02 December, 2007

Grow a Flower, Go to Jail

As this (early) political season and Christmas season heats up, remember that millions of Americans, wifes, children, fathers, mothers are separated from their loved ones held as political prisoners in America's war on Black Men and The Poor. Remember as our wars become more and more existential, our freedoms suffer as a result: the war on hunger, drugs, terror, ephemera, et cetera, et cetera.

I saw Ethan Nadelmann give this speech, repeated several times on public access cable in Cleveland, Ohio over the Thanksgiving break. Nadelmann heads the Drug Policy Alliance, one of many organizations dedicated to decriminalizing victim-less crime and bringing awareness to alternatives to imprisonment of drug users and dealers. To be sure, Nadelmann forcefully points out that when someone harms someone else, whether or not as a result of drug or alcohol use, then that person must be held accountable. But in the drug war, he points out, usually no-one is helped and those harmed most are people on the margins of society: overwhelmingly persons of color, and the poor.

Here is a talk Nadelmann gives in Detroit, Michigan. In Michigan, the statistics and the census is very similar to the make-up of Ohio, both in minority population (under 15% African-american) and prison population (50% and over African-american). Please watch this video with an open mind.