November 1, 2020
From Radical Glasgow (UK)

          Bloody Friday is a date that is branded on the psyche of Glasgow’s working class, January, 31st. 1919, (or should be) when people from Glasgow and all around gathered in George Square holding a mass peaceful demonstration in support of the 40 hour week. When some individual among the higher echelons of power, for reasons known to them, ordered the police to attack the crowd. They went in with batons swing and all hell broke loose. Fighting spread across the city and well into the night as the people vented their anger on the police and the authorities. The powers that be got extremely nervous, fearing a revolution being sparked in the Red Clyde and spreading. Their answer was troops, armed with fixed bayonets on the streets of Glasgow, tanks stationed in a warehouse in the east end of the city, and armed soldiers at the gates of docks and other places that the powers that be, deemed strategic.
       I know it’s not January, an anniversary or anything like that, but it is an event that we should always try to bring to the attention of the young taking up the struggle for a decent life for all. Though it has been written about by many people I thought it would be nice to hear a voice of one who was there at the time, A Glasgow working class fighter and writer/poet, someone I have admired since I first came across his name while researching the subject at the Caledonian University many years ago, Tom Anderson.

 Bloody Friday.

The Judas Iscariots, disciples of Christ,
Sent out the “Blue Legions”, bought at a price,
To maim and to kill at pleasure of will
The people unarmed who before them stood still.
The “Arm of the Law” read words from a “writ”
Empowering their legion to kill and to whip.
To cover their deeds, the press cried aloud,
“Save, save our good City from Bolshevik shroud!”

The knaves in chorus joined in with the throng:
“Machine them, baton them, drive them along;
Strike down the damned strikers, vermin at that,
The army’s behind you, make good your part.”
“The soldiers of freedom” – – – Christ! What an affair – – –
Stood waiting for orders, to “charge over there.
And sad was the sight, at the dead of night,
Slaves dressed in khaki, without human right.

They marched Khaki slaves through our streets day and night,
To show us the strength of their power and might;
And the poor slaves, bowed down with bayonet and gun,
Felt now they were the plundering Hun.
Christ Almighty! Was there ever a plot so foul,
They played with our men as a fox with a fowl.
Then down came their swoop with an avalanche tread;
And Kirkwood went down, and they cracked Willie’s head.
We fear not their law, nor yet their great men;
We fear not their prisons or blood-gallows pen;
We fear not their priests, or parsons or spies;
We fear not their land away up in the skies.
We laugh at their army, and navy, and king;
We laugh at the god to whom these thieves sing
We laugh,and in earnest we strive for the day
To wipe out the tyrants who do our class slay.

                                                                                Tom Anderson.