An active Communist from around the age of 16 years of age, Glen Baker was born in Ipswich and became the YCL branch secretary there. In 1972, he moved to London, joining the Haringey YCL and Party branches. By 1977 he had moved to Hackney and the `Victoria’ Branch.
He was closely involved with the cultural magazine Artery in the 1960s and 1970s and was long active in CARDRI, the body based in Britain defending progressive Iraqis against the repression of the Saddam Hussein regime. He was also a member of the executive of the National Council of Liberation. A member of CPSA from his early working days, he was later much involved in PCS, the civil service unions.
Baker is described as a “a private man, not prone to declamatory speeches; a very thoughtful, well-read and intelligent personality. When he spoke, it was worth listening to, for he had a sharp, analytical mind.”
These talents were very clearly shown in his role as a regular reviewer for the Morning Star arts page. These were of a very wide ranging character and he reviewed novels, political theory, history and theatre, especially the fringe theatre. The `Sturdy Beggars’, a west London group in the latter tradition regarded him as a particularly “loyal supporter of socialist theatre”.
In Baker’s very last review, regarding Carver at the Arcola Theatre, in passing but absolutely accurately, he wrote that he himself was “capable of evocative prose and of discerning the beauty in nature”. All his reviews were informative and of a positive turn, even when he disagreed with those he was reviewing, for he always kept the reader in mind.
Baker was a member of the Communist Party of Britain and the secretary of its Hackney branch until his untimely death in August 2005, aged 57.
Sources: Morning Star and Mary Davies