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Snapshot: Timeline of Red Clydeside

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Snapshot: Timeline of Red Clydeside. What was Red Clydeside?. Shorthand for events between 1915 and 1919, when strikes and demonstrations convinced the Government that a revolution might take place. Debate about significance of events. First phase: events in wartime.

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what was red clydeside
What was Red Clydeside?
  • Shorthand for events between 1915 and 1919, when strikes and demonstrations convinced the Government that a revolution might take place.
  • Debate about significance of events.
  • First phase: events in wartime.
  • Second phase: post-war strikes and demonstrations. Election of 10 Labour MPs in the 1922 elections.
key events of red clydeside
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • DORA and the Munitions of War Act forbids strike action.
  • 1915: Engineers at Weirs threaten strike action over fears of their position as skilled workers and the introduction of more highly paid American engineers.
  • Weir and Lloyd George refer to union leaders as idle drunkards (most teetotal).
key events of red clydeside1
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • Dilution of Labour dispute, Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Lang’s of Johnstone, 1915.
  • Two strikes at Fairfields over the leaving certificate system. Strike leaders punished and fined.
  • Glasgow Rent Strikes.
  • Clyde Workers’ Committee became the focus of opposition to the Government.
key events of red clydeside2
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • John Maclean, Patrick Dollen, James Maxton, Willie Gallacher and David Kirkwood emerge as radical leaders.
  • Disastrous meeting 25 December: Lloyd George heckled and booed.
  • The Forward and Vanguard socialist newspapers suppressed.
  • 1916: socialist leaders arrested for sedition.
key events of red clydeside3
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • March 1916, David Kirkwood and other union shop stewards arrested and ‘exiled’ to Edinburgh.
  • Most leaders allowed to return to work by 1917.
  • Only John Maclean not released until July 1917.
  • Russian Revolution, 1917.
  • January 1918, Maclean appointed the first Bolshevik consul for Scotland.
key events of red clydeside4
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • Maclean arrested April, 1918 for sedition.
  • Vast May Day demonstration, 1918: many demands for an end to the war.
  • Maclean imprisoned. Attempts made to ‘section’ him.
  • Maclean refused to eat prison food; was force-fed.
  • Maclean released from prison, December 1918.
key events of red clydeside5
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • Demands to reduce the working week: the Amalgamated Society of Engineers sought a 47-hour week.
  • In Scotland there was support for a 40-hour week (this would ease unemployment and was supported by the Labour Party, ILP, STUC and Glasgow Trades Council).
  • January 1919: strikes, ship-workers came out, as did other skilled workers.
key events of red clydeside6
Key events of Red Clydeside
  • Friday 31 January: ‘Bloody Friday’ saw 100,000 demonstrate in George Square in Glasgow in support of a 40-hour working week and at the end of rent restrictions.
  • Fighting between police and demonstrators led to massive overreaction by authorities, who moved 12,000 English soldiers to the city, supported by six tanks.
  • Strike ended swiftly as strike leaders were shocked at the violence.
  • Demands of strikers never met.
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