Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Is Drink the Cause of Poverty?, 1907

by J. O'Connor Kessack

image from Red Clydeside collection

In this pamphlet the author provides a socialist explanation for the causes of poverty amongst the labouring classes and refutes a popular opinion of that period that over-indulgence in alcohol was the main cause of poverty amongst the working classes.

The publishers of this pamphlet, the Clarion Scouts, were a socialist propaganda organisation whose activities centred around providing leisure pursuits like cycling and rambling through which their members could propagate socialism.

The author of this pamphlet, J. O'Connor Kessack, was a member of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and also leader of the dockers' trade union in Glasgow. Unlike many of his fellow ILP members, Kessack was not a pacifist and was killed in action in the first world war.

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives