involved in the formation of teachers' unions in Scotland including
the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Socialist
Teachers' Society. With John Maclean, Maxton gave lectures on
politics and economics in the Scottish Labour College.
working closely with other socialists in Glasgow including John
Wheatley, Emanuel Shinwell, David Kirkwood, William Gallacher,
John Muir, Tom Johnston, Jimmie Stewart, Neil Maclean, George
Hardie, George Buchanan and James Welsh.
Maxton was the leading figure in the Independent Labour Party
in Scotland. Like most members of the ILP, Maxton opposed Britain's
involvement in the First World War. As a pacifist he refused
to be conscripted into the armed forces. Maxton was also involved
in organizing strikes in the shipyards, engineering and munitions
factories. Dismissed as a teacher he was arrested in 1916 and
charged with sedition. Found guilty, he was imprisoned for a
defeated in the 1918 General Election and for the next four
years was Divisional Organizer for the ILP and a member of the
Glasgow Education Authority.
In the 1922
General Election Maxton was elected as MP for Bridgeton, Glasgow.
Also successful were several other militant socialists based
in Glasgow including John Wheatley, Emanuel Shinwell, David
Kirkwood, John Muir, Tom Johnston, Jimmie Stewart, Neil Maclean,
George Hardie, George Buchanan and James Welsh. The Clydesiders
were constant critics of the moderate policies of Ramsay MacDonald.
Maxton was also abusive about members of the Conservative Party
and was several times suspended from the House of Comments for
Maxton led the Socialism in Our Time campaign and the following
year was elected as leader of the Independent Labour Party.
Maxton also played a prominent role in the leadership of the
trade unions during the 1926 General Strike.
the 1929 General Election, Maxton was highly critical of the
Labour Government led by Ramsay MacDonald. When MacDonald formed
the National Government in 1931, Maxton successfully persuaded
the Independent Labour Party to break away from the Labour Party.
As a pacifist
Maxton opposed rearmament in the 1930s and supported the appeasement
policies of Neville Chamberlain. After the outbreak of the Second
World War Maxton continued to argue for pacifism in the House
of Commons. James Maxton, who wrote several books on politics,
including The Life of Lenin (1932) and If I Were Dictator (1935)
died in 1946.