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.
Reading Three: John Maclean, 'Up, India!', The Vanguard, August 1920
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 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.
Reading Three: John Maclean, 'The Rise in Prices', Forward, 7 January 1911.
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.