A Tribute to Alan MacKinnon

Alan MacKinnon, who died last week was a communist who fully supported and respected the work that the Campaign for Socialism did in trying to reclaim the Labour Party for left politics.

I can’t remember when I first met Alan. I expect it was at a CND event. But I do remember when I worked most consistently and intensely with him and that was in the Scottish Campaign for Justice not War, the broad based committee that provided the basis of the opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the massive anti-war in Iraq demonstration in Glasgow in 2003. In that organisation Alan was consistent, thoughtful and firm – pretty much how he was in every political encounter I ever had with him.

The consistency was an integral part of his Marxist philosophy and Communist Party membership. But it did not make him uncritical of the Communist Party or members of it, for that matter. And like many involved in socialist politics he was driven by a profound humanitarianism. That explains why, despite significant risk to his own health and while he was being treated for cancer, he went to Sierra Leone to work for Medecins San Frontieres after he retired as a GP. He sent back a series of letters describing the situation he found there. These became popular on the CfS user group.

I was hoping to meet with some comrades this weekend to celebrate his life, however, I will be at the Labour Party conference in Brighton so I will miss it, but I know that Alan would have understood that the struggle continues. How we will miss the enormous energy, insight and humanity that he brought to it.

On behalf of the Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism our deepest sympathies to his wife Karin and his children, Maeve and Ian.

Vince Mills

Chair, Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism