by Len Parker
We have just heard of the recent death in Palmerston North of long time socialist and working class fighter Bert Allison in his 88th year. Bert succumbed to cancer.
Bert had a lengthy history in the working class and never gave up his belief in a socialist alternative or in the role of the working class in achieving it.
He was recognized by his friends and associates as a staunch fighter; even as he became increasingly incapacitated with failing eyesight and ill health he held to his convictions.
He kept in touch with local and international events throughout his life as an avid reader of The People's Voice, Socialist Worker, UNITY and other left-wing journals and as a student of Marxism.
Bert started his working life as a grocery-boy before working as a miner in the Huntly coal mines during the Second World War, then as a Gold miner in the Waihi Martha mines.
He had a spell picking tobacco in the South Island with his brother Percy. They then worked for a period as surveyors on the West Coast. Percy went on to work at Mangakino and was involved in the strike there.
Bert was locked-out during the historic 151 days of the 1951 Waterfront dispute when the government and bosses tried to break the workers by starving them back to work under draconian anti-working class Emergency Regulations.
When Bert could no longer read himself his daughter read to him so he could keep up with events.
We take this belated opportunity to extend our condolences to all Bert's family in the loss of this working class stalwart.