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Drugs in Capitalist Society: A Marxist Response

Jim Dye

THE USE OF illegal drugs is a class issue, but whilst it is essential to develop a Marxist response to the problems of drug abuse, this has not been the case with many sections of the far left. Militant, in the days before it became the Socialist Party, and Workers Power serve as two useful examples of some of the pitfalls that need to be avoided.

Militant’s past attitude to drugs can be summed up as puritan at best, and reactionary at worst. Like being gay, drugs were something "real workers" had nothing to do with, an alien culture imported by trendy middle class students, or a capitalist plot to distract workers from the path of enlightenment. The practical outcome of this outlook came in a little known about (outside of Liverpool) policy initiated when Militant had hegemony within Liverpool City Council in the 1980s. During this time the Drugs Liaison Office (DLO) was set up, staffed by a number of Militant supporters, and whose basic policy was encapsulated in their slogan, and alternate name, of "Drug Free". The ideology behind this policy may have been well intentioned, but it led to some very dangerous positions which differed little from the contemporary campaigns of Nancy Reagan and her "just say no" publicity stunts.

The inevitable outcome of a blanket "drug free" approach was to put all drugs in the same category, even to the extent that the reactionary myth that cannabis use leads to heroin addiction was peddled shamelessly. To this end various leaflets were issued by the DLO which purported to show the dangerous consequences of smoking dope. These hazards included lung damage, reduction of the body’s ability to fight infections, and birth defects – all of which were described as medical facts.

However, whilst it is possible that, like tobacco, cannabis can cause lung damage and reduce the effectiveness of the immune system (not enough extensive, and genuinely objective, medical research has been carried out on the effects of cannabis to be conclusive), the source given by the DLO in other literature that they circulated to the local labour movement on matters such as birth defects was from a Sir William Paton. However, Paton’s "experiments" had been discredited many years previously. He had reported that if mice were injected with THC, the active constituent of cannabis, it accumulated in their body fat, foetuses were born deformed, and mice were killed by larger doses. This seemed impressive until the relationship of dose to body weight was analysed. It then turned out that while the normal, social use of THC is about 2 microgrammes per gramme of body weight, the mice died from injected doses of 1,000 mcg. to 5,000 mcg. per gramme. It was as if a adult male had been injected with nearly a pint of pure THC – death would not in these circumstances be surprising! (A pint of caffeine would have the same result.) As the Guardian commented at the time: "it was unclear whether mice shouldn’t use cannabis, or professors shouldn’t use mice."

This use of dubious "scientific" research, which has a long history within the US and is linked to racist and reactionary far right organisations, was vigorously defended by Militant (other publications of dubious organisations, such as the US group "Pride" – the National Parents’ Resource Institute for Drug Education, Inc. – were also used as "support" for the policy).

In no way could these methods be supported by Marxists who had any sense. Apart from the medical inaccuracies and the dubious allies Militant lined up with, the campaign against cannabis was counter-productive to the aim of keeping kids off "hard" drugs such as heroin. By not distinguishing between different drugs in the medical effects and dangers of addiction that they had – and in the social setting in which they were used – these policies actually made drugs like heroin seem safer, because anyone who had tried cannabis, and therefore knew it was non-addictive, would see the DLO and Militant as talking crap; and if they were discredited here, then they would not be believed when they spoke of the very real dangers of heroin addiction.

Where Militant, and the DLO, did find a hearing, however, was amongst non-drug-takers, such as the parents of those youth that were on drugs, and it was here that Militant’s attitude makes sense if we see it as part of their tail-ending of various aspects of workers’ existing ideology, and linking up with a kind of "working class morality". Rather than attempting to fight for progressive attitudes to the problems of drug addiction, and launching socialist campaigns that would show the causes of drug taking in the alienation produced by capitalist society, Militant were happy to adapt themselves to various backward ideas on these issues. This adaptation culminated in Militant supporters, together with the DLO, arguing against clean needle exchange schemes on the grounds that it might encourage heroin use! Given the well known risks of HIV infection from shared needles, this reactionary – and highly dangerous – position is clearly not the way to proceed.

Of course in recent years, largely as a result of internal pressure from some of the more realistic youth members, these attitudes have changed, to the extent that the Socialist Party now is in favour of legalising cannabis. But if we can sum up the previous ideas of Militant as conservative, and similar in style to a moralistic temperance society, what are we to make of those of Workers Power?

