John MacLean Internet Archive                                                    From the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement

Municipal election address

by John Maclean

(Used by all SWRP candidates in Glasgow, 6 November 1923)

First published: November 1923
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

Fellow Citizens,

I come before you as the nominee of the Scottish Workers’ Republican Party.

Today the wage-earning class is either partly or wholly idle and living on a starvation insurance or parish allowance, or fully employed at wages well below the 1913 level. Rotten food, under-supplies of food, insufficient clothing, overcrowding in sunless slums, loss of household goods to pawn- brokers, loss and reduction of pensions, worry over debts and the constant fear of eviction form the fate of a growing mass of workers. This is reflected in 1922 in Glasgow in a reduction of births by 1,525 as compared with 1921, an increase of deaths by 2,088, and especially an increase of deaths amongst infants from 3,135 in 1921 to 3,402 in 1922. Impoverished blood, disease, and death -that summarises the situation. The infant death-rate in Kingston in 1922 was 154, in Cathcart 28, i.e. eleven died in Kingston for every two in Cathcart.

The plight of the masses will be worse because of the European tangle of capitalist rivalries and political jealousies, hatreds and ambitions.

Capitalism is smashing itself to death in competition, strife, and bloodshed. In its path to destruction hundreds of millions of helpless people are being crushed by a growing poverty.

The clinging to capitalism, the ownership of the world by a small propertied class, is driving the people of this planet swiftly along the path to perdition.

The hope of humanity and the path to progress lies in the revolt of the wage-earners against the propertied class, the seizure of political power from the propertied class, and the seizure of the land and the means of production from the propertied class.

These seizures of political and economic power constitute the social revolution. The blood-shedding part of the business can safely be left to the Duke of Northumberland and his friends, the British Fascisti.

This great transformation of society, heralded in Russia by the over- throw of the propertied class in 1917, implies the establishment of a workers’ republic in every country and of a World Council or Parliament to knit the various republics into one worldwide social organisation.

This great change means that the common people (the workers) will own the world in common, produce wealth in common, possess in common all wealth produced, and by common agreement distribute that wealth to the common advantage. This is a big task for the workers, but one forced on us by the worldwide misery of the masses. There is nothing frightful about the task. When this task is carried through the social stealing of class from class shall end for ever, and with the end of robbery armies and navies no longer shall be required, and social murder or warfare shall vanish for ever. This next form of human society is called communism.

If England is involved in a war against France or any other large world power, our party wishes Scotsmen to stand clear by at once proclaiming a workers’ republic in Scotland. That proclamation would imply the establishment of a workers’ Parliament in or near Glasgow.

Herein lies the fundamental difference between us Red Labour people and the pink Labour folk who hide their principles (when they have any) and seek election on petty reforms of a Moderate Party character.

To catch votes many candidates run by the Pinks even exclude all reference to municipalisation and nationalisation.

The collapse of the workers’ standard of life through the collapse of the trade unions officered by the pinks, jealous and quarrelling for pelf, position, and power, proves the impotence of all attempts to patch up capitalism, and justifies our party’s position that only the social revolution outlined above can lay the foundations for the political and economic security of mankind.

Until developments are ripe for a great mass movement, our party considers it right and proper to take part in the everyday struggle of our class for a sufficient allowance of food, clothing, shelter, education, and leisure, and in the defence of members of our class unjustly treated.

Hence we put forward the following programme at this November election on the clear understanding that nothing we can do in the Town Council will materially alter the general condition of our class:

1. Adequate compensation for the widow and children of Bernard Murdoch, murdered in the Southern Police Station.

2. Release of Thomas Hitman at present lying in Barlinnie Prison under sentence of fifteen months for speaking for the unemployed.

3. Prevention of evictions.

4. Work for the unemployed, organised and executed by the Corporation at an adequate wage; or pressure on the government to provide an allowance adequate to maintain the unemployed.

5. A roomy and well-equipped house for every family.

6. Municipalisation of the milk, bread, clothing, and other supplies able to be handled by the Corporation.

7. No work to be undertaken without the knowledge and consent of the employees’ committees.