Dave Packer: an unexpected, tragic death

Socialist Resistance announces the sad and shocking news that leading member Dave Packer died suddenly on July 3 His partner Jane Kelly found him after he failed to get up as expected. Dave had been having treatment for a persistent infection but whether this was the cause of his death we don’t know at this stage.

Dave had been active in politics since the 1960’s and has made a huge contribution over that time.

He was initially a member of Militant (Socialist Party) and one of the key people in a group that split from them and joined the International Marxist Group in the mid 1970s. He was a member of the leadership of the IMG until the formation of the International Group in the mid 1980s when he became a key member of the new organisations leadership. He was central to the fusion talks with the Socialist Group which led to the formation of the International Socialist Group. When Socialist Resistance was formed Dave continued as a member of its leadership. For many years Dave also represented comrades from Britain on leadership bodies of the Fourth International.

Dave is an irreplaceable loss both to our own organisation and to the wider Marxist and wokers movement as well as to comrades who knew him personnaly and, of course, most of all to Jane.

We will be posting a fuller appreciation tomorrow and will update when we know details of when Dave’s funeral will take place.


  1. Dear SR

    I should have left my name at the end.

    I am very sad to hear that Dave has died.
    I wasn’t really very close to him over the last eleven years but I was in his branch of the SL, IG and ISG in South London until I left the organisation in 1991.

    This is really tragic news and very very sad.

    My sincere condolences to Socialist Resistance, to Jane and all of you.

    Comradely Greetings

    Mike Calvert

  2. I met David several times on trips to London and was impressed wth his experience and political sophistication. My deepest condolences to Jane and his comrades in SR.

  3. A chairde,
    I am so sorry to hear that Dave has died so suddenly. I was in Manchester IMG with him in the 70’s and was privileged to have the benefit of his wisdom and humour. I always found him a very positive presence and know that he made a major contribution to the struggle.
    My sympathies to his partner, family, comrades and friends.
    Go n-éirí an bóthar leis – may the road rise to meet him!
    In solidarity
    Sue Pentel
    Béal Feirste

  4. Dear comrades,

    I am deeply saddened to discover that comrade Dave has passed away which has surely shocked SR and especially his partner Jane.

    I first met him in 1989 as a member of the SLG during the fusion talks with the ISG and since then became especially impressed with his excellent analysis on the global economy. In fact i always looked forward to reading any of his articles in Socialist Outlook and IVP. He’s held leadership positions within the British section for over 30 years in addition to around 20 or more at the head of the FI. The comrades whole adult life was dedicated in the fight for Marxism and building the FI. His immeasurable knowledge and experience cannot be replaced and will be a massive loss to the entire movement.

    Unfortunately i will not be able to attend his funeral due to my continued disability but i will be there in spirit.

    My sincerest condolences go out to all SR members and his loving partner Jane.
    Comradely greetings as always,
    Glenn Voris

  5. I knew Dave from the IMG in the 1970s, as I often visited Britain as a representative from the U.S. SWP and/or the Bureau of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. He vigorously defended his views, but always in a comradely way and was personally friendly and kind.

    For reasons explained in the second volume of my political memoir, recently published by Resistance Books, I subsequently lost touch with the British comrades. I want to add my voice in solidarity with you over this loss, and to pay tribute to a long life dedicated to the fight for socialism and humanity.

  6. I was saddened and shocked to hear of Dave’s death. My condolences to all his comrades in Socialist Resistance. John Percy, for RSP (Australia)

  7. I was deeply saddened to hear of Dave’s death. We were youngsters together in Southampton, then in the Militant, and then in the IMG. He stayed true to socialism all his life. He was a fine comrade.

  8. I would like to add my condolences. I first met Dave when I was a member of the Young Socialists in Portsmouth in the early 1960s, and “around” (though not a member of) Militant. Dave was in Southampton Young Socialists, and was then in Militant. I met him again years later (1974?) when I was in the IMG, and he had left Militant to join the IMG. He remembered me from the old days in Portsmouth/Southampton, and was a good comrade and friend. However, my own political evolution led me to leave the IMG in 1975, and, sadly, our paths never crossed again.

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