Happy Birthday, Angus

Angus being arresting for protesting the Iraq War at the Syracuse Federal Building in 2003.

We're happy to celebrate long-time SPC activist Angus MacDonald, who will observe his 95th birthday in September. His words have challenged the capitalist system responsible for economic inequity, and his acts of civil disobedience have defiantly fought against US foreign domination and social injustice. We honor him for his deep commitment, his knowledgeable insight, and his inspiring passion, which encourages so many of us to go forward.

My Mentor
Over the years many have read Angus' letters to the Post-Standard. Angus is staunchly anti-racist, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and pro-feminist. Deeply concerned about global warming, Angus is a pessimist determined to keep a humane and constructive outlook.

Probably few know that Angus' career of progressive political engagement goes back with SPC to the 1930s. Or that Angus is a World War II vet or that he used to be a prison guard.

Angus is part of my earliest SPC memories - reaching back to the seventies. At meetings in that era he was - and continues to this day to be - a man burning with ideas and passion. From very early on, Angus has been convinced that the 9/11 official story is enormously fishy.

Angus is my mentor; we seem to have entwined destinies. We've been arrested together several times - at Ft. Benning protesting the School of the Americas and twice (2003, 2007) at our local Federal Building protesting the Iraq War.

In her last several years Sylvia, my late mom, and Angus - widow and widower - grew close. Angus and I even share the same birthday and always, together with my partner Ann, celebrate it together.

Each Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning the three of us are among those taking part in SPC "outreach". If you pass by, be sure to honk. Angus - sitting in a yellow lawn chair - will be tabulating every beep.

- Ed Kinane


Daddy, read you
"A child's prayer"
who diapers
with loving care
has been living with folks
who live to kill
every valley corpse valley
each hill corpse hill
well, daddy is home
in the Land of the Free
with hot glaring eyes
and P.T.S.D.
daddy, who loved
to sing and shou
t is a hand grenade
with its pin pulled out.

- Angus MacDonald
Note from Angus: Shortly after the end of the Viet Nam War, I gave a talk about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at my church. After the service a woman approached me and said, "I know what you are talking about. My husband came home from Viet Nam with PTSD. Before I divorced him he had afflicted injuries on two of our children, which will limit and pain them as long as they live."

My Inspiration
Angus has been an inspiration to younger activists for years, which now includes almost everyone! His gentle manner, hard core anti-capitalist beliefs, and life-affirming spirit have strengthened and challenged me and many others. Who could not be moved by how beautiful he looked during his first arrest - at the age of 90? Who could not be inspired by his refusal to give up his efforts for peace and social justice? In the September 2002 Peace Newsletter Angus wrote a short piece called, "Capitalism Must Go." As I hear his voice in my mind, its conclusion brings tears to my eyes and energizes my soul: "Considering alternatives to capitalism is the second most dangerous undertaking in the world. The most dangerous is to do nothing."

- Carol Baum

My Co-worker
I've had the pleasure of working with Angus MacDonald throughout my 25 years of connection with the Syracuse Peace Council. I recall Peace Newsletter committee meetings in his flat near Onondaga Park where Angus enchanted us with his tales and his wife Barbara's cookies. One recollection which stands out is Angus telling of mimeographing some of the early PNLs for Norman Whitney in the late 1930s. Angus' passionate commitment to combating the scourge of racism has always impressed me.

- Andy Mager

My Codefendant
I am honored that Angus and I (with three others) are codefendants in a trial about our unwanted presence outside the doors of the Federal Bldg. Angus, without intention, continues to show us what compassion, dignity, and gentle determination for justice look like.

Happy Birthday, you loving trouble-maker.

- Rae Kramer