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


Leaflet entitled 'Proletarian schools - poisoning the minds of children', 1920

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The Proletarian Schools were run on a similar basis to traditional Sunday schools but with the emphasis on the teachings of Marx and revolutionary socialism. The aim of the schools was to foster revolutionary ideals and communist morality in young people and through these teachings help ensure the growth of a new generation with a distinctive socialist consciousness.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s the schools had over 30 branches in cities and towns throughout Scotland, as well as several in England. The children who attended these schools usually came from families who were actively involved in the political and industrial campaigns of the Left, these included trade unionists, members of the Communist Party and the unemployed.

Throughout their lifespan the schools faced a barrage of opposition, intimidation and harassment from an outraged right-wing establishment. Local authorities refused to let them municipal properties and buildings in which to hold their classes, Christian churches of all denominations denounced them from their pulpits and a whole host of right-wing political groups campaigned and demonstrated for their closure.