On the face of it, Workers Power seem to put forward some very progressive views on the issues surrounding drug use, and by the simple fact that they are one of the few left groups that have even attempted to get to grips with this social problem that effects working class communities this should mean that they are in a good position. However, a closer look at some of the concepts of Workers Power, and the method that lies behind them, actually shows the opposite to be true.

Their basic position on drugs is set out in a number of passages in the The Trotskyist Manifesto, published by Workers Power’s international tendency. In it we find the following: "The rapacious search for profit degrades and destroys individuals well beyond the factory or office. Under capitalism the use of drugs drives hundreds of thousands beyond the limits of enjoyment and stimulation to the wastelands of dependency and enslavement: alcoholism and narcotic addiction wrecks the lives of many potential class fighters against the system which breeds such dependencies. We demand the decriminalisation of drug use and the confiscation of the massive profits that the narcotic barons make from illegal import and export of drugs. We are for a state monopoly, overseen by the workers’ and peasants’ price committees, of the sale of drugs for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical use. We demand scientifically based education and information on the dangers of the use of particular narcotics for non-medical purposes."1

Further on, under the section entitled "Agrarian revolution in the semi-colonies", it states: "Many peasants find that the only way to make a living is to cultivate crops related to the narcotics industry. They are ruthlessly exploited by the narcotic barons and persecuted by the imperialist "anti-narcotic" agencies. We demand the right of the peasants to cultivate narcotic related crops on a free and legal basis. We demand the purchase of such crops by the state at prices fixed by workers’ and peasants’ price committees."2

These views were deepened in a 1993 article in Workers Power’s monthly paper,3 which discussed the issues surrounding the debate on legalising drugs. After making some valid points – correctly arguing that illegality does not prevent drug use, but rather increases violence in areas like dealing – the article reached the following conclusions: "All drugs should be legalised and available under a state monopoly. If drugs are legalised but they are sold by private companies then they would happily push all the most addictive drugs to boost profits. That is why we need workers’ control of production, selling and distribution of all drugs. There should be a licensing system that enables workers and youth to take distribution out of the control of the current dealers and to make sure it is not in the hands of the government. Local venues should be licensed for drug distribution. Who is licensed should be decided by local organisations of youth, the labour movement and community. That way there will be democratic control over the distribution and sale of drugs that allows neither the state nor drug dealers to abuse it, or if it is legalised, pharmaceutical companies to make profits out of their use."

Although the article finished with a claim that it is against youth taking drugs, the statements outlined above, and the sentence towards the end that says "Workers Power is not against the recreational use of drugs any more than we are against the recreational use of alcohol", leaves a confusing picture of just what Workers Power really believes on this matter, apart from the general view that drug taking can be both condoned and encouraged by workers’ organisations, as if intervention by the labour movement in the supply of addictive drugs would somehow make it alright.

The basis for Workers Power’s confused, and ultimately reactionary, position lies in the misunderstanding of how revolutionaries relate to anti-social behaviour within the working class (behaviour that has its roots in the class system, and the poverty and alienation that this produces), and also of how we fight the terrible effects of drug addiction that have destroyed so many lives in our communities. Whilst it is true that drugs such as cannabis have few harmful effects, and are physically non-addictive, this cannot be said for many of the other, addictive, drugs that are available. Simply because we realise that illegality does not stop the use of dangerous addictive drugs, does that mean we should call for legalising all drugs? No! This position would be the greatest folly we could commit on this issue. Instead we should demand that drug users, as victims of the trade in drugs, should not be criminalised by the state. This is entirely different from calling for legalisation, in the same way that whilst we, as socialists, demand the end to police and state harassment of prostitutes, and for prostitutes not to be criminalised for being the victims of a rotten society, we do not call for prostitution or pimping to be legalised, as we are against the whole practice. If Workers Power used the same method for analysing prostitution as they use for drugs, they would, presumably, call for nationalised prostitution under workers control! This should be enough to show what a reactionary, and plain stupid, method they have used in attempting to formulate their position on the drugs problem in Britain. If Militant were guilty of adapting to certain backward working class views on morality, then Workers Power have, by comparison, adapted to a certain type of liberal middle class morality, and have sought to dress this up with various bits and pieces of Marxist phraseology.

