Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Poster issued by City of Glasgow banning meeting of workers' and soldiers' council, 10 Aug 1917

published by Glasgow City Council

image from Red Clydeside collection

Throughout 1917 an attempt was made by socialist organisations in Britain to establish workers' and soldiers' councils (known also as soviets). These councils were initially likened to their Bolshevik counterparts in Russia where they were seen as the executive committees of the working class.

Attempts by various trade unions and socialist parties to hold a serious of conferences in London, Newcastle and Swansea aimed at establishing these councils proved unsuccessful. The proceedings were disrupted and eventually broken up by rioting, widely believed to have been instigated by agents provocateurs.

Although eventually established, these councils would prove not to be in the vanguard of any workers' revolution like their counterparts in Russia, instead being organised as a propaganda body to support the Russian revolution.

Source: Glasgow City Archives, Glasgow City Archives