Aberdeen has a long and fine history of effective social activism, left wing politics, agitation and squatting.

The Squatters.

The squatters in the 1920’s and 1930’s had the back up of the local communist party would help re-house families facing eviction by making “agreements” with landlords to allow the family to stay in their homes on a rent they could afford. If the landlord tried to evict the family they were sure to be met with several hundred socialists who would send him packing. Many areas in town were squatted before and after WWII including the Tory Battery and Broad Street.

Spanish civil war.

“You can go proudly. You are legend. We shall not forget you” -Dolores Ibarruri

The local socialists were also active fighting Franco, sending 19 men from the city and shire to fight the fascists in Spain. Sadly this claimed the lives of 5 local boys. They were sent home in the to their families in the Spanish Republic flag, which still fly’s to this day at the Aberdeen Trade union club.

Prominent among the boys who fought Franco was Aberdeen’s Bob Cooney.

Mosley’s Blackshirts.

Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists struggled in Aberdeen.

In fact it was the only city in the UK where they could not organise a meeting, this was not through a lack of trying.Tram drivers would inform the local agitators of where the fascists planned to meet, them allow them free travel to attend the meeting so they cold “discourage” them from having any more meetings up in the North East.

After it kicked off big style in  1937 at the Castlegate the local Fascists and the lads they had recruited from London never came back. Sadly this is not the case today with the National Front standing in local elections in the city. Bob Cooney also played a big part in organizing against Mosley’s Blackshirts and many others who knew that the Fascism should be opposed at all costs.

Macarenses,  our resident Anarchist archivist has also put a rather fine collection together on Aberdeen’s radical history. Please click the links below.

20th Century Radicalism –  pre-20th Century Politics

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