Ted Grant

George MacDonald (Obituary)

Written: March 15, 1985
Source: Militant (March 15, 1985)
Transcription/Markup: Patrik Olofsson, 2006
Proofread: Patrik Olofsson, 2006

With deep regret, we have to inform the readers of Militant of the death of George MacDonald. A member of the Canadian Communist Party from an early age, George joined the Trotskyist movement in 1933 after the victory of Hitler. The criminal failure of the German Communist Party, on the instructions of Stalin, to organise a united front with the Social Democrats to stop Hitler from coming to power played a fatal role. This disastrous policy was supported by all the other Communist parties, that of Canada included, despite the repeated appeals for a united front made by Trotsky and the International Left Opposition.

This betrayal, ending in the destruction of the mighty German labour movement, made an enormous impression on George. He had understood from a reading of Trotsky's writings that this would inevitably result in war on the Soviet Union. A leading activist in the Trotskyist movement, George became unemployed in the world recession before the war. He volunteered for the Canadian army, like many unemployed workers in Britain and Canada today.

He was amongst the first contingents of Canadian troops to be sent to Britain in 1940. He immediately contacted the Trotskyists when he was on leave. Their headquarters were in a small loft in Northdown Street, Kings Cross, London. I met George there and formed a firm friendship, politically and personally. He maintained his connection with the Marxist movement in Britain. Throughout the dark days of the 1950s and 1960s, George never lost heart, always maintaining his faith in the working class and in socialism.

In the last months, he enthusiastically followed the miners' strike. Ill and house-bound, George's interest in the workers' movement never dimmed for an instant. He was an enthusiastic supporter and reader of Militant.

Those of us who knew George will remember him as a gentle and considerate person. The harsh and bitter realities of life under capitalism left no trace upon this side of his character. The many comrades he helped during his lifetime can testify to his unshrinking kindness. Despite all the setbacks and difficulties, his faith in the socialist future of mankind remained undimmed until the end.

George MacDonald left all he possesses to Militant. He skimped himself to try and leave as much as possible to continue the fight for socialism. It is with emotion that we bid farewell to an old soldier in the cause of the socialist revolution. The torch he has dropped will be picked up and carried by the young supporters of Militant. If they remain as faithful to the ideas of Marxism as old George, the future of socialism will be assured.