Ian Macdonald, 1957-2009

We mourn the untimely loss of our British comrade Ian MacDonald, who died Sunday Nov. 15 after a brief battle with cancer. A member of the London Corresponding Committee and a frequent writer for its journal, The Hobgoblin, he was also a long-time, highly respected union activist.  Ian wrote extensively about the ills of the social work system for which he last worked.

MHI sent the following message with our condolences to the London Corresponding Committee:

What a shock, and what a tragedy. It’s difficult to believe that someone so full of life and so dedicated to Marxist-Humanism is suddenly gone. I will always treasure the contributions he made to the U.S. movement through his proletarian perspective and his Left experience–and most of all, his passion for a new society.

The following  press release is from his local union:




It is with great sadness that Surrey County UNISON has to report that Ian MacDonald, a long-standing UNISON activist and our lead convenor for social care died on Sunday morning at 6am. Ian had been ill for some months and was diagnosed with cancer only a few weeks ago. Although Ian was a fighter, this was one fight too many.

Paul Couchman, Branch Secretary, said “Ian was one of a kind – an honest, hard working and committed trade unionist and socialist – who always put the needs of members first. Ian was never afraid to speak up for workers and spent his entire life organising and defending workers in Surrey, in Britain and Internationally. Many of the rights, terms and conditions we take for granted in Surrey would not exist if Ian had not been at the fore.

One of the last things Ian did was to make a short video message offering his solidarity to colleagues in children’s services, which was played to UNISON members at a meeting on Friday. This video is available on our website.

I knew Ian personally for thirty years. We met in the Labour Party Young Socialists (youth section of the Labour Party) in the early eighties. Like many, we both left the Labour Party when we felt it had turned on working people. Ian grew to be a comrade, a political confidant and a close personal friend. He will be sorely missed.

Many of you sent get well wishes when you heard that Ian was ill. We also have many donations towards a collection for him and his family. We will pass all of these on to his wife, Carol, and if any of you would like to send your condolences we will make sure all of these are also kept and given to Carol ….

UNISON will make sure that Ian’s work and commitment is continued and built upon. This is the least we can do ….

Chris Leary
Chief Executives Office Convenor
Surrey County UNISON
For solidarity – at home and internationally
Tel: 020 8541 9091
Direct: 020 8541 7954
Fax: 020 8546 6993
Email: chris.leary@surreycc.gov.uk
National UNISON website: www.unison.org.uk
UNISON South East: www.unison.org.uk/southeast
UNISON young members: www.unison.org.uk/young
Surrey County branch website: www.surreycountyunison.org.uk

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