It is with heavy hearts that we have heard of the death of comrade Callum Stanland at the tragically young age of 23, who passed away earlier this week. Our thoughts are with his many friends and comrades, and above all with his family. Owen Walsh and Ben Curry of the Leeds Marxists pay tribute to an exceptional young class fighter.
Owen Walsh and Ben Curry of the Leeds Marxists pay tribute to Callum Stanland, an exceptional young class fighter who passed away earlier this week.
It is with heavy hearts that we have heard of the death of comrade Callum Stanland at the tragically young age of 23. Our thoughts are with his many friends and comrades, and above all with his family.
For many of us, our first encounter with Callum was when he arrived in Leeds as a student. He began attending the Marxist Society and supporting the Socialist Appeal newspaper.
During his time in Leeds he was also a founding member of the Unite Community branch based here, a group with whom he has worked closely, competently and in comradely good humour ever since.
Callum was a very quiet young man, but his love for the cause of socialism and his working class politics were woven into the fibre of his body. His passion for these ideas lent him a strength which is rare enough for anybody in the movement, never mind a person so young. Quietly determined, he energised and emboldened his comrades in ways he was perhaps never aware.
Leaving Leeds after a year, Callum returned to Grimsby, where he began to build a Unite Community group. There is no doubt that given his talents, had he been given the time, Callum would have built a wonderful group around Humberside.
He also organised that rare thing for Grimsby, a demonstration. In the fight against the bedroom tax in Grimsby, Callum was the vital force, and he did the whole movement proud on that demonstration, treating with good-natured contempt the EDL thugs who were also around that day.
Sadly, just under two years ago, Callum was forced to face an appalling personal fight against cancer. His spirit and determination in this fight more than fit the reputation he had built up as an indomitable class fighter in his union and in the Labour Party. Everyone who knew him in this time was impressed by his stoicism and his undiminished passion for politics.
Callum lived to participate in the great victory this summer of Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy for Labour Party leader. He has left us at a time when the opportunities for socialist ideas to gain ground are greater than they have been in many of our lifetimes. But in his tireless organising and his quiet encouragements he has given us a rare gift. It is now our duty to take that gift forward in the fight for socialist policies – in the Labour Party, the trade unions, and in wider society.
Callum’s body will rest in peace, but his spirit and his political ideas will animate uncountable numbers of people for years to come.