Director's Message
This letter was published in our latest "print" edition. This newspaper is mailed into over 250 prisons.

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Narcotic Drugs

By Nora Callahan

From June 8 - 10, 1998, the United Nations General Assembly will meet and, assumably, issue a political declaration to step up the American-style war on drug on a renewed, cooperative international scale. The focus will be in the fields of judicial cooperation, money laundering, crop eradication and restrictions in chemical precursors and stimulants. It will be more of the same destructive dogma and heads of state are expected to come in line. There is no plan to evaluate current drug war strategies or amend present U.N. conventions despite the glaring American failure to come to grips with the drug problem through its ever more repressive means. The "highlight" of the session is expected to be the approval of the newest global anti-drug strategy to be presented by the new U.N. "Drug Czar," Pino Arlacchi.

Issues and alternatives will not be explored. Harm reduction, decriminalization or legalization are not on the agenda. There is the suspicion of American-driven politics driving this special session and this is tragic because we have seen the result of bad policies in our own country. Do the citizens of the world really want a global expansion of the U.S. drug war? If they knew the cost they would eagerly say, "No!"

It is for this reason that the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) needs to comprehend that there is resistance to the current status quo: it needs to adopt a more reasoned approach"not simply more of the same.

In the U.S., one in twenty Americans are now felons, largely because of this nation,s drug war stance. One in four African-American males have felony records, and mass incarceration costs the United States $100 million per day.

It is furthermore important that the United Nations see that there exists an active counter ideology and active disapproval of these strong-arm tactics and The November Coalition calls upon each and every one of our readers to attend the demonstrations being hosted across the country.

The November Coalition will have representation in New York City, Colville, Washington and in San Francisco. Please try to find an event in your area to attend. If you can go " please call, write or email our office for any last minute contact information that is not printed here.

Because current American drug policy has the most deleterious effect upon our minority population " to the point where many laws are perceived as overtly racist " we further urge representatives of African-American and Hispanic groups to make their presence felt at the U.N. General Assembly and the other events as well.

It is fact that the United States is in a virtual epidemic of imprisonment as a result of misguided drug policy. It is inconceivable that the United Nations would wish upon the world at large the levels of incarceration that the U.S. is currently, mindlessly pursuing.

The UN prohibitionist approach is to broaden its scope, and this means more power and more resources handed to the repression authorities. But the United States is the only country in the world that can technologically and financially sustain mass imprisonment. Poorer nations, unable to warehouse large segments of their population, as the U.S. has done with efficiency, might find an 11¢ bullet more fiscally motivating than an eleven year prison term. Certainly, the American militarization of the drug war, with lethal hardware exported to foreign countries, finds more utility in the eradication of dissident groups than the eradication of certain crops. This is a proven theme, from Mexico to Peru. The American-style drug war cannot be allowed to rage on a global scale and the individual voices of drug reform policy organizations and citizens everywhere must be heard in unison on June 6 - 8, 1998.

The November Coalition is hosting an event in Colville on Saturday June 6th in Heritage Court. Please join us.

Nora Callahan

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