Our comrade George Crawford died suddenly in London in October 2021 at age 77. George was a 50-year member of our tendency, who from the time he joined the Spartacist League/U.S. served on the party’s highest leadership bodies. At the time of his death, he was a consultative member of both the Spartacist League/Britain Central Committee and the ICL’s International Executive Committee.
George grew up in Los Angeles and, like many of his generation, was radicalized by the struggle for black rights and opposition to the war in Vietnam. He was a founding member of the Communist Working Collective (CWC), a Maoist grouping whose political evolution is described in Marxist Bulletin No. 10, “From Maoism to Trotskyism.” George and other CWC comrades carefully studied the works of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Trotsky and drew the conclusion that Trotskyism was the continuity of Leninism. The CWC would fuse with the SL/U.S. in 1971.
Determined to assimilate the fundamentals of Leninism and Trotskyism, the CWC undertook a rigorous study of the first four congresses of the Communist International (CI). George correctly concluded that the CI’s 1922 Fourth Congress resolution on the workers government was flawed in allowing for the possibility that such a government could be something other than the dictatorship of the proletariat. George’s conclusion, which was shared by SL/U.S. founding leader Jim Robertson, signaled that the fusion would be politically solid.
With the fusion, George became a full member of the SL/U.S. Central Committee. He went on to hold a multitude of leadership positions, including Organizational Secretary. From his experience working at a Firestone tire factory and other industrial jobs, he developed a shrewd eye for the trade-union bureaucracy’s treacherous role as labor lieutenants of capital. George served on the Trade Union Commission, the party body tasked with guiding communist work in the unions.
In 1993, at the request of the organization, he and his wife and comrade, Kate, transferred to London. It was there that in 2004 George intervened decisively to help break the ICL from its opportunist adaptation to the social forums and reassert the basic Trotskyist position of opposition on principle to popular fronts. George also visited and worked with other ICL sections, including numerous trips to South Africa.
George was a worker-intellectual who despised the division between mental and manual labor in bourgeois society. He is fondly remembered by comrades for his role as an educator, his dedication to training women cadres to become party leaders and his championing of the SL/U.S. maintenance department.
George had his own way of seeing the world. He described the society that shaped him in a forum he gave titled “Sex, Race and Class in the ‘American Century’” (published in Women and Revolution No. 33, Spring 1987). Condemning the stifling morality of American bourgeois society, he declared, “It brings one to rage.” Besides his wicked sense of humor, George will be fondly remembered for Crawfordisms like “the tenements of Marxism” and “You’ve buttered your bed, now lie in it.”
To the end of his life, George was animated by the struggle to rearm the ICL that began with the 2017 fight against Great Power chauvinism. Right before his death, he welcomed the fight in the SL/B to renounce the section’s embrace of Labourite reformism and reclaim the revolutionary program on which it was founded. The SL/B 25th Conference document, published in this issue, is dedicated to comrade Crawford, noting, “His lifelong struggle for communism is an example and an inspiration.”
A more comprehensive appreciation of George’s life was printed in Workers Hammer No. 247 (Winter 2021-22).