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From: Article posted to home page Notebook, 6 February 2019: Brief articles and notes on the Socialist Party website

Search site for keywords: Clyde - Glasgow - Workers - Scotland - Socialist

New pamphlet: 1919 - Red Flag over the Clyde

Red Flag over the Clyde

Red Flag over the Clyde   (Click to enlarge)

Pamphlet launch to celebrate centenary:
Thursday 7th February, 7pm, Piper Whiskey Bar, room upstairs, 57 Cochrane St, George Square , Glasgow, G1 1HL
Organised by Socialist Party Scotland. A Glasgow Equal Pay striker will also speak at the meeting.

On Friday 31st January 1919, tens of thousands of workers gathered in Glasgow's George Square as their struggle for a 40 hour working week came to a climax.

In response to this massive display of strength and solidarity, and in anticipation of the workers' reaction to the final refusal of the bosses to accede to their demands, the authorities, acting on behalf of the bosses, mobilised thousands of police in an attempt to cower the workers and beat them into submission.

What followed was a full frontal confrontation between the organised working class and the state. The police charged the crowd with bayonets drawn and the workers, in response, uprooted the palings around the square and used them as weapons to defend themselves.

This event was to become known as "The Battle of George Square", and passed into working class folklore. Eventually the government authorised military force against the workers and that evening there were troops and tanks on the streets of Glasgow.

To commemorate the momentous events of Red Clydeside and to draw out some of the key lessons for today, Socialist Party Scotland has produced a new pamphlet: 1919 - Red Flag over the Clyde.

Authored by Jim Cameron, and reworked and extended from his pamphlet of the same name for Scottish Militant Labour in 1993, this is a contribution to the seismic events that shook Glasgow and the west of Scotland from 1914 to 1919.

A section of the pamphlet is dedicated to the ideas and struggles of the outstanding Scottish Marxist John Maclean, who played a decisive role in the Red Clydeside movement.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 6 February 2019 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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