Comrade Issy Wyner (1916-2008)

August 16, 2008

Issy Wyner, one of the early Australian Trotskyists, passed away on August 13, aged 92.

Issy was born in Marrickville in 1916 - the first child of Latvian Jewish migrants. His father, Samuel, was one of the founding members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). According to Hall Greenland's Red Hot: The Life & Times of Nick Origlass, on the occasion of his Bar Mitsvah (insisted upon by his religious mother), his father gave Issy a present of the Collected Proceedings of the First Five Congresses of the Communist International.

Issy worked closely for decades with the late Nick Origlass, most famously in a struggle against the CPA for leadership of the Balmain docks. Wyner joined the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia in 1939 and eventually became its secretary in 1974 and later its president.

In later years Issy and Nick were active in local council politics. Issy was an alderman and councillor on Leichhardt Council for 25 years (1959-1991) and mayor of Leichhardt from 1989-1990. With Nick, he was involved in important struggles for community services, and over urban and industrial development and the expansion of Sydney airport.

Issy wrote a two-part history of the Painters and Dockers Union, With Banner Unfurled and My Union Right or Wrong: A History of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union 1900-1932. He also wrote Open Council: A New Era In Local Government.

Issy is survived by his son, Larry Wyner.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.