Obituary: Leo McDonald
East London branch regret to have to record the death of our comrade Leo McDonald, a member, on and off, since 1938.
A few years ago Leo wrote his own obituary, from which we reproduce the following extract: “A couple of refugees came from Northern Ireland to Britain. First to Glasgow, then to East London. They came, not to murder Englishmen, but to raise them—navvies, casual dock labourers (one of them, my father). Now I realise how lucky I was. My family background helped me enormously to fail the 11-plus and so avoid being brainwashed in a grammar school. Is 1,937 a prime number? It was a prime year for me. At the start, I left school, aged 14, and soon found the Communist Party (or they found me). On May-Day I joined their march from the City to Hyde Park. There Harry Pollitt told us what our uncle Joe Stalin was doing to help our comrades in Spain against Franco, Mussolini and Hitler. (The Pope’s support for fascism had many like my father and me ex-Catholics.) That day, someone in the Park told me about Tony Turner. The next Sunday I heard Tony’s brilliant presentation of Socialism. I stopped buying the Daily Worker and read the Socialist Standard instead.”
In the Party he served on the ballot committee and also, for a short while, on the Executive Committee. Leo McDonald was a keen Esperantist and used that language to put the case for socialism to people all over the world, as well as arranging for translations for the Party to and from Esperanto. He was also a member of the Marlowe Society (which argues that Marlowe wrote Shakespeare).
At his funeral tributes were paid by speakers from the Party, the Esperanto association and the Marlowe Society.