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Help Preserve the Legacy of Harry Leslie Smith

$10,820 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 330 people in 1 month
Created December 16, 2018
On Nov. 28, 2018, when daybreak was preparing to be born, my father, Harry Leslie Smith, died in my arms at the age of 95, in an ICU hospital ward after battling sepsis and pneumonia for a week. 

The “world’s oldest rebel” who had dedicated his last decade of life to warning the younger generation to not make his past our future by blindly accepting austerity, the politics of hate and the creep of fascism was no more. 

In the last years of his life, Harry, with me acting as his caregiver, son and comrade in arms, traveled across Canada, Britain and Europe to make a last stand to defend the principles of a just civilization where all citizens have the right to public health care, affordable housing, education, proper wages and to be protected when made vulnerable by the cruel hand of fate.

It was not an easy road Harry chose to take at the end of his life. In fact, he would have been much more comfortably off had he just spent his golden years in the pursuit of his own pleasures and comfort. 

But Harry believed in service to society especially when it was in peril, which is why in 1941 he joined the RAF to do his part in the fight against fascism. 

As his son and the person who was closest to him, I know his health would have been much better had he chose to take a backseat to the calamities of our time. He couldn’t though. So, despite pulmonary fibrosis, COPD and congestive heart failure, Harry Leslie Smith raged against the dying of the light through his books, tours, speeches, interviews and podcasts, while I acted as his faithful caregiver, best friend, partner and political collaborator. 

Neither he nor I regretted our decision in 2010 to unravel the tragedies of his generation’s youth during the Great Depression. Moreover both he and I were very gratified that Harry was able to finish five beautiful and poignant books within the relatively short span of eight years, and this is testament to both Harry’s work ethic and mine. 

But books like Harry’s do not earn much and all that he made he drove back into the costs of spreading his message of hope and determination. 

It was a privilege to serve and work side by side with him as he became the living bridge to the great and tragic history of the 20th century. My dad’s life began in the misery of preventable poverty and he was hell bent on ensuring that other people would not experience his hunger and despair. 

Harry was a light of hope in a world made dark by austerity, war and the greed of the 1%. Unfortunately, his sacrifice in later years and my devotion to him have now ironically left me in a tough financial situation because as he was not a professional politician, an academic, a person of wealth, just simply an ordinary pensioner, his Last Stand impoverished him and me. 

Harry’s Last Stand left us with debt that we needed to incur to keep ourselves housed and fed over these last 10 years, so that Harry, along with his generation’s struggle to build a Welfare State for the many and not the few, could be used as a beacon to rally the 21st century into action, before the curtain of populism and the politics of hate blanketed every society across the world in a tyranny. 

It’s why I desperately need your help to keep Harry’s legacy alive and complete his Last Stand. To preserve that legacy and continue on his mission, I need to clear our debts or face the real possibility of losing his copyrights to the bank. What is essential to preserving his legacy is for me to continue with his refugee tour and finish his incomplete book on the refugee crisis as well as write my own book about the profound relationship that Harry and I developed with each other in the last decade of his life when we overcame the grief of losing my brother to pulmonary fibrosis.

Know that whatever you give, your generosity will cement Harry Leslie Smith’s legacy until Britain, Canada and the rest of the world become a place of dignity for everyone. With thank, gratitude and great humility.

John Smith
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$10,820 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 330 people in 1 month
Created December 16, 2018
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