May Day 1918

IWW Scotland

Glasgow has a proud tradition of radical politics, one that is particularly important to remember when the government is promoting jingoistic celebrations of World War I centenaries. During the four years of that devastating conflict, the Glasgow working class engaged in a series of mass actions to protest the war and the profiteering that accompanied it.

One event that deserves special mention took place on May 1, 1918. By then, the war had been grinding on for nearly four years, with casualties already in the millions. Glasgow’s workers, who built the ships and many of the munitions deployed by the British military, were ready to act. Although many workers were eager to pressure the government to bring the war to an immediate end, the War Cabinet, a coalition of Tories, Liberals and the Labour Party, suppressed any open opposition.

Through his determined and courageous opposition to the war, John Maclean…

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