Gordon McLennan, a past General Secretary of the Communist Party, was born in Glasgow on 12th May 1924 and is still alive. Having joined the Young Communist League at the age of 15, McLennan served on the YCL Executive Committee from 1942-1947.
He ended up working as an engineering draughtsman but became a full time worker for the Party in Scotland, first as Glasgow City Organiser, then Glasgow City Secretary, then Scottish District Organiser and, in 1956, the Scottish Secretary. Having joined the national Executive of the Party in 1957, he became National Organiser of the Party in 1966 and General Secretary in 1975, succeeding John Gollan (see separate entry).
He contested numerous Westminister constituency seats for the Party: the Glasgow Govan constituency in the general election 1959, West Lothian in a 1962 by-election, Govan in the 1964 and 1966 general elections, St Pancras North in the 1970 and February 1974 general elections.
In his role as National Organiser, he became responsible for the Young Communist League, which he steered to make major changes in the 1960s and early 1970s in a revisionist direction. In the 1980s, he played a decisive role in creating circumstances where a major division of the Communist Party ensued. Enormous numbers of committed activists left or were excluded or expelled and some re-established the Communist Party in 1988, leaving the increasingly fragmented shell to continue for some four years.
In the meantime, McLennan retired in 1990 to allow Nina Temple to succeed him; in short measure, she had prepared for the dissolution of the shell of the Communist Party of Great Britain. In retirement, McLennan became a highly visible activist in the Lambeth pensioners’ movement. In 1992, he joined the Communist Party of Scotland. He supported the Respect Party led by George Galloway in the 2005 general election.
His pamphlets for the Communist Party include:
`Report on electoral work to the Communist Party’s 27th Congress’ (1961)
`Celebrate the 80th birthday of William Gallacher’ (1961)
`Quit the market - join the world’ (1975)
`Oppose Tory policies: take Britain on a different course’ (1982?)