Riots, Empire and the War on Drugs

Riots in Baltimore in April, and it isn’t even riot weather yet. Why?

The immediate cause is the brutal callousness of policemen in the American police state. Whatever has contributed to that police state mentality and activity provides the deeper reasons why the festering repression is breaking out into open hostilities and riot.

Pure racism based on skin color alone is not the direct cause of this rioting. Race is definitely involved but indirectly. Two important causes are at work. First, national policies of empire and war have afflicted poorer Americans more than the wealthier, and racial enclaves are poorer. Second, the war on drugs is a war on black people based upon the fears of the dominant white culture. These fears translate into votes for strong anti-drug measures. Pure racism based on color is not the basic variable in this war on black people. Therefore, blaming racism and looking for solutions to racism using standard liberal pap and remedies will not work.

National policies of empire and war have caused these riots through a variety of paths and channels. The militarized economy is not a healthy economy. Guns can’t be eaten. They don’t provide shelter or warmth. Excessive auto and home loans sooner or later run smack into low incomes that cannot cover the payments. Higher minimum wages throw disadvantaged workers out of work. National policies that distribute military weapons and gear to cops while training them to look upon Americans as unruly enemies create a police state.

Policemen in ghettos find it easier to find minor infractions and beat up on poorer people unorganized to resist. Enforcement of the war on drugs is far more stringent against blacks than whites, and that is due not only to the relative lack of power and organization in the ghettos but also because this enforcement is what whites have wanted and what has been reflected in the politics and laws.

Here is what an undercover narc has said about the greater police repression of drugs in the black than the white population:

“It was only later that I realized that the reason they were sending me into that place was because it was a black club and they wanted the black clubs shut down.”

[Interviewer] “So it was racially motivated?

“In most cases I don’t think it was. It’s just easier to bust those guys. You give me a squad of narcs and drug dogs, and we’ll go to some affluent white community. I can walk down the streets sniffing cars, do some knock-and-talks, and I assure you we’ll come across some marijuana parties. I guarantee I can come out of there with some drug arrests. But after the first day, after the mayor’s phone rings off the hook—that’s the end of that operation.”

In the same interview, this man explains how the war on drugs increased the violence in the communities and how this violence then caused many productive people to flee the neighborhoods. The drug trade that had been controlled by organizations that kept the peace altered when these organizations were attacked and dismantled. Gangs and turf wars proliferated. All of this has weakened the black communities, weakened their economies and weakened the job opportunities. The ground for rioting has been fertilized by the war on drugs.


1:04 pm on April 28, 2015

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