What do you get when a deconstructionist joins the mafia ?

An offer you can't understand.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mexico, Narco States and drug law

On the CBC's The Current today (March 30 2007) they interviewed Charles Bowden, author of Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family. (Bowden lives in Tucson, Arizona.)
After discussing the fact that Mexico is essential a narco state governed by drug cartels supported by the military, he suggests that the only solution to the problem is the legalization of the sale of drugs. Making them illegal has turned a health issue into a legal issue, created an enormous burden on the state, and made the cartels rich.
I tend to agree with him. As I have said before, "there is no salvation in law". The Ontario Temperance Act of the 'nineteen teens' helped turn secret Italian socio-political extortion societies into modern organized crime in this Province. Money sent back to the old country helped the development of Crime in Calabria and Sicily.
Drug laws aid and abet organized crime at home and abroad the ensure the creation of narco states run by people with drug money they use to buy off badly paid police, soldiers etc.
Since America is the largest consumer of illegal drugs in the world, American anti-drug laws are especially useful to international organized crime.
If the drugs were made legal, and the regulated and taxed, the prices would remain considerably lower, the tax money could go directly to the health care system to deal with drug abuse, the budgets of police and national security now being focused on fighting organized drug dealers could be refocused, the connection between arms dealers and drug dealers could be dissolved.
Sure problems would still exist, and murky ethical issues would have to be addressed, but not only is what we're doing not working, the only people it benefits are organized criminals. Without their drug profits, their toxic influence on local economies is considerably lessened, which limits the damage they can do elsewhere. Illegal drugs are expensive because they are illegal, make them legal and the margins shrink, leaving more money for the legiti8mate economy: qualities of life for the non-users in the family will improve, especially if drug abuse becomes a health/mental health issue, in which an open an honest policy of concern is made central to our drug policies.
The only people who benefit by attempts to legislate morality are those without any morality.

Another Reason I Wrote this Book

Guelph is a small city, not much more than a town surrounded by sprawl.
Rumours abound here about the city's Italians and which of them are mobsters and which aren't. The longer you live here the more rumours you hear, the more facts you hear, the more hypocrisy you sense, the more uneasy the whole mess makes you.
The police know who the gangsters are, and I don't just mean the local police. In fact the local police for the most part consist of recruits who come and go. It's a university town, Guelph's police force is a kind of Police Academy graduate school-practicuum campus. The Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Combined Special Forces Units, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Services all know who the gangsters are, they've been following their activities for decades. However, Canadian rules of evidence are necessarily strict about bringing cases to court.
And so next to nothing happens. Especially now that money-laundering is the favoured activity of Canadian mobsters. The veneer of business respectability and the depth of local rumour and unease over the town's mobsters combine (in this case) to cast a shadow over business in Guelph. Consumers aid and abet criminal organizations in laundering the proceeds of crime every day, making us accessories during the fact.
I already find it hard to buy products from companies that treat third world sweat shop workers like slaves, and so avoid shopping in places like WalMart. Helping businesses that are laundering the proceeds of drug misery money makes me equally uneasy.
The only way I can help is by trying to distinguish rumour from fact, cause from effect, context from events, individuals from communities, secret society members from non-members.
If enough people become aware of the need to do the same, something can be done.
The world is headed for an environmental cataclysm, I don't want to get there and discover that the water and the food and every aspect of our surviving economy is controlled by gangsters, by extortionists and bullies who have friends in high places and friends among the arms dealers and the prostitute makers and the Third world resource sector slave trader, people who will be fully prepared to put me and my loved ones into their 'business plan.'
It's not that gangsters are immoral, it's that they are amoral, they may have a code of behaviour, but whatever it has in common with community standards of what is right and what is wrong arises only from the fact that they have amoral allies in all walks of life.
And what about the ethical Italians whose honesty and integrity is tainted by the existence of gangsters in their midst, in their families. They need community support, we need to give them our business, and stop giving it to their corrupt 'cousins'.
In order to do that we need to separate rumour from fact. And one of those facts is that it is not just Italians who are involved in organized crime.
In a way the truth is the smallest part of the process, the point of the fulcrum on which this whole edifice can be levered off its foundation once there is a community will to do so, a national will to do so.
But this is more like a Truth and Reconciliation process. This is not a witch hunt, this is about redeeming society, not condemning families or individuals.