A shipyard engineer, McShane (pictured, left, in the 1930s) became John Maclean’s lieutenant and was jailed three times for his part in the Clydeside strike movement of the First World War. He was with Willie Gallagher when tanks and troops charged strikers in George Square on January 31st 1919.
Joining the Communist Party in July 1922, he worked alongside Wal Hannington in the unemployed workers’ movement. A reporter on the Daily Worker’s short-lived Scottish edition, he became the paper’s Scottish correspondent from 1943 until he resigned from the Communist Party in 1953. It was the adoption of the British Road to Socialism in 1951 that eventually prompted this move. McShane could not accept the concept of parliamentary struggle.
Although an early critic of the Stalin cult and a defender of Trotsky, McShane did not join any grouping and remained an independent Marxist. A maverick by nature, the title of his autobiography summed up what most thought of him: `No Mean Fighter’.
In 1985, the city council gave him the freedom of the city and he remained active in Glasgow’s trades council until the year before he died aged 97.
Source: Morning Star 15th April 1988
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