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Geddes AecAlec Alec Geddes

 

Born around 1878, Alexander (sometimes Alec, or Alex) Geddes was an ASE (AEU) activist in Greenock’s Workers (shop stewards’) Committee, and a leading member in the Scottish Communist Party in the 1920s. Although he had begun to favour a separate Scottish Communist Party early on, he seems to have quickly dropped this notion.

 

He stood as one of the four national Communist candidates at the November 1922 general election for Greenock, a shipbuilding constituency on the south bank of the Clyde. Then aged 44, his address was given as 44, Robinson Avenue, Greenock. His proposers include a Peter Munro of East Shaw street and a Peter McGree, also of East Shaw Street. (Thanks to MW for this detail.)

 

With 9,776 votes, or 34.1% of the vote and coming second, Geddes had clearly laid down a marker in the constituency for the Communists. Geddes also stood as communist candidate for the local Greenock council. Although he himself was never elected, a Communist Party candidate, L Canning, was elected for Greenock in the November 1922 council elections; this is probably the first elected Communist Party councillor in Scotland (Canning’s son would be a long-term Communist councillor).

This was a period of unstable governments and regular elections. In 1923, Geddes increased his vote to 10,335, or 38%. The following year saw a stronger Labour presence but Geddes still had 7,590 votes and was again second, albeit that the percentage had dropped to 29%. A similar vote was recorded by Alec Geddes in 1929, when he polled 7,005 votes or 25.1%.

 

At the 1925 national congress of the Communist Party, Geddes spoke of his recent return from a visit to Soviet Russia, he presented a banner to the Congress from the Samara Cavalry Division, one of the more illustrious units of the Red Army,  had of the Red Army, which he had visited on the Russian-Polish border. Geddes greeted with great enthusiasm delegates rising and singing the Red Army March.