Gordon McLennan (politician)

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Gordon McLennan
Gordon McLennan, CPGB General Secretary (1975-1989).jpg
Gordon McLennan (behind him is a poster against the Industrial Relations Act, probably the one passed under a Conservative government in 1971)
Born(1924-05-12)12 May 1924
Died21 May 2011(2011-05-21) (aged 87)
Known forGeneral Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB)

Gordon McLennan (12 May 1924 – 21 May 2011[1]) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) between 1975-1990.

Born in Glasgow, McLennan worked as an engineering draughtsperson before taking on various full-time posts within the CPGB. He contested the Glasgow Govan constituency at the 1959 general election, then the 1962 West Lothian by-election; Glasgow Govan again at the 1966 general election. He became the National Organiser of the CPGB in 1966, and while holding this post, contested elections in St Pancras North at the 1970 and February 1974 general elections.

In 1975, McLennan was elected as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He held the post while the party was in terminal decline, with factional infighting within the CPGB, finally stepping down in 1989. One of his acts as General Secretary was to appoint Martin Jacques, then an academic at the University of Bristol, as editor of Marxism Today in 1977.[2] After the dissolution of the party, in 1991, he joined the Communist Party of Scotland. He remained active in the pensioners' movement and supported the Respect – The Unity Coalition candidate George Galloway at the 2005 general election. He also maintained contact with the Alliance for Green Socialism, one of the successor bodies to the CPGB (via the Green Socialist Network) but although he addressed AGS meetings and wrote for the AGS journal (Green Socialist) he never joined this organisation.


  1. ^ Francis Beckett Obituary: Gordon McLennan, The Guardian, 23 May 2011
  2. ^ Harris, John (29 September 2015). "Marxism Today: the forgotten visionaries whose ideas could save Labour". theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Lauchlan
Secretary of the Scottish District of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Jimmy Reid
Preceded by
Bill Lauchlan
National Organiser of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Dave Cook
Preceded by
John Gollan
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Nina Temple