Drugs as genocide

capitlasm-plus-dope-pamphletPoints has an interesting post on Michael Tabor, a former Black Panther who warned that capitalism and drugs would result in tragic consequences for blacks.

What’s especially interesting is the way he defies categorization. He talked like a drug warrior, but warned against criminalization of blacks and called for community organization as essential for prevention and treatment.

Before Tabor fled, however, he published a pamphlet entitled: “Capitalism Plus Dope Equals Genocide.” The scathing, often prophetic critique of rising drug use in urban ghettos is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the complicated relationship between nonwhite urbanites, drugs, and policing. In sum, Tabor likens the heroin problem to other examples of the black community’s political oppression. To fight this reality, Tabor called for community development, self-determination, and self-help. Most importantly, Tabor demanded local control over policing. With respect to local control, Tabor lamented a sad reality: “It is a tragedy that in New York the greatest gains made in the realm of Black community control have been made by Black racketeers, numbers-game bankers and dope dealers, by the Black illegal capitalists.”

Tabor’s warning begins with anecdotes about young black boys and young black girls in the “colony” of Harlem “murdered” by heroin overdoses. Tabor calls heroin and drug abuse a “plague” upon his people, and likens the addicted to “slaves of the plague.” Certainly Tabor is not unique in his use of hyperbolic cliché’s involving slavery and disease. As he refers to sellers as “murdering scum of the planet,” Tabor sounds like a congressional official in the midst of a drug panic. Despite his hyperbole, Tabor also wrote with insight and vision in ways few can. Tabor’s commentary on deterrence, rehabilitation, poverty, capitalism, and the politics of respectability suggest that he understood much about the Drug War to follow that few would grasp.

He’d still be pretty lonely arguing that drugs and criminalization result in genocide for his community.