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


Why are we marching?, 1932

Written by Wal Hannington with foreword by Welsh miners leader A.J.Cook.

by Wal Hannington

image from Red Clydeside collection

The economic boom following World War I was short lived and in the 12 months from September 1920 to September 1921 unemployment in Britain rose from 250,00 to 2 million.

Soon after its foundation the Communist Party of Great Britain instructed members to participate in and lead the struggles of the unemployed and in 1921 the Party was instrumental in forming the National Unemployed Workers Committee Movement. The NUWM became the foremost body responsible for organising the unemployed on a national basis in the years between the wars, years characterised by permanent high levels of unemployment.

To the dismay of many within the wider labour movement the Labour Party and the official trade union bodies offered little support to the legions of unemployed workers in this period. The TUC and the NEC [National Executive Council] advised labour parties and trades councils along the route of the Jarrow crusade not to help the marchers although local branches were more generous.

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