Sunday, 26 June 2011
My friend and comrade Alf Filer has been tragically killed in a car accident last Thursday evening.
The first time I met him was at a public meeting to oppose a local school becoming an academy. He had only just moved to the area and was keen to know about all the events and groups that existed down here so he could get stuck in.
The next time I met him was at an anti-cuts day school that we had organised. I chaired a workshop on cuts in Local Government and Alf spoke at length from the floor. I remember being impressed with his wide-ranging knowledge on a great variety of topics, and how articulate he was. This was also demonstrated in his blog, of which I was an avid reader - always looking forward to his intelligent analysis of local, national, and international events.
When I was challenging my trade union leadership over an issue a while ago, I was touched when Alf got in touch with me to offer his advice and support. We then got to talking about other issues, and how we could help each other. Alf and I were both outraged at the recent treatment by local Councils of Travellers and Gypsies in the region, finding it representative of the wider persecution they have been facing across Europe, and we had been in discussion about setting up a local support group for these communities, and together we started letter writing to the EU to ask them for an inquiry around the persecution that these communities faced, especially in Italian cities.
The last time I spoke to him he was incredibly enthusiastic about the recent re-launch of Worthing Trades Council, and he was urging me to attend the public meeting on eco-socialism he was arranging for next week.
Alf was Jewish, and committed to building solidarity between anti-Zionist Jews and Palestinians, and was also well known for his anti-fascist work. He was an intelligent, outspoken, driven, passionate, and warm man, and I very much regret that I only knew him for such a short time.
To borrow some words from another comrade who has written about him, “The best tribute we can pay to you is to keep the flame alight and the struggle for justice undimmed.”
Rest in peace comrade, you will be missed.