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Civil war in Mexico

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woundedhobo
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Mar 10 2009 21:23
Civil war in Mexico

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13234157

I am somewhat surprised that I have not read about the drug war in Mexico yet on anarchist websites. It looks like the drug cartels are the entities in Mexico most likely to destroy the federal government power in certain regions of the country. Thanks to consumers in the United States, they have better guns and possibly more soldiers than the Mexican government.

Last year 6000 plus people were killed down there in drug-related violence. Some of them were the relatives of people who have spoken out against the drug lords, even little children, and there is no let up in the war. What should the libertarian response be right now? Legalize cocaine, heroin, ... and allow communities/governments to put a tax on it so as to fund prevention outreach efforts and voluntary treatment centers?

http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13237193&source=most_commented

Skips
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Mar 10 2009 22:22

Its a very difficult question as many people depend on the trade for an income. Obviously legalisation is an option but probly politically impossible in the current atmosphere with the religious crew in the whole of the americas.

Im not so sure. The drug traffickers are extremely powerful. I would be interested to hear any solutions to this problem.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 11 2009 11:10
woundedhobo wrote:
Legalize cocaine, heroin, ... and allow communities/governments to put a tax on it so as to fund prevention outreach efforts and voluntary treatment centers?

http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13237193&source=most_commented

I haven't read The Economist story and i have fuckall time today but I'm not sure what you will think be achieved by legalising coke and heroin. The point about Mexico's drug war is that it - surprise surprise in Latin America - the gangsters, landowners, politicians and police chiefs are largely the same people, which is why it's been transported and processed with such ease up until now and why there's so much internecine violence.

There are lots of points to be made about el narco, one being how the widespread deployment of the military across the country has also allowed for manoeuvres against social movements (the upheavals of 2006 were an undoubted factor), another being how any sort of grassroots popular movement will have some sort of links to the drug industry (and therefore be open to manipulation) and a third being how against the backdrop of 2006 (which wasn't that far from revolutionary), the proliferation of el narco has increased access to consumer goods and (relative) affluence amongst the popular classes and provided a distraction from and alternative to political/social movements. Nowadays, the great fear in the bourgeois media is not la guerrilla or el rojo but el narco.

It represents the breakup of peasantry that were staunchly opposed to capitalist value systems but also proleterianises many people and has further decreased trust in the police, the army and the state.

You're right, maybe I should write an article on the entangled mess of Mexico's drug war and what it means to workers movements...

YSR
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Mar 12 2009 05:41

Alan hits things right on the head above.

La Jornada, one of the leading papers in Mexico City, reports today that the EU says 150,000 people are involved in narcotrafficking in the country. With numbers that large, the whole narco system is more than just a criminal enterprise, it's a whole alternative economy, complete with workers, managers, and bosses. In fact, as Alan rightly points out, people throughout society are somehow entangled with it, making it the easiest accusation to prove in the court of public opinion against anyone. The narco world begins to resemble this nightmarish Bizarro World where people spend their whole lives totally outside of the realm of "law and order" or normalcy.

Which is what I think makes the work of small c communists and anarchists so hard here: All of the forces of the state offer a really compelling idea to people: we need to smash the narco through state force. Figuring out a way to move beyond the electoral Left and its haranguing about putting more people in jail is hard to do. Oaxaca 2006 was a brief shining example of hope, and the now-sputtering Zapatistas are doing their best to not be exterminated, but as more and more repressive laws are supported in the face of the "civil war" as its incorrectly called, these beacons face diminished opportunities.

no1
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Mar 12 2009 12:05
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
The point about Mexico's drug war is that it - surprise surprise in Latin America - the gangsters, landowners, politicians and police chiefs are largely the same people, which is why it's been transported and processed with such ease up until now and why there's so much internecine violence.

Forbes seems to see it that way too and are happy to include the gangster bosses within their ranks:

Quote:
Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's billionaires includes Mexico's most wanted man - Joaquin Guzman.

The 54-year-old, who is said to be the head of one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, is 701st on the list with an estimated fortune of $1bn (£722m).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7938904.stm

woundedhobo
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Mar 15 2009 19:05

I think everyone would agree that the government is connected to the drug lords. I mean if you are a soldier in a position to tip off the big boss about tomorrow's raid, and you are tired of making$7 a day, tired of being shot at..., the thought of easily making $700 a day is enticing for many people.

The purpose of legalizing heroin, cocaine, marijuana would be to destroy the drug lords power. Believe it or not alcohol used to be prohibited in the United States and the Mafias became very rich,powerful and violent in their efforts to control the market. Another point is that to argue for criminalization of drug users is to argue that people should be locked up for the things they do to their bodies. As a libertarian I am against paternalism. I am also against spending billions of dollars on a drug war and not getting any reduction in drug use. Marijuana use is much more common in the US than even Holland.... It would be much more productive to tax drugs and spend that revenue on prevention outreach and rehabilitation programs for drug addicts. however I do recognize that creating such a bureaucracy could lead to some corruption of where the money is allocated (rehab corporations that are short on results but well connected to government/"community administrator" bureaucrats).

