Author Henry Bell to deliver third annual Jim McVicar Memorial Lecture

The Scottish Socialist Party is hosting a major public event in commemoration of Red Clydesider John Maclean, on Sunday 21st January at 2pm, in Townhead Village Hall, Glasgow, with his highly regarded biographer, Henry Bell, as the guest lecturer.

This is the 3rd Annual Jim McVicar Memorial Lecture, held in honour of the SSP’s past national treasurer, lifelong socialist, trade unionist and former socialist councillor in Glasgow’s East End, Jim McVicar.

Book your place, free or with a donation, here now.

This year’s public event will be on the theme of John Maclean’s legacy and relevance, 100 years since his tragically untimely death at the age of 44.

Organiser of the event, the SSP’s national trade union organiser Richie Venton, said:

“We are delighted to have well-known, highly respected author and Maclean biographer, Henry Bell, as our guest lecturer. Henry’s much-praised book, John Maclean, Hero of Red Clydeside, makes him the ideal speaker on the life, times, and socialist ideas of Maclean, and how they relate to the struggles for equality, peace, and socialism in 2024.

“As workers in Scotland and beyond face ongoing collective battles to defend their wages, jobs, conditions, workplace rights and the public services they provide, John Maclean’s heroic efforts within the workers’ movement are rich with invaluable lessons.

“As thousands in Scotland protest the genocidal slaughter of the Palestinian people by the right-wing Zionist Israeli government, Maclean’s principled opposition to imperialist wars are a guiding light for all anti-war activists.

“As the debate over Scottish independence continues, the SSP is proud to carry the torch originally held aloft by Maclean when he called for a Scottish Socialist Republic.

“These and other issues will be addressed by Henry Bell, as we examine the relevance of John Maclean’s life and socialist internationalism a century after his untimely death.”

Guest speaker, Henry Bell, said:

“John Maclean collapsed on stage one hundred years ago at a cinema in Oatlands, Glasgow. He died on St Andrew’s Day, 1923. Years of hard labour, force feeding, and state persecution had broken him.

“In his final speeches he railed against the growing threat of fascism, unsafe housing, degrading and dangerous work, police violence, and the hunger and poverty that capitalism forces upon the workers. He warned against the endless wars of the coming century that he knew were inevitable if capitalism was not defeated. From our vantage point we can see how prescient and how essential his warnings were.

“Our struggle today is the same, imperialist wars rage on in Gaza, Sudan and the Congo; unsafe housing, insecure work and the violence of the state continue to benight the lives of millions of Scots. And beyond these struggles the threat of climate change shows us that capitalism is incompatible with life.

“There’s never been a more vital time to remember John Maclean and to consider what we can do to continue his life’s work, fighting for a world held in common. It’s an honour to be asked to give the Jim McVicar Memorial Lecture and I look forward to seeing comrades there.”

The event is open to all, with tickets (free or with a donation) available through Eventbrite.