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The International Marxist Group (British Section of the Fourth International) advertised in The Big Print in the late 1970s – early 1980s. The Group was a national Trotskyist organisation and emerged in the mid-1960s. It changed its name in 1982 to the Socialist League.

References: adverts in The Big Print, June 1978 – early 1980s.

Sources: unknown, but papers of the national body are held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick and also at the London School of Economics.

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A group advertised in The Big Print newspaper in February 1979.

References: advert in The Big Print.

Sources: unknown.

The Subversive Graffiti Collective produced a free news sheet (around 8 issues in 1981/1982), with for example, reports on male violence, strikes and direct action by communities and workers.

The aims as stated in the news sheet were: (1) to support, seek solidarity for and be involved in struggles for the needs of the vast majority of people, against the elite of businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats. This includes activities at the workplace, by the unemployed, by tenants, against oppression on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation, (2) to urge that all involved control these actions, not leaders such as Union officials or political parties, (3) to aim at the overthrow of all governments, bosses and leaders by the conscious action of the majority of the people. We want a world without any relationships of domination and submission, where all have an equal say in how things are run, and where production is for human need not profit.

As well as producing the news sheet, the Collective held informal discussions in Summer Street Community Centre. The 1st issue states the new sheet was produced by people in the group Solidarity (Aberdeen) and ‘other revolutionaries in Aberdeen and the North East’. The Collective address was c/o Boom Town Books, 167 King Street, Aberdeen.

There was also a similar news sheet in Peterhead, ‘Bloo Toon Graffiti’, produced by the Bloo Toon Graffiti Collective (also c/o of Boomtown Books).

Related entries: Aberdeen People’s Press and Solidarity (Aberdeen Group).

References: see below.

Sources: copies are held at the Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh and also at the Spirit of Revolt archive in Glasgow.

The Big Print: North-East Libertarian Paper, was produced by a collective, and printed by socialist publisher Aberdeen People’s Press. The Big Print had a number of similarities with the newspaper Aberdeen People’s Press (which ran from 1973 – 1976), with investigative reporting, listings of local pressure groups, yet, it was more strident in its political outlook. It had monthly sales of between 600 and 700.

The first editorial in 1978 set out the aims: “We aim to be an alternative both to the establishment and to the papers of left-wing parties who only want to take power for themselves. By exposing the day-to-day problems that most people have to face we hope to give a clearer picture of present society’s priorities , as well as publicising the activities of people engaged in changing them…Big Print has a clear political outlook. Rejecting the charade of the parliamentary system (with its M.P.s and councillors) doesn’t mean that we place our hope in some ‘revolutionary leadership’ assuming power on behalf of the working people. On the contrary we believe that only through independent action by people in similar situations, with decisions being made by everyone involved, is there any hope of changing the system as a whole”.

Related entries: Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group and Aberdeen People’s Press.

References: copies of The Big Print newspaper (issues 1 – 22, 1978 – 1980)

Sources: newspaper held at University of Aberdeen Library.

A branch of the national organisation which had been founded in 1904 following a split from the Social Democratic Federation (SDF).

Related entries: Aberdeen University Socialist Party of Great Britain.

References: see below.

Sources: a pamphlet ‘Marx’s Early Writings: a guide to some of the major ideas’ (1973) is held at the Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh.

There was an association with the same name at the time of the Chartists but this was a later organisation founded in the spirit of the former. There were similar associations founded across Britain at this time, in response to another reform bill (this one the 2nd), but which again was promising to live up to expectations.

The Association published a pamphlet outlining their grievances and objects/rules. It called on men: “to unite in demanding Universal Suffrage, Vote by Ballot, Annual Parliaments, as the most effectual means of promoting the moral and social improvements of the Working Classes”. The pamphlet also emphasised that the working classes should unite as one, and not depend any longer on those ‘who style themselves our “superiors” co-operating with us’. A key element of the Association was educational improvement, and the pamphlet called for a national system of education, noted the influence of the Mechanics’ Institutions and stated an object was to remove laws which prevented free circulation of thought through the medium of a ‘cheap and honest press’.

The Secretary of the Association was John Fraser, 30 Broad Street, Aberdeen.

References: Address to the Working Classes by the Aberdeen Working Men’s Association: Together with the Objects and Rules of the Association (unknown, Aberdeen, c.1867).

Sources: as above.

1884 Reform ActI love personal acts of rebellion, no matter how small. So as I find stories on my research travels I will post them under ‘Daily acts of rebellion’. Number 3 in this series is from the Franchise Bill demonstration on the 16th August 1884. This was the biggest procession since the 1832 Reform Act demonstration, with a reported 50,000 people marching against the actions of the House of Lords, after they had blocked the progress of the reform bill. The procession included the Reformers of 1832, the Chartists of 1846, the trades council, the individual trades and various Liberal Party organisations. The published descriptions of the procession are extremely detailed, describing each trade and the banners and mottoes they carried:

the brass finishers: ‘They carried…a large banner bearing the inscription “The Death Knell of Hereditary Legislators”‘.

the rope and sailmakers: ‘They did not shrink from hinting that an application of the rope’s end to the members of the House of Lords might have a beneficial effect’.

the plasterers: ‘ …demanded “Liberty and the people’s rights”‘.

Charles Napier’s workers: ‘A dead horse was placed in a cart labelled the House of Lords, and a knacker-man was represented as having newly slaughtered the animal. He held in his hand an axe, from which was dripping blood’…Following this cart was a number of cadger horses marked dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, barons, etc.’.

(source: The Franchise Bill Demonstration at Aberdeen on Saturday 16th August, 1884 (Aberdeen, 1884).