The following speech was delivered by Comrade Wilf Dixon to the memorial meeting for Godfrey Cremer held on 12 May 2012.
Comrades and friends, thank you for giving me this chance to make a few remarks from the Stalin Society to this commemoration today. I am proud to do this because I had a profound respect for comrade Godfrey Cremer and believe his political clarity and method of work are things to be emulated.
The abrupt passing of comrade Godfrey Cremer came as a shock to us all and this shows how much we will miss his dedication and clarity of thought in dealing with complex ideological and political issues. Although I found comrade Godfrey a very approachable and friendly person, a quality which has been repeated in many of the tributes that I have heard and read, I knew him primarily through my involvement in the Marxist-Leninist movement and since the foundation of the Stalin Society after the total collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Comrade Godfrey was an internationalist striving to support those peoples and nations at the brunt of western, particularly United States, imperialist hatred and demonisation. That is, those nations and peoples who strive to resist imperialist dictate in order to build their own economy and independence politically or militarily.
As a communist inside the belly of the beast of British imperialism, he understood and was guided by a profound grasp of the importance of struggling against the chauvinism and imperialist mentality as it affects in particular the working class with racist ideas and its would-be leadership or mis-leadership with opportunism.
One of my earliest occasions to have contact with Godfrey was in the Troops Out Movement, whose leadership displayed much the same characteristics as can be witnessed today. Comrade Godfrey’s contribution was guided by the Marxist precept that no nation that oppresses another nation can itself be free.
Further, as a member of the Stalin Society, and I must say that he is not alone in this, he jealously defended Comrade Stalin and the Soviet Union under his leadership from slanderous lies and the attempts to rewrite history. For every one like Comrade Godfrey defending Stalin, it seems there needs to be 100 bourgeois or revisionist scribblers who can so readily find a publisher for the shallowest of lies and distortions. Such is the value to the working class of propagandists like comrade Godfrey.
Apart from his regular contributions in the meetings themselves, I would like to draw attention to his contribution on Darwin in the bicentenary year of his birth on 12 February 1809. In an address to the Stalin Society in commemoration of Charles Darwin and his work culminating in the The Origin of Species, Comrade Cremer, whilst paying tribute to Darwin’s consistent scientific method, showed his own grasp of dialectical and historical materialism. Comrade Godfrey, who I believe had taught and was qualified in the natural sciences, used his knowledge to criticise eugenics and other racist distortions of Darwin’s concept of the ‘survival of the fittest’.
Also, in a different address to the Stalin Society, and in the spirit of swimming against the tide, he fought to rescue from unjust criticism the work of Soviet agro-biologist Lysenko on the effects of the environment on inherited characteristics. In the modern world of science, which neglects the environment in favour of almost exclusive research on genetic manipulation, this is a positive thing to do.
Swimming against the tide, particularly in imperialist Britain, must be the spirit of any communist seeking to make a contribution to building a revolutionary communist party based in the working class and oppressed peoples. The bourgeoisie and its propaganda is powerful in the imperialist heartland.
In this situation, it is particularly necessary to go lower and deeper among the masses. In order to do, this it is important to be of a modest character and be able to listen to the masses and isolate the backward ideas from the progressive.
I believe comrade Godfrey displayed much of these qualities of modesty and readiness to listen. His contributions to society meetings would pick at the subject, drawing attention to facts and revealing the aspects of something from different angles and by so doing win conviction.
Comrade Godfrey paid attention to detail. I thought I might be alone in making this point but I see that this quality has been remarked on by many others. He took on the big and little issue with the same care.
For example, he regularly carried out the, some would think menial, job of ensuring the availability of coffee and refreshments at society meetings. But no job is too menial and life is made up of many small and apparently inconsequential things. Dialectics tells us that qualitative leaps derive from quantitative changes.
It is of no consequence, but I drink decaffeinated coffee and appreciated that Comrade Godfrey made sure it was available. But anecdotes aside, comrade Godfrey will be remembered for his patience and care with his comrades and friends.
As a member of the society, and I am sure I express the feelings of the Stalin Society as a whole, I would like to send condolences to Godfrey’s partner for 40 years and Secretary of the Stalin Society, Comrade Iris, and her daughter Katherine. Comrade Godfrey’s passing has left a great hole in the society which will not be easily filled.
For Iris, Katherine and their family this is also a profound personal loss. But I hope they will take heart from the memories and political legacy he has left behind which will live on in the minds of all those who have known him or come into contact with his political work or writings.
I’m speaking on behalf of the Stalin Society, but I think the following remarks by Comrade Mao Zedong best express how I would like to finish up this short tribute.
“All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Qian said, ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather. Comrade Chang Szu-the [The Comrade for whom Mao Zedongng spoke these words. For us here today let us substitute the name of Godfrey Andries Cremer] died for the people, and his death is indeed weightier than Mount Tai.” (‘Serve the People’, 8 September 1944)
Comrade Godfrey’s life is one of a communist serving the working and oppressed people, and his death is indeed heavier than Mount Tai.
In concluding, I would like to state my own determination and make my own appeal to use this occasion of remembering Comrade Godfrey Cremer’s life also an occasion to learn from his qualities and example in deepening the theory and practice of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong as applied to the conditions of Britain.
Long live the memory of Comrade Godfrey
The future is bright.
Imperialism and all reactionaries are indeed paper tigers.
Tribute to Comrade Godfrey in Lalkar
Photos from the memorial meeting
Photos from Godfrey’s funeral
Video: funeral oration by Harpal Brar
Video: Godfrey recites his poem ‘Uddam Singh and Bhagat Singh’
Video: Godfrey speaks on Darwin, Marx and Materialism