An old Comrade dies: Sam Mainwaring

All old comrades who knew the Mainwarings will regret the passing away of Sam, who died this week after an operation. Sam was the nephew of the famous Sam Mainwaring, and was reared by him, in every sense of the word. To be brought up in such an environment, it would be impossible to be anything else than a revolutionist and an anarchist. The elder Mainwaring was a pioneer of Anarchism in England and Wales, a friend of Kropotkin and especially of William Morris. He started in collaboration with Tarrida del Marmol the Social General Strike an English paper advocating industrial direct action. The watch-word was “Watch your Leaders”, indicating their attitude towards the corrupt trade union bureaucracy of that day.

The younger Sam emigrated to South Africa whilst quite young and was active in the newly born labour movement there. So much so, in fact, that he soon found it wise to move on, so he emigrated to South America. But ever active he was compelled once more to move on, this time to the United States, where he worked on the Western Seafront in the early and active days of the I.W.W.
At that time the Mexicans were in revolt, and the ‘Wobs’ were using San Francisco as a jumping off point. The brothers Magon were issuing their paper Regeneracion from there, and Sam Mainwaring was in the midst of all their activities.

He eventually returned to his native Wales, there to work as a miner. His life was an object lesson to that numerous body of comrades who are continually asking “What can we do to help?” For years Sam was one of our best literature sellers; he was at every public and lodge meeting. Always ready and willing to take the part of the bottom-dog, he was continually at war with the petty tyrants of the trade unions and the Labour Exchange. His bad health and his age decreased his activities in later years, but nothing pleased him more than to hear of increased propaganda, and to know of the young people who were taking up the study of anarchism. He looked forward to the not far distant day, when the corrupt decadent trade unions, with their flag-waving, imperialist leaders would be swept into oblivion, making way for a militant class-conscious organization, aimed, not at amending, but at ending the wages system.

We bid you good bye, not with tears in our eyes, but with a strong resolve in our hearts to lift the banner that is fallen from your hand, and to carry it on with the same class loyalty and courage. We salute those who, like you, fought almost in the Night, without any hope of seeing the Day and the Dawn. You were of those that built the bridge by which the proletarian army will, march to the emancipation of humanity.

From: War Commentary vol. 5 no.4 (Mid-December 1943).