Our Comrades


Comrade Neil McLean

Written by: Nick on

The following is the obituary for former CPA (M-L) Chairperson Neil McLean published in Vanguard on November 2012.

Members and supporters of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) are saddened by news of the death of Comrade Neil McLean.

Neil McLean was an activist leader of the Australian student movement in the early 1970s, a period of tremendous struggle by workers and students in Australia and around the world. 

For more than 40 years Neil worked closely with many overseas student activists in Australia and progressive organisations in their countries of origin. He provided leadership to struggles within the National Union of Students against the onslaught by US imperialist neo-liberal restructuring of the tertiary education sector to achieve the privatised user-pay system.  

Neil was a key figure among those who argued that people's struggle, rather than parliamentary politics, was decisive in achieving radical social change.  He promoted Australia’s national independence and links with, and service to, the working class and workers' struggles. 

Neil's activism and study of Marxism led him to join the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) in late 1970s.  Neil was part of a collective of young Marxist-Leninists who had the important role of overseeing the transition of CPA (M-L) leadership after more than two decades of Ted Hill’s leadership and guidance.  In 1986 Ted Hill resigned as Chairperson and the Central Committee elected Neil McLean as the new Chairperson.  He remained in that position for a number of years.

Comrade McLean had a very calm and assured leadership style and applied to himself Chairman Mao’s precept “No investigation, no right to speak”.  To that end he was a patient listener and a thoughtful analyst. Neil contributed to the CPA (M-L)'s efforts in that period to emphasise unity rather than division within the people's movement, and to explore common ground and joint efforts with other left parties.

Tributes to Neil from his wide circle of friends and family painted a picture of a humble and hard working comrade who put others before his own personal interests; he never promoted himself and had no time for self-importance and individualism; he deeply cared for and respected friends and the ordinary people.

Neil made an important contribution to the Australian people's movement and the work of the CPA (M-L).

The CPA (M-L) extends its condolences to Neil's family and friends.


Comrade Neil McLean
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Comrade Neil McLean
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