RCPB(ML) is so very sad to let
everyone know that our comrade Stuart Monro passed away on the evening of
Thursday, September 7. Stuart collapsed suddenly after having suffered from
heart problems for many years. Though he had been ill, his passing came as a
profound shock to all who knew him. We convey our deep condolences to
Charlotte, his wife and comrade, who was with him when he died, to his daughter
Anna, and to all his family and wide circle of friends.
Stuart Monro studied drama at
Bristol University and film at the London School of Film. He was making a film
in 1970 when he met the forerunner organisation of RCPB(ML), and realised that
he could never look back, becoming politically active and dedicating his
film-making to the progress of humanity and a new world.
Charlotte had also been a
Party activist from her youth and worked in the health service, and Stuart and
Charlotte were married in 1981.
Charlotte has written:
“He has given so much to people, to our times, to our movements. His
films, his wisdom, and his great love and loyalty to people, and his humour.
And what he has given will live on in all of us.” And Anna wrote:
“He welcomed people in with a warm heart and such a sparkle in his
Stuart was one of the comrades
arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges in the early 1970s when the state was
attempting to smash the emerging Marxist-Leninist movement. He stood on a
progressive and democratic platform in a number of elections in South London in
the 1970s. Stuart participated in the work of the Party as a working class and
trade union organiser at this time, and was noted for his ability to unite the
workers in fighting for their rights and interests. This quality was also
notable when he became a health worker and participated in the work to uphold
health care as a right and to safeguard the future of the health service.
Stuart also participated throughout his political life in many delegations
strengthening ties in the international communist movement.
Stuart never abandoned his
film and video-making, and for the past 20 years and more he was active as an
independent film maker. His films cover a huge range, and are characterised by
a humanity and a sympathy for what is progressive. Stuart made films directly
for the Party and the international communist movement, but also covered
subjects ranging from the historical to the world around him of community,
family and friends, up to the movements of the people in their struggle for a
different and better world. Recent films had focused on the fight to save
Lewisham hospital and safeguard the future of the health service. These films
were made with the express purpose of assisting the struggle as it unfolded,
capturing the moment of the here and now. Last year, a one-day festival of his
films was staged at Morley College in London.
Stuart had an enthusiasm for
life and a questing spirit that was always seeking to move on to answer the
call of history, and to re-examine previously held positions. Stuart also had a
deep love of nature, of the beauty of the natural and social environments. He
was always excited by new developments in the Party's work, and his generous
and engaging spirit made him loved by all. He will be greatly missed by so many
people. Stuart, your memory will always inspire us!
Our Comrade Stuart Monro
by Michael Chant, General Secretary of RCPB(ML), at the funeral of Stuart
September 22, 2017 (edited for publication)
It seems incredible that I have worked with and alongside
Stuart in the Party for 45 years. Those many years ago, we were doing work in
support of the Irish people's struggle for self-determination and
reunification. Subsequently I was election agent to his candidacy in the 1978
Lambeth Central By-election, where he stood on a democratic and anti-fascist
platform. We worked together when he was organising the workers at Decca in
south London, and as a health worker at south London hospitals when the Decca
plant at Ingate Place closed.
Thinking back on those years, who Stuart was and what he
stood for emerged clearly in the course of those experiences as was also the
case in the projects later on, and it was also at the heart of his
film-making. And that was his ability to get at the essence of the matter in an
objective way and unite people in action to realise the aim they set for
themselves. He did not impose his own aim, but united everyone in action to
achieve the aim of the struggle or work they themselves set, bringing out the
best in everyone by making his own contribution according to his own
abilities. Both politically and socially as well as in the cultural
domain, he had a deep aversion to sectarianism and the dogmatic rendering of
views which divide people and divert them from realising the aim of the work.
In this sense, he opposed anything which would divert the cause or succumb
to despondency. Essentially a man of action, when he got involved in a
cause close to his heart, he would commit and face the problems as they came up
within the spirit of overcoming them so as to realise the aim of whatever work
he had set for himself. This focus also gave the work direction and provided
everyone with perspective and encouragement.
Developing conviction is a matter of tackling problems in a
practical way on the basis of principle, not expediency and this is what
develops courage. Stuart had courage, the courage of his convictions. But he
showed us that courage is not a matter of presenting a brave face. It is not a
way of saying the glass is half full when everyone knows bloody well it is half
empty. For Stuart, plans were plans of action and he united people in action.
Splitting over schemes that have no materiality, which only exist in people's
heads was not his way.
Stuart was able to impart his own enthusiasm for the work
because his work was his life. Life and work; family, life and
work; Lewisham, family, life and work; Wanstead, family, life and work;
his Party activities, family, life and work - they were all one life for
Stuart, one work, one enthusiasm. He took everyone in and everyone took Stuart
in. It was a real joy to have Stuart part of one's life and to be a part of
Stuart's life with Charlotte there too and Anna and all his circles of family
and friends. He imbued us all with own enthusiasm for what was most human and
progressive. He inspired optimism by presenting a favourable outcome to the
problems people and the world we live in face.
Stuart joined forces with those fighting for the new by
combining his passion for film with his political outlook to provide
information people needed in a manner that they could draw their own
conclusions. Like the line in the Internationale says: 'Tis the final
conflict, let each stand in his place. And that was the place Stuart chose
for himself where, alongside all others, he felt he could contribute the most.
(H)is qualities as a film-maker serving the progress of the
movement and unifier of the people in action earned him the love and respect of
all those committed to the (cause for which they were fighting). Indeed,
his films and his advocacy for the all-sided resistance of the people to the
assault on the people's rights and well-being have inspired other campaigns in
their approach of relying on, mobilising and involving the people.
These qualities of Stuart Monro imbue our memories of him,
give us confidence that a new world is possible, and that it is the people with
their inexhaustible initiative who can solve the problems which will bring this
As RCPB(ML)'s In Memoriam to Stuart concludes: He was
always excited by new developments in the Party's work, and his generous and
engaging spirit made him loved by all. He will be greatly missed by so many
people. Stuart, your memory will always inspire us!