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


Cartoon comparing aristocratic consumption with workers poverty, 1909

image from Red Clydeside collection

One of a series of six cartoons published in the booklet 'The Catholic Workingman' by John Wheatley. The Catholic hierarchy in Scotland, as in the rest of Europe, was vehemently opposed to socialism and had denounced it from the pulpit as a form of atheism. The church had used its influence to prevent many catholics from joining or supporting socialist parties.

John Wheatley, himself a practising catholic, argued with the catholic hierarchy in Scotland that it was compatible to be both a catholic and a socialist. Together with William Regan he set up the Catholic Socialist Society in Glasgow.

The Catholic Socialist Society played an important role in influencing the Irish-catholic vote in Glasgow and in swaying this large constituency to vote for the Independent Labour Party. Many of Glasgow's foremost socialists and Marxists came from an Irish-catholic background, including John Wheatley, Agnes Dollan, Harry McShane, Arthur McManus and William Gallacher.

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives