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Condolences for Comrade Jack

We reproduce below various condolences received from fraternal comrades and parties for our much missed honorary president, Comrade Jack Shapiro.

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Tribute letter can be read here.

Union of Romanian Communists

Dear Comrades!

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Union of Romanian Communists (UCR) I express the profound grief upon the death of a British socialist comrade.

We are by your side and we are certain that you will carry on his never-ending battle till the final victory of socialism in the world.

Comradely yours,
Comrade C

First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Union of Romanian Communists
Official delegate of the Korean Friendship Association to Romania

All-African People’s Revolutionary Party

Please accept out sincere condolences. We are pleased that we were able to see him speak in full flow. We can best honour him by continuing the struggle. Please pass on our message to your members and his family.

Comrade A, on behalf of the AAPRP

An American comrade


I would like to thank Comrade Vijay for his tribute to Howard Zinn and the comrades of the CPGB-ML for their tribute to both Jack and Michael Shapiro. It is difficult to lose comrades that are truly courageous fighters in the class struggle.

One of the many songs that rose out of the resistance to Apartheid was a song recognised and praised by many South African freedom fighters and activists titled ASIMBONANGA, sung and performed by Johhny Clegg and Savuka. The music of this song is very stirring and I apologise that I cannot produce the music here, but I will share the lyrics in recognition to all our fallen comrades the world over:

(We have not seen him)
Asimbonanga’ um Mandela thina
(We have not seen Mandela…)
Laph’ ekhona
(in the place where he is…)
Laph’ ehleli khona
(in the where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the island into the bay
We are all islands till comes the day
We cross the burning water

Chorus:  …….

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me

Chorus:  ……

Steven Biko?
(We have not seen him….)
Asimbonanga’umfowethu thina
(We have not seen our brother…)
Laph’ ekhona
(In the place where he is…)
La wafela khona
(In the place where he died…)

Victoria Mxgenge?
(Repeat above chorus)

Neil Aggett?
(Repeat above chorus)

Hey wena
(Hey you…)
Hey wena nawe
(Hey you and you as well)
Sizofik a nina la’
(When will we arrive at our true destination?)

To Howard Zinn and the Shapiros we can sing the chorus in recognition of their loyal fight in the class struggle and against revisionism and opportunism.

Another song of resistance to come out of the struggle against Apartheid performed by Johnny Clegg and Savuka that recognised the growing numbers of freedom fighters in this class struggle was titled THIRD WORLD CHILD. I would like to relate this song to all Marxist Leninists and freedom fighters the world over in recognition of your faithful fight in the class struggle and all forms of revisionism and opportunism, which is scourge of the class struggle that must be emphatically exposed and overthrown in order for the socialist struggle to be victorious. If we want to honor all the comrades before us and their sacrifice … then that is our task.

Bits of songs and broken drums
Are all he could recall
So he spoke to me
In a bastard tongue
Carried on the silence of the guns

It’s been a long time
Since they first came
And marched thru’ our village
They taught us to forget our past
And live the future in their image

They said
You should learn to
Speak a little English
Don’t be scared of a suit and tie
Learn to walk in the
Dreams of the foreigner
I am a third world child

The outworld’s dreams
Are the currency
That grip the city streets
I live them out
But I have my own
Hidden somewhere deep
Inside of me

In between my father’s fields
And the citadel of the rule
Lies a no-man’s land which
I must cross to find my stolen jewel

They said I should learn to speak a little bit of English
Maybe practice birth control
Keep away from controversial politics
So to save my third world soul

They said
You should learn to speak a little bit of English
Don’t be scared of a suit and tie
Learn to walk in the dreams of the foreigner
I am a third world child

Wo ilanga lobunzima
Nalo liyashona
Ukuthinini asazi
Musa ukuhala

Bits of songs and broken drums
Are all he could recall
But the future calls his name out loud
Carried on the violence of the guns

I can speak a little bit of English
I am the seed that has survived
I am the fire that has been woken
I am a third world child
Mao reminds us about the class struggle in very clear and direct terms:

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”
(’Report on an investigation of the peasant movement in Hunan’, March 1927, Selected Works, Vol I)

Comrade M

Two British comrades

Dear comrades

I wish to send condolences to the CPGB-ML and the family of comrade Jack Shapiro.

Jack Shapiro was a sincere communist and revolutionary fighter who came from an ordinary working-class family in London’s East End.He was a great internationalist who defended the Korean and Chinese revolutions. He was a good friend of the DPRK.

Despite his advanced age he continuined to fight tirelessly for the communist cause when many younger than him had become ‘tired’ and dropped out.

We were saddening to learn of his passing.

Yours fraternally
Comrade D

Dear Comrades,

May I offer to your Central Committee and to the membership of the CPGB-ML my deepest condolences upon the passing away of Comrade Jack Shapiro.

Jack Shapiro’s whole life was devoted to the noble cause of advancing the goals of the working class, towards the promotion of socialism. Comrade Shapiro was a model proletarian revolutionary, a staunch Marxist Leninist to the last. Jack Shapiro was a consistent friend of the Democartic People’s Republic of Korea and of the People’s Republic of China throughout the decades.

