Gallacher, William

Gallacher, William

 

Born Dec. 25, 1881, in Paisley, Scotland; died there Aug. 12, 1965. A figure in the British and international workers’ movement. Born into a working-class family.

From the age of 10, Gallacher worked for hire. By trade he was a brass-founder. Beginning in his adolescent years Gallacher was an active participant in the socialist movement. He was a member of the Independent Labour Party, then of the Social Democratic Federation, and after 1911 of the British Socialist Party. Gallacher was active in the trade union movement. In 1915 he founded the Clyde Workers Committee, later the Scottish Workers Committees. During World War I (1914-18), Gallacher headed a mass movement of shop stewards in factories and plants and was one of the best known strike organizers among the Scottish shipbuilding and mine workers. He was arrested several times and sent to prison.

In 1920, Gallacher represented the industrial shop stewards’ movement at the Second Congress of the Comintern in Moscow. Under the influence of V. I. Lenin, he firmly adopted Marxist views. In 1921 he entered the Communist Party of Great Britain, in the same year becoming a member of the party’s Central Committee and Politburo. Gallacher was one of the organizers of the revolutionary “minority movement” that arose in the English trade unions in 1924. From 1935 to 1950 he was a member of Parliament. Between 1943 and 1956 he was president of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain; between 1956 and 1963, president of the party; and after 1963, life honorary member of the Executive Committee of the party.

WORKS

Revolt on the Clyde: An Autobiography. London, 1936.
The Rolling of the Thunder. London, 1947.
The Case for Communism. Harmondsworth [1949].
“Rise Like Lions.” London, 1951. (Memoirs.)
The Tyrant’s Might Is Passing. London, 1954.
The Last Memoirs of W. Gallacher. London, 1966.

REFERENCE

Essays in Honour of W. Gallacher. Birmingham, 1966.

N. V. MATKOVSKII

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