Posts Tagged ‘2000s’

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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The Industrial Workers of the World is an international labour union, that was founded in Chicago in 1905. The union is organised industrially, rather than, by trade. The union does not believe in working with employers and favours direct action by employees.

A group was briefly established by union members in Aberdeen in 2007. The group organised a May Day social night with folk music and also a film screening.

References: website.

Sources: unknown.

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Aberdeen United Against Fascism formed in 2004 as a response to The National Front attempting to march through Aberdeen on St Andrew’s Day. The group was co-ordinated through members of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council and was successful in lobbying Aberdeen City Council to ban the march. The result was an anti-fascism/anti-racism march on St Andrew’s Day 2005, a march which has become an Aberdeen Trades Union Council event to this day.

It is not clear whether the local group was part of the national campaign Unite Against Fascism which was formed in 2003, in response to the electoral campaigning of the British National Party. The similarity in name would suggest a link.

It is not known when this group wound-up, but it is likely that it simply morphed into another anti-fascist movement at a later date.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports.

Sources: unknown.

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The Grampian Regional Equality Council works to promote respect and combat discrimination for all people. At the end of the 1970s, Aberdeen welcomed Vietnamese families made refugees by the war in their country. It was realised that a support network was required and a committee of volunteers and representatives from local authorities and agencies was established. Over time, Grampian Community Relations Council came into being, then became Grampian Racial Equality Council and finally Grampian Regional Equality Council.

The organisation has led the way in promoting and campaigning for equality and diversity in the north-east of Scotland. The organisation also coordinates the North East Scotland Equalities Network (NESEN), formed in 2011, which aims to achieve equality in disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion and belief, through a network of public bodies and the voluntary sector.

References: Website.

Sources: unknown.

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Critical Mass Aberdeen aims to celebrate cycling as an alternative to motorised forms of transport for every day travel. There have been various mass cycle events in 1997, again from 2006 – 2008 and more recently.

There was also a University of Aberdeen society advertising in the Freshers’ magazine in 1995.

The Critical Mass movement is worldwide and started in America in 1992.

References: old website and University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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CND was founded nationally in 1957 with Scottish CND founded in 1958. CND has always drawn on a varied membership ranging from Christian pacifists, moderate Labour through to the Communist Party and more radical groups such as anarchists.

There was a University of Aberdeen Society, active by 1959, and in the early days travelled to demos in Aldermaston, Glasgow and Holy Loch. It would appear that the University society was also dormant for parts of the 1970s (between c.1970 and 1978).

There was also an Aberdeen Branch active at the very beginning and there was also a youth wing (YCND) which formed about 1963. There were also at certain periods a number of local branches across the north east.

Related entries: Aberdeen Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown. A couple of items as part of Mary Esslemont’s (physician and local member of Aberdeen CND) papers (1960 – 1979) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. The national CND records are held across the British Library of Political and Economic Science and the Modern Records Centre at Warwick University. Some Scottish material is held at Glasgow Mitchell Library.

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Amnesty is a world-wide organisation that campaigns for human rights and was founded in London in 1961. There has been a University of Aberdeen society active since 1964.

There is still a current Aberdeen University society branch as well as an Aberdeen branch.

Related entries: Amnesty International (Aberdeen branch).

References: adverts in Aberdeen Peoples Press, University Freshers’ magazines and website for current group.

Sources: a few items as part of Mary Esslemont’s (physician and local member of Amnesty) papers (1973 – 1982) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. The national records are held at University of Warwick Library and the records of the international organisation are held at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.

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