4 July 2009

The War on Drugs - pt 1

Here are some questions for you.

How come, despite the so-called War on Drugs, going back 70 years or more now, there are actually many, many more drugs on the street than there were then, and in much greater quantities?

How come, despite the War on Crime, there's more crime?
How come, despite the massive deployment of UN and NATO "Peace-Keeping Forces" throughout the World, with an increasingly sophisticated armoury of high-tech weaponry at their disposal, there's more war?

And how come, on a planet where 1% of the population owns 57% of the wealth, so many people are dying?

Do you think these things might be related somehow?

We all know - any one who has ever taken an illegal drug of whatever description knows - that most of what it told us about drugs is balderdash. We know that Ecstasy doesn't kill. We know that Cannabis is a mild relaxant with some pleasantly hallucinogenic side-effects. The only thing we might have against it is that it tends to make people stupid and say "Man" a lot. We know that speed is great if you want to talk bullshit and drink copious amounts of alcohol all night and that Cocaine - in the right doses - is the perfect tool for turning you into a self-obsessed little arsehole. Otherwise, well who cares? We know all the pleasures and we know all the drawbacks too, and we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies. Even heroin, that great scourge of civil society, the greatest single cause of crime in the world today (if you don't count corporate crimes against whole populations): even heroin is OK if its understood properly. It's the perfect pain-killer, and no one in his right mind would want to take it away from a person dying of cancer. And once someone is addicted, well they're addicted. So give them heroin. Make them check into a clinic on a daily basis to get the exact dose they need, have it administered there (so the addict doesn't go out and sell it) and - Bob's yer Uncle! - no more drug-related crime. The only reason addicts commit their crimes is to feed their habit. Anyone with half a brain can see this.

Diabetics need their daily injection too, and no one is proposing we take insulin away from Diabetics. Or Ventalin from asthma sufferers. Or pain-killers from people with back pain.

The only thing I have against heroin users is how unutterably selfish they are. Smokers roll a spliff then pass it on. Drinkers will buy a round for their mates, when they can afford it. Ecstasy users tend to take it together, for the mutual high they get off each other. Even Cocaine users will put out a couple of lines for their friends. But heroin users always save it all for themselves. They're not interested in what's going on in your body, or in the world at large. They're only interested in themselves, in the effect on their own nervous system, and once they're there, in their nice little warm snuggle-down duvet of self-protected safety, they couldn't give a damn about anybody else. Too busy communing with heaven to be interested in other human beings.

But is that any reason for stopping them doing it? Car-drivers are just as bad. Should we ban cars because most car-drivers are selfish little oiks who couldn't give a damn about other car-users, let alone pedestrians?

And we all know that alcohol, our legal drug - which is great fun, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be without it myself - is as dangerous as all of the above, and that nicotine is even more so. And they sell nicotine to 16 year olds. And we know that there are many more problems associated with prescription drugs like Prozac and Valium, and that Paracetemol, which you can buy over the counter in any corner shop, kills about 600 people in Britain every year. For God's sake: even peanuts and bananas kill some people, and more people die every year from DIY accidents in their own home than from all the drug-related deaths put together. So what's going on?
Before I attempt to answer that question, I'd like to ask you one more. How come, before the fall of the Soviet Union, we'd never heard of the Russian Mafia?

That's because it didn't exist.

So what changed?

In the Soviet years, there was no Mafia, and there was no capitalism either. Life might have been dreary and inefficient, and I have no argument with the idea that things had to change. But afterwards you've got a Fast Food Outlet in Red Square and a Russian Mafia rampaging about the rest of Europe like some god-awful plague. And you've got crime and prostitution and protection rackets and gang-warfare and gambling syndicates and drug smuggling and gun-running and contract killing and...

Do you think these things might be related too?

You only have to look at the history of Cuba to know that they are related. Prior to 1959 Cuba was virtually the 51st state of America. It was run as a protectorate by the corrupt and vicious Somoza regime on behalf of the American Mafia. Guns, drugs, gambling, prostitution, the lot. Most of the land was owned by the American corporations. Then Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and their tiny guerrilla army (there were about 350 of them, facing an official Cuban army of 100,000 or more) marched into Havana. And despite the War on Crime and the War on Drugs it became more important that the corporate profits of the American land-owning class, and the corporate profits of the American drug-running class be protected, rather than that a few peasants in a tiny little Caribbean off-shore Island should see land reform, health provision, education and social justice. It's on record. The CIA and the FBI and the American Mafia got together to overthrow Castro.

They've tried invasions and assassinations and sanctions many times since. They're still trying it to this day. They've even tried exploding cigars! It's true!

And none of it has worked.

Which only goes to prove - what I think should be obvious to anyone by now - that the interests of corporate big business and the interests of corporate crime are exactly the same. The two are merely separate arms of the same corporate body.

I keep asking questions, don't I? That's because I think they need answering. Here's another one for you:

How come, in all these years of the War on Drugs not one Mr.Big has ever been caught? Oh yes, they get the odd lorry-driver crossing a border with a shipment he didn't even know he was carrying. And they get the local drug-dealer on your street, who's more often than not only selling drugs to feed his own habit. And they get a wide range of waifs and strays and traditional losers of every description. They get the odd mad git who goes bonkers on the mix of bad chemicals he gulps in order to forget the sheer, grinding emptiness of his life, and who then smashes up his flat and his girlfriend in some over-the-top binge one Friday night. And they get black people. They get a disproportionate number of black people, which makes you suspect that the only reason they keep some of these crimes on the statute books is for racist reasons. But they never get the guys who really make the profits, no. Somehow or another these people always seem to get away with it.

After the St.Paul's riots in Bristol in the 1980s - which was sparked by a raid on the Black and White cafe, a well-known place for scoring ganja at the time - heroin suddenly started appearing on the streets of the district. There had never been heroin there before. Why was that? Was it because there was a sudden demand for this totally unrelated substance? Was it because black people have a pre-disposition to take drugs, no matter what they are? Or is it only because heroin is the perfect drug for population control?

Let's face it, it keeps people quiet, doesn't it? It keeps people in doors, while the rest of the population gets nervous as crime-rates begin to soar. It makes people passive. It makes them beg, steal, sell themselves and their own dignity for a brief dose of bliss. Who's going to worry about crime or injustice or corruption in high places, when you're too busy communing with the heaven in your own nervous system, or in trying to find the means to get back there once you're cast out into the wilderness again? Why worry about hunger, poverty, and warfare when you're so numb you can't even lift your own eyelids? Why wake up in a hovel when you can go back to sleep again and ignore it?

The perfect capitalist drug. It makes people satisfied with less than they deserve.