, having learned of Neil’s passing, I sat in candle light with a friend who I met through Brick Lane Debates and we talked about Neil. About his brilliant public speaking, his compassion and insight into a truly remarkable range of subjects. My friends talked about a formative event called Capitalism 101 which we ran at Housmans Bookshop – Neil would talk about capitalism and how it intersected with an issue in society, helping people to join the dots before everyone split into discussion groups. My friend remembered in great detail the Capitalism 101 on workplace mental health (long before it was de rigour to talk about mindfulness) where people felt comfortable enough to talk about the extreme levels of anxiety and stress they were being subjected to at work and how Neil prompted people to understand that this was not something we should accept as an individual problem but how we should see it as part of capitalism which must be pushed back on and dismantled.

We then got to talking about the This Changes Everything conference at Friends Meeting House – it was based on Naomi Klein’s book of the same name and over video link she told the packed audience it was the most exciting thing to ever happen in her life as a writer. It was an urgent call to action on climate change, pre-dating XR. It is one of my biggest regrets that the Left still has not managed to build an anti-capitalist movement on the climate. Neil was instrumental to creating This Changes Everything and as anyone who has had the pleasure of working with him on a political project will know he brought bucket loads of organisational energy and ideas, giving the project a serious political backbone. In a world where much of the organised Left has traditionally dismissed climate change as ‘not a priority’ or even more stupidly ‘a middle class problem,’ Neil understood it as THE defining global issue of capitalism and for that directional leadership I will always be truly grateful.

Having spoken to people and scrolled through Twitter to see people publicly mourning Neil’s loss, one word comes up time and again: Mentor. Looking up the dictionary definition of mentor brought me to tears once again – ‘someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.’ Neil’s heart was so big, his patience so endless, his capacity for both learning and imparting knowledge so wide, and his revolutionary spirit so strong. What gives me comfort is to look around at the people he mentored and see them doing remarkable things – whether with Anti-Capitalist Resistance which he co-founded, the climate movement, social justice campaigns, Momentum, trade unions, and of course archaeology. People leading in their field, keeping revolutionary flames burning, fighting for justice, and being better kinder people. Neil’s impact lives on far beyond his tragic, untimely and utterly unfair death at just 64. In grief I believe all we can do is make his work live on through our actions.

I will never stop missing Neil. I am crushed by the certainty that I will never know another like him. His intellect and insight were one thing, but equal irreplaceable is the joyful, funny, brave human being who always signed his emails to us with these words -

Love Neil.

Tansy E Hoskins

Footnotes

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/08/the-fall-of-a-statue-and-victory-for-the-oppressed