Wednesday, May 21, 2003

War on Drugs
Bristol is a front line in the ongoing global war on drugs. Our streets are battle lines, our parks - bunkers and our poverty is ammunition. Drugs have been part of human society since time immemorial and yet were fighting them, and by all accounts - loosing. Some claim that this is a war of moral values for the soul of our society. Some even claim its a winnable war and yet 50 years later and over 1 trillion pounds of resources and drugs are cheaper, easier to get and more widespread than ever before.

I for one am sick and tired of walking past junkie and dealers, day after day. Thanks to the actions of local residents, our local park is now mainly used by kids to play it rather than junkies to fix in. However thanks to the council, the park is once more a battle ground. For those who don't know, the notorious 'Frontline' of St.Pauls, the renowned centre for crack dealing in the South West has now got CCTV cameras up. A blow struck in the war on drugs?

Nope - all its done is move the drugs from one area to another. I'm still tired of walking past junkies and dealers it just that I see them in different areas now. Here is a war the state cannot win - for the very fundamentals of our system - of supply and demand mean it cannot be won. If the police 'close down' and area, it simply re-appears elsewhere because stopping supply does not change demand. Indeed, successful police seizures will reduce the available supply, up the demand and so force the price and so profits of the most cunning and ruthless gangs up and up.

Of course the other side is the vast paramilitary police state that comes crashing down on the not-so-organised crime; a kid with a reefer, a student avoiding loans with a bit of dealing on the side or the stoners with a few plants in the window box - easy to find and good for crime figures.

So why are we fighting this war? Stay with me as I going to go round the houses, but it will all re-connect: In the US, the largest consumer of drugs in the world, their anti-drugs propaganda tells us all about it on the state-run website:

Most people know that doing drugs will have negative consequences on their health, but they may not realize the harm they cause the environment.

Good point, Mr Bush. I suppose it never entered your head when you were stuffing your nose with coke? But do go on.

The U.S. consumes nearly 260 metric tons of cocaine every year, which is grown and processed in the fragile environments of South America....Each year, millions of pounds of chemicals are used to process coca and then dumped into waterways or onto the ground in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

Of course you don't mention the millions of tones of toxic defoliant your government sprays on Colombia to destroy the cocoa crops. A pesticide made by Monsanto and delivered by private defence corporations in contracts worth billion$. Do go on.

The loss of rainforests also contributes to changes in the global climate...

Sorry? I am hearing you right? The man who tried to wreak the Kyoto treaty is now using climate change as a reason for the war on drugs? Hypocrisy, you'd think he was high or something.

Now cast you minds back to October 2001, the 51st State Governor Tony Blair declared that one of the reasons why we should bomb Afghanistan was drugs; "The biggest drugs hoard in the world is in Afghanistan, controlled by the Taliban. Ninety per cent of the heroin on British streets originates in Afghanistan." Well, now we've bombed Afghanistan Britain has drug free streets!? Does anyone want to explain that since the Taliban were removed we've had armed police on our streets, armed drug gangs taking shots at each other (and anyone unlucky enough to be in the way) and the amount of Heroin coming from Afghanistan has rocketed. They have lost the war on drugs; they just don't want to admit it because it works well for them. How did it come to this?

Bristol, as we know has a huge drugs problem. It's a transit point for groups into South Wales as well as a distribution point to cities further North. Drugs are probably Bristol's biggest export. Drugs mean money. Supply and demand. And still they peruse the same policy of war. Ever wondered why? I have; "In late June, numerous news services reported that Chairman Grasso [Chair of the New York Stock Exchange]...flew to Colombia to meet with.....the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the country's largest leftist rebel group. The purpose of the trip was 'to bring a 'message of cooperation from U.S. financial services' and to discuss foreign investment and the future role of U.S. businesses in Colombia......We can deduce from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange is sufficiently dependent on high margin cocaine profits that the Chairman is willing for Associated Press to acknowledge that he is making 'cold calls' in rebel controlled peace zones in Colombian villages."

Grasso meets the FARC

Unfortunately for Grasso, the FARC told him to, well to FARC-off and a few months later the US and the EU (yup - you're helping to pay for it) started 'Plan Colombia' to wipe the FARC from the face of the earth, even though they don't control the majority of Colombia's drugs trade. Where is Bristol in all this? On our streets you can buy Heroin from Afghanistan and Crack from Colombia. Drugs are the best example yet that we live in a global world. So, it's time to 'think global, act local' as the lefties say. We must start to realise that the cops or the usual political suspects can not or will not solve the drugs problem; it time for us to act. I for one am sick of walking past junkies and dealers: I don't have the answers, but I do knew the war on drugs is a sham and a farce that costs in lives, families and money and worst of all - it does not work

We need new answers. The war on drugs only benefits the state. I don’t want to have to navigate my way past junkie when I leave the house, I don’t want some Colombian villager murdered in my name. I don't want drug problems shifted from one poor area into another. I don’t want two-faced financial institutions who benefit from the money generated either by the drugs trade or fighting it.

We need new answers.

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