Friday, 30 December 2016

Some excellent info here.

The mutineers then went to the Canongate prison, broke it open to release some soldiers held there for riotous behaviour, and dispersed after a harmless exchange of gunfire. When the remaining troops assembled on Leith Links to embark, the officers again refused to pay them anything until they were on board. So the majority - about 500 of them - marched to the top of Arthur's Seat and stayed there, being supplied with food and drink for two days by the people of the town, many of them Highlanders like the troops. They came down to embark after getting complete agreement to their demands: a full pardon for the mutiny, payment of all arrears, an undertaking that they would never be sent to the East Indies, and their officers subjected to an immediate court of inquiry under officers of other regiments with any soldier permitted to testify. There were only a few minor wounds in the episode and one soldier was killed falling off Arthur's Seat in the dark. The year 1778 had seen the first big strike recorded in Edinburgh's history, a bitter confrontation between the journeymen stonemasons and their employers for higher wages, with workers from many other trades contributing to the strike fund. Memories of this must have been in the minds of the many people of the city who helped the MacRaes against their officers.

Edinburgh saw more politically conscious movements in the 1790s, inspired sucessively by the French Revolution, Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man, and the example of the United Irishmen

Robert Watt of the Friends of the People was executed for treason in 1794, and the cavalry volunteers of the East Lothian gentry suppressed protests against conscription in Tranent in 1797 by arbitrary massacre. The war years from the mid-1790s on were a time of silence, when protest was treason and, apart from meal riots, no dissent was audibly voiced. As Lord Cockburn put it:
I doubt if there was a public meeting held in Edinburgh between the year 1795 and 1820.

 Paranoia was whipped up to the point where in 1798 an Edinburgh woman believed to sympathize with the French revolutionaries, Eliza Fletcher, was accused of setting up a toy guillotine in her garden and practicing on chickens with it.

 Edinburgh's relief work projects, like the Radical Road and the landscaping of Bruntsfield Links, seem to have quieted the worst of the popular anger, which in Nottingham and Derby led to an abortive armed revolt.

The Scotsman reported a different Tory anxiety about the Reform Bill in 1832:
ONE HONEST TORY. - A day or two before the news arrived in Edinburgh of the fate of the reform bill in the House of Lords, a respectable lady called upon her baker in --- street, and inquired for her account. The Master of the Rolls replied "there was no hurry, he would wait till the usual time of payment." She insisted, telling him "that if the bill did not pass she was afraid that all the Tories would be killed, and she wished to have her accounts all settled before-hand".
The Reform Act was marked by a parade to Leith Links, with a rally begun by a mass choir singing God Save the King and ending with Scots Wha Hae, then the unoffical national anthem of Scotland, as Flower of Scotland is today. The reformers were well aware of how far they had to go, not least in extending the reforms to the whole world. The parade banner of the Edinburgh Shopmen included these internationalist lines:
In Poland's blood-reflecting sky
The Sun of Liberty has set,
But THOU shall rise in strength on high
Above her armies yet.
 The most serious incidents involved the boys of the Royal High School in the late 16th century. A common form of protest by the pupils of British schools at the time, often against refusal of holidays, was "barring-out", locking the teachers and governors out of the school. The first of these at the Royal High was in 1580, with nine pupils imprisoned for rioting. Another followed in 1587, and then another in 1595 when a cancelled holiday led to an armed siege with swords, guns and axes. While one of the city magistrates was battering the door in with a joist, a pupil blew his brains out with a pistol. And, it seems, got away with it; his father was the Chancellor of Caithness, after all. He next appears in the historical record as a minor diplomat.

One of the few conflicts involving the University was in January 1838; the students were hurling snowballs out of the college across the street, and broke some windows. A few were arrested after a fight with a mob of townspeople. The next day the conflict intensified, and the students armed themselves with sticks. This time the police ("Charlies" in the slang of the time) claimed to be too exhausted and below strength to deal with it as a result of guarding the court at the mass trial of the Glasgow cotton-spinners, called in the army, and had the Riot Act read. The 79th Regiment attempted to invade the college. The subsequent trial ruled that the invasion was unlawful since there was no rioting still going on when they arrived, and the students were cleared.

The Chartists began organizing in and around Edinburgh in 1838. Most of the early agitators were from England, with miners from Northumberland spreading the idea of unionization to those of Midlothian. The first big Chartist meeting was on Calton Hill in December 1838, reported by the Edinburgh Advertiser like this:
Among the other dangerous novelties of the day are the meetings of the Radicals by torch-light, for the alleged purpose of securing the so-called rights of the people, such as the Ballot, Universal Suffrage, &c. One of these illuminations took place on the Caltonhill, on Wednesday night; and strange to say, was presided over by a clergyman belonging to the Church of Scotland. There is, we believe, only one man bearing the sacred character of a minister of our Church, who could so far degrade and prostitute his holy profession to such a purpose, and that individual, we need hardly say, is the same who attended the O'Connell dinner in Glasgow, and rode into Paisley in the same chariot with the Popish incendiary. It was the Rev. Patrick Brewster of Paisley, that presided over the nocturnal orgies on the Caltonhill.
The council's panicked response to this meeting was to try setting up its own vigilante force of special constables. But times and the law had changed; the courts said they had acted illegally in not consulting the Police Commissioners first. 1838 was not a good year to be an Edinburgh policeman. The Kirk tried to expel Brewster for his Chartist activities in 1842 but were overtaken by the Disruption before they could complete the process.

Chartist agitation continued through the 1840s, but even though 1848 saw a riot in favour of a British Republic that broke most of the city's streetlamps, there were few local songs from the movement. (Their best writing was in a polemic from the political prisoner Robert Peddie's The Dungeon Harp, representing alcohol as a drug whose main purpose was to keep the working class passive; but Peddie had no sense of proportion and it is far too long to reproduce here). Then the Crimean War of the 1850s and the war panic that started in 1859 damped down popular protest. The next burst of mass political activity was over Gladstone's reform bill of 1866; this was marked by a huge parade to Leith Links.

Suffragettes around Edinburgh before World War 1 were among the most extreme in Britain. They tried to bomb the Duke of Buccleuch's chapel in Dalkeith in 1913, attacked the Blackford Observatory more successfully a few days later, and in 1914 burnt the mediaeval Whitekirk church to a shell, in revenge for the "mediaeval" forced feeding of Ethel Moorehead in the Calton Jail. But they created no songs of their own, preferring to use those written by their English sisters. The 1970s wave of feminism did better. Lament of the Working Class Hero's Wife was written in 1977 by Linda Peachey with members of the Edinburgh Women's Liberation Workshop, later somewhat adapted by their Glasgow sisters (hence both "wains" and "bairns", words from opposite coasts of Scotland). Its tune is the hornpipe The Black Bear, used as a quick march by C Company of the Royal Scots; I've given both their version and the way I've heard it used for this song by women in Edinburgh. The chorus is not repeated at the end. Men Have All Had Their Own Way For Too Long is from the Edinburgh lesbian-separatist newsletter Nessie of the late 70s; "to thi tune of betsy thi dyke", that is, Sweet Betsy from Pike, also known as Villikins and his Dinah or The Old Orange Flute.

the most extreme conflict between Scots and Irish in Edinburgh was a riot at Musselburgh Races in 1823 between Irish racegoers on one side and bakers of Edinburgh and Leith and colliers of Musselburgh on the other, with several people on each side beaten senseless or pushed into the Esk. In music, William Burke alone must have got more opprobrium than all the rest of his countrymen together, but none of the ballads I've found portray him as a typical Irishman.

Violence against the Italian community approached the level of pogrom on "Italian Night" after Italy entered the war in 1940, when Italian-owned shops were smashed up and looted by a mob. The mob made a point of attacking known fascists, like the chipshop proprietor in Stockbridge who used to serve behind the counter in full Blackshirt uniform, though the innocent undoubtedly suffered too. But the lasting portrayal of Italians in the popular mind was no more menacing than this children's song collected by Ritchie in the 1950

Built on a field to the south of the city by the private speculator James Brown in 1763-4, George Square was the first development of fashionable housing outside the Old Town and began the exodus of the wealthy from the city centre. Brown lived to receive more in annual rents than the total amount he paid for the land. Its occupants included Lord Braxfield (the ferocious original of the judge in Stevenson's Weir of Hermiston), Sir Walter Scott as a child, Lord Provost Sir James Forrest, Admiral Duncan, and Henry Dundas, virtual dictator of Scotland. The King's Birthday, 4 June 1792, saw Dundas's house besieged by an angry mob in one of the most aggressive demonstrations for parliamentary reform ever seen in Edinburgh. The riot was planned weeks in advance, with anti-slavery posters stuck up around the city and the burning of Dundas in effigy announced by little leaflets like this:
Now Is the Time
Burn the Villain
Fear Not - You will
Be Supported
One of the rioters was shot dead by the army. A smaller riot in the square in 1796 was directed at both Dundas and Admiral Duncan; a year later, a cheering crowd paraded the square to celebrate Duncan's victory in the Battle of Camperdown against the Dutch. Most of the square was demolished in the 1960s and 1970s by Edinburgh University to make way for their present collection of windswept monoliths, carefully designed to make the space around them as unusable as possible by the general public. William Marshall published George's Square in 1781, as the last part of the square was nearing completion; when he republished the tune 40 years later its title became Lady Louisa Hamilton. Marshall renamed many of his tunes, and the Gow family added to the muddle by plagiarizing and renaming others. Most of the good tunes in the Scottish repertoire have several names, but Marshall's output is in a category of its own for confusion. He sometimes got his publisher to think up his titles, and once even asked him to shuffle the titles about to make sure a dedicatee got a new tune, because she didn't like the first she was offered.

Nicolson Street was part of the city's expansion in the same direction. It was named after James Nicolson, who had a house around there early in the eighteenth century, but the street was built in 1764 as a driveway to his widow's riding school, the first in the city. It was sheer fluke that it was in the right place to link with the South Bridge a few years later. At first it was a fashionable area to live, only slowly declining as the nearby St Leonards area was turned into a slum in the 19th century. The whole area suffered two catastrophes after World War 2, from which it has never recovered: the council wanted to demolish most of it for inner-city motorways, and the University wanted to knock down the rest to build concrete tower blocks like those around George Square. Both sets of plans were abandoned, which did nothing to help those already evicted; the council has unofficially got its bypass anyway, with traffic routed through the street at motorway-level densities to generate some of the worst air pollution in Europe.

When it was built it was on the site of the main beggars' pitch and next to Shakespeare Square, the site of the Theatre Royal. With the usual 18th century association of theatres and prostitution, the square was always famed for its streetwalkers. So the beggars, buskers and political petitioners in front of Register House are continuing a tradition that goes back over 200 years. Its strangest and saddest character was "Register Rachel", who was stood up by her lover after arranging to meet him there in the middle of the 19th century. She waited daily by its clock for the rest of her life, dressed in the fading fashions of her youth

e Annuity Tax was an almost-forgotten Edinburgh institution whose dramatic end in the 19th century prefigured the rise and fall of the Poll Tax in the 1980s. The tax was levied on property by its nominal rental value, and was intended to pay the salaries of 18 ministers of the established Church of Scotland. The only other town that ever levied it was Montrose. The first attempt to raise the tax was in 1634. So few people paid it that the tax-collector barely took enough to cover his 4 per cent commission, and it was abandoned in 1639. The next try, in 1661 with the forces of Charles II behind it, stuck. Because it was levied on members of all religious sects but only went to the established church, the minority denominations opposed it, as did many members of the Church of Scotland itself. Like many political episodes in Edinburgh's history, it attracted pseudo-Biblical parody, as in The Epistle of that most learned Rabbi, Ben Tarib, to the Chief Priests of the City of Edinburgh (1833):
And in my dream I beheld all the birds of the air in the grove, and lo, they were busily employed.And some gathered grain, and some builded their nests among the branches, and some tended their young, and none were idle;
But a number of black ravens, which set upon the loftiest trees, they alone were idle, and did no work.
And I marvelled how those black ravens, who sat upon the loftiest trees, did live; for they gathered no grain, no insects, nor any thing by which they could live;
But did nothing but croak.
Now, when I looked upon these things, I beheld that all the birds of the air, from time to time, brought these ravens of their grain and of their insects, and they did eat.
And these black ravens were fat, and glossy in their plumage, and the noise of these ravens grew louder and louder. ...
It was enforced by poinding (confiscation) of defaulters' goods and roup (auction) of them. A spoof manual of 1775 for would-be poinders by James Wilson ("Claudero"), The Messengers High Road to Destruction, cited recent precedents for each of its tips:
When you go to poind; if the man's wife hits your fancy, take her into custody, split her Tackles, cornufy her husband; Roup the house, regardless of the cries of the Whore's Birds, put the money in your pocket, and apply the same to your own purposes; notwithstanding any law to the contrary ...Let your apprisers be the scum of the earth, void of all humanity or conscience and genuine Knights of the Post. - It does not signify whether you take witnesses along with you: Staff and Dog are good ones. ...
By 1833, when all-out confrontation started, the tax had become a money-spinner for the council, raising four times as much money as was paid out to the ministers. But poinding had failed by then; it provoked such frequent and determined riots that the authorities had to resort to the Calton Jail instead, a reprisal that had never before been used even for defaulters on Government taxes. Non-payers released from jail were greeted by huge demonstrations, like one on the 13th of August 1833 for the release of the razor strop manufacturer Johnston, with about 8000 people, banners and a band. As "Ben Tarib" saw it, with stylistic help from Psalm 150 and the Book of Revelation:
And, lo, as I stood thus musing, there was a tumult, and a shouting, and the sound of musical instruments, and behold, a multitude, which no man might number, stood before the door of the prison house.And upon the hill, and upon the rocks, and every where around, there were people standing.
And the noise was exceeding great, and the tumult increased, and the shouting was as the roaring of the waves of the sea, in a great storm.
And the musicians played before the people upon the sackbut, and psaltry, and the dulcimer, and the lute, and the timbrel, and the trumpet, and the drum, and the bagpipe. ...
846 people were prosecuted for nonpayment in 1833, with 5 imprisoned. "The Lorry", or Police Wagon No. 14, became Scotland's most-famed vehicle; it was used to take poinded goods to the Cross for sale. Some determined responses were made to the poindings. At one, the auctioneer's wagon was set on fire, and at another, when a protester's piano was due to be seized, he removed the insides:
In due course the auctioneer arrived, and gave notice that Mr Adair's piano was to be put up for auction. Then, "just to let you see, gentlemen, what a grand article you are bidding for," the official sat down to play a tune. "What tune will I play?" he asked jocosely, adding, "perhaps Robin Adair would be appropriate"; and with a chuckle at his joke he thumped at the dumb case, to the intense delight of the spectators.
The conflict raged on for years; in 1836 a councillor, Thomas Russell, was imprisoned, with a meeting of 3000 people held to support him. The crisis year was 1848, when Chartist agitation reached the point of riot. The figure who drew the most publicity was one of the city magistrates, Joseph Stott. On 14 June 1848, the authorities tried to auction the assets of both Mr Darlington, an upholsterer in Frederick Street, and Mr Sword, a furniture auctioneer of Hanover Street. The crowd broke up both auctions and drove the law officers away. The poinders tried again on July 3, with the help of 100 troops from the Castle and a troop of cavalry from Piershill Barracks:
Why march in firm and stern array
Adown the Castle's rocky way,
That field of bayonets bright?
Is there a rising in the North?
Are Frenchmen in the Frith of Forth?
Where is the foe to fight? ...
But SWORD, that man with martial name,
Swore, as he hoped for future fame,
The Tax he would not pay;
The up went Catch-'em-by-the-muff,
That messenger-at-arms so bluff,
Upon a certain day.
He had a paper in his hand,
And with assistant at command,
Each bedstead noted down;
As if to amplify his wrongs,
He spared not fender, poker, tongs,
Or window-curtains brown.
The china shared the common lot,
Each kettle, jelly-pan and pot
All found a noting here;
Nay e'en the pillows from the bed,
Whereon had rested oft the head
Of that poor Auctioneer.
But the mob drove the army off then too. Sheriff Gordon prosecuted one of the crowd for obstructing the police. Despite his well-known opposition to the tax, the magistrate assigned to hear the case was Bailie Stott, who dismissed the action. In revenge, Gordon got Stott jailed for nonpayment a few days later. Like the other tax resisters, Stott used his time in jail effectively, writing dramatic open letters to his opponents:
How are you able to mount the pulpit on Sabbath? - how are you to face even your own people? Some of them are my true friends. What will be their silent thoughts while they listen to you, it may be, giving out the following verse of the 79th Psalm:-    Oh, let the pris'ner's sighs ascend
    Before Thy throne on high, &c.
and a few days later:
Do you when expounding Daniel, hold up to your congregation Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as anarchists? - for you know they resisted the law of the land. Or are you prepared to hold up God as the abettor of their anarchical conduct? - for sure I am He declared His approval of them by controlling the furnace and shutting the lions' mouths.
A subscription was raised to pay his tax and release him; the receipts had a woodcut of a church leaning at 45 degrees propped up by soldiers with bayonets. The Reverend Joseph Brown of the United Presbyterian Church in Dalkeith said the same in plain words:
Many people were of the opinion that the military procession at the opening of the General Assembly of the Established Church was for mere pomp or parade, but the people who were so simple as to believe this had now learned the lesson that the soldiery, with their swords and their bayonets, were the only strength and support of the Establishment.
The tax was abolished in stages by muddled, partial Acts of 1860 and 1869, and a decisive one of 1870. It left Edinburgh with a folklore reputation for bizarre repressiveness across all of Scotland. A tax with similar effect stayed in force a few years longer in the fishing village of Eyemouth, 40 miles eastwards on the Forth; it was imposed on fish catches. The chaos the Kirk imposed on the town's finances in its last-ditch efforts to extract the money against intransigent, dead-fish-throwing opposition from a community that largely belonged to nonconformist sects like the Brethren was one of the reasons Eyemouth was so poorly prepared for the great storm that almost wiped out a generation of fishermen in 1881.

The Theatre Royal was Edinburgh's main theatre for 100 years, in Shakespeare Square, which was where the eastern end of Princes Street is today. It got off to a bad start. It was begun at the north end of the North Bridge while the bridge was still under construction, with the idea that the bridge would be open in time for patrons to cross it from the city. The bridge collapsed in 1769, stranding the theatre just before it opened. It was demolished to make way for the (now closed) General Post Office at Waterloo Place, whose foundation stone was laid in 1861 in a ceremony that was the death of Prince Albert, who caught a fatal chill at it. Both Shakespeare Square and St James' Square nearby became notorious for prostitution, like theatre districts around the world. Even with its dramatic content rendered respectable, the institution of the theatre remained a moral danger, though the moralists could find few overt grounds for more than sporadic grumbles.
This theatre was the scene of at least two major riots. The first was in 1767, over the sacking of the popular actor Stayley; his supporters attacked the performers with swords and cudgels, forcing them to defend themselves with stage swords and fiddle bows. The whole inside of the theatre was wrecked. The proprietors took the rioters to court, but the rioters hit back by arguing that the theatre had never officially got a licence. Operators of unlicenced theatres were "rogues and vagabonds" under a law of Queen Anne's, punishable by being
stripped naked from the middle, and openly whipped until his or her body be blooded, or may be sent to the house of correction, there to be kept at hard labour
This stopped the action dead. The rioters included lawyers and law students, and the proprietors included several judges; since neither could get a fair trial, both processes were halted. The other disturbance was in 1794, when a Tragedy of King Charles I stirred up conflicts that had never died down since the Jenny Geddes riot. Partisans of both sides, led by Irish medical students on the Catholic side and lawyers' clerks including the young Walter Scott on the Protestant one, turned the performance into an all-out brawl.

William Morris's Socialist Diary

edited and annotated by Florence Boos

SCHEU, ANDREAS 1844-1927

Scheu was a Viennese furniture designer who had been a confederate of Johann Most and an active figure in German anarchist politics before his trial by the Austrian government in 1870. Upon coming to London in 1874 he joined the German leftist Rose Street Club, but became disaffected with German emigre factionalism, and joined the DF and SDF. One of the events which precipitated the 1885 SDF/SL split was Hyndman's denunciation of Scheu, and Scheu left to form the SL with Morris; in Thompson's view his dislike of Hyndman's chauvinism caused him to urge Morris to assume leadership (p.343). Scheu worked closely with Morris until his move to Edinburgh in 1885, where he became a salesman for Jaeger. Morris trusted him, wrote him some of his fullest and most reflective letters, and in an 1885 letter to May speaks of his 'tremendous energy and his knowledge of organisation'. (BL Add. MS 45,341). Articles by Scheu entitled 'Sincerity and Devotion' and a three-part 'What's to be Done?' appeared in the April, May, June and September 1885 Commonweals. That Scheu was considered an effective speaker is indicated by the Council's choice of him to debate with Bradlaugh; he was also a good singer and, like Morris, wrote Socialist songs (see his 'Song of Labour' with two settings, in Chants of Labour, ed. Edward Carpenter, London 1888, pp.60-63). Although he was less active in the '90s, the Labour Annual of 1900 lists him in their 'Directory of Social Reformers', giving his address as 78, St John's Park, Blackheath, London, SE. After receiving a pension in 1911, he returned to Germany, and in 1923 published his reminiscences, Umsturzkeime: Erlebnisse Eines Kaempfers (Vienna), which emphasise his early revolutionary activities, but include a strongly laudatory chapter on Morris, Morris's letters to Scheu in German translation, and several of his songs. He seems someone who would have been more influential had he not had to divide his efforts between two countries and languages; his relationship with Morris merits further study.

GLASSE, JOHN, MA 1848-1918

A minister of Old Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, Glasse was educated at New College, Edinburgh, and ordained a minister in 1877. He became a prominent advocate of Christian Socialism, active Freemason, president of the Edinburgh Burns Club, early member of the SDF and Socialist League, and the author of several books on poverty and Christian Socialism. See also footnote [133].
133 Thompson considers the Rev John Glasse (not to be confused with the anarchist Henry Glasse) one of the League's few steady provincial allies (p.555). Several of Morris's letters to Glasse were reprinted by R. Page Arnot, in Unpublished Letters of William Morris, Labour Monthly Pamphlet, 1951 Series, no.6. According to Arnot (p.3), Glasse had been a member of the SDF before joining the SL. When visiting Edinburgh Morris stayed with Glasse and his wife at their home at 16 Tantallon Place, and he invited Glasse to visit him in London as the Edinburgh Branch's Conference delegate in May, 1887. Glasse declined, and after the Conference Morris wrote him a long letter defining his position. He seems to have considered Glasse a moderate ally, who was anxious above all to avoid another split within the League.

The 27 February Edinburgh demonstration of the SDL and SL to express sympathy with striking Scottish miners was reported in the 5 March Commonweal, p.77.

Morris was somewhat exasperated at the prospect of two disconnected trips north within a month's time; he wrote Jenny on 9 March:
I find, much to my disgust , that I shall have to make a flying visit to Edinburgh next Monday. It seems I made the appointment last year, and of course forgot about it, and they stupidly didn't remind me of it or I would have made my Glasgow visit which now comes off later fit in with it. However I don't mind except for the expense. A long railway journey with a book to read and Homer, and the window is a kind of rest to me after all; for I will not go by night, which is beastly. (BL Add. MS. 45,339)
At the time the Edinburgh trip took about 10 hours by train; according to Bradshaw's Railway Almanack for that year, Morris could have left from Kings Cross on the Great Northern Railway at 5.15 am and arrived in Edinburgh at 3.40 pm, and there were several alternate possibilities.
Free Tron Hall was at 4 Park Street; Morris lectured March 14th on "Socialism: The End and the Means," to a meeting sponsored by the Scottish Land and Labour League, chaired by the Rev. John Glasse. On Tuesday March 15th the Scottish Leader printed a lengthy report on p.7, col.5, "Mr William Morris on Socialism," including an approximately 1000 word summary of his speech. Morris spoke of the Unionist-Tory alliance as one founded on fear, then delivered his familiar prediction:
This change of parties would go on until there were none left but the Socialists on the one hand, and the haters of the people on the other. Then would come the struggle, and whatever form that struggle took, it would not be a long one. It would be sure to result in victory for Socialism, and upon that victory the new world would rise to crown the efforts of the past, and to stimulate to new efforts in the future. (Loud applause)
The Edinburgh Evening News published a similar report on the same day, p.2, col.3.

 On the evening of 14 April Morris wrote Jenny that a meeting on 5 April had passed their resolution despite hostility,
. . . after a rather stormy debate, owning to the stupidity of a cut and dried opponent one Job Bone, who always opposes everything and is known in Edinburgh as the 'Bone of Contention'. (Letters, p.270)
Commonweal report of an Edinburgh meeting on 18 March 1888 described a 'brisk discussion', in which 'the indefatigable Job Bone, a pillar of capitalism well known to Socialist lecturers, was severely handled' (Commonweal, 24 March).

Thompson considers the Rev John Glasse (not to be confused with the anarchist Henry Glasse) one of the League's few steady provincial allies (p.555). Several of Morris's letters to Glasse were reprinted by R. Page Arnot, in Unpublished Letters of William Morris, Labour Monthly Pamphlet, 1951 Series, no.6. According to Arnot (p.3), Glasse had been a member of the SDF before joining the SL. When visiting Edinburgh Morris stayed with Glasse and his wife at their home at 16 Tantallon Place, and he invited Glasse to visit him in London as the Edinburgh Branch's Conference delegate in May, 1887. Glasse declined, and after the Conference Morris wrote him a long letter defining his position. He seems to have considered Glasse a moderate ally, who was anxious above all to avoid another split within the League.

134 Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh (London 1887) describes Roslin, a town directly south of the city, as 'a retreat of rural quietness, and the abode of workers in the bleaching-fields and powder-mills' (p.352). The latter may be the 'manufactories' which Morris mentions. Bartholomew's 1912 Survey Atlas of Scotland, plate 62, shows a carpet mill and river nearby.

135 Cassell's guide notes that the chapel was founded in 1446, and quotes a historian who describes its baroque ornamentation:

It is impossible to designate the architecture of this building by any given or familiar term, for the variety and eccentricity of its parts are not to be defined by any words of common acceptation. (p.350)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My favourite version of Ay Carmela!

El Ejército del Ebro,
rumba la rumba la rumba la.
El Ejército del Ebro,
rumba la rumba la rumba la
una noche el río pasó,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!
una noche el río pasó,

Pero nada pueden bombas,
rumba la rumba la rumba la.
donde sobra corazón,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!
donde sobra corazón,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!

Contraataques muy rabiosos,
rumba la rumba la rumba la.
Contraataques muy rabiosos,
rumba la rumba la rumba la
deberemos resistir,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!
deberemos resistir,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!

Pero igual que combatimos,
rumba la rumba la rumba la.
Pero igual que combatimos,
rumba la rumba la rumba la
prometemos resistir,

¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!
prometemos resistir,
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!

Lothian Buses strike/ wildcat strikes 2005.

Disgusting untold Edinburgh History.

  • 1869 Surgeon's hall riot against equality.

  • 1935 riots against catholics morningside.
  • 1936 riots against catholics
  • 1937 anti-catholic politician elected in Leith
  • 1940- riots against italians in Leith "In Edinburgh Restaurants, Ice-cream shops, Fish and Chip shops, Hairdressers' establishments and the premises of a wine importer all had their windows smashed."

Anti-fascism in Edinburgh's past.

In contrast to these peaceful means of protest, the evening of the BUF’s rally saw more radical elements, mostly aligned to the Communist Party, attempt to directly intervene and prevent the meeting from going ahead. One Communist Party member who would later serve in the International Brigades, George Watters, recalled: “I remember gaun to a meeting in the Usher Hall, having been supplied wi’ a ticket by some of the students at Edinburgh University. I landed right down in the second front seat in the Usher Hall… My job was to get up and create a disturbance right away by challenging Sir Oswald Mosley, which I did. At that time I had a pretty loud voice. And Sir Oswald Mosley wasn’t being heard… There was a rush and in the rush I got a bit of a knocking about, and taken up to High Street [police station].”7

Useful resources for research.

Past papers of Australia=

Past papers of New Zealand=

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Socialist League was one of several early socialist groups that arose in Great Britain during the 1880s, along with the Social Democratic Federation, the Socialist Union, the Fabian Society, and the anarchist Freedom Group. Among these, the Socialist League was distinctive for its eclectic membership, comprised of both socialists and anarchists, and its focus on education and outreach as the most effective means of social change. Though its official membership never exceeded 1000, during its four years of greatest activity from 1885 through 1889, its vigorous program of lectures, open-air meetings, and publications, including its journal Commonweal, reached a considerable audience through campaigns on behalf of free speech, miners’ strikes, an international workers’ movement, and the reorganization of society “from the root up.”

 By early 1887, because of a series of miners’ strikes in Northumberland and Lanarkshire, Scotland provided an opportunity to appeal to disaffected workers on a mass scale. In response, the League distributed thousands of leaflets and organized demonstrations in support of the strikers in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle and elsewhere, with speeches by J. L. Mahon, Tom Macguire, Morris and others. These meetings initially attracted large crowds; a Glasgow meeting in February 1887 reportedly drew 20,000 sympathizers, and a joint meeting of the Socialist League and Socialist Democratic Federation in Edinburgh attracted 12,000. Such outreach efforts helped to establish local branches, buttress trade union support, and influence public sentiment toward socialism as a means of providing solidarity and meaningful long term goals.

 the Liverpool and Edinburgh Art Congresses of 1888 and 1889
William Morris. Commonweal 1888

Socialism Militant in Scotland

Source: “Socialism Militant in Scotland” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 117, 7 April 1888, p.106-7;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Since a year may make a good deal of difference in the position of a party, even when it is being carried on by quiet propaganda, I give a brief account of my lecturing tour in Scotland and my impressions of the position of Socialism there. On the 21st March I lectured at Kilmarnock, a not very important town on the edge of the mining district. The chief industry in the town itself is that of the railway works — a tolerably good indication, by the way, of labour being cheap in the neighbourhood; accordingly I was informed that the iron-miners in the neighbourhood are earning about nine shillings a-week working four days a-week, and that the coal-miners in the neighbourhood are not much better off. I spoke in the church of Mr Forrest, my inviter. The audience was fair as to numbers; they were not demonstrative, and it was found impossible to get them to ask any questions; they were, however, very attentive, and showed their interest in the subject by buying over 10s. worth of literature. A large proportion of the audience seemed to me to be of the middle-classes. A branch of the Scottish Land and Labour League has just been formed here, but I was told that the town was hard to move.
The following Friday produced a failure. Our Edinburgh comrades had taken a large hall for my lecture in Leith (not being able to get a smaller one), but only five persons turned up besides the branch, who showed up well; so the money was returned and we gave it up. However, seeing plenty of people hanging about in the street as we went homeward rather sadly, we started an open-air meeting, and got together upwards of 200 persons, who listened for an hour and a half to me and some of the members of the branch, though the snow presently began to come down fast.
The next day I went to West Calder, a mining village some half-hour’s railway ride from Edinburgh. We did not expect much of a meeting on a Saturday evening in such a place, especially as a very moderate amount of advertising had been used; but some of our Edinburgh comrades got down there, and did their best to get an audience by beginning in the open air; the bell-man — or rather, the bell-boy — was sent round also, and we got together some sixty persons, all work-men, into the room, which was thought very good considering the circumstances. They made an excellent audience as to attention and spirit. In the ensuing discussion, one person put forward as an objection a point which I see is made the most of by a well-known hand in To-day — to wit, that Socialism will produce wealth so abundantly and easily that we should not find work enough to do, and should deteriorate in consequence. The audience, mostly miners, obviously thought that this was an objection which might be passed over for the present, and were much tickled by the objector’s persistency in his threats of a life of ease.
The Edinburgh Whig rag, the Scotsman, by the way, paid me the compliment of publishing a paragraph on this meeting, which implied that I could not get an audience and came away with nothing done; and when I wrote to contradict its statement, favoured its readers with an explanation which was a model of the suppression of truth and suggestion of untruth. It is a matter of course that this journal goes out of its way to treat our friends unfairly.
On Sunday I went to Glasgow; and here I had every reason to damn ‘the nature of things’ as heartily as Porson did when he hit his head against the doorpost; for it came on to snow at about one o'clock and snowed till the time of meeting harder than I ever saw it snow, so that by 7.30 Glasgow streets were more than ankle-deep in half-frozen slush, and I made up my mind to an audience of fifty in a big hall; however it was not as bad as that, for it mustered over 500, who passed nem. con. a resolution in favour of Socialism. Owing to the weather, our comrades could not attempt the preliminary open-air meetings which they had intended to do; so I passed the day with them in their rooms in John Street, very much to my own pleasure, as without flattery they were, as I have always found them, hearty good fellows and thorough Socialists. All political parties in Glasgow have been depressed of late, they told me, and the Socialists have partly shared in this depression, though not as much as other bodies; but the knowledge of the movement and sympathy with it have grown very much, and our comrades are in good heart about it. The first novelty of the subject has worn off, and those who attend the meetings now are those who look upon the matter seriously. This is the view taken by our comrades wherever I went, and from all I could see I thought it the accurate one.
Perhaps the next day’s meeting (Monday) at Edinburgh tended to show this. It was a miserable night again, and we did not expect an audience of dilettanti — and did not get it. It was about as numerous as I got last year under better circumstances, but differed from that in having scarcely any middle-class persons in it. As to quality, it was one of the very best audiences I ever spoke to, and missed no point in the lecture. In fact in Edinburgh at least I seem to have exhausted the sympathies (?) of those who came at first to amuse themselves over the eccentricities of a literary man, and only those are left who really want to take counsel about the one question worth considering — how to free our minds and bodies from capitalistic tyranny. We had the usual treat afforded us by one Mr Job Bone, who attends and opposes all meetings, and who used to be thought a nuisance, but is now accepted as a convenient shoeing-horn to a discussion, and whose malicious folly is useful in drawing out the lecturer to explain matters that might otherwise remain unnoticed.
The next day I went to Dundee, where I had much the same kind of audience, except that there were more middle-class persons amongst it, who made themselves useful by asking questions easily answered, but (I hope) in a way not satisfactory to them, though very much so to the working-men present. One of the questioners was the sub-editor of the Radical paper, and I answered an unfair question of his with some warmth, so I was not surprised at getting a very curt report next morning; whereas the Tory journal reported us fairly and well. The audience was very hearty and appreciative. There is a branch here of the Scottish Land and Labour League, manned by energetic workers, whose work, however, is difficult, because ordinary party politics run high in Dundee, and the Radicals there have not got further than the Gladstoneite programme, if it can be called a programme.
From Dundee I went to Aberdeen, where I found another branch of the SLLL, including some energetic and intelligent men, a good deal kept down, as might be expected, by the ordinary Radicalism of the place, and some of whom, I think I may say consequently, are rather eager to try parliamentary agitation. Another stormy and wretched evening made me expect a thin audience; but the hall, which was a small one, was filled. The audience was mostly middle-class here, and rather heavy to lift, though attentive and not disposed to carp. The press reported the meeting carefully and well next morning.
If I could have, I would have visited Carnoustie, a mere village between Aberdeen and Dundee, but which has a good branch; but time was getting on, and I had promised to assist at a social gathering of our Edinburgh comrades on Thursday evening. I had a pleasant and interesting evening with them; and so finished what I came to do.
On the whole, in spite of some poor audiences (though the weather largely accounts for that), I was very favourably impressed by the outlook for Socialism in Scotland. There can be no doubt that much progress has been made since last year, in the teeth of great difficulties. As aforesaid, the novelty has worn off; respectability is beginning to see what Socialism really means, and doesn’t like the look of it at all; the press is deadly hostile, and not ashamed of any meanness in its treatment of the movement those who are dependent on ‘employers’ need expect no mercy from them if they are spotted as Socialists; the traditional puritanism of the country throws additional obstacles in the way of propaganda, — and with all this the movement is gaining ground steadily, and has an appearance of solidity about it which is most encouraging. I saw most of our Edinburgh comrades, and they seem to me to have entered on a new stage of the movement, and to promise to be as staunch as may be. The progress they have made since last year is remarkable.
Edinburgh Anarchists back in the day.

Thomas Hastie Bell

Andreas scheu

Paul Reclus

 John McAra,

Notes on The School Strikes in Scotland.

Recorded on Sat 30th Nov 1889 in The Queenslander.

The good town of Hawick, the capital of the
Borders, has acquired a fresh claim to notoriety.
It is the scene of the very latest development of
the strike movement. The scholars of two of
its board schools have "come out." On the
27th September, a majority of the scholars in
the higher standards marched out of their class
rooms, and their teachers were left lamenting.
The demands of the strikers are not for any
thing co paltry as higher pay. They claim
shorter hours, lighter work (that is to cay,
easier lessons), and better teachers. There is
something comical ns well a** something very
shocking in these demands. What the boys
want, in faot, is to assume tho functions of tho
school board and at the same timo to exchange
places with their mastere. Following the
example of the dook strikers, thoy organised a
public demonstration. Haviug formed a pro
cession, thoy marched through tho streets of
tho town between the two rebellioua Bchools,
appealing in this way for public sympathy and
Bupport. Their proceedings wero perfectly
orderly ; and when tho local police were a«ked
to interfere they declined, as tho Metropolitan
Police did, on the ground that it was a private
quarrel, and that neither life nor property was
endangered. The leverage on which the little
rebels rely is the belief that, if they disqualify
themselves for presentation to the inspector by
absences there will be a loss of the Government
grant, which will tell npon their teachers and
on the ratepayers. They forget, however, that
their escapade may entail on them another
J ear's attendance at school. At Greenock on
londay, 30th September, the older scholars
attending one of the board schools openly re
volted, on the ground that the school hours
were too long and that they were getting too
many lessons to learn at home. They congre
gated in front of the school and refused to
enter it. Alter discussing their position for
some time they determined to invade some
of the other board schools with the
object of enlisting further sympathy
and extending the agitation. Forming
themselves into procesßion, and singing,
shouting, and cheering, they proceeded to the
board school nearest their own, in the hope
that they would get the scholars of the higher
standards to join their ranks. In this, how
ever, they were not successful, as the master,
on hearing what was their objeot, sent for the
police and locked the door. Another school
thoy visited with like results, but later in the
day their ranks were increased by boys from
some of the other schools. Tho members of the
School Board are doing all they oan to quell
the revolt. The strike extended to Aberdeen
on Wednesday, 2nd October. A large body of
scholars paraded the streets of the town sing
ing and cheering. The revolt began in the
Established Churoh Normal Sohool, and
spread thence to the Free Church Normal
Sohool. Various schools were visited by the
boys, and at one the janitor, after ushering
them into the playground, tried to imprison
them by locking the gate. They esoaped,
however, by a door in the rear of the ground.
The boys demand free education and
the abolition of certain tasks and grievances.
At Port Glasgow the boys in one school struck
on Tuesday afternoon, Ist Ootober, and marched
through the town in procession, singing.
Thoy visited the other schools, but only a few
boys joined them. The boys complain of too
many home lessons, and want free education.
In Glasgow on Wednesday there was a con
siderable amount of excitement among the
ohildren of some of tbe schools, and they struck
for fewer home lessons and no "strap." Tho
movement promises to have other develop
ments; for at Port Glasgow the grocers'
errand boys have sent in a requisition to their
masters, declaring that, unless their wages
were increased Is. por week, they would not
lift a basket after Friday. A telegram from
Aberdeen Btates that the schoolboys attending
the various publio sohools in that city met and
demonstrated against tho length of time they are
kept in school, and also the number of home
lessons that are given them. A featuro of the
demonstration was the use of roughly impro
vised banners. The youngsters discuss the
situation with great gravity, and speak of
calling a "meeting" to ventilate their
" grievances."

Notes on School strikes 1911.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Notes on The Origins of Conspiracy Theories.

(Written by others)

Conspiracy theory as fundamentally anti-semitic.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is widely considered to be the beginning of contemporary conspiracy theory literature

Modern conspiracy theory began in Paris. Many in Europe were horrified by the French Revolution and found satisfaction in finding an organised hidden group guilty of orchestrating events. The culprits were secret societies such as the Bavarian Illuminati, the Freemasons and the Knights Templars. Then in 1791 the new French National Assembly ended all legal restrictions on France’s Jews, suggesting to future conspiracy pundits that, through the logic of cui bono, the revolution was a Jewish plot.  The Anti-Semitic League of France, founded in 1889, made its central claim that Jews seized power in the French Revolution. After the founding of Israel, the supposed Jewish conspiracy changed to an Israeli one, but it is still the shadowy plot that harks back to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Europe’s long history of anti-Semitic suspicion

Modern anti-Semitic conspiracy theories depicting an elaborate secret hierarchy of controlling Jewish influences largely take their cue from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a 1903 tract purporting to be the manual of a Jewish secret society planning world domination. It is still widely circulated and occasionally cited as "evidence" by various clueless anti-Semites despite being exposed as a fraud as early as 1921.
Max Weber (1864-1920), one of the founders of sociology, believed that antisemitism was abhorrent but also expressed concern that the over-representation of Jews in the leadership of European radical groups would inflame anti-Jewish sentiment.[5]
Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford further popularized the conspiracy during the 1920s by publishing the Protocols and anti-Semitic articles in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and distributing hundreds of thousands of copies of the Protocols. Ford's anti-Semitic articles were later collected and published as a four-volume treatise entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem.[6]
Ford's enthusiastic endorsement of an international Jewish conspiracy proved extremely popular in Weimar-era Germany. Ford provided substantial financial backing to Adolf Hitler in the 1920's and his writings were a significant influence on the formation of the Nazi party and its grassroots support. By 1933, when the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was standard reading in German schools. Hitler admired Henry Ford and even emulated him by creating his own automobile, the Volkswagen. Hitler further propagated the Jewish conspiracy in Mein Kampf and other propaganda blaming Jews for the rise of both communism and capitalism, and for Germany's economic decline following the First World War.
Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco similarly believed in a conspiracy of Jews, Freemasons and communists intending to establish a world government. He often made reference to a vast "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy."[7]

In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined the notion that Jews were the driving force behind both International Communism and International finance-capitalism.
In Bobby Fischer's later years, he became a very vocal believer that the Jews controlled the United States and that they should be rounded up, executed, and those that remain made slaves.
Anti-communists in Europe and North America often associated Jews with Bolshevism, particularly European fascists, who believed that Jews were peddling Marxism, since the founder of Communism was Jewish and since several prominent Communist leaders during the Russian Revolution were Jewish, like Leon Trotsky. The advent of Rosa Luxemburg in Germany seemed to lend credence to this notion. David Duke also claims communism is a Jewish conspiracy

Thomas Hastie Bell.

From website( i.e. not mines)

Thomas Hastie Bell was born in Edinburgh in 1867. He should not be confused with another Tom Bell, fellow Scot , Red Clydesider and one of the founders of the Communist Party. He acquired fluency in French, Italian, Spanish and German thanks to his job as a ship’s engineer, visiting all the Mediterranean countries, South Africa, the United States and South America. As a young man he joined the Scottish Land and Labour League and in the 1880s became an anarchist through his association with the Socialist League. He was active in the Freedom group in London. In 1892 he returned to Edinburgh and carried on intense anarchist propaganda with J. Blair Smith and McCabe. He  established a friendship there with Patrick Geddes, the biologist and town planner and persuaded him to bring over Elisée Reclus, the anarchist and geographer, to lecture at Edinburgh University. Emma Goldman mentions Bell “of whose propagandistic zeal and daring we had heard much in America”.
Staying in Paris he had urged French anarchists to have open-air meetings, but they were reluctant. He went to the Place de la Republique, one of the most central and busiest squares, after having distributed handbills about meeting there the following Sunday afternoon. There was a big crowd there, also plenty of policemen. He climbed up a lamp-post padlocked to a crosspiece and started speaking. The police called for a file, but he continued speaking till his voice gave out and then nonchalantly produced the key. Police then threatened him with prosecution for “insults to the Army and the law” but all Paris laughed and the authorities decided not to prosecute. After 2 weeks in jail  he was expelled as “too dangerous a man to be allowed loose in France”.  He married the anarchist John Turner’s sister Lizzie.

On the visit of Tsar Nicholas II to Britain, Bell went with McCabe to Leith where he was landing. Separated and although surrounded by Highlanders, territorials and infantry, Bell and McCabe got through to the Tsar’s carriage and shouted in his face “Down with the Russian tyrant! To hell with all the empires!”. Again the authorities were not inclined to prosecute, because a Scottish jury would probably throw out any charges.

In 1898, Bell, who suffered from asthma all his life, went back to London and got a job as the (long-suffering) secretary to the man of letters Frank Harris, famous for his friendship with Oscar Wilde and his womanising, as revealed in his Life and Loves. Harris is suspected of stealing Bell’s experiences as a cowboy near the Mexican border for his own fake cowboy memories. Through Harris, Bell got to know Edward Carpenter, Havelock Ellis, George Bernard Shaw and others. Bell wrote a book about Wilde in his Oscar Wilde Without Whitewash in memory of those times, unfortunately never published, After 7 years in that position, he had a disagreement with Harris over the latter’s biography, which he thought was unjust to Wilde. He went to New York in 1905, and in 1911 finally settled in the United States for good, becoming a farmer in Phoenix, Arizona. He spent the last 20 years of his life in Los Angeles. Both Bell’s wife Lizzie Turner and his sister Jessie Bell Westwater emigrated with him to the USA and were involved in the movement. Throughout his life he remained active in the movement, maintaining lifelong friendships with Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman and Rudolf Rocker.

Rocker said, “I saw him again in Los Angeles, when he was an old man. He was ill. His mop of red hair and his bushy beard were now white. His giant frame (he was well over six foot) was bent. But his mind was active; he was still working and speaking for the movement”.

In a letter to the Yiddish anarchist paper Die Fraye Arbeter Shtime in 1940, Bell declared, “We become in our old age crabby, blind, deaf, lame or asthmatic. And our movement is now completely overwhelmed in a gigantic world-wide wave of reaction. But, ah, when I look back to the glorious days and the glorious comrades of our young movement, I am stirred to the depths by affection and pride”.

Tom Bell died in 1942 at the age of 75.