War on Drugs is a critical component of institutional racism

By Chris Herz, vheadline.com

We read in the pages of VHeadline.com that Venezuela and the USA are close to agreement on a new treaty for mutual cooperation in the so-called war on drugs.

The US embassy in Caracas confirms this news … I confirm my disappointment.

The invention of the “war on drugs” is a critical component of the institutional racism which is characteristic of the US state in all of its most nefarious endeavors. Our domestic ruling plutocracies can only continue in power, and they need power for their personal enrichment, so long as they can divide and conquer every other class in our country. The history of state drug control in the USA is the same as our national history and both inform us that racism is always their best tool for this essential operation.

The first efforts to criminalize the abuse of narcotics, which is never of more significance, really, than the importance of drunks rolling in the gutter, occurred here in the years before the First World War. In those days Chinese and other Asian people were arriving in the western states of the USA in large numbers. Just as European immigrants were appearing in the ghettos of the eastern cities. The simultaneous movement for the prohibition of alcohol appeared as the justification for enhanced police powers to control this often turbulent proletarianized mass. In California it seems that stories of opium abuse were used for this purpose instead.

Stories of drink-crazed mobs of Bohunks and Sheenies rioting in the eastern ghettos competed with stories of sinister Chinese opium eaters. Like the sub-human Blacks, all were given to understand the ravening appetites of these lesser breeds for the opportunity to attack and rape virginal white womenfolk. This pornographic propaganda had its effects in the Harrison Act of 1914, criminalizing opium and its derivatives, and later in the Volstead Act of 1919 prohibiting the production of alcoholic spirits.

True, the alcohol prohibition foundered on the reef of the fact that it is by far the most potent and attractive substance for abuse — and can be made into various tasty concoctions necessary to the proper enjoyment of meals, and for pleasuring and stimulating a gathering of friends it can hardly be beat. Besides, too many good white folks were being hounded by the police.

But there was the problem. We had all these fine new policemen. And it was the midst of the Great Depression. Who wanted to be responsible for putting Elliot Ness and his colleagues out on the street, searching for work?

Interestingly enough, there were also problems with Blacks and Latinos in the south who wondered if this fine new talk of a New Deal for the American people might include them. They soon found out that it did not.

Too poor, in many cases to afford to buy the now legal, but still heavily taxed alcohol these simple folk found pleasure in the smoking of the buds of the hemp plant, then a staple crop used for the production of useful fibers. It occurred to our political leaders that here was the opportunity for a new outrage. Soon there were new propaganda campaigns showing the horrors of pot-crazed Untermenschen (in those days Fascism was riding high, and America’s upper classes are ever influenced by the latest in European fashion) attacking those poor exhausted white girls. So Mr. Ness’ job was saved. The terrible hemp plant, now known as marijuana, a word carefully imported from the Spanish, was eradicated from the virtuous USA. And new hordes of cops descended upon the Blacks and Latinos.

Today, not only does the “drug war” provide wonderful cover for the mass-incarceration of inconvenient African Americans but also for the military operations necessary on the South American mainland to extend southward the boundaries of empire.

Even though these African Americans are the only core-constituency left to traditional American anti-imperialism, their suppression here is less important to Venezuela than the appearance of large numbers of American soldiers and police in the countries surrounding yours.

I can hardly believe that the Chavez government will allow these forces free entry into the Bolivarian Republic after unceremoniously having to get rid of them just two years ago.

Still less can I believe that government is prepared to tolerate further US penetrations into Colombia, Peru, Bolivia or Trinidad & Tobago under this pseudo-moralistic cover. Such operations are really aimed at the destruction of Marxist rebels in Colombia, and at the extension of US influence southward from Panama: Itself the product of imperial seizure from Colombia.

This program has no purpose other than to provide cover for the seizure of resources from the nations that receive it.

And for the subordination of their governments and people to empire.
Upon this subject the one question your government should be addressing to the leaders of mine is: “You have now conquered Afghanistan. Why under your rule is this nation now the largest provider of opiates on the planet?”

I do not think that there will be a satisfactory answer.

Chris Herz
chris@vheadline.com

www.vheadline.com/herz

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