May the Beloved memory of Comrade Jack Shaprio live on the hearts and minds of the workers both here in Britain and throughout the world!


Yours fraternally
Comrade S

Jack Shapiro lives forever in our hearts!

Jack Shapiro

It is with the deepest grief that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) announces that our beloved Comrade Jack Shapiro, Honorary President of our party and of Hands off China!, passed away from illness in the early morning of Friday 29 January 2010 at the age of 93.

Comrade Jack was a staunch Marxist Leninist, a proletarian revolutionary, a long-tested communist fighter and an implacable foe of revisionism and opportunism.

Born into the working-class jewish community in east London, he served a full eight decades in the communist movement; decades that took him from a young teenage militant in the ranks of the Young Communist League to Britain’s most cherished veteran communist fighter.

From the moment he took his place in the ranks of the proletarian army, he stood in his place, fighting for the liberation of mankind. He never once looked back, but always forward to humanity’s brilliant communist future. He never once regretted the choice he made. Whilst every victory inspired him, no difficulty or setback could ever daunt him.

To paraphrase the words of Ostrovsky in <em>How the Steel Was Tempered</em>, our Comrade Jack can have no regrets for a cowardly and trivial past. In dying, he can truly say that all his life and all his strength were given to the finest cause on earth, the liberation of mankind.

Comrade Jack’s early political life was marked by intense class struggle against rapacious sweatshop employers, slum landlords, bigotry, antisemitism and the rise of fascism; in defence of the Soviet Union, of Joseph Stalin, of the Spanish Republic and of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression.

Throughout his eight decades of political life, Comrade Jack was as firm as a rock in his defence of the principles of Marxism Leninism. He defended the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state and the dictatorship of the proletariat. He knew that without revolutionary theory there could be no revolutionary movement and he studied hard throughout his life up to his final days. He knew that labour in the white skin could never be free if in the black it was branded, and that the movement of the proletariat in the advanced nations would be a fraud and a humbug if it was not most closely united with the struggle of hundreds of millions of colonial and neo-colonial slaves for their national liberation.

The struggle against zionism was no exception. The Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples had no better friend and comrade-in-arms than Jack. One of his very last political acts was to generously donate to the Viva Palestina! convoy that has just returned from carrying much needed relief to the people of Gaza.

He  knew that “women hold up half the sky” and his own long marriage, friendship and comradeship with Comrade Marie was a true example of how human beings should live.

To Comrade Jack, the socialist countries, especially the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin, the first country in which his own jewish people knew freedom, and the People’s Republic of China, were the apple of his eye, and no task was greater than their unyielding defence. For him, every step taken by the socialist countries in the building of a free, prosperous and happy life was but a harbinger of the future new world where every child would know oppression and exploitation only as a topic taught in history classes.

With such bedrock principles, from the first, Comrade Jack opposed the revisionist <em>British Road to Socialism</em>, both for its parliamentary cretinism and abandonment of the dictatorship of the proletariat as well as its betrayal of the peoples fighting British imperialism for their complete freedom. He strongly supported the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and its great leader Comrade Mao Zedong, in the international fight against modern revisionism.

Comrade Jack’s relationship with the Chinese revolution was a special one indeed, ever since his much loved brother and comrade Michael Shapiro took up work with the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing in 1949 at the request of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and stayed in China till he breathed his last.

Comrades Jack and Michael and their wives Comrade Marie and Comrade Liu Jinghe formed a single proletarian fighting unit, uniting the communists of Britain and China across continents and oceans. Senior Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping described Michael Shapiro, who accompanied the Chinese People’s Volunteers in Korea during the most bitter days of war, as a “staunch international soldier and sincere friend of the Chinese people”. These fitting words equally describe his dear brother Jack. It is indeed appropriate that his final speech should have been given from his wheelchair on 3 October 2009 at our party’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese revolution.

Having staunchly fought against revisionism for more than half a century, going through many twists and turns, Comrade Jack greeted the foundation of our party with almost youthful enthusiasm. He joined our ranks, accepted the post of Honorary President, gave us wise advice and counsel, and generously supported us in every way. To us, he was truly a star shining in our sky, a living link to the October Revolution and to the Third Communist International. He was also a friend and a man whose impish sense of humour made light of every difficulty, whether political or personal.

Jack’s passing is a sad and irreparable loss to our young party. But we take courage from, and will never forget, the rich legacy he has left us.

Comrade Jack, with our heads bowed but our fists raised, we offer you our reddest of red salutes. You have earned the right to take rest. You will live forever in our hearts.


Central Committee
Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

29 January 2010

VIDEO: Jack speaking against zionism at a meeting during the Gaza massacre, January 2009
VIDEO: Jack speaking on the advances of Chinese socialism, October 2009
VIDEO: Jack speaking on how Chinese socialism serves the disabled, October 2008
LETTER: Condolences received from the CPA (M-L)