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Fifty years ago today, Jimmy Reid made his ‘the rat race is for rats’ speech

Fifty years ago today, 28 April 1972, Jimmy Reid gave his powerful and influential address to the University of Glasgow in the Bute Hall, having been elected as its rector, the position to represent the interests of the students to the university and more widely.

It became known as the ‘rat race’ speech and the New York Times printed the speech in full, describing it as ‘the greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address’. As a then communist and leader of the then on-going UCS work-in to fight for workers’ jobs, the address deals with the alienation we suffer under capitalism – alienation from ourselves and other human beings as well as from nature and society.

Because there is very little recording of the address – see here – we provide the full text of the speech here.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation fifty years on pays tribute to Jimmy Reid for making such a powerful critique of capitalism.