Even their views on the exploitation of peasants who grow drug crops is faulty, for whilst it is true that these peasants are also victims of the drug trade, does that mean that we should advocate that they expropriate the landlords and drug barons in order to take charge of the trade themselves? The fact that Workers Power use the revolutionary phraseology of control of this trade by "workers’ and peasants’ price committees" should not blind us to the underlying reactionary position that exists here. Of course, Marxists should agree one hundred per cent that peasants should expropriate their landlords, but do we then think that they should carry on producing drug crops? Apart from the fact that this position reveals a very wooden and metaphysical conception of what expropriation would entail (as it would presumably be part of a revolutionary process if such things as workers’ committees were in the position of fixing prices), it also suggests that a future workers’ state (which would be the only basis for any real expropriation and the continued existence of pricing committees) would carry on supplying workers in other countries with the harmful substances that degenerate capitalism first created the demand for, and such a muddled position is clearly anti-Marxist claptrap.

When Marx analysed the opium trade in the nineteenth century, a trade in which Britain went to war against China in order to guarantee the continued monopoly to supply Indian produced and British controlled opium to China (to maintain the addicts that it deliberately created to massively increase colonial profits), he condemned it as a particularly nasty example of colonialism and the search for capitalist profit. However, he did not then put forward the position that Indian peasants should expropriate the British colonialists in order to continue the trade themselves, and thereby continue the misery of Chinese opium addicts, but this is precisely the non-Marxist position of Workers Power on today’s drug trade!

So how should Marxists respond? Perhaps a historical perspective would prove useful here.

All revolutionary events are marked by the emergence of a strict code of revolutionary morality that acts as the basis for discipline and unity in action. Witness this contemporary (and hostile) report of the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, when the rebels attacked and destroyed the Savoy palace, home of one of the King’s ministers, the hated John of Gaunt:

"One of the criminals chose a fine piece of silver [from the palace] and hid it in his lap; when his fellows saw him carrying it, they threw him, together with his prize, into the fire, saying that they were lovers of truth and justice, not robbers and thieves. It is said that some of the rebels entered the wine cellar at the Savoy, and several drank so much sweet wine that they were incapable of leaving. They sang, joked and amused themselves in a tipsy fashion until the door was blocked by fire and stones. And so they died, for even if they had been sober they would have found themselves deprived of any exit. For the following seven days the trapped men were heard shouting and lamenting the enormity of their wickedness by the many people who visited the spot; but no one helped or consoled them in their trouble. And so those drunken men who came to consume wine perished in wine – to the number (so it was said later) of thirty-two or thereabouts."4

This description of events, the concern to be seen as fighting for justice rather than personal gain, and the opposition to undisciplined elements who could destroy this revolutionary morality, will be uncannily familiar to us when compared to descriptions of very similar events in the capture of the Winter Palace, and its wine cellar, in October 1917. In both cases, and in countless others around the world, drugs, in the form of alcohol, were rightly seen as an enemy of the revolution.

Trotsky later set out his views on the subject: "In both the city and village the opinion is held that ’a member of the Communist League of Youth may not drink’. This is an achievement that must be strengthened and developed. You will frequently encounter a windbag who with a look of profundity will start explaining that the struggle against alcoholism is Tolstoyanism. It is hard to imagine anything more stupid or banal. For the working masses the struggle against alcoholism is a struggle for physical, spiritual, and most of all, revolutionary survival. We have barely began to raise ourselves up. We barely have enough to make do. We can raise our wages only very, very slowly. And indeed wages are the basis of everyday life and the basis of cultural progress. Forcing its way into the daily life of the worker, alcohol snatches a large share of wage earnings and in this way undercuts the advance of culture. It is necessary to clearly understand the full extent of the dangers of alcohol under our conditions, in which the country’s economic organs have hardly begun to recover after a dangerous illness and everywhere still carry traces of chronic disease. The worker correspondent must be able to intimately relate the struggle against alcoholism to all the conditions of life of a given group of workers, to all their factory, cultural, and domestic circumstances. And any worker correspondent who takes alcoholism lightly, when it is the most malicious enemy of the revolution and of the cultural advance of the masses, is not a real worker correspondent."5

In another article he writes: "But, Comrades, in this struggle [the abolition of illiteracy] we have another fierce adversary whom we must overcome if we are able to advance. I speak of alcoholism, of drunkenness. Various forms and methods of struggle against drunkenness have been tried and will be tried in the future. But the basic method is to bring about the cultural progress of the masses themselves, to develop in them a stubborn fighting vanguard in the battle against alcoholism.

