Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our editor-in-chief, friend, and comrade Noel Ignatiev. Noel died on Saturday, November 9th at the age of 78. His passing is a tremendous loss to those fighting for the collective project of human liberation. In these times, we take solace in the memories of him people are sharing on social media. Noel’s political work, thinking and writing has been truly inspiring to so many. Hard Crackers embodies a lot of what Noel and many others spent their life fighting for–to document and participate in the strivings of ordinary people in this country (and the world) to forge another world. We are honored to have worked with him so closely over these last few years. In the upcoming weeks we will be reflecting more on his political life and contributions and we invite you all to join us.
In the meanwhile, we want to share this poem written by John Strucker, a former STO member and Noel’s long time friend.
by John Strucker
about the two Trotskyist groups
out of one cellar and into another.
of the archives
of the old groups –
the hopeful fronts of fifty members,
the purified vanguard parties
of less than a dozen cadres.
There was the time we moved him
from the North Side down to Gary,
into a genuine steelworker’s bungalow:
We made a human chain
of socialist cooperation
passing the crates
of roach-flecked books and tracts
down three flights
of gray Chicago stairs
out to the alley
and into our motley fleet
of pickup trucks and VW buses.
After a certain number of Old Styles
it seemed to make sense
to launch the cat-clawed sofa-bed
off the back porch
(heavier than ‘57 DeSotos, those
bastards) rather than
mash it down the stairs and into the trash.
It landed with sickly moan
as if we’d killed a living thing,
and Hilda, Noel’s first wife,
winced at this disrespect for her old sofa
once bought so lovingly on layaway.
One comrade, Thurman,
showed up religiously for every move,
no matter how short the notice
or ugly the weather
which led us to suspect he was a cop.
Now I prefer to believe,
cop or not,
he was a true communicant –
imbibing the ritual Old Style,
pallbearing our battered possessions,
as we split and shifted our lives
from pad to pad.
And what does it say
that I can recall those moving days
than any meeting,