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Red Clydeside

Mixed Media: ‘Socialist Opposition to the First World War’

THIS IS the title of a display held until last month at the Marx Memorial Library, 37A Clerkenwell Green, London EC1, and organised by them in conjunction with ‘Workers’ School’. It is now moving to other locations inside and outside London until the end of March next year.

More apt is the subtitle ‘An exhibition on working class men and women resisting the war’ as, perhaps advisedly, there is little about the various ‘socialist’ groups of the era. And much of the information that is provided about these groups is faulty, specifically about the British Socialist Party (not to be confused with the Socialist Party of Great Britain—our opposition to the war from day one doesn’t get a mention).

The Myth of Red Clydeside pt.2

(Part 1 can be read here)

The Clyde Workers' Committee resistance was broken after government intervention in Glasgow. In January 1916, workers at Beardmore's (whose strong representation in the CWC proved to be a maverick one) accepted a dilution scheme contrary to the CWC policy. Next month, the suppression of the CWC's paper, three associated arrests, a dispute at Beardmore's over the working of the dilution agreement, and subsequent strikes on these issues provided the opportunity for the removal of those identified as the trouble-makers. Eventually, seven were jailed and a further ten deported to other parts of Britain.

The Myth of Red Clydeside pt.1

The "Red Clydeside" first put itself on the map in the agitated years of the First World War. Since then, it has received plenty of examination. It has been portrayed as a possible revolution in the making; one that could have formed a link with the Bolsheviks and the Spartacists. The Clyde Workers' Committee was the main body in the agitation of the period. It was an unofficial industrial organization of the type that is today favoured by various claimants to the Bolshevik title.

The Confessions of A Clyde 'Red'

    "The only time in my life that I have allied myself with the enemies of the workers has been since I came to the House of Commons, and that is by the order of the Labour Government. Almost every time I go into the Division Lobby I join such tried and trusted friends of the Labour Party as Lloyd George, his daughter, Sir Herbert Samuel, etc. They are keeping the Labour Party in office on condition that the workers and the Labour Party programme are deserted."

Thus writes the Labour M.P. for Shettleston ("Forward," August 2nd). He was, however, the official Labour candidate, and stood for the official Labour Party Programme. He was attacked during the election by another Labourite, Mr. C. Diamond, who has been on three occasions official Labour candidate, and who stated that he has supported the Labour Party because it is not committed to Socialism.

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