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jef costello
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Mar 15 2009 20:54

Best move for mexico would be to legalise moving the drugs into the states and ban them at home and use tax money to pay for social programmes. Of course the Americans would probably invade if they did that.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 16 2009 10:42
woundedhobo wrote:
I think everyone would agree that the government is connected to the drug lords.

The purpose of legalizing heroin, cocaine, marijuana would be to destroy the drug lords power. Believe it or not alcohol used to be prohibited in the United States and the Mafias became very rich,powerful and violent in their efforts to control the market.

confused

If you accept the links between organised crime and the state, where does it follow that criminalisation is the problem? It's not like the narco industry isn't structured around capitalist/free market precepts, and neither is the Mexican state a fair/legalist institution. It's just a bizarre radical liberal argument which dresses up moralism as pragmatism. If you're gonna make abstract and utterly improbable calls for law changes, why not land redistribution, a fivefold increase in the minimum wage, the expulsion of industry and enterprise from indigenous areas etc etc etc...

Quote:
Another point is that to argue for criminalization of drug users is to argue that people should be locked up for the things they do to their bodies. As a libertarian I am against paternalism.

This is more of an issue for the States than Mexico, seeing as how the war revolves around the cocaine corridor that goes up the Central American and Mexican Pacific up to the southern States. Like everything else made in Latin America, these drugs are (largely) intended for American consumption.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 16 2009 10:50
jef costello wrote:
Best move for mexico would be to legalise moving the drugs into the states and ban them at home and use tax money to pay for social programmes. Of course the Americans would probably invade if they did that.

Instead they've decided to invite American law enforcers (read: private security contractors) in and basically incorporate the narco under state control. Unfortunately, the army's not paid enough to really smoke out the narcos so they tend to end up running protection rackets and extorting money off civilians for minor infractions. At this point, we should probably note that the Mexican army's composition is overwhelming uneducated, often illiterate indigenous kids (literally, often barely 16) and it is also one of the best paid jobs in the country that doesn't demand a drugs test, so you kinda know what ends up happening when these messed up using teens are sent to neutralise a cocaine or meth lab.

YSR
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Mar 18 2009 06:33
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Instead they've decided to invite American law enforcers (read: private security contractors) in and basically incorporate the narco under state control.

Bonus points: Mexico City's leftist government hired Rudy Giuliani to be a security consultant. Awesome!

Not to reduce this immense problem to a simple and reductive answer but: the problem is consumption. And the state, obviously.

jacobian
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Mar 18 2009 12:45
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
If you accept the links between organised crime and the state, where does it follow that criminalisation is the problem? It's not like the narco industry isn't structured around capitalist/free market precepts, and neither is the Mexican state a fair/legalist institution. It's just a bizarre radical liberal argument which dresses up moralism as pragmatism. If you're gonna make abstract and utterly improbable calls for law changes, why not land redistribution, a fivefold increase in the minimum wage, the expulsion of industry and enterprise from indigenous areas etc etc etc...

Crimilisation in the US raises the price from somewhere in the region of $5/gram to $100/gram. This is clearly a result of the huge risks involved in moving contraband.

The argument has nothing to do with moralism, and it is sure as hell pragmatic as we saw with the removal of prohibition in the US. Any attempt to discuss the role of mafia in narco trade without looking at this example is bizarre.

Neither is it abstract and utterly improbable to imagine the US state changing its stance on this. Currently we have certain capitalists that do very well by the ban (prison industrial complex contractors), however the State's finances are putting it near collapse.

Never underestimate capitalisms capacity to throw some of the capitalists to the dogs to save the rest. They could recover quite a lot in taxes by legalising drugs and relieve the pressure to tax the rich. Even the lunatic right-wing pundits on TV are talking about it. It would certainly cause upheaval throughout South America, especially probably Mexico, Columbia and Bolivia, however, in the long run it's a good idea.

woundedhobo
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Mar 18 2009 16:20

Allan, the war on drugs may be healthy for the state, but the upper class is divided on this issue.... Just the other day a documentary report on MSNBC was sympathetic for legalization of marijuana,, and before that they did a report on heroin that included some views which were sympathetic to decriminalization. Already 11 states have decriminalized pot through ballot initiatives.

Also, I did not mean to present this as a moral issue. For some people marijuana or opiates might do more help in treating their pain issues than harm.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 19 2009 10:31

This issue of legalising drug use in Mexico/US is being presented as some kinda short/medium term radical liberal demand. I suppose it would be beneficial to individual users and addiction treatment and undermine el narco and the drugs war but it doesn't fit within the logic of capital for reasons we're all aware of, so I'm not sure why it's being discussed on here. It's certainly not considered as an option in mainstream Mexican political discourse, even in the handwringing left-liberal La Jornada.

Just to emphasise the dubious role of the military in the drugs war, Narco News has an article about many soldiers' direct involvement in drugs trafficking. It seems likely that as well as lack of opportunity driving peasant/working class kids into the narco industry, that there has been a direct policy of infiltration of the army by narcos, in order to gain military training and access to weapons, and also to recruit soldiers to drug trafficking:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/bill-conroy/2008/12/juarez-murders-shine-light-emerging-military-cartel