News - February 2006

KEVIN BURNS - 1968-2006 - RIP

26th Feb '06

It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent untimely death of my friend and comrade Kevin Burns at the age of 37. Kevin was a former member of Anti-Fascist Action and Red Action in Glasgow and a keen supporter of the republican cause and Celtic FC.

I first met Kevin after he was arrested during an AFA organised mobilisation against the BNP's Scottish Rally in December 1991. It was shortly after this event that Kevin decided to join AFA and subsequently Red Action. He was involved in all of the organisation's major actions against fascists like the BNP and NF, as well as being an enthusiastic contributor to everything that we organised; from organising meetings and stewarding gigs and marches to sticker runs and sales at Celtic Park of the TÁL, Red Action and Fighting Talk magazines.

Originally from the Hamilton area of Lanarkshire Kevin had moved to Glasgow after attending Stirling University. A working class lad, his instincts while at university and after leaving were always sceptical towards the middle-class left and it is testament to the working class composition and politics of Red Action that a young lad like Kevin decided to join us at the time he did. He was courted by many on the left but it was the uncompromising anti-fascist and pro-republican politics of Red Action that he most readily identified with

He was small and wirey in stature but was nonetheless 'game' for the physical struggle against the fascists giveng good accounts of himself in any encounters with the far-right. He also had a sharp political mind capable of quick analysis and tactical interpretation of events, This was accompanied by a dry sense of humour and a natural exuberance for life that was surprising considering the amount of time he spent listening to the songs of Nick Cave!

I remember one occasion when we had been out on a pub crawl around the bars in the Gallowgate with a visiting fan of St Pauli. On the way home we were discussing with our German friend what were the most appropriate forms of action to take against fascists. As me and the visitor continued to discuss the pros and cons, we passed a pub in the city centre where the local BNP were known to drink, Kevin just picked up a half-brick and launched it through the pub window... "That's the best way to deal with that scum and anywhere that they're made welcome," he said.

Whilst a member of Red Action, Kevin was also a frequent visitor to the north of Ireland and whilst there he took part in organised visits to republican prisoners-of-war in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. He found inspiration in their struggle and identified especially with street-level politics of Sinn Féin in local communities like West Belfast.

In recent years Kevin had dropped out of political activity, but his instincts remained the same. he was always on the side of the working class and the oppressed.

I had lost contact with him since moving away from Scotland and it is with great regret that I did not see him or have the opportunity to at least talk to him or socialise with him once again before he so sadly passed away.

He was one of the good guys and he will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends.

He will remain forever in our thoughts.

Kevin Burns - 1968-2006 - RIP

Reproduced from TAL Fanzine forum