John MacLean Internet Archive                                                    From the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement

Explanation Of Election Address

by John Maclean

First Published: November 1922
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

Readers who have not been in close touch with the various phases of the socialist movement in Britain for the last ten years and have not closely followed my activities since 1914, may wonder at me issuing an election address to the wage-earning class of the British empire. But I am of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that I am the only standard-bearer of the red flag of marxian communism in the present general election who is fighting untrammelled. No one has done more real work for Russia than I have, by endeavouring to rally all British workers round the mines as a nucleus so that when the clash came British capitalism would have been paralysed by a genuine general strike.

In 1919 whilst in Lancashire I urged an unofficial conference, held in Burnley, of cotton workers to get the cotton trade to rally round Bob Smillie and his fellow miners. At Bradford I urged that the woollen trade of Yorkshire should do the same. I urged the comrades of these two counties to get into touch with the Clyde Workers’ Committee and the general unofficial workers’ movement, so that if the paid trade-union leaders funked the issue the rank and file would carry on alone.

When unemployment began to grow bad in the autumn of 1920 I started the Glasgow unemployed movement, and succeeded in getting the use of the City Hall holding 3,500 comfortably. Latterly we had over 4,000 packed into it twice a week, and at least a dozen packed meetings every week in picture houses all over the city.

I predicted that the end of March 1921 would see the capitalists, through the Federation of British Industries, and its willing tool Lloyd George’s Cabinet, starting a huge offensive against wages. This I mentioned repeatedly in justification of my attack on John Wheatley and the Labour group in the Glasgow Town Council for their dilatoriness in fighting for the unemployed. …My object was to secure the unemployed so that they wouldn’t scab when the fight started.

My prediction came true. The miners were locked out on 1 April 1921 (All Wage- slave Fool’s Day). Betrayed, they fell to ruin and starvation - the greatest betrayal in the annals of Britain. The Clyde dockers were men enough to line up with the miners, but Scotland’s Fascisti, White Guards, or National Citizens’ Union, provided middle- class scabs to load and unload ships, protected by boys in their teens rigged up as soldiers and sailors.

The Glasgow unemployed did their utmost to get the general strike. The men who betrayed Smillie in 1921 have betrayed the other sections of labour since, and the spring of 1923 will see the offensive against the railwaymen, now that the four big railway trusts have been set a-going.

These industrial traitors are the leaders of the Labour Party and will betray labour politically as they have betrayed labour industrially….

All this time I was anxious about Russia, knowing that the best way to lift pressure off Russia was to engage the capitalist enemy at home.

I haven’t got to Russia yet. I’m not going there underground. I must go openly. Lord Curzon, Foreign Minister, has put the bar on my direct request and on my indirect one through Cook’s Touring Agency.

In spite of my keen desire to go to Russia, in spite of my equally keen desire to help Lenin and the other comrades I am not prepared to let Moscow dictate to Glasgow. The Communist Party has sold itself to Moscow, with disastrous results both to Russia and to the British revolutionary movement.

After this General Election, I feel sure that a Scottish Communist Party of genuine marxians will spring up, with the object of establishing a Scottish workers’ republic, so that Scotland will stand clear of slaughter in the event of war between Britain and America….

In any case, the break-up of the British empire is necessary for the real economic development of Russia and the releasing of revolutionary world forces held in check by that bloodiest of bloody brutes, John Bull (Gentleman!).

Scotsmen are found in vast numbers all over John’s empire, and these now look to Glasgow for a lead, as Irishmen abroad look to Dublin. Many of these Scotsmen have been in the socialist movement here at home and not a few have imbibed the elements of marxism in my many classes. Bonar Law, as a Scoto-Canadian, has been selected to retain the loyalty of both Scotland and Canada to John’s empire. Law received his business training in Glasgow, made his fortune in Glasgow, and represented the Gorbals area I am today contesting, about twenty years ago. G. N. Barnes, one of the many Labour traitors, beat him, and so Law had to be put up for the business Central Division.

I claim, and I think rightly, that I am the clear antithesis to Law. I have survived all the murderously foul attempts of Lloyd George to wipe me out. George is now a past event, and it remains to be seen whether Scotsmen of the slave-class everywhere will rally round me, so that I may checkmate chess-playing Bonar the Brilliant and win both Scotland and the colonies for revolutionary labour and communism.

If the wage-slave class of the Gorbals becomes aware of the significance of the fight, and the mighty influence of my heading the poll on 15 November 1922, all over John’s empire, then I feel sure that they will rally to me and their class’s real cause as never before have any workers in Scotland