“Reject the Rat Race!”

Jimmy Reid who died this week was University Rector from 1971 to 1974. Born in Govan, he became a shipyard worker and trade union official. He was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and was elected a councillor in Clydebank. In 1971 he was one of the leaders of the famous “work-in” at the shipyards belonging to the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders consortium, when workers refused to accept the liquidation of the company and the mass redundancies which would follow, and instead continued to work. Shortly before the rectorial election in 1971, the government softened its position on “lame duck” industries and announced financial support for the beleaguered yards.

Jimmy Reid’s speech made at his installation as rector has been described as being 40 years ahead of its time. He told the students to reject individualism and greed – and remember their common humanity and to reject the rat race. The New York Times printed it in full, and described it as the greatest since Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A pdf version (13 pages, 4.9mb) of his rectorial address booklet, entitled Alienation, is now available.

Jimmy Reid subsequently became a journalist and broadcaster. He died on the 10th August 2010, aged 78.

Categories: Archive Services

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2 replies

  1. A limited edition fascimile copy has been produced by Archive Services.

  2. I hope that Glasgow University will republish the hard copy of this magnificent speech and make it available to a much wider audience.

    It should be required reading in the boardrooms of large companies and in government circles everywhere.

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