John Maclean Internet Archive
From the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement

Municipal Election Address To The Electors Of The Thirtieth Ward

by John Maclean

Delivered: 14 February 1923
Transcription\HTML Markup: Scottish Republican Socialist Movement Archive in 2002 and David Walters in 2003
Copyleft: John Maclean Internet Archive (, 2003. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Fellow Workers, I come before you at this by-election at the request of many members of your ward as a COMMUNIST or RED LABOUR candidate. Pink labourism is of no use to the workers, never will be. Your poverty and misery are more intense today than ever before. Thirteen out of every hundred in Glasgow are getting Parish Council relief, and the number is growing. World developments are bound to make things still worse, even if Britain is lucky enough to avoid another world war.

Mr Bonar Law, at the opening of Parliament yesterday, stated that unemployment was less today by half a million than a year ago. Glasgow at any rate has not benefited, as there are 90,000 workless at the moment as many as a year ago, if not more. Is Glasgow being specially punished for its fighting attitude during the war?

If it is, it is the business of the workers to reply: and the best reply is voting Red Labour. As unemployment is a weapon to cow the workers into accepting lower wages and a longer week, it must be clear that the main problem before the workers of Glasgow is unemployment. That was my attitude in October 1920, when I started the present unemployed movement in Glasgow; that is my attitude today.

I propose, if returned, to place before the Corporation a scheme that would absorb all the unemployed of Glasgow. The gist of my proposal is to reclaim all the moorland lying round Glasgow and establish a system of co-operative or collective farming on scientific lines. Out of this vast experiment would arise experience enough to modernise Scottish agriculture.

The cost the first year would be £26,000,000, a sum the government could easily raise on Treasury Bills, and lend to the Corporation free of interest, or at 1 per cent at most. If last year over £100,000,000 were sent abroad as invested capital, why should not this year the above sum be earmarked for Glasgow?

This scheme would involve house-building on the bungalow or cottage principle within village communities scattered all round the area reclaimed. These houses would not only be erected for those working on the land, but also for those employed in the city. An improved system of transit would bring the moorland area within half an hour of the Clyde.

I am in favour of municipalising every industry suitable for local control, as a briefly intermediate system leading on to social ownership; i.e. ownership free from interest-payment.

I wish to see the city extended so as to control the whole Clyde Valley; in other words, its conversion into a provincial council so as to enable the workers more adequately to control all the industries in this very clearly defined area.

The limits imposed by Parliament on the Corporation necessitate a Scottish Parliament. I wish and am striving for one independent of England altogether, for reasons beyond those of Glasgow’s immediate interests. I wish a Scottish workers’ republic, within which the workers in control can evolve present-day capitalist property into working- class property, as a stage on the road to communal use of all the wealth produced.

My every fight on the Council, my every proposal shall have this larger end in viewÉ