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Notes for a history of the IMG 14: The Revolutionary Left in Scotland, 1978

November 25, 2015

The history of the IMG in Scotland in the 1970s is an extremely interesting one.  We will return to the debates and discussions surrounding the Scottish Labour Party, launched by Jim Sillars in 1976, in later posts.

Here we publish an important survey of the Revolutionary Left in Scotland, written in 1978. The survey was written by Neil Williamson, a leading member of the IMG who was tragically killed in a car accident later that year.  The survey was written for an external audience and includes interesting information and analysis of the organisation and ideas of the IMG in Scotland at that time.

Neil Williamson’s obituary appeared in Socialist Challenge in the issue dated 26 October 1978.

Neil Williamson Obituary

His role was also recognised by Pierre Frank in “The Long March of the Trotskyists”:

“Neil Williamson, Scottish militant of the International Marxist Group, who played the key role in leading the IMG to understand the new prominence of the national question in Scotland. His funeral after his death at the age of 26 in a car crash in October 1978 was attended by representatives of every significant section of the labour movement, testifying to the enormous respect he had won in ten years of unceasing political activity.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2015 11:27 am

    Seeing that obituary was a real pang, and brought back the shock I felt coming across it in the issue of Socialist Challenge I was selling at Brunel University. It was the first news I had Neil’s death. I’d known him when I was at Glasgow University and hanging around the IMG. I had read all his contributions on the national question, and I had last met him at the rally against Healy the previous year (where I was on platform guard duty).

    Neil was personally a great guy, as well as a deep thinker and a fine public speaker. He was one of the very few members of the IMG who could have been a ‘mass leader’ and figurehead. I honestly think the history of the Scottish far left — and therefore the recent history of Scotland — would have been quite different if it hadn’t been for that car crash.

  2. George Kerevan permalink
    November 9, 2018 1:07 pm

    To think that my friend and comrade Neil Williamson has been dead for 40 years is astonishing. His view that the national question in Scotland would dominate politics in these years has been vindicated.

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