By Phil Hearse
I knew Patrick from the days of Revo. In the early 1990s we worked together at the old ISG centre in Seven Sisters Rd on the newspaper format of Socialist Outlook, whose trying production weekends were prevented from going into meltdown mainly by the saint-like forbearance and energy of production supremo John Lister. Patrick overlapped as finance organiser in an organisation that was financially bankrupt and had the trying task of fighting off the bailiffs.
In addition to being a revolutionary activist and strong partisan of the Fourth International, Patrick was seriously interested in Marxist ideas and, most of all, a bon viveur. In the summer we went after work to pubs alongside Finsbury Park, where more often than not he would combine red wine with extremely strong French cigarettes.
He was also a good linguist and he spoke fluent French and Spanish. When Kathy and I came back from Mexico in January 2000 he helped me get a job at Regent Language Training at Embankment, where we mixed with seriously rich Russian, German, Polish, French etc etc business people. Patrick got the job of several 2-week courses with Vietnamese business people, who were amazed he knew so much about the history of the Vietnam war.
He spent a couple of years with his sister and brother in law in Barcelona, working in English language schools. Barcelona, a city where people go out to eat at 11pm, was his kind of town. He only came back reluctantly. After Regent he worked at Red Pepper around the time of the second invasion of Iraq in 2003 and accompanied Hilary Wainwright on the speaking tour she made to boost her journal and promote her networking ideas. We were not entirely in agreement about this - small potatoes.
Patrick did a postgraduate degree with Peter Gowan at London Metropolitan University, but had a long struggle to get into academia. The increasing brutal system of keeping most young academics on short term, part time, contracts impacted harshly on Patrick. But he persisted and was able to stabilise more regular employment. He had some hard knocks in his personal life, but in recent years found more stability and happiness there too.
Patrick was a critical Marxist, contemptuous of cant and hypocrisy. The sad truth is that the contribution he was able to make was limited by the checks and defeats we suffered in the fight to build a non-sectarian revolutionary organisation in Britain. But he would have been the last to say the fight was pointless, or that socialism doesn't have a future.