If we’re tired of arguing over pieces of cloth, how about we do something about one of the main tools of racist oppression in the U.S.? Legalize drugs, thus stopping paying for 75% of the U.S. prison population, which is far more black than white, and is often rented out for literally pennies. Remember, slavery is not illegal in the U.S., as long as it is punishment for some crime. Second clause, 13th Amendment:
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted
More black men are in jail, prison, probation, or parole now than were enslaved in 1850, as Michelle Alexander has noted. Anyone who says the U.S. population is larger now is missing the point. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners, far more total and per capita than China or Russia. Those prisoners are disporportionately black compared to the African-American percentage of the population, and many if not most of them are in there for drug-related offenses. Legalize, tax, and regulate and get rid of not only drug possession and drug dealing arrests, but also crimes of theft for money to buy drugs and related violence. And that will reduce broken black families because fewer men will be locked up, not to mention giving African-Americans a much better chance at economic success, while saving all of us lots of money.
Outside our militarized borders it also makes no sense for the U.S. to claim to be for human rights while propping up a drug war that is not a metaphor in Mexico, where the Mexican Army fights drug gangs in the streets, resulting in 40,000 dead. Elsewhere in Latin America, the same failed drug war causes violence, death, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, and profits for Monsanto. Columbia just stopped spraying illegal coca crops with Monsanto’s Roundup after WHO said its active ingredient Glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans. How many Colombians and others got cancer before that? It’s a health care issue inside the U.S. as well, due to health effects of incarceration among all the side effects.
Want to stop illegal immigration into the U.S.? End the drug war! As Mexican poet Xavier Sicilia said after his son was gunned down as collateral damage:
“Since the war was unleashed as a means to exterminate (drug trafficking), the United States, which is the grand consumer of these toxic substances, has not done anything to support us.”
There’s only one sure way to do that: end the failed drug war.
Back at home, 90% of wiretaps are for drug deals. End drug prohibition and take away a main DEA-FBI-CIA-NSA excuse for spying on we the American people.
The U.S. spent $70 billion on the War on Drugs in 2003, and Georgia alone spends a billion dollars a year on its prison system, while cutting education. Sure, we’ve seen some baby steps towards sentencing reform and medical marijuana. But Portugal and now Colorado and Washington State have shown us how to save heaps of money and make a profit on taxes while decreasing crime: legalize, tax, and regulate!
Portugal didn’t precisely legalize, it decriminalized and spent part of the savings on treating addiction, and it did that for all drugs, resulting in declining addiction (50% less) and
…a “spectacular” reduction in the number of infections among intravenous users and a significant drop in drug-related crimes.
You don’t have to believe me, listen to Felipe Calderón, the Mexican president who put the Army on the streets:
“[E]ither the United States and its society, its government and its congress decide to drastically reduce their consumption of drugs, or if they are not going to reduce it they at least have the moral responsibility to reduce the flow of money towards Mexico, which goes into the hands of criminals.”
Listen to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which is a “19-member commission, a private venture chaired by ex-Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, includes George Schultz, President Reagan’s Secretary of State; Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group; former U.N. Secretary General Koffi Anna; George Papandreou, prime minister of Greece; Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Javier Solana,former EU foreign minister.”
The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.
Listen to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter:
To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Listen to billionaire Richard Branson:
But exploring ways to decriminalise drugs is anything but soft. It would free up crime-fighting resources to go after violent organised crime, and get more people the help they need to get off drugs. It’s time to get tough on misguided policies and end the war on drugs.
Listen to Judge Napolitano, who says legalization will stop many police deaths,
Listen to Serpico, and help law enforcement get off “a hamster wheel… that they just can’t seem to get off”.
Listen to physicians writing in a medical journal:
“More than half of all inmates have a history of substance use and dependence or mental illness, yet they are often released to the community without health insurance or access to appropriate medical care and treatment.
“Sadly, without these linkages to transitional care in the community, the majority of these individuals will re-enter the revolving door of the criminal justice system, which already costs our county $50 billion annually.”
Listen to the NAACP and Grover Norquist (yes, together on the same stage) saying we can’t afford to lock so many people up and rehab costs a lot less.
Listen to Christians Against Prohibition:
I am certain, not only has a for-profit prison system been the inspiration for increasingly tough laws, but it has also caused corruption and conflict of interest.
The origins of prisoners as cheap labor go back to New York State in the 1820s. But the U.S. prison population increased by a factor of seven starting with Ronald Reagan in 1980, until now the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners.
In Georgia in 2011, 1 in 13 Georgian adults was in jail, prison, probation or parole, and more like 1 in 3 among African-American Georgia adults. Almost 200 years of a bad thing is enough. The last 35 years of an even worse thing is way more than enough.
It’s more than 80 years now since alcohol prohibition ended. It’s long past time to end drug prohibition and the corruption, costs, and racism that come with it. As Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) says,
The only way to pop the proverbial balloon is to legalize and regulate the drug trade, which would eliminate the opportunity to make enormous black-market profits.
Let’s pop the balloon, end the black market for drugs, and along with it gang violence both outside and inside prisons. Oh, and also take away a major excuse for police militarization and private prison profiteering. And end a major source of funds for companies that currently strangle our political system, including institutionalized racism.
End the failed War on (some) Drugs.