"In this connection, the first place must be taken by the women, and of course the worker correspondents must make their contribution to this movement. The period that lies ahead must be a period of heroic struggle against alcoholism. The working masses still live very poorly, but nevertheless not so poorly as in past years. We can observe a weariness of the nerves, both from the revolutionary upsurge of the recent past and from the present revolutionary lull, which demands stubborn everyday work. People’s nerves are badly worn. There is a great demand for different sorts of stimulants or, conversely, sedatives. The demand for alcohol, for intoxicating, artificially stimulating drink, is very strong among the workers in the towns.

"And, Comrades, the worker correspondent who sets a bad example in this matter is not worthy of the name of worker correspondent. A worker correspondent must be a fighter against drunkenness. This is no laughing matter. History will subject us to a hard test in this matter. If we do not give a rebuff to drunkenness, starting in the towns, then we shall drink away socialism and the October Revolution."6

What can we learn from this? Firstly, we should remember that all drug taking is defined by its historical and cultural setting; in Britain today although alcoholism is widespread, it is not really comparable to the extent of its existence in Russia when Trotsky wrote the above passages. Nevertheless, his general arguments, whether applied to alcohol, or any other potentially dangerous drug, remain valid. Marxists should be in the front line against drug abuse, but without at the same time placing themselves, like Militant in the recent past, in a reactionary position. Our positions today will be dependant on the situations that face us, and the social conditions that lead to drug use (many drug addicts are created quite legally in the prescribing of tranquillizers for depression that often has its roots in the unbearable conditions poverty creates, and are then left without properly structured or funded help).

Whilst it would be reactionary nonsense to believe that it is possible to "invent" a communist morality, what is essential is to develop progressive aspects of workers’ ideology from where it stands now. It is necessary to fight against drug abuse in a progressive manner, and connect this with the desire of workers to end the horror that drug addiction wreaks on their communities.

We can identify this attitude in the work of Jim Larkin. Larkin is well known today for his political activities, but rather less known is the tireless campaigns he made during his life against drunkenness, the scourge of ports in Britain and Ireland. It was the practice of Larkin when he was a foreman never to pay the workers under him in the local pubs, as was the custom at the time, and where it gave the men ample opportunity to drink away their wages before they thought about their wives and children. Larkin undoubtedly made an error when he lined up organisationally with the various religious bigots in the temperance movement, but his basic attitude was progressive for the contemporary situation he faced, as Emmet Larkin describes in his biography of Jim Larkin:

"His devotion to the cause of temperance won him the loyalty of the workers’ wives. Many of the Dublin workers were heavy drinkers, and alcohol was the greatest drain on the weekly earnings of the family. The women would often come to Larkin and complain about their husbands’ drinking. Larkin would see to it that the wives and children received first consideration, and after that the men could do what they liked. More than one drunken docker went head first down the steps of Liberty Hall with Larkin the propelling force. He was usually looked upon by those he chastised, when they sobered up, as ’only talking right’ and ’being for their own good’. Larkin became their moral policeman."7

What the Bolsheviks, and Larkin, represented in their campaigns against the abuse of alcohol, was a legitimate socialist approach that was organically connected to the working class. Jim Larkin may have been the dockers’ "moral policeman", but he did not represent outside forces in this task, but rather the most progressive views of the workers’ movement itself.

The key task in any campaign against drug abuse is workers’ self-activity. We should place no trust in the police, or forces of "law and order" to stop drug dealing or drug misuse: these bodies, the police and courts, are, as part of the capitalist state and as representatives of the oppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, part of the problem, and never part of the solution.

However, we must recognise that workers’ self-activity will not necessarily take on a socialist perspective. It is all too frequent to have campaigns against drug dealing in various working class areas take on a right-wing perspective of the need for more policing, or harsher sentences etc. In these situations the power of the police is strengthened, and the campaigns are diverted into reactionary avenues. However, we should not necessarily abstain from intervening in campaigns such as these, for to do so on the grounds of the reactionary ideology they hold would be an act of sectarian stupidity, and an actual abstention from the vital need to counter backward ideas within the class with Marxist solutions. In situations where workers attempt to fight against drug dealers (or for that matter joy riding or other criminal activity) on their estates, it is our duty to intervene to give Marxist explanations of the causes of drug abuse and crime, and to point to socialist solutions using the method of transitional demands (the fight for jobs, housing, resources, youth facilities etc).

But how should Marxists respond to attempts to set up "vigilante" patrols? At one extreme are the activities of groups such as the Guardian Angels. Obviously the left should have nothing to do with groups like these, who represent a reactionary ideology of "law and order", and who act as police informers. However, it is possible to envisage spontaneous attempts by workers in areas that are affected by drug dealing to set up their own patrols. In this latter situation it would be necessary to look at the local situation carefully, and to gauge the outlook of the participants, and the support that they have in the community. If these groups have racist ideas ("black drug pushers in our areas" etc) then they should be vigorously opposed, as they should if they view themselves as a select band of the "moral elite" who want to attempt to impose right-wing notions of morality (attacks on gays etc). Nevertheless, it is possible to foresee the potential for groups of workers to emerge who wish to rid their areas of dealers, and who have the support of the local community; in this situation Marxists should attempt to work with these groups, arguing for a perspective based on the labour movement, and on fighting for socialist measures. We should have no hesitation in wanting to get the dealers off the streets and out of workers’ areas, but we must do this only after attempting to distinguish between the main dealers, and those who are themselves addicts and therefore in need of help from the community.

The experience in Ireland in recent years of the attempts by Sinn Féin and the IRA to stop drug dealing need to be properly analysed, because they show the danger of attempts at physically confronting dealers and petty criminals if they become divorced from those in whose benefit the campaign is supposedly being waged. In this case they revolve not around workers’ self-activity, but rather a moral elite of gunmen who act on behalf of workers. This leads not only to substitutionism, but also to an often reactionary moral outlook being imposed onto the working class from without (IRA beatings of homosexuals within the nationalist areas have often been conveniently ignored by their cheerleaders on the British left). Whilst it has been the case that some of the IRA actions against drug pushing have had wide support amongst nationalist workers, by themselves they have not stopped the problem, just as many of the youth who have been shamefully "kneecapped" by the IRA for joy riding have not stopped their activities either.

As Marxists, we also need to analyse the international situation. Drugs are a valuable commodity for those that control their manufacture and transportation. However, many of the couriers, and most of the producers, see little of this wealth. Few of the latter are involved in the drugs trade by choice, but rather drugs are often the only money that these people could hope to make to support themselves and their families. In Asia most of the opium poppies used to produce heroin are grown by poor peasants as a cash crop, likewise in South America the first stages in cocaine production are the growing of coca plants by poor farmers, whilst the same is also true of cannabis production in the West Indies and the Middle East. These poor farmers are victims of capitalism, of imperialism, and of the existence of the drugs markets – markets that they did not create, but have to supply in order to earn a living, in just the same way as those peasants and labourers who farm legal tobacco do.

We therefore recognise that the origins of any drug is not the cause of the drugs problem we suffer today, and that those in the underdeveloped world who grow the ingredients for the manufacture of illegal drugs are not in any way to blame for what is the product of degenerate and decaying capitalist society. In this manner we oppose their exploitation by the landowners and drug barons, and also defend them against attack from the mainly US based imperialist forces in the anti-drug agencies.

Our position must be clear: whilst we defend the peasants and labourers who are forced by the capitalist market to grow harmful drugs, we understand that the overturn of capitalist relations of production, either in the countries where the drugs are grown, or in the countries to which they are supplied, would mean the ending of production of these products, as such a situation would allow the implementation of alternative, non- dangerous, crop production that would benefit all of humanity. The historical basis of socialism centres on the fact that by raising the level of the productive forces for the benefit of all it can provide an increased standard of living for both producers and consumers, whilst at the same time ending the existence of alienation workers have towards their work and the rotten society they currently live in. Such a situation would remove the demand for the supply of dangerous drugs whose sole useful purpose is to enable a temporary escape from the nightmare conditions many workers and youth presently face.

The problem of drug abuse within working class areas, and especially amongst the youth, is a serious one. It is a problem that needs to be properly understood by revolutionary socialists if they are to make any headway in relating to workers concerned over the issue, and the interrelated problems of criminality and violence.

