“Such a relief to be working on this with you guys … all the best and sleep much better for all this classy political activity! As I will now!”
That was the last email I received from her. The campaign that she referred to was DiEM25’s recent, and very successful, crusade to save the NHS from further privatisation. It was typical of Rosemary to express gratitude to comrades who owed her so much. And to hint at her own impending long sleep, courtesy of the ‘inconvenient’, as she liked to describe it, disease that would ultimately take her away from us.
I met Rosemary in February 2016 during DiEM25’s inaugural Berlin event, after weeks of frantic emailing that made clear her determination to be part of our pan-European movement from day one to her very last breath. Since then she has graced us all with intense support, criticism, ideas, papers, proposals, campaigns – a one-woman movement that chose our movement to motivate.
A true internationalist, combining the virtues of the Suffragettes, the Spanish International Brigades, the Civil Rights movement, every fair and necessary industrial strike there was, Rosemary found the time and the reason to support me personally during my darkest hours. Never stepping back from being critical, she also never failed to shore up my psyche, to strengthen my resolve, indeed to offer material help well beyond what was either expected or even fair.
Rosemary passed too recently for us, for me, for her comrades, to work out a fitting tribute. For now, it will suffice to emphasise her dedication to preventing our movement from becoming top-heavy, to keeping alive its commitment to its grassroots, to enlisting the Dunkirk spirit in our collective struggle.
Sleep well dear Rosemary. We shall not rest until your spirit reaches everyone that can be reached, across Europe and beyond.