Social Democracy

The Worker

Although both were persecuted and suppressed by the British state the political line of the Worker is very different from that of Maclean/Petroff and Vanguard. The Clyde Workers’ Committee put themselves forward as patriots who seek to produce plentiful munitions but are sabotaged by the capitalist class which is more interested in profits. Thus they seek only to continue the class struggle during the war but do not denounce British Foreign policy etc., but demand the workers take over industry to run it in the patriotic interest. Of course they had to reflect their base, composed as it was of patriotic but class conscious workers who would fight over their own conditions but perhaps not much else outside Clydeside. They are syndicalist rather than Marxist and clearly there was great hostility between Gallacher and Maclean-Petroff both political and, as so often happens, personal. Above all, as by 1918-1919 it was apparent that the Bolsheviks had approved of Maclean’s line, I sense that Gallacher never forgave Maclean or Petroff.

On 29 January 1916 p. 5, an article appeared in The Worker, the newspaper of the Clyde Workers’ Committee, entitled “Should the workers arm?” The article emphatically said they should not but rather organise industrially. Soon afterwards William Gallacher (chairman of the CWC and member of the British Socialist Party), Walter Bell (business manager of the Socialist Labour Press and member of the Socialist Labour Party), and John Muir (editor of The Worker) were arrested and charged under DORA with the offence of intending to cause sedition because of the article. Gallacher got 6 months and Muir a year. The paper was suppressed.

There must be, probably in Scotland, a copy of the third issue which we cannot find. The MIA would be most interested to learn where a copy of this missing issue is. It may not catalogued as such but simply listed among “various” or “miscellaneous” in a personal collection somewhere.

Ted Crawford

The Worker, No. 1, 8, January 1916

p. 1 Prepare for Action, Wm Gallacher
p. 2 Our Case in Brief, J.W Muir
p. 2 Lloyd George Denials, anon
p. 2 Worth Knowing, On Lloyd George meeting, letters from Gallacher & Messer
p. 2 A Welcome, John S. Clarke.
p. 3-4 The Dilution of Labour, Mr Lloyd George in Glasgow and Saturday Meeting, anon
p. 4 Round the Yards etc from Forward plus reply. Anon

The Worker, No. 2, 15, January 1916

p. 1 German Gold on the Clyde, by W. Gallacher
p. 1 The Workers in the Workshops, by W. Stewart
p. 2 Prevent Conscription, by anon
p. 2 Wanted 50,000 Fighters, by Councillor John Wheatley
p. 3-4 The Clyde Workers Committee And Mr Lloyd George, by anon
p. 4 Clyde Delegates Visit Mersey, by D.S.M.
p. 4 Germans on the Clyde Or The Gospel According To Ananias

The Worker, No. 4, 29 January 1916

p. 1. A Call to All Workers, by Wm Gallacher
p. 1-2 What about the Miners. A Call to Robert Smillie, by Myner Collier
p. 2 Suburban Munition Workers Revolt, by J.B.
p. 3 Notes and Comments, by J.Paton
p. 3 What Conscription Really Means, by J. McManus
p. 4 All Things Work Together, by Anon
p. 4 Another Insult to the Clyde, by Anon
p. 5 This Way for Slavery Please!, by Watchtower
p. 5 Prussian Patriotism – An Alliterative Article, by A.H.
p. 5 Should the Workers Arm? A Desperate Situation, by K.
p. 6 The Spirit that Wins, by W.G.S.
p. 6 The Awakening of the Clyde Workers, by J.T. Aitken
p. 6-7 Slavery from Military Necessity but not if the Clyde says No, by Guy Aldred
p. 7 Compulsion and Efficiency, by E.M.
p. 8 Casual Remarks on Labour’s Enemies, by D.M.
p. 8 To Married Men” & “Query for Married Men, by J.S.C.
p. 8 Shall the Apathetic make the Rebel Slaves, by K.S.

Issue no.1 National Archives MUN 5/70 file which deals with the raid on the Forward printing press and has an extract from the last confiscated issue of Vanguard in 1915. 4 pages;
Issue no.2 is from the TUC Library. 4 pages.
Issue 3 I cannot find yet.

Issue 4 National Archives Scotland in the file dealing with the arrest, imprisonment, bail and prosecution of the CWC leadership. 8 pages.