We’ve been looking at five central lies told to perpetuate the drug war. 1 – Drugs themselves are the enemy (drugs are inanimate things, not an enemy – drug laws are frequently a disguised attack on immigrants, minorities or the poor). 2 – Drug takers hurt others (most are too stoned to and don’t want to, it is drug law that creates ‘drug crime’ not drugs themselves). 3 – Drugs lead to gangs and gang violence (similarly it is drug law, not the drugs, which create the conditions for violence).
We now reach lie four – that drug dealers are evil kingpins.
If the law prevents people eating, they will break the law
America has ghettoised whole populations and made it impossible for them to escape. For them there are no jobs, little healthcare and welfare is continually cut. The UK is right now digging itself into this same hole with sustained attacks on the poor combined with tax-breaks for the wealthy (following proposed changes over the coming weeks it is estimated that poor families will be appx £650 worse off a year, while the wealthy will be £100,000 better off on average (reported in the ‘i’ newspaper)).
But people need to eat, to pay rent and bills. With little education, a bad address and few jobs, the only way of earning money is illegally, and that’s where drugs come in. Most drugs in America come from the very poor growing some plants or setting up Meth labs in their sheds. These people are not dealing because they are evil but because they are desperate. They are not masters of enormous cartels or running giant trafficking rings. They are regular people just trying to survive.
A CEO by any other name… still stinks
Perhaps there are a small handful of people who have a large amount of wealth and power due to their position in the drug trade – so what? There are a far larger number of people who have sickening wealth and political influence because of their positions in corporations and banks.
Are we upset because drugs are illegal and the big bad barons are naughty boys and girls? After all, legitimised CEO’s are so selfless.
A small number of people get killed in unnecessary drug wars and we shout and scream. We say that these deaths are terrible because they are unnecessary, being caused by criminals in their pursuit of crime makes these deaths somehow more brutal or senseless.
Yet we make little noise about fatalities such as industrial accidents due to corporate negligence or poor health and safety, exploitation and over-working of child-labour and immigrant workers. The people who make your clothes in their faceless third-world back-water die from poor sanitation, lack of healthcare and accidents at work. But who cares? These people die in pursuit of legal practices so it’s okay. Better still, they die somewhere else so we don’t have to see them.
Armageddon well paid
Worse still are the problems of deforestation, industrial and nuclear pollution, the erosion of bio-diversity in favour of farmed mono-cultures – any of which could potentially kill us all. Everywhere we look legal business practice causes the destruction of land, displacement of peoples and cultures, exploitation of the young, the poor or the weak, and it has led to a tiny minority who are wealthy while across the world millions starve. That is the true face of ‘legal commerce’.
How does this happen? Simple. The industrial King-pins are so wealthy that they can buy the laws and legislation they want, delay carbon quotas, stall anti-pollution measures, buy expensive lawyers to drag out court procedures until anyone who is against them runs out of money or dies.
If the legally sanctioned fat-cats and bosses behave badly, why do we condemn the drug baron for doing the same thing?
Buy one get none
The real problem is not a piddling number of drug bosses. The real problem is that we have made some very strange choices about what should be legal and what should not. It is legal to rip the lungs from our planet, pour shit in our oceans and allow 99% of the worlds wealth to be in the hands of just 1.5% of the population. If you ingest some powder you can go to jail, while banks illegally fix rates, businesses operate monopolies, corporations avoid tax, big brands farm out their work to cheap, exploited labour, land is polluted or made infertile…and on, and on while no-one goes to jail.
I never had to pay a drug-dealer for Smack I didn’t buy, but I’m helping pay off the debts for a bank I never used – and that’s legal folks.
The answer to the drugs problem is to make drugs and drug trade legal – but once this has been done we hit even greater troubles, troubles the drug war in part is there to distract us from.
Bringing drugs into the area of legal trade only means that the drug barons will swap buying guns and killing each other for buying votes and killing the rest of us.