Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Rent strikers' centenary marks MayDay celebrations

100 years after the success of the Glasgow Rent strikers' in changing the law, their struggles are taking centre stage amongst the range of events announced around this year's MayDay celebrations. 
The First World War women's fight against the exploitative attempts by private landlords to hike up rents came to an end after court cases against 18 rent strikers were abandoned in 1915 and the law was changed by the enactment of the Rent Restriction Act. Glasgow Film Theatre is marking the centenary by showing the 1984 film on the struggle - Red Skirts on Clydeside - on Saturday 2 May. The film will be introduced by Maria Fyfe, former MP for Maryhill and chair of the Remember Mary Barbour Association. Maria said. "As we look forward to a tangible memorial for the rent strikers with a statue of Mary Barbour, it is good to be able to say how much we have managed to move the recognition fight on since the film was made."
In addition, a walk organised by Glasgow Friends of MayDay (GFoMD), will
Rent Strike demo
visit the old court were the case was due to be heard, the prison in which many women were held and sites of many of the demonstrations and rallies. 'Women, the War and the Rent strikes' will take place on Saturday 25 April. Chris Bartter, Chair of GFoMD said "The women involved in the rent strikes were often also involved in the peace campaigns and before that in the struggles for women's suffrage. Their lives are an example to today's activists, and it makes a good walk!"
The two events are just part of the programme launched to mark the International Workers' Festival in Glasgow and around. Other events include a Clarion Cycle Club ride out and a Love Music, Hate Racism Gig - both on May 1 - afternoon and evening respectively. The now-famous Great MayDay Cabaret will again be in Oran Mor on the 4 May - this year it stars Tommy Sands - and a short tour of John and Willy Maley's play - From The Calton to Catalonia - starts on the 1 May in the Calton starring, well-known Scottish actor, Gary Lewis. The full programme is available from the Friends of MayDay website -
Tickets for the GFT film go on sale on 23 April at £5 from Signing up for the walk costs £7.50, contact Chris Bartter on 07715 583 729.

Tickets for both The (Third) Great Mayday Cabaret and the May 3 performance of From the Calton to Catalonia are available from Oran Mor (over the bar) or via their website - (booking fee). Tickets for other performances of From the Calton to Catalonia see the FairPley website at

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