Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surprise birthday bash for Lorne Brown

Next Year Country

On November 16, 2009 Lorne Brown, veteran socialist, academic and activist, turned 70.

A motley crew of radicals, friends and family filled the Cathedral Neighborhood Centre in Regina to celebrate Lorne's contributions and longevity. (More photos here)

Lorne was born on the family farm near Hughton in southwest Saskatchewan in 1939, the year Canada entered WW2.

As a youth he had joined the CCF Youth Movement and went on to study and graduate from the University of Saskatchewan.

In 1969 Lorne was one of the founders of the Waffle movement in the NDP and help develop their manifesto For an Independent Socalist Canada. The Waffle was Canada's largest "new left" organization, though it has a lot of participation from the old left.

In Saskatchewan, Lorne became a professor of political science while maintaining his activism.

(Lorne addressing Saskatchewan Waffle convention in Moose Jaw, 1972)

Brown's writings were always aimed at building popular support the socialist project (through Next Year Country, Canadian Dimension and other publications) or providing critical insights into our history as in his first book with Caroline, An Unauthorized History of the RCMP. Many of his students were to learn from his knowledgeable labour history classes.

His activism also centred around solidarity both here in Saskatchewan and especially with Latin American struggles. The picture below, with Lorne on the right and Bill Gilbey on the left, protesting the US invasion of Grenada.

Lorne remains active, continues to write and lives with his wife Fay in Regina. All his friends and comrades wished him well and looked forward to his continuing participation in Saskatchewan politics.

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