Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Drugs are a Human-Rights Violation

The Huffington Post has an article up about Colombia's Vice President's comments about the impact cocaine-use has on the destruction of Colombian rainforest. I am disgusted by the majority of the comments about the article.

Most want to blame the War on Drugs, or Bush, or the beef industry. Not that any of those institutions aren't evil; but if you think you're acting against the system by using, you're blind. No one seems to want to admit that consumers of cocaine are supporting a system that is no less capitalist or greedy than Walmart, Coca-Cola or McDonalds. There were a lot of "if cocaine were legal..." complaints that still don't directly address the issue: American consumers of cocaine fuel kidknappings, murders, land seizure, not to mention all the mules who are coerced into transporting the drugs through their digestive tracks by manipulation, poverty and desperation. I'll say this, the War on Drugs is misguided only in that it focuses more on the producers than on the consumers. (And that it includes marijuana in it's efforts. That's misguided too)
In this tactic they miss an entire tenet of Holy Capitalism: if someone will buy it, someone will make it.
Why would there be supply, if there wasn't demand?

I'm not saying the Colombian VP is my hero, but this is the first time I've heard articulated an idea I've had for years: that drug-use isn't just bad for one's personal life or health, it's bad for everyone. It's just as bad, if not worse, as buying from a sweatshop, wearing fur, donating to Al-Queda, or any of the other causes people get excited about.
This is a human rights issue. Every gram of cocaine and heroin has a trail of blood attached- and there's nothing anyone can say to make that untrue. I'm talking about personal responsibility. Americans can't say their consumerism doesn't play a role in the horrors of the South American drug trade. To conclude I will say this: I live in New Orleans, city with the highest murder rate in the U.S. Not to degrade the dead, but the vast majority of the murders are drug related. If you think you can snort your powder and not be snorting blood, you're as misguided as Bush.

If you still don't believe me, I would suggest you watch Maria, Full of Grace.

Or, if you think you can handle it, listen to Molotov's indictment of us in their song Frijolero: "Aunque nos hagan la fama, de que somos vendedores,
de la droga que sembramos, ustedes son consumidores."


Heather said...

This is not a comment about my post, rather one of the only comments on the HuffingtonPost article that I thought articulated a similar point to mine:

It's interesting how much more angry some folks on this blog get about the destruction of the rain forest than they do about the horrifying living conditions for human beings in some parts of Latin America that result directly from continued American drug use and the oppressive, violent, and depraved regimes and gangs who are empowered by the money Americans spend to get their drugs. I'm horrified by environmental degredation, but concern about both of these topics are not mutually exclusive. Too many liberals, however, think "Nancy Reagan" every time somebody expresses concern about drug use, instead of thinking about 12 year old kids shot in the back of the head on the streets of Bogota, La Paz, Juarez, or Rio (not to mention LA and Washington, DC). Marx couldn't have written a better script of capitalist exploitation and corruption than the drug trade.

Anonymous said...

These problems you point out did not exist prior to the advent of anti-cocaine law. You are essentially engaged in victim-blaming, except I would not consider cocaine consumers to be victims of the drug itself, but rather of drug policy. Your incessant support of failed policies that have never worked shows a certain bone-headed dedication to the Puritan ideals that have fomented the most horrendous public policies since segregation and slavery.

You can snort powder and not snort blood - they did so prior to the criminalization of certain drugs. Just as you can have a beer without destroying a national forest, because hops are grown on legal farmland, instead of covertly.

Your arguments are disingenuous. So go on watching movies that show the effect of policy, and blame the actors. In another 20 years of prohibition, you'll be no where nearer to any of the stated goals.

Here's a better movie for you to watch: history channel. Anything on Alcohol Prohibition. Then look at the rates of homicide, smuggling and violence in Chicago both before, during, and after Prohibition. There is no Maria without drug laws. There are no murdered kids over drug production and distribution without drug law. There is no unregulated market without drug law. There is no need for extra-judicial conflict management without drug law. There is no illegal market without drug law. Beginning to finally see the connecting piece?

Or will you remain the righteous dark forever?