Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label ethel macdonald

The Scottish Scarlet Pimpernel

Ethel MacDonald was born in Motherwell in 1909, into a large working class family. Politically active from a very early age, she was intensely opposed to the political and economic domination of women. She left school at 16 and  joined the Independent Labour Party. In 1931 she joined the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation and became its secretary.

When the APCF split in 1934, she and Guy Aldred left to form a new group, the Workers Open Forum. This subsequently merged with a branch of the ILP to form the United Socialist Movement.

In 1936, the USM sent her to Barcelona to report back for the organisation. There, she became the English-speaking propagandist for an anarchist radio station, listened to in Europe and America. She was behind some of the first reports on the 1937 May Riots, when the Communist Party turned against the POUM, resulting in death squads of Stalinists assassinating prominent anarchists and 400 people being killed in street fights in Barcelona.

MacDonald oft…