The abuse of drugs is caused by the degenerate capitalist society in which workers’ lives are destroyed by endless fears and worries. Drug addiction increases that misery, as families are broken up, and the streets become ruled by violent dealers who survive by the rule of fear and intimidation. Drugs have become a caustic poison that eats away at the social bonds between workers in these communities. The decline of collectivist ideology within the estates, due to the restructuring of capitalism that has pushed many into lives of permanent unemployment and petty crime, is speeded up by the appearance of drugs. In many inner city areas only the dealers are seen to have money, and in this situation, where the youth can see no alternative, it is not surprising that some of them aspire to this way of life, often in the mistaken hope that it can get them out of the ghettos and their existing poverty. In these situations the horror of drugs and the menace of fascism are two sides of the same coin; both are products of the bankruptcy of capitalism.

Whilst the youth organisations of the left have dwindled to nothing – the membership of the Labour Party Young Socialists was around 10,000 in the mid-1980s – this does not mean that youth are not open to socialist ideas. History shows that when the class struggle picks up there is massive potential for a fight by them. However, without finding organisational expression, and a principled programme to fight for, this spirit has the potential to be wasted. It is essential that Marxists find ways of linking up the aspirations of working class youth with socialist ideas, and this is only possible by the use of the transitional method to produce fighting demands the youth can unite around.

We must be sensitive on this question; young workers must be allowed to make their own mistakes if they are to learn and to develop their class consciousness. The revolutionary left must give those youth it is in contact with "room to grow". We must learn from the youth themselves how to proceed in our work amongst young workers, and in our efforts to campaign against the horrors of drug addiction within our communities.

We must also recognise that for many youth experimentation with drugs is an integral part of growing up, in the same way that experimenting sexually and experiencing new emotions is in the human development from the child to the adult. Whether this experimentation involves drinking cider through straws, or taking ecstasy, it is a stage that many will pass through unscathed. Only the alienation produced by capitalism turns this natural curiosity and adventurism of the young mind into a dangerous risk – from dependency and addiction to the violence associated with dealing. We cannot in advance say what role, if any, mood altering drugs will have in a communist society, but whilst capitalism survives drugs like heroin remain a constant source of increased misery for those who have already suffered enough.

It is necessary for Marxists to work out a programme that relates to drug addiction. Whilst that cannot be done fully here, as it will only come about through a wide discussion within the left and the labour movement, a few main points can be made that will hopefully prompt some of that discussion:

1. We recognise that the problems of drug abuse within our communities are caused by the existence of the capitalist class system.

2. Only workers ultimately suffer through drug addiction: the rich have access to private clinics, or money to maintain their supply of drugs. Drug addiction is not "classless", but another example of the bankruptcy of capitalism and the class system.

3. Only workers’ self-activity can provide the basis for dealing with these problems.

4. Whereas the capitalist system offers our youth no hope for their future, Marxist ideas point to a way out of this misery, and can offer hope to those who at present have none.

5. The method of transitional demands must be used to formulate a programme to meet the needs of workers and youth who are affected by drugs. These demands must included the following emergency measures: jobs and decent living conditions for all; properly funded rehabilitation centres, needle exchange schemes and support for all addicts, whether of legal or illegal drugs; decriminalisation of addicts and an end to police harassment of addicts and youth; resources to be provided for youth facilities, decided on by the youth themselves.

6. No profits can be allowed to be made from health care. We call for a genuinely free and properly funded NHS, together with the nationalisation of the drugs companies.

7. A principled, internationalist, revolutionary party must be built within the working class, and orientated to the labour movement, that takes up the demands of workers and youth, and fights against the oppression of capitalism.


1. Liaison Committee for a Revolutionary Communist International, The Trotskyist Manifesto, 1990, p.33.

2. Ibid, p.72.

3. Workers Power, June 1993.

4. From a report by Henry Knighton, quoted in R.B. Dobson, ed, The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, 1983, p.184.

5. "The Cultural Role of the Worker Correspondent" in Trotsky, Problems of Everyday Life, 1973, p.174.

6. Ibid, pp.187-8.

7. Emmet Larkin, James Larkin: Irish Labour Leader, 1876-1947, 1989, p.161.