In Memory of Robert Perreault

Robert Perreault, a Montreal region member of the Internationalist Workers Group died from cancer at 6h00 am. on 11 January 2010. After Bertrand Desaulniers, this is the second IWG comrade to die prematurely during the relatively short existence of our Canadian group. It also follows the premature death in Parma last November of Dimitri Papaioannou (see above), a young member of our Italian affiliate, Battaglia Comunista. Robert’s family asked one of our Canadian comrades to speak at the funeral, and his words are reprinted below.

In the name of the Internationalist Workers Group and our international political organisation, the Internationalist Communist Tendency, as well as a certain number of other comrades who knew him in Montréal and Sherbrooke I want to salute the memory of our comrade, and friend, Robert Perreault. Robert came to us less than two years ago. Even if our political current is still very small and fragile he did not hesitate to join us as an active sympathiser as soon as he could confirm his agreement with our fundamental orientation of struggle against the exploitation of workers, of fighting all forms of oppression and for a more human world of solidarity, that is to say, for a really socialist society.

From the beginning of our common work he had told us about the nature of the inevitable course of the illness which had struck him.

He faced up to it with a great deal of courage and materialist conviction but he was frightened that he might be wasting our time.

On the contrary, in spite of his reticence, and during the little time which he spent amongst us he widely, intelligently and generously contributed to the advancement of our ideas right up until the last months of his life. His contributions can be seen especially in the visual improvement of our publications (how could it be otherwise with a printing worker as Robert was?), in his lively and attentive contact with the new generation of young revolutionaries, in his insistence on the need to discuss current social changes in a serious and disciplined fashion, and to draw the lessons from the setbacks and false roads taken in the past. Robert remains in our memories as a comrade who, in every circumstance, tried to make us stick to our basic orientations and the class interests which he wanted to serve right up to the end, i.e. the exploited class, the working class. Furthermore, in spite of his limited resources, his important financial contributions allowed us to make major advances particularly, as I mentioned earlier, in our publications. Last spring Robert was rushed to hospital and as it seemed certain that he was on his death bed we granted him the statutes as a member in the normal and due form of our organisation. We believe that this confidence was widely vindicated because a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, when he was already seriously weakened with cancer, we worked with him of the new layout alongside the hospital bed which had been installed in his study. He was committed right to the end.

Even if our common journey was too short, even if it was marked by the cruelty of illness, we remember Robert so much for his dedication and seriousness, capable of making severe criticisms whenever he believed them justified, a Robert of acidic wit with whom I would have liked to drink a few more beers, a good companion, a good comrade and, I dare to believe, a friend.

All our sympathies go to his partner France, his son Nicolas, his sisters Yolande, Denise, and Sylvi,e and to his brother Stéphan.

Robert we will miss you your advice, your solidarity and your intelligence. Honour to the printworker Robert Perreault! Thanks Robert.

Richard St-Pierre

Revolutionary Perspectives

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