Posts Tagged ‘1990s’


£1 banknote with red stamp ‘Home Rule for Scotland’ (which was originally sold as a rubber stamp by the publishers Scottish Secretariat), black stamp with ‘Free Scotland Now’ (in Gaelic, and also with ‘Siol Nan Gaidheal’, which was the name of a Scottish nationalist group) and also in ink is written SNP with the party logo. The banknote is 1987 so presumably this piece of protest is late 1980s/early 1990s. This could date from potentially the 1987 election, more likely the 1992 election, or around the time when the Scottish Constitutional Convention was founded in 1989.

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There was an anarchist group in Aberdeen in the 1890s but there does not appear to have been a formal group again until the late 1960s. The Aberdeen Anarchist Group was active by 1966, and by 1968 there were 2 groups (Aberdeen Anarchists and Aberdeen Anarchist Federation (a branch of the national group, The Syndicalists Workers’ Federation), as well as a student group at Aberdeen University. Local anarchists were involved in other campaigns as well such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Youth), Committee of 100, the anti-Vietnam war movement and tenants’ rights groups. Also of note is that the Scottish Anarchist Conference was held in Aberdeen in March 1969 and the Anarchist Federation of Scotland branch Scottish Secretary was based in Montrose.

The Aberdeen groups appear to have dissolved by 1970. From the late 1960s as well, local anarchists were now forming new groups, and calling themselves libertarian socialists: Solidarity (Aberdeen Group) (1967 – 1972), Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group (c.1973 – c.1982) and Social Revolution/Solidarity (c.1975 – c.1982). These groups were very active for many years, locally and nationally, and the Social Revolution group of the late 1970s was part of the Scottish Libertarian Federation.

There was an active anarchist group by the late 1980s and they issued a news-sheet titled ‘Titanic: Aberdeen Anarchist Monthly’. There have been numerous groupings active since then (such as Aberdeen Anarchist Resistance in the early 2000s), yet groups have often been short-lived and prone to lapse (the latest incarnation of a group was set up in 2016). There are strong connections with other groups such as Aberdeen Against Austerity and the Aberdeen Anti-Fascist Alliance.

Related entries: Aberdeen Against Austerity, Aberdeen Anti-Fascist Alliance, Aberdeen Libertarian Socialist Group, Aberdeen University Anarchist Group, Social Revolution/Solidarity and Solidarity (Aberdeen Group).

References: Aberdeen Press and Journal and Freedom newspaper sourced online.

Sources: some printed material (a copy of ‘Titanic: Aberdeen Anarchist Monthly’, c.1988, is held at the Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh).

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A branch of the national organisation which had been founded in 1950 (as the Socialist Review Group), which became the International Socialists in 1962 and finally the Socialist Workers Party in 1977. Members are very active in campaigns in the city and selling the Socialist Worker newspaper.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Socialist Worker Student Society.

References: adverts in International Socialism newspaper.

Sources: national archive is held at Warwick University, Modern Records Centre.

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The Free Information Network (FIN) was a publishing movement that grew out of the counter-culture, traveller, free festival scene of the 1980s and there were local FIN groups issuing newsletters in many cities across the UK. These D.I.Y. community papers covered multiple areas such as anarchism, animal rights, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, civil rights, environmentalism, prisoner support and squatting. The network was centered around direct action as the 1990s was the time of large protests against environmental destruction caused by the building of new roads and the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act, Jobseekers Allowance and the Poll Tax.

Newsletters because they were part of a wider network would also include a directory of other FINS, local activist groups and a diary of future direct actions. An important part was that the newsletters relied on contributions from activists and for a donation or stamp addressed envelope, you could receive information from other members of the network.

There was a FIN in Aberdeen and it would seem to have first been active in around 1994. The aims were stated as: to promote and support the development of alternative lifestyles, to promote and support underground music and publications, to highlight all injustices in society, to encourage widespread communication and co-operation and to encourage freedom of though and expression.

References: Aberdeen F.I.N. and ABFIN newsletters c. 1994 – 1997

Sources: 3 newsletters held at Scottish Radical Library/ACE archive in Edinburgh.

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The national Fabian Society was founded in 1884 with the aim of developing political ideas and public policy on the political left. The Society is still active and affiliated to the Labour Party.

There is a vague reference to a local Fabian Society existing in 1892 but it has not been proved. An Aberdeen branch though was established in 1924 and a key member was Robert Raffan (he was a trade unionist and Labour councillor) who was Secretary for 40 years, from the late 1920s. It was reported that in the late 1930s Aberdeen was the largest branch in Scotland. The branch was very active organising meetings, many with visiting speakers.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Fabian Society.

References: Aberdeen Daily Journal and Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1878 1900 (K. D. Buckley, Edinburgh, 1955).

Sources: papers of the national Fabian Society are held at the London School of Economics.

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Aberdeen Cuba Solidarity Campaign was established in 1993 with the support of the Aberdeen Trades Council and is part of the wider Scottish and British Solidarity Campaigns. It was established to provide practical assistance to the people of Cuba through campaigning, fund raising and cultural events.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports.

Sources: unknown.

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In 1980 the Grampian Union Against Youth Unemployment was set up with the assistance of Aberdeen Trades Council, to campaign for better services and facilities for the unemployed. By 1981 the Union (now called the Grampian Unemployment Union) had a ‘centre’ at the Trades Council property at 21 Adelphi and provided advice on welfare rights and campaigned against benefit cuts etc. In 1983 the Aberdeen Unemployment Centre was established at 334 George Street, in 1985 re-located to the St Katherine’s Centre at West North Street and finally in 1988 moved to 54 Frederick Street. The Centre published their own news-sheets, initially ‘Beat the Doledrum’ and then from the late 1980s ‘The Signing-On-Times’. The Centre was also utilised by various groups such as the Anti-Poll Tax Movement and in 1989 the Memorial Library of the 15th International Brigade was opened at the Centre (the library is now housed at the Aberdeen Trades Union Council offices at the Adelphi).

In 1992 the centre became the Aberdeen Employment Restart Centre.

Related entries: Aberdeen Claimant’s Union and Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports and see below.

Sources: Some material such as annual reports are held as part of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council archives at the University of Aberdeen Library.

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