Source: The Call 12th December 1918, p.6
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Copyleft: John MacLean Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2007. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
Greetings to all comrades and the mass of the working-class who forced the Cabinet to release me! George Barnes’s claim that he got my release is a lie as base as his betrayal of our class. He and the Cabinet members were really afraid of their very lives, and rightly so; for the workers have now reached a stage in the evolution of our class when they will punish their enemies in the great class war.
When leaving Peterhead, I told the governor, the head-warder, and others that if the workers made a bid for freedom along the lines of Russia and Germany, I would be in the thick of the fight, although aware that I would be the first to be captured by the real enemy, the propertied plunderers of Britain. Comrades can take it, then, that I am not “tamed,” although the prison people did their utmost to accomplish the usual. The doctors this time made the most thorough test of my mind and character to find out such weaknesses as they might play upon in future to corrupt me into the betrayal of my class. It was beautifully done, but I can assure comrades that I beat the doctors at their game. I let them know that I was obsessed about nothing, not even life itself, and that they could burn all they thought they knew about me and have in tabulated and indexed form, as it would be of, no use to them in my future, fight against capitalism.
I have already received the greatest honour of my life in being appointed Scottish representative of the first Socialist Republic in the world, the Russian one; and the second, in being selected as the standard-bearer of my class by the Cabinet of the British capitalist class.
From a bread-and-butter point of view I don’t need to sell out. I can go to Russia and be secure till I peg out. But I am not going to Russia, except on working-class business or for a holiday. The place for every British Socialist is here at home until capitalism is overthrown. I stay at home, then, with the Clyde Valley as my centre.
My only appearance in Gorbals will be on Friday, December 13th, the eve of the poll, and I speak then only because my “bosses” have dictated this course to me. Personally, I would have preferred to stay in Aberdeen enjoying my liberty amongst the “boys of the old brigade,” the Coopers, the Pithies, the Morrisons, the Gordons., the Wheelers, etc. Why? Because I was selected whilst in prison; my address was written and circulated by the workers whilst I lay in prison; everything was, and is being, done under the guidance of Willie Gallacher (my deputy), the witty, cheery, and popular chairman of the Clyde Workers Committee. The fight is one against treachery; and the significance of the fight is that the workers are not lying down in disgusted despair but have roused themselves to the intensest activity to retain the honour of our class by crushing the traitor. The fight is not mine, therefore: hence my attitude.
In the international aspect the return of Barnes will be fraught with momentary rnisfortune for our class. The Government, knowing this, are doing everything to defeat me. If I am returned Britain will have to withdraw her forces from Russia, Germany, and BELGIUM, or she will feel the consequences at home. I trust that Lloyd George will cherish no illusions about that. If Barnes wins and the British troops try to crush our Russian and German comrades, Barnes had never better appear in Glasgow again and his committeemen had better leave Scotland for good. Let no one have any illusions.
The election in itself counts for nothing. Our B.S.P. candidates and the readers of “The Call” know that—in spite of what I have just written. The real British crisis is coming, and coming quickly, too. Let us, then, keep our committees going, let us rush forward with meetings, sales of literature, discussions and organisation in the workshop, economic classes and conferences to promote Labour Colleges after we have polled, conscious that economic circumstances are going to arise in 1919 that will thrust the revolutionary section into power as on the Continent.
I place myself absolutely at the disposal of the movement, and trust that my services will be taken advantage of for educational conferences on Saturdays and lectures on other nights of the week. Keep it going, comrades, keep it going; our victory is fast approaching.