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Issue #1590      April 24, 2013

Obituary

Eddie Clynes

The CPA Central Committee deeply regrets to announce the death of Comrade Eddie Clynes on April 18 after a brave struggle with illness.

Eddie was born in Manchester, England on February 29, 1952. His parents, Joe and Blanche, were working class, and both came from East European immigrant families who were non-practising Jews and members of or sympathetic to the Communist Party.

His family was poor but Eddie’s grandparents opened their home to refugees from the Spanish Civil War who were housed in barracks in Manchester. Some of Eddie’s great aunts married Spanish exiles.

His parents opened the first health food shop in Manchester and the family included many vegetarians. As well as politics the family was involved in other causes and Eddie and his family joined many Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activities.

The family emigrated to Australia, disembarking in Melbourne on January 5, 1963, later moving to Perth and then to Sydney.

Comrade Eddie showed an early interest and excellence in mathematics and came 9th in the HSC in NSW. He went on to study maths and physics at the University of NSW and became a teacher on graduating.

He joined the Communist Party of Australia in his early 20s and soon gave up teaching to commit to life of hard work and low wages as a full-time Party worker.

He was steadfast in the difficult years when the CPA gradually moved towards liquidation and gave his loyalty to the Socialist Party of Australia when it was formed to continue the tradition of a Marxist-Leninist revolution party in Australia.

He began running the Party’s printing press but soon took on many more responsibilities at Sydney District and then Central Committee level.

He was dedicated, tireless, conscientious and principled. Politically, he was astute, able to analyse issues as they developed, able to predict trends, a highly developed communist in his thinking.

He was crucial in the development of the Party’s political education programs and was for many years on the Editorial Board and then Editor of the Party’s theoretical journal, the Australian Marxist Review.

He could make complex ideas understandable. He was a highly valued teacher, able to give clear and concise explanations and to engage and stimulate comrades.

His preparation was always meticulous and copies of his class notes are treasured by many comrades.

Comrade Eddie was a superb organiser. His attention to detail and immense energy and practicality were combined with an ability to activate and inspire many inside and outside the CPA to get actively involved in campaigns. His contribution to Party events, peace movement demonstrations and other activities was invaluable.

Eddie was a sweet and gentle man with a tough exterior. In schools he loved his students and very many returned the affection. He was valued, respected and enjoyed as a CPA tutor. Many knew him as a caring and generous friend who would try to make sure you ate well and took care of your health. He adored music and played classical guitar and recorder.

He had high standards for himself and other Party members and could put people offside when he asked for a greater effort than they were prepared to give.

Comrade Eddie was one of the best communists of his generation. His death after a long, brave struggle against a debilitating and painful disease is an appalling loss for the working class movement and the struggle for socialism, but his example and his writings live after him.

Based on the famous song for Joe Hill: “Where workers strike and organise, it’s there you’ll find Eddie.”

The Communist Party sends its deepest sympathy to his partner Jackie, his family and his wide circle of friends and comrades.

A memorial meeting for Comrade Eddie Clynes will be held on Sunday, 19 May from 2 – 4pm at the CFMEU, 12 Station Street, Lidcombe. Full details available soon.   

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