John Maclean Internet Archive
From the Revolutionary Communist Group

A Scottish Communist Party

By John Maclean

First Published: The Vanguard, December 1920
Transcription\HTML Markup: Revolutionary Communist Group, 30 March 1998 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.

The press report on “A Third International Meeting in Paris” affords the opportunity of letting us publish the fact that we are summoning by advertisement, not by circular, all in Scotland who favour the gist of the “Twenty-one Points” to attend in person or by delegate a conference to form a Scottish Communist Party to represent the marxian communism in Scotland, or a definite series of groups who will co-operate or amalgamate with the most definitely marxian organisation in Scotland, the Socialist Labour Party, which fortunately has its headquarters in Glasgow.

We are of opinion that the SLP will raise no vital objection to the preliminary conditions laid down by the Bolshevik International at Moscow. Until "real delegates" can get a chance to meet our Russian comrades in open and mature conference, the "points" enumerated are but provisional and need cause no heat or undue excitement. The main thing is to get the clearheaded and honest marxian revolutionists into one camp. We in Scotland must not let ourselves play second fiddle to any organisation with headquarters in London, no more than we would ask Dublin to bend to the will of London.

Whatever co-operation may be established between the revolutionary forces in the countries at present composing the "United" Kingdom, that co-operation must be based on the wills of the free national units…

Let attention be paid to point 17. "Each party must change its old name to that of communist party of such and such country, section of the Third International."

William Gallacher is going the rounds ridiculing the idea of a “Scottish” Communist Party because he has been to Russia and poses as the gramophone of Lenin. Nothing in point 17 precludes the formation of a Scottish party as Scotland is a definite country. The exercise of a little honest thinking will demonstrate that. Now, Scottish marxians are surely not going to accept as an authority on marxism a man such as Gallacher who never was a marxian but an openly avowed anarchist. Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviki were and are very rigid marxians. Because of their faithful adherence to principles they have won through and are holding out with amazing success.

A real revolutionary party can only be established here on Marx, not on Bakunin, by fully avowed marxists of long years standing. If Lenin tells us to unite with elements who are anarchists, we must reply by asking the Bolsheviks to unite with the Mensheviks or the Social Revolutionaries. We stand for the marxian method applied to British conditions. The less Russians interfere in the internal affairs of other countries at this juncture the better for the cause of revolution in those countries. Rothstein’s activities drove Fairchild out of the BSP, and his approaches to me created a situation that compelled the BSP to gently slip me out. The leadership of the BSP then fell to Lieut. Col. Malone MP, who in 1918 was on the executive of the Reconstruction Society, the body that flooded the country with leaflets poisoning the minds of the people against Russia and the Russian revolution.

To ask me to work with Malone for revolution is a joke. A man like that ought not to be allowed in a revolutionary marxian party. Whatever may be contended against Turati, Kautsky, Hilferding, Hilquit, Longuet and MacDonald ought surely to apply with greater force to men such as Malone. To allow a Malone to lead a revolutionary party after a record such as his is high treason to communism. You might as well appoint Churchill “honorary” president of the Russian republic!

If England is to be led by Malone, then let us marxians in Scotland forge ahead on entirely independent lines.

Scotland is firmer for marxism than any other part of the British empire. Clyde speakers get bigger and better audiences in Scotland than speakers across the borders, with very, very few exceptions. In other words, Scotland is becoming more self-reliant than ever before and looks hopefully for a lead from men reared and trained on this side of the border.

The preparations to use the Scottish coast and Scottish lads in John Bull’s fight with Uncle Sam force on us the policy of complete political separation from England. Hence a Scottish Communist Party. Viewed in the light of all circumstances germane to the crack-up of the British empire and the release of the workers’ revolutionary energy, the proposition of a Scottish Communist Party stands foresquare to the impotent cynicism of poets and demagogues and deserters of the cause on the outbreak of war.