John MacLean was a key figure in Scotland's political history. He was part of the "Red Clydeside" during the First World War, being imprisoned on 5 occasions. I am from Glasgow but at the age of 40, I still knew very little about him. I have had to trawl about bookstores and internet to find out about him. The discussion is really about the characters in history that we are not being told about - people like John MacLean - it's not just their politics but the struggle they faced just because they expressed their politics.
Is their any other characters that members know about that is worth researching becasue I am thinking about using them in a public history course.
I am happy to put a potted history of John MacLean if members wish.
there's a grand song about him written by Scottish folklorist Hamish Henderson ... it's a kind of potted history
you'll find the words on the Union Songs web collection at http://unionsong.com/u124.html
There's also a more recent song The Red Clydesiders by Alistair Hulett at http://unionsong.com/u331.html
Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maclean_(Scottish_socialist) gives a pretty comprehensive potted history of MacLean
I find the story of MacLean interesting because he was a communist and ran street schools on economics but also felt that Scotland needed to develop its own path so therefore was seen as a nationalist. The upturn is that no group feels comfortable using him in their history. Characters like MacLean are interesting to me because they have tried to follow and develop their own path while living through it. MacLean at several points could have taken a party line (a choice of parties) and have a more comfortable life but refused.
Will put a longer biography on tonight.
Another candidate for inclusion in your project might be Sean McLoughlin, a senior figure in the IRA in the War of Independence who was marginalised because of his left wing politics. There is a new biography of him by Charlie McGuire - Merlin Press. McLoughlin was very active in the SLP in Scotland and almost certainly knew McLean, although the latter is not mentioned in the book. Good luck with project.
Thank you for information on Sean McLoughlin, I will look it up.
(Nam Milton's Biography John MacLean, Clydeside Press Ltd, page 172).
This is taken from John MacLean trial for "making statements likely to predujice recuriting and cause mutiny and sedition" in 1918. John MacLean defended himself but was sent to prison but after protests was released.
The story doesn't stop there because he was imprisoned several times during his short life suffering force feeding. The story of MacLean comes across to me as one of determination. He wasn't a theorist, he seen education as the way forward running night classes for workers on economics and Marxist theory that had large numbers of students, workers eager to listen to alternatives. Like all people he has some wonderful contridictions but I still return to the opening line
"I wish no harm to any human being, but I, as one man, am going to exercise my freedom of speech." -
A powerful lesson indeed.