The War on Drugs and the illusion of democracy

It’s been just over a year since Znet published my five part series of extended essays on the role of the illegal drugs trade in the history of modern imperialism, called the War on Drugs. Reading them again to check the references before putting them up on my own site has been an interesting process for me. Before setting up this site I have not previously tended to go back and re-read my own work after it had been published. And doing it this time has awoken feelings that had been dormant for some time.

The War on Drugs series was something that I always knew I would have to write at some point. And I suppose in many ways, the revelation that fundamentally underpins the entire series, that of the establishment’s lies and complicity in the trade and the war on drugs, continues to focus me even now.

Much of my most recent research has been on the relationship between society and the individual, and more specifically how the political manifests itself in practice. In simple terms, we are at a moment in history that for the first time in a very long time there are conversations and debates being had all around the world about what a modern form of socialism could look like, and how we could reach it. It is in this movement, that the cracks between the pantomime and the reality become increasingly clear to see, exactly as is the case in the war on drugs.

It is in this context that it is so important to learn from our history. This civil conflict, or class war, that we currently find ourselves in has been going on for thousands of years. And just as they have done so many times before, the response of the ruling class to increased organisation and solidarity amongst the 99% has been to nurture right wing extremism, to provoke violence, to normalise hate-politics, to narrow the focus of progressives into insignificant cul-de-sac’s, to sow divisions amongst radicals, and to smear anyone that has the audacity to refuse to recognise their authority. And of course that is without mentioning the numerous allegations/investigations into collusion between members of state law enforcement or the military and the far-right, in the United States, Germany, Greece, Spain, and Britain. Not to mention the ‘electoral’ success of hate groups around Europe. And just as has been the case in the War on Drugs so many times previously, in their struggle to maintain the illusion of democracy while opposing democratic pressures, invariably cracks in the illusion begin to appear.

I would argue that what is different this time, is that they have made a fundamental error when it came to understanding their own intellectual capacity. Let me explain. The system that they have created ensures that being born rich gives greater access to power. But because that same system needed to appear to be a meritocracy in order to avoid revolution, fundamental to its success was mass indoctrination through subtle and not so subtle propaganda. Pick up a newspaper, or turn on a television, and it is  difficult not to see that the lie is now so embedded that even those that benefit from it have forgotten the truth. Large sections of the ‘externally-facing’ rich genuinely think they have power because they are cleverer than everyone else. The reality is that they have power because they were born rich. And again if you are unsure, just look at the lengths that the deeper sections of the establishment are willing to go to in order to maintain the lie.

I have taken this opportunity to put up the fifth and final essay in the War on Drugs series. This essay runs from 1998 to 2010, starting with the report issued by the CIA Inspector General in 1998 where it was officially admitted that the CIA not only knew that the Contras were running drugs into the States in the early 1980s, but had intervened on several occasions to protect them and the Agency from investigation. The essay goes on to discuss the normalisation of the global drugs trade into the global banking system against the backdrop of the ongoing war for control of Colombia, and the official US/UK militarisation of the opium trade through the US led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. This essay was published on Znet on 21st September 2017. To read it here or to download a .txt version of it please click through to the page.