On John MacLean
'I am not prepared to let Moscow dictate to Glasgow.' Failures may be interesting, but it is the firmness of what he wanted and did not want that raises eyebrows; when does the quixotic begin to gel, begin to impress, at what point of naked surprise? 'I for one will not follow a policy dictated by Lenin until he knows the situation more clearly.' Which Lenin hadn't time to, and parties never did -- the rock of nations like the rock of ages, saw-toothed, half-submerged, a cranky sputtering lighthouse somewhere, as often out as lit, a wreck of ships all around, there's the old barnacled 'Workingclass Solidarity,' and 'International Brotherhood' ripped open and awash, while you can see the sleekit 'Great Power Chauvinism' steaming cannily past on the horizon as if she had never heard of cuius regio. Maclean wanted neither the maimed ships nor the paradox of not wanting them while he painfully trimmed the lighthouse lamp to let them know that Scotland was not Britain and writs of captains on the Thames would never run in grey Clyde waters. Well, nothing's permanent. It's true he lost -- a voice silenced in November fog. Party is where he failed, for he believed in people, not in partiinost' that as everyone knows delivers the goods. Does it? Of course. And they're damaged in transit you make do? You do -- and don't be so naive about this world! Maclean was not naive, but 'We are out for life and all that life can give us' was what he said, that's what he said. '
- Edwin Morgan, 1977
Wikipedia on John MacLean, 1920s Glasgow socialist and republican.