It has come as a tremendous shock to supporters of Socialist Appeal to learn of the tragic and premature death of our comrade and friend, Kevin Chang.
In the early hours of Saturday 7 April, Kevin was struck and killed by a car just outside of his home in South London. He was 24 years of age.
This devastating news is a blow to the forces of revolutionary socialism, which Kevin was helping to build. Kevin played a key role in the development of the Marxist tendency, particularly in London and also further afield.
Kevin grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. It was in 2013, during his engineering studies at the University of Cambridge, that he joined the Cambridge Marxist Discussion Group (now the Cambridge Marxist Society) and became politically active.
Kevin immediately brought dynamism into the activities of Socialist Appeal in Cambridge. He chaired meetings, gave talks, and used his formidable design skills to produce some of the best leaflets and posters of any Marxist Society in the country.
He stood firmly with his comrades and striking university staff on the Cambridge picket lines in 2013. And, after running a bold socialist campaign, he was elected as a delegate to the conference of the National Union of Students in 2014, winning the most votes out of any candidate in that election.
After the general election in 2015, Kevin – on behalf of the Marxist Society and along with other campaigners and activists – called for a local demonstration against austerity. His passionate and militant speech at that demonstration is testament to his determination to fight for a better world.
After graduating and moving to London, Kevin took up revolutionary activism in the capital. He participated actively in local and regional Labour and Momentum meetings, as well as his local Unite branch.
During the UCU strikes earlier this year, Kevin marched through the freezing snow with the banner of the Marxist Student Federation held high, in support of the university staff on strike.
As well as this serious political work, Kevin also had a talent for bringing out the social side of the London Marxists. His glittering sense of humour and his delight in getting everyone together for parties and other social events built many friendships between comrades.
Kevin took a particular interest in technology and innovation. He gave numerous talks on the limitations that capitalism places on our ability to innovate and what technological potential a socialist future could unleash.
Kevin was always willing and able to explain these and other Marxist ideas to as many people as possible. His video for the Myths of Marxism series, tackling the question of Will we lose our individuality under communism?, is one of the most popular videos published by the Marxist Student Federation.
Over the last five years Kevin went from being a typical student, battling through his hangovers to make it on time for political meetings, to being a disciplined professional revolutionary determined to change the world.
Building a monument
To be a Marxist is not always easy. It takes self-confidence and moral strength to swim against the tide of mainstream ideology. Not only did Kevin do this, but there was not a single occasion on which he appeared demoralised or doubted his convictions. There are too few people like this in the world, and we are proud to have counted such a man in our ranks.
Many comrades witnessed Kevin’s enthusiasm for building the forces of Marxism. In this moment of senseless loss, we can hold onto the knowledge that the best way we have to honour his memory is to continue this work for him.
It is common to build monuments for the dead. And so, the comrades of Socialist Appeal will build a monument for Kevin – not of brick and stone, but a living, breathing monument of the socialist society for which Kevin fought.
As we continue our struggle for a better world, many comrades will continue to be inspired and motivated by Kevin’s example. For us, despite this terrible tragedy, our comrade and friend, Kevin Chang, will always be here marching right alongside us.
Memories of comrade Kevin
Kevin was effortlessly cool. He was always so relaxed, yet always so active. This was both a personal and a political trait: I would always hear from people, “oh yeah, I met this guy Kevin, and we talked about Marxism, and he said x, y, z.”
His energy and enthusiasm in political discussion was really palpable. And on the other hand, whenever we went out in Cambridge, Kevin would always be there. Everyone knew him; everyone loved him. That a person so alive can be dead is unbelievable; he will be so missed by all who knew him.
Kevin was a huge believer in humanity. Working together in Cambridge, I sometimes told him he was wasting his time on ‘fellow-travellers’ who would never be convinced by words, only events. But he persisted. He didn’t want to leave anyone behind, such was his faith in the powerful ideas of our movement.
He had a tremendous belief that an individual with our ideas can move mountains. He was right in that belief. It is awful that he can no longer play the revolutionary role he was born for.
Mo Levi, Cambridge Marxists
Kevin’s enthusiasm for revolutionary socialism was infectious and nothing short of admirable. He had a great taste in music and clearly a greater taste in politics. An indefatigable comrade, he always strived to do more, organising workers and students and attending meetings wherever he could.
We would speak at length about music at every social, and we hit it off after he was the only one to get my reference to a hip-hop group, The Coup, that we both loved. He used to always say to me (about one of their songs): “5 million ways to kill a CEO – everyone needs to hear it; its political education.”
We will continue Kevin’s fight. We will remember him through our actions. He will be immortalised in the memory and by the movements of the working class – the class that Kevin was dedicated to liberating.
Dan Langley, RCN activist
The comrades in Brighton send their condolences following the loss of comrade Kevin Chang. He was truly a comrade with a lot of determination, revolutionary spirit, and a clear understanding of Marxist theory.
Among his countless attributes, comrades will remember his tireless defence of the ideas of genuine Marxism against the bureaucratic caricatures of it. He was keen to hear, for instance, the experiences of Eastern European comrades, always interested in knowing about how comrades from Eastern Europe and former USSR states came to develop their own understanding of the true legacy of the Russian Revolution.
He was definitely a great and interesting comrade – and the best way to pay respect for him is by continuing his work of building our organisation and striving for the ideas of Marxism until the very end.
RIP comrade Kevin Chang. He will be remembered for his humour, his enthusiasm and his revolutionary optimism.
The West Midlands comrades send their condolences after hearing the tragic loss of comrade Kevin Chang. He will be remembered as a comrade always prepared to give complete enthusiasm to the revolutionary movement, and he will be sorely missed.
The way to remember him and all of our fallen comrades is through the building of a revolutionary movement. To apply that same dedication and enthusiasm, and to place it into our own lives. To use it to build a better world for all.
Coventry and Birmingham Marxists