Frank Gorton: Over five decades building the communist movement

By Steve Penner
April 20, 2020
Frank Gorton, left, shows Militant to striking UFCW members in Toledo, Ohio, 1998.
Militant/Jay ResslerFrank Gorton, left, shows Militant to striking UFCW members in Toledo, Ohio, 1998.

MONTREAL — Frank Gorton, a member and supporter of the communist movement in three different countries for over five decades, died March 30 at the age of 79. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia following a period of declining health.

Gorton joined the League for Socialist Action in Toronto in the mid-1960s, after emigrating from the United Kingdom. He moved back to the U.K. in 1967 with his companion Toni, and was a member of the International Marxist Group and then its successor, the Communist League, for over two decades. He helped wage a successful fight to win the party to get the majority of its members to work in industry and put efforts to transform the unions into instruments of class struggle at the center of building a proletarian party.

Gorton was a member of the Socialist Workers Party in the U.S. for 10 years in the 1990s, and a volunteer in the print shop the party operated in New York, producing the Militant and books by party leaders and other revolutionaries. He also got jobs in auto, garment and meatpacking, where he helped build the party’s trade union fractions.

After Frank and Toni moved back to Canada in 2000, he became a supporter of the Communist League until the end of his life. The Militant will run an appreciation of Gorton’s political life and contributions in a future issue.