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Parliamentary Election
Gorbals Division
Candidature of John MacLean M.A.
42 Auldhouse Road
Newlands, 23rd November 1923

First Published: 1923
Transcription\HTML Markup: Revolutionary Communist Group, 1997 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 Electors,

I come before you as the nominee of the Scottish Workers’ Republican Party at the Election to be held on Thursday, 6th December.


My attitude and policy arise out of my view of the world situation and the trend of world events, as do those of Mr. Baldwin. He claims that a high tax on foreign goods and a lower one, or none at all, on colonial goods will help the colonies, and so revive industry here that the unemployed and the employed alike will get a better chance to live.

That I deny. Nothing Mr. Baldwin or any other capitalist politician can do will bring enlarged markets to Britain. His imperial trade preference can but pull the empire more closely together for a bigger and bloodier war than the last.


Mr. Baldwin admits that the European markets are more likely to shrink than expand. Agreed.

Mr. Ll. George and Mr. Asquith in the Liberal manifestos claim that the late Conservative Government has lost the Near East Market by signing the Treaty of Lausanne in favour of the Turks. Agreed, but with the addition that Mr. Ll. George himself began the ruin.

The Mediterranean trade is likely to be reduced, and Britain may be challenged to hand over Gibraltar to Spain and Malta to Italy when Italy, France and Spain get into alliance with one another. Already Italy and Spain are embracing one another.

So far as the Far East markets, the markets of the yellow races of Asia, are concerned, last year I tried to impress on you the importance of a trade conference of all countries bordering on the Pacific Ocean called by the United States of America. This conference was to lay the basis of American supremacy in the Far East markets. The struggle for that supremacy is about to begin. This year America has been busy building factories. Next year these factories will turn out floods of goods for the Far East markets, England will be steadily squeezed out. America, in September 19922, passed the Fordney Tariff Bill giving power to tax certain European imports as much as 50 per cent. of their value.

During the last election Mr. Bonar Law proposed the Imperial Trade Conference, which has just ended, as a reply to the above-mentioned Pan-Pacific conference. Of course he made no reference to the American one, so that people would miss the meaning of his proposal.

As was clearly indicated at the opening of the Imperial Trade Conference, England’s only assured markets were in the colonies. By preference given to goods coming from the colonies it is asserted that the colonies will flourish and trade here will revive. Work will be found for the unemployed. Wages will rise. Baldwin, therefore, seizes his chance to test the electors on the New Imperialism.


I see America aspiring to command not only the Asiatic markets but also those of all America as well. I see America’s ally, France, pinning down England in Europe and gathering allies and strength to capture the Near East, Mediterranean and African markets. I see England in desperation gathering her imperial resources together for a dying kick in the form of a war with America for supremacy of the Pacific Ocean. Admiral Jellicoe has been in New Zealand preparing the naval defences from Australia round the South Pacific to Cape Horn in South America. Now Singapore has to be a naval base for the fleet to defend India.

As Rosyth was got ready against Germany, so Singapore is being got ready against America in the external fight for market supremacy.

The war with America is rapidly rushing upon us.


For the wage-earning class there s but one alternative to a capitalist war for world markets. The root of all trouble in society at present is the inevitable robbery of the workers by the propertied class, simply because it is the propertied class. To end that robbery would be to end the social troubles of modern society. The way to end that robbery is the transfer of the land and the means of production and transport from the present possessors to the community. Community ownership is Communism. The transfer is a Social Revolution, not the bloodshed that may or may not accompany the transfer.


Russia could not produce the World Revolution. Neither can we in the Gorbals, in Scotland, in Great Britain. Before England is ready I am sure the next war will be on us. I therefore consider that Scotland’s wisest policy is to declare for a Republic of Scotland, so that the youths of Scotland will not be forced to die for England’s markets.

I accordingly stand out as a Scottish Republican candidate, feeling sure that if Scotland had to elect a Parliament to sit in Glasgow it would vote for a Working-Class Parliament.

Such a Parliament would have to use the might of the workers to force the land and the means of production in Scotland out of the grasp of the brutal few who control them, and place them at the full disposal of the community. The Social Revolution s possible sooner in Scotland than in England.

If Baldwin’s capitalist policy is to bind the Empire closer together to fight American capitalism and incidentally keep the workers enslaved, then the working-class policy ought to be to break up the Empire to avert war and enable the workers to triumph in every country and colony. Scottish separation is part of the process of England’s Imperial disintegration and is a help towards the ultimate triumph of the workers of the world.


My policy of a Workers’ Republic in Scotland debars me from going to John Bull’s London Parliament. Last year I told you I would not go, as I could get nothing there. So you sent George Buchanan too get your rents back. Buchanan and his friends have spent a fruitless year and have returned home empty of hand. So, after all, I was right. Had the Labour men stayed in Glasgow and started a Scottish Parliament, as did the genuine Irish in Dublin in 1918, England would have set up and made concessions to Scotland just to keep her ramshackle Empire intact to bluff other countries. The curious feature in the Gorbals was that the block Irish vote sent Buchanan into the Parliament of the "Hated English" whilst the Irish chorus was being sung "Ireland a Nation Once Again".

It is the Irish vote that prevents Scotland being a Nation once again and prevents us all as slaves getting our freedom. I appeal to Irishmen not to be led any longer by the old Nationalist wirepullers, but to think out the situation clearly and calmly. Ireland will only get her Republic when Scotland gets hers.


Neither Free Trade nor Protection is of use to the Workers. Taxation of land or capital, including the Capital Levy, is of no use to the workers.

No housing or other social reform is really possible whilst industry is paralysed and the earnings of the workers are ever shrinking. The only possible hope of the working class is Community Ownership of the means of production. The increasing poverty and misery in Gorbals ought to convince the most conservative workers that all the "Woolworth" pottering of the petty politicians of all the "practical" parties (the Labour Party included) has brought no improvement into the life of the citizens of the Gorbals. Your only course now is to back me up for the complete change in the ownership of the world. Every vote cast against me is one cast for World War and the further starvation of the world’s workers.

Every vote cast for me is for World Peace and Eternal Economic Security for the Human Family.

John Maclean