Tuesday, April 22, 2008

REALITY CHECK: POLITICIANS AND THE DRUG WAR

DRUG WAR CHRONICLES - With the Democratic Party presidential contenders offering little more than tepid reforms on the margin of drug policy and the Republican nominee largely promising more of the same old drug war, people seeking radical reforms in US drug policy are looking beyond the two major parties. . .

While conservatives and libertarians interested in drug reform have the Libertarian Party, for liberals and progressives, the Green Party comes closest to a palatable drug policy. In its most recent social justice platform, adopted at the 2004 national convention, the party calls for -- among other things -- repealing "Three Strikes" laws and mandatory sentencing, an end to asset forfeiture for unconvicted suspects, a moratorium on prison construction, the decriminalization of victimless crimes including marijuana possession, the legalization of industrial hemp, and "an end to the war on drugs."

"Law enforcement is placing too much emphasis on drug-related and petty street crimes, and not enough on prosecution of corporate, white collar, and environmental crimes," said the platform. "At the same time, we must develop a firm approach to law enforcement that directly addresses violent crime, including trafficking in hard drugs. Violence that creates a climate of further violence must be stopped. Police brutality has reached epidemic levels in the United States and we call for effective monitoring of police agencies to eliminate police brutality."

While the Green Party platform has its contradictions -- it calls for marijuana decrim and an end to the drug war, but also defines selling drugs as "violent crime" -- it is miles ahead of the major parties on drug policy. And the current crop of Green Party presidential candidates appear to be ahead of the party platform.

Former Democratic Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney looks to be the front-runner for the party nomination at this stage, primarily because of her high name recognition and national reputation. On her web site, McKinney says bluntly, "We want to end the war on drugs now!". . .

"This is a big issue for Cynthia, especially as it impacts communities of color and regarding the prison industrial complex," said John Judge, a McKinney press spokesman. It's also a big issue for other Green candidates. . .

Neither the other Green Party presidential contender, Jesse Johnson, nor the Nader campaign responded to Chronicle requests for information on their drug policy positions. Johnson's campaign web site does not mention drug policy, nor does Nader list it among his "Twelve Issues that Matter in 2008," although his web site says it is open for more issues and he has embraced drug reform in past campaigns.

2 Comments:

At April 22, 2008 10:45 PM, Blogger MAMADOC said...

Green Party statement about "trafficking in hard drugs" requiring state action: Without Prohibition there would be no trafficking in hard drugs. Trafficking comes with prohibition. All drugs should be made available at the pharmacy at competitive prices, and people be asked to read each time what we know about the substance they plan to take into their bodies. The rest should be up to them. The information given should be accurate, not propagandistic, so people know exactly what they are consuming and make their own choices. The role of private prisons and their owners in promoting zero tolerance is available from Catherine Austin Fitts at her www.solari.com. Clintons’ and Gore’s role in this hypocritical, self-serving policy is revealed: The Aristocracy of Private Prisons. Also:
If Nader avoids the issue this time around, I’ll be very disappointed. Maybe he knows it could cost him his life. How come Cynthia is not backing up…? Is she braver? Less likely to be attacked? Isn´t it a scandal that one of the two or three most important issues for the fate of the nation is totally being skirted? What does this not reveal about the state of our so-called democracy?

 
At April 23, 2008 10:23 AM, Anonymous Walter F. Wouk said...

War has become a way of life for politicians on both sides of the aisle.

The Republicans tend to go for shooting wars to bolster their image.

The Democrats "get their macho on" by waging war on pot smokers.

And soon, they will both fall back on the war on drugs to mollify their failure to win anything in Iraq.

 

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