Mike Davis remembers a thoughtful socialist
Jon Taylor, long-standing Chartist supporter and contributor, died on 25th June. Jon had been involved in socialist politics from early on in his almost 90 years. He was born in Dublin in 1934. He died in Altrincham in his care home.
He was in the founding group of Radical Education. The first edition was published in the Autumn of 1974. It ran to 13 issues, the last being published in summer 1979. Around this time, Jon and his wife, Liz Muir, got involved in Chartist, writing articles on education and Middle East politics. Jon was from a Jewish heritage but was highly critical of the Jewish state and modern Zionism while being a champion of Palestinian rights to statehood and freedom. In 1979, he wrote a detailed chapter in our pamphlet Roots of the Middle East Conflict on the myths of Zionism.
His concluding paragraph, sadly, remains true today: “Chartist does not accept the vulgar equating of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. We remain implacably opposed to the Zionist occupation of the lands of the Arabs and offer our full support to those inside as well as outside Israel fighting for the cause of the Palestinian Arabs.” Over five decades, he wrote articles and reviews on mainly Middle East themes.
In 1984, he moved to Manchester with Liz and his two daughters, Joanna and Zoe. He was a teacher, a lecturer in linguistics, a social worker, a director of Manchester Age UK, and was very active in the voluntary sector after retirement.
He was an active member of the Labour Party while living in Hackney and in Manchester. He left the Labour Party in favour of the Green Party in 2015. He was a member of Unison and a strong trade unionist. In latter years, he became a Quaker and was active in pursuit of their campaigns on peace and equality.
In 2018, he had an accident and became paralysed as a result. He was moved to a care home in Trafford, Greater Manchester, and was mostly peaceful and contented for the rest of his life. He was glad to return to live in Manchester, where he had lived and worked from 1984 to 2001. A committed socialist and libertarian, Jon was a passionate and thoughtful man of ideas as well as being an activist for change and social justice.