The Scourge of Hard Drug Dealing Requires A Community Response

(This article was written by Alex Mcguigan and published in the 2009 Starry Plough magazine)

There is no escaping the fact that Class ‘A’ drug use/misuse is now a ‘constant’ in contemporary society and working-class areas are in the frontline. Forget the stylised Hollywood image of recreational hedonism, the reality was a recent report from a local community group of a 13 year old being caught with a ‘wrap’ of cocaine or the recent appearance of the devastating Methamphetamine in the North east of Ireland. There is not a family in Ireland which has not been affected in some way by substance misuse including alcohol.

As a complex problem afflicting our community, it stands to reason that solutions must come from within our community. As socialists we must stand with community groups in their stance against the dealing of hard drugs in working-class areas. We should always stand against social parasites who prey on the poverty stricken, be they drug dealers, loan sharks or car thieves. In the North to some extent, the modern phenomena of the brash drug dealing ‘Hood’ is a byproduct of the acid house/ rave scene of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s and the ecstasy explosion on the club scene. Like all commodities in demand, drugs are seen by dealers as a low-risk way of making enormous profits and because these commodities are illegal due to prohibition, criminals corner the market. In the 1990’s many of these scumbag’s names became common knowledge courtesy of the tabloid media.  Prior to becoming drug dealers many of these parasites were career criminals specialising in street robberies, burglaries and theft. Drug dealing just became a more attractive career move.

It is widely accepted that many of these drug dealers were given free reign to ply their trade in return for supplying information on Republican activities within the communities they hailed from. There is also no doubt that the drugs explosion within working-class Republican areas was welcomed by the establishment as a pacifying measure, (there are after all documented precedents of this very strategy against the black ghettos in the U.S when groups like the Black Panthers’ Party were succeeding in organising their communities against Police repression) As a response to the blight of drug dealing in our communities in the 90s, DAAD (Direct Action against Drugs) was formed by republicans who executed a significant number of high level dealers and exiled many more. These actions were generally well received by the communities affected. In the capital, Dublin, working class communities blighted by the Heroin trade organised pickets of dealers homes, held meetings, protests and we saw popular direct action winning huge support.

As socialists we analyse the situation, not react to it in an alarmist tabloid fashion, for drug use/misuse is a very complex issue. Society’s use of intoxicants is as old as Bacchus. Alcohol is classed as a dangerous drug by medical professionals when drank to excess and if,, for instance, Cider or Fortified Wine were made illegal tomorrow, the same criminal elements who are currently dealing Cocaine and Heroin would corner the market.

In the long-term, some kind of ‘de-classification or legalisation’ managed by the Health Services with a view to eventual abstinence should be appraised with an open mind. (No-one would advocate the opening of ‘Narcotics Off Licences’ but there has been good progress in a model of addiction treatment in the like of Switzerland, where the anti-social effects of Opiates use have been to some extent neutralised by their approach,, as it has removed the criminal element from the equation.

Addiction is classified by the World Health Organisation as a notifiable disease and drug dealers are heartless predators while in the majority of cases, the addict is their victim.  It is symptomatic of the marginalising effect of the present Capitalist system that stupor and intoxication are seen as an alternative to the drudgery of the rat-race.  In the short term there is a need to support our communities against vicious drug dealers.

It is extremely sad to see working-class areas that resisted military rule and imperialist oppression with dignity at the height of the conflict for 30+ years being traumatized by scumbag drug dealers who ply the most dangerous of drugs such as Crystal Meth, Heroin and Cocaine in our working class communities. In many cases their victims are still at school and for any concerned parent there would be few tears shed when the community’s revolutionary elements respond proactively. There is certainly a sad correlation between teenage suicide clustering and the introduction of a variety of hard drugs in working class areas,

The RUC/PSNI or Gardai have no real solutions nor do they care,  in fact, in many cases turning a blind eye to drug dealers who supply information on the movements or activities of Irish Republican Socialist activists.  There is no doubt that the working class are empowered by community-centred direct response against parasitic drug dealers who have made many families lives a living hell.  Many people have unfortunately become isolated and understandably feel the only alternative is to close the curtains hoping to escape the attentions of drug dealers or drug fuelled hoods. How often have people wished there was a network of support and resistance to the drug fuelled savagery of those who grow rich peddling class A drugs? Groups that tackle swaggering drug dealers are worthy of our support. The alternative is that Republican working-class areas will become like those in Unionist areas where the local loan shark or drug dealer holds sway over the district.  its an appalling vista that many hope may never becomes a reality…

Alex McGuigan

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