• 1910

    Copenhagen Congress  Copenhagen Congress of 2nd International called for workers to oppose war
  • 1912

    Don’t Shoot  leaflet (Guy Bowman, Tom Mann, Fred Crowsley –all imprisoned)
  • 1914

    Industrial Peace 1914 (end of Aug) TUC and LP declared ‘industrial truce’, supported by Hyndman
  • 1914 Union of Democratic Control (UDC) formed

    Opposed the war from the start, as did Sylvia Pankhurst whose organisation, the East London
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JOHN MCLEAN AND WILLIE GALLACHER

Opposition to WW1 centred in Clydeside. Mclean immediately set about educating the workers about the real nature of war by taking the message directly to the shipyard gates. The Defence of the Realm Act had made strikes illegal and the TUC had made a pledge of industrial peace for the duration of the War and so strikes were unofficial, shop steward led strike, (most of whom were pupils of MacLean), in defiance of the Union. The workers formed rank and file Labour Withholding Committee to conduct the strikes but were forced back to work with no strike pay. However this was to prove the start of real militancy on the Clyde.

 

RENT STRIKE

Since the start of the War the landlords had taken the opportunity to push up rents. MacLean helped organise the women, under the leadership of Mrs Barbour, and in Govan the women refused to pay increased rents. The agitation soon spread to other areas of the city as working class women organised against the landlord.

MUNITIONS ACT

Passed July 1915 this prevented right to organise, to strike or to move from workshop to workshop   The rank & File soon learnt that the union leaderships were preparing to betray them and so took steps to reform Labour Withholding Committee. Delegates were sought from every shop across the Clydeside and a Manifesto was drawn up, “ To organise the workers upon a class basis and to maintain the class struggle until the overthrow of the wages system, the freedom of the workers and industrial democracy have been attained ". The new body became known as the Clyde Workers Committee  and it was to play a central role in Clydeside’s opposition to War.

WILLIE GALLACHER (far right)

Gallacher was an engineer who opposed the war and was chair of the Clyde Workers’ Committee.

He was initially also opposed to affiliation with the Labour Party. However, he changed his mind after meeting Lenin in Moscow. He later recalled: "It was on... the conception of the Party that the genius of Lenin had expressed itself... Before I left Moscow, I had an interview with Lenin during which he asked me three questions. Do you admit you were wrong on the question of Parliament and affiliation to the Labour Party? Will you join the CP when you return? Will you do your best to persuade your Scottish comrades to join it? To each of these questions I answered yes."


He was a founder member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and was later elected as a Communist MP for West Fife.

Willie Gallacher

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