Peter Le Mare: a tribute

Sad to learn belatedly of the death of Peter Le Mare, onetime Birmingham anarchist guru, lifetime peacenik and all-round gentle soul.

Peter was fairly typical of the “anarchists” I encountered after bailing-out of the International Socialists (forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party) and going in search of revolutionary anarchism in early 1972. A devotee of the then thoroughly non-revolutionary anarchist journal Freedom, Peter was official Birmingham representative (and probably the only local member) of the grandly sounding Anarchist Federation of Britain (AFB). Reading the pages of Freedom and meeting Peter probably were responsible for keeping me out of the anarchist movement for another twelve months, until I made the joyful discovery in 1973 that there really was a class-struggle anarchist movement, after chancing upon a copy of Black Flag in Birmingham’s Moor Street Peace Centre. But I can’t really bring myself to be horrible to Peter or insult his memory, because he was a genuinely nice chap who sincerely believed all the rubbish he came out with and tried to live his life in accordance with his beliefs - which counts for something.

I remember going with my little band of anarchists to a trade union Mayday march in Birmingham city centre in 1974. There we were, waving a big black flag and shouting fit-to-bust, when out of the crowd leapt a disheveled, wide-eyed Peter.

Who are YOU?’

We’re the Birmingham Anarchist Group’, we said.

No you’re not, WE are the Birmingham Anarchist Group’, Peter said, pointing to a couple of scruffy geezers standing behind him.

Sheer comedy gold!

In the late 1970s Peter had the bizarre misfortune to be raided by the Anti-Terrorist Squad and questioned by Birmingham Special Branch in the hunt for wanted members of the German Red Army Fraction - they might as well have questioned him about The Hunt For The Red October! Whether foreign urban guerrillas were being safe-housed in Birmingham or not, Peter would have been the last man to know.

Peter Le Mare (1939-2019) - RIP

There’s an obituary on the Peace News website: