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John Maclean Centenary
Educational Series


PEN Scotland is happy to be collaborating with the organisers of the John Maclean Centenary Celebrations to offer a series of workshops exploring the ideas, teachings and legacy of the Glasgow socialist John Maclean.

John Maclean was famous not only for being the 'accuser of Capitalism', but also for setting up the Scottish Labour College, a school dedicated to teaching the working people of Glasgow about Marxism, their oppression under capitalism, and how they can organise to resist exploitation. It is in the same spirit that PEN is organising these commemoratory seminars. 

Each seminar is based around a set of central ideas that Maclean taught on and were central to his (and his fellow workers') daily lives: imperialism, wages, housing, and energy. 

Our workshops are based around the legacy that Maclean left us: his writings, lecture notes, and speeches. We will not only study these works, but also spend time discussing their relevance to us today. 

Workshops will have optional readings in order to fully appreciate Maclean's ideas. All workshops are free to attend but please reserve a space to ensure your participation.

Where: Unison HQ, 84 Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1LQ

When: Mondays, 6 November to 27 November

Time: 6.30pm to 8.00pm 

Maclean on Imperialism

Monday 6 November, 6.30pm

Facilitator: Joey Simons

Anti-imperialism was central to Maclean's socialist beliefs, and for which he spent time in jail. In this workshop, we will begin by studying Maclean's views on imperialism, before discussing and debating the relevance of these ideas to the world today and how imperialism is reaching new heights.


Maclean on the Cost of Living

Monday 13 November, 6.30pm

Facilitator: Sean Bailie


One of Maclean's central legacies was the belief in popular education in order for workers to understand their own oppression. This workshop will explore some of his lectures on Marxist economics, to help us think about what Maclean would have had to say about the cost of living crisis many of us are enduring today.


Maclean on Housing

Monday 20 November, 6.30pm

Facilitator: Ruth Hart

Of the social ills that people faced in Maclean's time, housing was dominant concern. In this workshop we will explore Maclean's views on housing and his role in agitating for the 1915 Rent Strike.  We will also look at the parallels of this period for us today, and what aspects of Maclean's struggle we can take into our own activism.


Maclean on the Just Transition

Monday 27 November, 6.30pm

Facilitator: Dr Ewan Gibbs

Maclean was unconditional in his support for coal miners and defended their right to strike for better pay. He also considered the role of coal in the economy. In this workshop we will look also at how his ideas might help us understand about a just transition, and its implications for workers in that sector.

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