Red Scotland! The Rise and Fall of the Radical Left, c. 1872-1932

Red Scotland! The Rise and Fall of the Radical Left, c. 1872-1932

Red Scotland! The Rise and Fall of the Radical Left, c. 1872-1932

Red Scotland! The Rise and Fall of the Radical Left, c. 1872-1932

Synopsis

An excellent resource for teaching and learning, this book explores the rise and decline of left radicalism in Scotland c.1872 to 1932. A journey through these turbulent times observes the response of Scottish artisans to legal restrictions on trade-union activities in the 1870s, trade unionformation among the unskilled from the late 1880s, and the origins and impact of the Scottish socialist movement.The Labour movement in Scotland was to face many new challenges by the twentieth century. During the era of 'Red Scotland', 1910 to 1922, we see Scottish workers fully engaged in the labour and social unrest in the years before the Great War; monitor the incubation of workers' grievances during thewar; see the growth of the anti-war movement and the influence of revolutionary politics from 1918; and witness Scottish Labour on the threshold of an extraordinary political breakthrough by 1922. The 1920s saw the rapid rise of Labour, but growing unemployment and a massive emigration of Scottishworkers helped to fragment the left and set in motion the decline of left radicalism in Scotland. This book represents a major and up to date survey of the most dramatic years in the history of Scottish Labour.

Excerpt

This book explores the rise of the radical left in Scotland from the first tentative steps towards industrial political action during the 1870s, through its relative decline at the time of the Independent Labour Party’s disaffiliation from the Labour Party in July 1932. As we journey through these turbulent and rapidly changing times we can observe how Scottish artisans responded to legal restrictions placed on trade activity in the 1870s; the impulse towards trade union formation among the unskilled during the 1880s and early 1890s, and the extent to which this was influenced by socialism; and over the closing decades of the nineteenth century the emergence of the Scottish socialist movement, the drive towards independent labour representation, the formation of the Scottish Labour Party in 1888, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1893, and the enthusiasm for ‘land reform’ and Scottish ‘home rule’. The story of the rise of industrial left radicalism, Labour politics and the impact of socialism takes us through the trials and tribulations of the first decade of the twentieth century, and the first stirrings of the ‘labour unrest’ in Scotland over the years 1910 to 1914.

These are some of the main topics covered over the first three chapters of this book as they relate specifically to the period c. 1872 to 1910 (the years 1910 to 1914 will also be considered briefly in this section). The main research component part of the study is presented in Chapter 2, which examines industrial radicalism and the new unionism; and Chapter 3, on political radicalism, and labour politics and socialism. But in order for the reader to come to a better understanding of the subject matter explored in each, this book opens with an introductory chapter on some important themes and issues in labour and social history in Scotland up to the years before the first World War. Chapter 1 will help familiarise the reader with the historiography in these subject areas, and the ‘themes and contested issues’ that emerge from the general discussion on the topics explored in greater detail over Chapters 2 and 3.

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