MigrantRoots: The War on Drugs

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There's not a person who is passionate about migrant rights that does not believe they have the answer about where the debate should go.  Workers' rights activists believe the answer lies in unions and in targeting exploitative employers.  Others believe the solution is in targeting the racism of the anti-migrant side.  Others believe the solution is in human rights, and the list goes on and on. 

I myself have always believe that the only solution to this problem is to give opportunities to migrants in the countries that they are coming from.  I believe the only solution is to move towards a world where people migrate out of want, and not out of need. 
That's too idealistic, I'm told, and it would take too long to implement a solution like that.  In some ways, my critics are right, and that's why I work day in and day out to fight nativism online and to ease the suffering and fear of millions of migrants that live in the U.S. now.  No one in the world should sit idly by and watch nativists implement a horrific policy of "attrition through enforcement" on migrants. 

That being said, in my opinion, we continue to ignore the real solution to all of this suffering.  Some people see renegotiating NAFTA as a global solution, but it's so much more than that.  It has to do with altering the U.S.'s imperialist and aggressive foreign policy.  It has to do with developing a sane deportation policy.  It has to do with the development of the majority world.  And of course, I would be remiss, if I didn't mention the U.S.'s "War on Drugs".

The New York Times published an excellent editorial the other day entitled "Not Winning the War on Drugs":

Mexico and parts of Central America are being swept up in drug-related violence. Latin Americans are becoming heavy consumers of cocaine, and traffickers are opening new routes to Europe through fragile West African countries.

[...]

Eradication efforts are most likely to have more success if more money is spent on programs to wean coca growers from the business and improve the lives of their families and communities. Mexico, in particular, is in deep trouble, and the next American president should build on the Bush administration’s plans to provide counternarcotics aid. There needs to be a different mix: less money for equipment for security forces and more for economic development and programs to reform and strengthen Mexico’s judicial system.

Above all, the next administration must put much more effort into curbing demand — spending more on treating drug addicts and less on putting them in jail. Drug courts, which sentence users to treatment, still deal only with a small minority of drug cases and should be vastly expanded. Drug-treatment programs for imprisoned drug abusers, especially juvenile offenders, must also be expanded.

New York Times Editorial (2 July 2008)

I don't agree with all of it, but the editorial is certainly on the right track.  It also illustrates the interconnectedness of the globe that we all fail to see so much of.  It is because of U.S.  and European demand that Latin America, and now West African countries are getting engulfed in this drug war.



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1 Comments

CW said:

The prohibition of marijuana began in the US partly as a tool to target and punish Mexicans, who in 1937 were a large percentage of those in the US that used it. We'll never see real and lasting positive effects on any of the harms of illicit drug use until the profit motive is removed. You can waste billions of tax dollars every year, punish people every way imaginable, kill as many as you like, send them to prison, gripe or anything else you may think of but money makes the drug world go around. From the place of origin to the point of sale there can be up to 17000% markup in the illicit drug trade. Drug prohibition has increased drug related death, underage drug use, crime, violence, disease, corruption, wasted tax dollar spending, criminal / terrorist funding and a multitude of other harmful consequences. All major authorities agree that the vast majority of drug-related violent crime is caused by the prohibition against drugs, rather than the drugs themselves. This was the same situation which was true during alcohol Prohibition. Alcohol Prohibition gave rise to a violent criminal organization. Violent crime dropped 65 percent the year alcohol Prohibition was repealed. In the US we've been trying to reduce drug related death, disease, crime, addiction and drug use with prohibition since 1914. It's time to get on a program that works. There are far better ways to deal with drug use and addiction than prohibition. It's time to remove all the politicians that promote prohibition. How many more lives have to be needlessly devastated or lost? Prohibited drugs are way easier for kids to get than regulated drugs! Prohibition never works it just causes crime and violence.

The USA spends 69 billion tax dollars a year on the drug war, builds 900 new prison beds and hires 150 more correction officers every two weeks, arrests someone on a drug charge every 17 seconds, jails more people than any nation and has killed over 100,000 citizens in the drug war.

In 1914 when there were no prohibited drugs 1.3% of our population was addicted to drugs, today 1.3% of our population is still addicted to drugs but there’s way more crime and violence because of the huge profits prohibition generates. Drugs today are more potent, more readily available and often less expensive than they were in the early 70’s when Richard Nixon started the war on drugs. Every time you look at the news you see more and more drug busts involving bigger and bigger quantities of drugs, not less and less... doesn't that call for change?

There’s only been one drug success story in US history, tobacco, by far the most deadly and one of the most addictive drugs. Almost half the users quit because of regulation, accurate information and medical treatment. No one went to jail and no one got killed.

The right; to freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, to keep and bear arms, to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, to life, liberty and property, to be protected from having your property taken by the government without due process of law and without just compensation, to confront the witnesses against you, to be protected from excessive bail, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, to vote and many others have been denied to millions of Americans in the name of the drug war but our drug problem has not been reduced, it's increased.

If you are called for jury duty and you don’t agree with the law the person is charged with, you have the right to vote not guilty, no matter what evidence is produced. Jurors implementing this right in all non-violent drug cases will shut down the ridiculous laws of prohibition. One juror in each case is all it takes. The bottom line is a juror has the right to judge not only the accused person but the law the person is accused of breaking. Don’t be intimidated stick to your position.

We hold these truths to be self-evident -- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. (Excerpt from the US Declaration of Independence)


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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on July 2, 2008 8:32 PM.

Keep Up The Good Work: Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere was the previous entry in this blog.

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