Diverse Political Identities within a Working Class Presence: Revisiting Red Clydeside

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This paper revisits the histories of Red Clydeside to foreground a diversity of political identities. The paper argues that this diversity is crucial to defining the working class presence found within the West of Scotland during the early twentieth century. By approaching this period through the historical lives of three activists, the paper illuminates the intersecting contributions of traditions such as anarchism, the suffrage movement, communism, and parliamentary activism. The breadth offered by this approach asserts the continued importance of a much-celebrated labour history but also links to ongoing debates within historical, political and labour geography. The paper argues for the inclusion of diverse, yet intersecting, political positions within an account of radical cultures by returning to E.P. Thompson’s notion of ‘working class presence’. This notion of presence has geographical resonance and is developed here alongside understandings of assemblage, topology and throwntogetherness, to foreground an attentiveness to diversity within place-based politics and spatial connections. The paper utilises this lens to illuminate factors often downplayed in the characterisation of urban memory and to argue for greater diversity in approaches to such political and social histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalPolitical Geography
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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