John Taylor Caldwell Dies

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Volin's picture
Joined: 24-01-05
Jan 16 2007 19:51
John Taylor Caldwell Dies

One of the old school Scottish anarchists, it's sad to hear Caldwell (1911-2006) has passed on at 95. I never met him but I heard about him and his activities from other Socialists who've been part of the same scene in Glasgow.

"John Caldwell is the last surviving member of an heroic band of comrades who kept its banner flying through the 1920s and 1930s, when it was all but obliterated by the onward march of state socialism in the form of the Labour and Communist Parties. In Glasgow, Guy Aldred was at the centre of a dedicated group of anti-parliamentarians who resisted this, and fearlessly exposed the futility of parliamentary socialism.

Caldwell joined them, and eloquently describes his first contact with Aldred and his comrades at the 1934 Glasgow May Day. Later, he joined their United Socialist Movement as a full-time worker. He relates their enormous sacrifices in sending comrades to Spain to work for the CNT-FAI in Barcelona and Madrid; their resistance to war and conscription and their assistance to COs (Caldwell himself was among these, and one of the most vivid of many hitherto unpublished photos is of a march by the Anti-Conscription League through the streets of Glasgow). Possibly most important of all, though, he recounts their struggle to start and maintain their own printing press (the Strickland Press) and paper (The Word), and the stream of propaganda associated with these for almost thirty years...". (Source)


Intro to Come Dungeons Darkhis biography on the life of London-born but Glasgow-adopted Guy Aldred.

He finished a two volume autobiography starting with Severely Dealt With and finally, With Fate Conspire : Memoirs of a Glasgow Seafarer and Anarchist.

There's an interview on Glasgow Anarchism which he was involved in. A taster;

"The movement started in Glasgow in a way that’s buried in a certain amount of mystery because they haven’t been able to research it properly, but after the Paris Commune a number of Frenchmen came to Britain and one of these settled in Glasgow and became the companion of a woman called MacDonald who lived in Crown St..." (noice)