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


Defence of the Realm Act 1915, 20 Nov 1915

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At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Liberal Government headed by Herbert Asquith persuaded Parliament to pass the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). This Act gave the government emergency powers to requisition property, apply censorship, control labour and to commandeer economic resources for the war effort.

In October 1915 John Maclean, Clydeside revolutionary and Marxist was arrested for the first time under the Defence of the Realm Act 1915 (DORA) and charged with uttering statements calculated to prejudice recruiting. Maclean was found guilty and fined five pounds, he declined to pay the fine and instead was sentenced to five days imprisonment.

The conviction of Maclean, a Glasgow schoolteacher, was immediately followed by his dismissal from his post as a teacher by the Govan Board of Education. From this point onwards Maclean devoted himself, full-time, to the cause of revolutionary Marxism in Scotland.