In Memoriam

Stuart Monro

June 15, 1938 – September 7, 2017

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 eyes.”

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

Tribute given by Michael Chant, General Secretary of RCPB(ML), at the funeral of Stuart Monro,
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 about.

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!


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