Athens, Greece: End the War on Drugs in Exarcheia


For years now in Exarcheia there has circulated disturbing rhetoric under the banner of anarchism and anti-authoritarianism aimed at demonizing the use of certain drugs. It has even been said that the war on drugs is the war against the State.

Let us be clear, the war on drugs is the war OF the State! More specifically, it is the war of American Imperialism, which for years has worked to internationalize its domestic war on drugs through political power and military force, compelling countries to commit to cooperation with the Empire. This war has always been racist and classist, with millions of people worldwide being incarcerated, tortured, poisoned, or killed.

Certain groups in Exarcheia have been taking on the role of enforcing the laws of the State and the US Empire while hypocritically demonizing the use of certain drugs. Hypocritically because nothing is said about the legal drugs of alcohol, which is sold and consumed in every political space in the neighborhood, or tobacco which is continuously smoked indoors, imposing suffocation and harm onto anyone who enters. These two drugs are by far the most dangerous with 7 million people per year dying from tobacco and 3 million from alcohol while less than 250,000 die from all other drugs combined, including prescription drugs. Yet, because these two drugs are already legal, they are not the focus of the Drug Enforcement Agency of Exarcheia.

This war on drugs is not libertarian, anarchist, or anti-authoritarian. It is the war of right-wing Republicans like Nixon and Reagan, and those in Exarcheia are adopting the slogans of Nancy Reagan: “Just Say No! These substances poison the body and mind!” A truly radical position would instead call for and an end to prohibition (which in practice has not led to an increase in use) and focus on creating social centers of prevention and treatment for those who do in fact struggle with addiction, which is itself the result of alienation within capitalist society.

Crucially, the movement must be able to separate the drugs themselves from mafia activity and the phenomena of social cannibalism. They are not the same. The prohibition on drugs encourages black market activity, and the mafia capitalizes on this State-imposed prohibition. The solution is not to wage a moral and physically violent war with the mafia, but rather to end the hypocritical moralizing and authoritarian policing in order to stay focused on proletarian solidarity.

The first step should be for the movement to begin a self-organized pilot project in Exarcheia selling cannabis in the style of the coffeeshops of Amsterdam or the dispensaries of the United States. The mafia would be unable to compete with quality cannabis promoted by the radical movement. The cannabis industry in cities of the USA comparable in size to Athens is generating around $300,000,000 per year. If even a fraction of this were possible here, the movement could use it to reimagine the neighborhood, increasing its autonomy and livability, defeating the mafia, assisting political prisoners and comrades… In short, realizing the Exarcheia we all wish to see.

Let us begin.

(via Athens Indymedia)