Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Andrew John (Jack) Cunningham 1927 – 2012


Socialist - Social Justice Fighter - Union Militant 

Jack was of the old school, a union official for whom the interests of the “members” was paramount. He did not check-in at 8 and out at 5 – nor did he know the delights of weekends – if the members needed assistance, no matter the day nor the time,  Jack would be there. Passionate, dedicated and loyal to his union and his class.

A socialist and strident advocate and fighter for ordinary people Jack stood shoulder to shoulder in the front ranks of those struggling for social justice – a 10 or 11 hour day spent ‘on the job’ (working for the union) would often be concluded with a quick leaflet drop for the Labour Party or participation in meetings or on committees of his union, Waikato District Council of the NZFOL, or activist group.

A long time official of the Drivers Union/NDU and an officer of the Waikato District Council of the NZFOL Jacks involvement in union matters grew from his life experience - he exemplified the Gramcian notion of the ‘organic intellectual’; a natural leader thrown up from within his class.  Another of Jacks great strengths was his natural and healthy  suspicion of anyone who used terms like ‘organic intellectual’.

All organisations and campaigns have their newsmakers; the people who front meetings, get media coverage, have their 15 minutes of fame. Successful campaigns also have their workers; the unsung heroes who actually do the work while the newsmakers strut about being famous. Jack was a worker.

There is no greater compliment.

Vale Jack