Revolt on the Clyde
is William Gallacher’s eye witness account of the tumultuous events of Glasgow in 1919 – and more – in an era that helped put the ‘Red’ into ‘Red Clydeside’: as the bastion of Scottish socialism. It is the story of establishing workers’ councils, of rent strikes and of the opposition to the First World War, an opposition that seemed poised to usher in a socialist revolution in Scotland.
Tanks on the streets, local regiments confined to barracks and the imposition of martial law.
This was not Petrograd, but Glasgow in 1919.
Revolt on the Clyde is William Gallacher’s eye witness account of these tumultuous events – and more – in an era that helped put the ‘Red’ into ‘Red Clydeside’: as the bastion of Scottish socialism. It is the story of establishing workers’ councils, of rent strikes and of the opposition to the First World War, an opposition that seemed poised to usher in a socialist revolution in Scotland.
It is also the story of the extraordinary individuals who fashioned those times: of John Maclean and V.I. Lenin – and of Gallacher himself, a working class leader, temperance campaigner, Communist MP, and central force, driving events on the Clyde from 1913-19.
This story continues to inspire, and it maintains its relevance for the present day, as an unsurpassed account of struggle, sacrifice, idealism and industrial militancy. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the twentieth-century history of the left in Britain, and especially Scotland.
Foreword – Gary Smith
Introduction, 2017 – John Callow
1. Early Days
2. John McLean and Some Others
3. The February Strike
4. ‘We Are Not Paying Increased Rent’
5. The ‘Jingoes’ Try Their Hand
6. The Clyde in Wartime
7. Conscription and Prison
8. Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils
9. Last Days of John McLean
10. The Battle of George Square
11. I Meet Lenin
12. After the General Strike
‘The account of [Gallacher’s] struggles should alert us to the fact that progress is not always made in a neat upward projection … He never gave up, nor should we in our attempt to build a better society. It is to be hoped that this fine new edition which has been enhanced by archive photographs and a scholarly introduction, will assist this cause.’
– Andrew Sanders, Scottish Left Review
‘Above all, for a twenty-first-century audience [Revolt on the Clyde] is a re-affirmation of the potential for principled opponents of austerity, nationalism and militarism to find a mass audience, and of the necessity to reach out and find allies, to build social movements to challenge the elites.’
– Richard Allday, Counterfire
‘Gallacher’s eyewitness account … offers an important insight into the unique political and social culture that that existed on Clydeside during and immediately after World War One (as well as into measures taken by the British state to stifle it).’
– Jeremy Tranmer, Cercles Review