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


Helen Crawfurd helping in the distribution of food for children of striking miners at Lochore in Fife, 1926

image from Red Clydeside collection

The WIR was established in 1921 by German communist Willie Muzenberg to aid economically distressed areas in Europe. Scots communist Helen Crawfurd became secretary of the WIR in 1922.

Initially the emphasis was on organising relief for Russian areas of distress such as the Volga. However, as the depression worsened throughout the 1920s the WIR, under the direction of Crawfurd, carried its work to places such as Germany, Ireland and even the Scottish Highlands.

During the General Strike in 1926 and the miners lockout which followed it the WIR was active throughout the mining districts of Great Britain distributing food parcels for the families of striking miners.

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