Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)
Opposition to WW1 centred in Clydeside in Scotland where the socialist educator and anti-war activist John MacLean, became one of the key figures in the Clyde Workers’ Committee (CWC). The manifesto of the CWC declared that its aim was
“To organise the workers upon a class basis and to maintain the class struggle until the overthrow of the wages system, the freedom of the workers and industrial democracy have been attained.”
Shop stewards as delegates to the CWC came from almost all factories, worshops and dockyards on Clydeside. Maclean had taught many of them in the Scottish Labour College which he had established. He was arrested several times for his determined opposition to World War I and his revolutionary activity. He was an active supporter of the Bolshevik revolution and played a major role through his writing, speeches and classes to rouse popular backing for the first socialist state.
This work was to see him appointed an Honorary President of the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets and appointed Bolshevik Consul for Scotland. The British authorities refused to recognise the Soviet Government and MacLean’s consulate. They refused to deliver mail addressed to him and he had trouble getting funds to run the newly opened office.
Willie Gallacher, secretary of the CWC (and later a Communist MP) said this of MacLean;
“The work done by MacLean during this winter of 1917-18 has never been equalled by anyone. His educational work would have been sufficient for half a dozen ordinary men, but on top of this, he was carrying a truly terrific propaganda and agitational campaign. Every minute of his time was devoted to the revolutionary struggle, every ounce of his extraordinary energy was thrown into the fight.”