Remembering John Maclean: 24 Aug. 1879 – 30 Nov. 1923

SSP Trade Union Organiser Richie Venton wrote:

“Scotland’s greatest socialist, John Maclean, died 100 years ago today, at the tragically young age of 44. Maclean was a socialist educator, teaching Marxist economics and politics to crowds of hundreds of workers at a time, as often on street corners as indoors.

“He was devoted to the struggles of the working class, as a consistent anti-capitalist who saw the collective power of workers as the key agency of socialist change.”

“He fought alongside the women who led the 1915 rent strikes against the racketeering landlords.

“Whilst most figures in the British and international labour movement capitulated to capitalist jingoism and rabid, xenophobic nationalism during the First World War, John saw the capitalists of all countries as the enemies of workers of all countries, stuck to his anti-imperialist war beliefs, and was repeatedly jailed and tortured for his principled, internationalist socialist principles.
He was honoured by the Bolsheviks of Lenin and Trotsky by being appointed Consul to the Russian workers’ government after the 1917 revolution.

“Maclean saw Scottish independence and socialism as two sides of the same coin, advocating a Scottish Workers Republic.

“The greatest monument we can construct to the great Red Clydesider (and all who fought alongside him) is to build a powerful socialist party, steeped in the socialist principles Maclean adhered to, standing on the shoulders of giants as we do so.

“The Scottish Socialist Party was founded on the core principles Maclean consumed his entire, tragically-brief life in pursuit of: implacably anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist; a class-struggle socialist party that builds solidarity with workers in struggle, but never ceases to raise the broader vision of a socialist future; a party that champions the cause of an independent socialist Scotland as the route to abolition of the poverty, inequality, exploitation and wars without end which are inherent to capitalism.”

John Maclean delivers his famous Speech from the Dock at the the High Court in Edinburgh, May 9, 1918

“Salute the memory of John Maclean: join the SSP and others in fighting alongside workers as they strike back, tenants as they battle rent-raising landlords, people of all ages and nationalities as they march against the genocidal war on the Palestinians.

“Join the struggle for an independent socialist Scotland – a Scottish Workers Republic as Maclean branded it.

“In his immortal words, “stand not as the accused, but as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot” – and take action to end that bloodstained system.

And join the modern inheritors of all that was best about John Maclean – the Scottish Socialist Party.”