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


Warrant summons issued to Maxton, Shinwell, Maclean, 12 Dec 1915

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On 12 December 1915 a large open air demonstration was held in George Square in Glasgow to protest at the introduction of conscription. Open-air meetings were called because the authorities in Glasgow refused to let halls to socialist organisations for anti-war or anti-conscription meetings. All the major socialist parties in Glasgow were represented at the meeting including the BSP, the SLP and the ILP and it is reported that a crowd of several thousand were in attendance.

All the speakers at the demonstration were booked by the police on the grounds that they were guilty of causing obstruction and by doing so preventing traffic and pedestrians from going about their lawful business. All charges were later dropped against the speakers as the meeting passed of peacefully and the weight of evidence suggested that no obstruction was caused.

It is interesting to note the names of those booked on the day as most went on to play significant roles in British labour politics as well becoming well-known national figures. Those booked on the day included James Maxton, Manny Shinwell, Patrick Dollan, Arthur McManus, John Maclean, Willie Gallacher, Harry Hopkins and John S Taylor.