Obituary: Roger Moody: 1940s – June 2022

IssueAugust - September 2022
Comment by Mines and Communities

Vegan before it became fashionable, Roger Moody was a Peace News co-editor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He went on to become a mining researcher and activist. For over 40 years, he was crucial to the process of building global alliances in the struggle to hold multinational mining companies accountable for the social and ecological consequences of their activities.

One of Roger’s endearing, if frustrating, characteristics, was his unwillingness to reveal his age: he was born in Bristol at some time in the mid–1940s.

For many years, Roger cared for his older brother Peter, who had Down’s Syndrome. Peter, who died in 1998, made a useful contribution to the work of the Minewatch Collective, particularly by defusing tense conversations with humour. Roger and Peter wrote a book about their life together, called Half Left. (Peter would usually reply to the question, ‘Are you all right, Pete?’ with the quip, ‘No, I’m half left.’)

Along with his friend Jan Roberts, Roger set up CIMRA (Colonialism and Indigenous Minorities Research and Action) in the 1970s to stimulate support for indigenous land rights struggles across the world.

At the suggestion of Indigenous activists in 1978, those involved in CIMRA set up Partizans (People against RTZ and its subsidiaries) to work against the mining company RTZ (Rio Tinto Zinc, now just Rio Tinto) for its multiple violations of indigenous rights.

Partizans pioneered the technique of attending company AGMs to raise issues of concern.

Roger then helped to found the London-based Minewatch Collective in 1990, the global Mines and Communities network in 2001, and the London Mining Network in 2007. He wrote many, many articles and books, including Plunder! (a history of RTZ to 1991).

Roger has had a formative influence on many people in many places and is credited with having brought people together into activist groups, taught people about mining, even being the catalyst for marriages.

It is also true to say that Roger could be difficult to work with, and sometimes adopted contrarian positions almost as a way of testing people’s commitment to their own views. Nonetheless, his massive influence in the creation of networks of activists against mining injustice across the world, and his personal influence on so many of us, is a tribute to his dedication to the cause.

The vast affection in which he is held is clear from the tributes we have received from researchers and activists around the world, including India, Indonesia, Colombia, Ghana, Mongolia, Chile, Brazil and Serbia.

‘He will be remembered by all of us for a great many things, but let me add one more, about which Roger and I would joke from time to time: if you look up the word codswallop (‘ideas, statements or beliefs that you think are silly or not true’) in the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest entry is appropriately linked to Roger’s name, as he was most definitely the sort of fellow to call out codswallop when he saw it.’ – Stuart Kirsch, professor of anthropology, University of Michigan, USA



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