John Maclean, Justice, May 1911

Notes from the North

Source: “Gael” (John Maclean), Justice, 6 May 1911, p. 3.
His daughter, Nan Milton, in her biography John Maclean, 1973, Pluto Press, p. 57, says that Gael was his pen name in “Scottish Notes” which started in November 1911 in Justice. In fact the first use of this pseudonym was in an isolated earlier column on the 6th May 1911 entitled “News from the North”;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

May Day was celebrated in several places in Scotland on Sunday, May 7. The procession in the Glasgow event was larger and longer than ever before. Some say it extended nearly two miles. Let it be ten next year, and let the trade-unions proclaim May Day as a workers’ holiday.

Already 500 have been victimised at Singer’s. All were prominent in the strike and most are members of the branch of the Industrial Union. Many of the victims have been from 10 to 20 years in the works. This will be a heavy blow at the union, which will have to develop a heavy purse before it will again dare to strike. Inexperienced enthusiasm for pure industrial action separated from political action may now learn that not alone has the field of politics its illusions. We, of course, have no desire to damp ardour for industrial action or organisation. Go on, by all means. But do not in by starting industrial organisation de novo you can hope to beat masters’ federations which are growth of a century. It is better for us to accept trade unions, and, recognising that the are becoming in certain respects obsolete through capitalist evolution, do all we can to bring them up to date by fusion or amalgamation. Effective unions will never exist till the workers are revolutionary Socialists, just as effective political action can never come till the masses are thoroughly class-conscious and are fully determined to stop all robbery by the moulding of present-day capitalism into the co-operative commonwealth.

The rise in prices should spur up our trade union comrades to force all unions to hold a conference this autumn to press forward till 30s. minimum and the eight hour day. A mere talked-out debate on the minimum in the House of Commons is a perfect mockery Pressure of numbers outside the House is now in order.

The Scottish School Board victories justly entitle us to make bolder claims than ever on behalf of the children. Let comrades make a move all over the country for a conference on education of all Labour bodies. This is the second appeal. Make it the last.