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


Magazine article entitled 'The Jazz Period' by Helen Crawfurd, Oct 1921

image from Red Clydeside collection

Helen Crawfurd was one of the most vociferous and outspoken left-wing political activists in Scotland in the early decades of the twentieth century. Her activism involved working and organising the anti-war movement in Glasgow and also the rent strikes of 1915/16. Originally Helen was a member of the ILP but left to join the fledgling communist party in 1921, citing the ILPs lack of radical policies as her reason for joining the CPGB.

When the CPGB was formed in 1921 only one in eight of its members were women and Helen, a seasoned campaigner during the suffragette campaigns, considered this to be an obstacle to the party's work among a strategically important and oppressed section of the working class.

In January 1922 the Party set up a Women's Department under Helen and she was also chosen as the 'women's representative' on the Party's political bureau. Helen was also responsible for editing a separate women's page in the official newspaper of the CPGB 'The Communist' and she was responsible for organising the first CPGB women's conference in May 1924.

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