Our comrade, friend and political collaborator of many decades, Illy, (who wrote under the name Jacques Morand) died of cancer on May 10, 2015. He stood on the side of the working class and the poor and oppressed throughout his activist life. He began as a high school activist and joined a revolutionary Trotskyist group (Voix Ouvriere) in high school in the 1950s in France. He was a member and later leader of the group Lutte Ouvriere (Workers’ Struggle) for 4 decades. He was active in the support of the struggles of the Algerian people against French colonialism, and a participant in the students and workers movement in 1968, the fight by young workers in the trade schools and multiple strikes and actions of workers throughout France.
He was always looking for ways for workers to participate as actively and as decisively as possible in their struggles. He pushed for strike committees and coordination structures that went beyond the limits set by the unions and the professional divisions that kept the workers divided rather than united.
He was a leader of the Group L’Etincelle (the Spark) since the mid-1990s and collaborated with the NPA (the New Anti-Capitalist Party). He knew that the attack by the bosses and the government on working people was a generalized one and encouraged workers on strike and in struggle to break out of their isolation and to extend their fight to other workplaces, to help the working class use its full power.
He was an incurable optimist who had confidence that a better world was both necessary and possible – that the working class and poor could and should run the world in their own interests.
He was a collaborator with Speak Out Now throughout our existence. He visited often and participated in our public meetings like the Revolutionary University in February of 2014. Many of us knew him well and benefited from his vast political knowledge and culture, his activist history and his organizational experience. We appreciated his curiosity, his interest in others, his kindness to all and his sense of humor.
He encouraged us to seize any and all opportunities in the fight for a better world. We were privileged to know him and will honor him by continuing to fight for the goals to which he devoted his life.