Editorial: No Fringe Group 8/22/00

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David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

When the United Nations convened its global anti-drug summit two years ago, a host of prominent individuals worldwide signed an open letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan, published in the New York Times and proclaiming that "the global war on drugs now causes more harm than drug abuse itself."

US drug czar Barry McCaffrey, testifying before Congress, derided the signatories as "sort of a fringe group." ABC's Nightline highlighted McCaffrey's ludicrousness by airing the comment, showing pictures of such clearly non-fringe signers as former US Secretary of State George Shultz and former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, then flipping back to McCaffrey, repeating his by then obviously flippant comment, "a fringe group."

Last week in Los Angeles, a similarly august set of leaders joined forces at the Shadow Convention to denounce the war on drugs: New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA).

Two of them, Waters and Conyers, called for McCaffrey's resignation.

More and more respected leaders are speaking up and challenging drug war policies, calling them a "war on people." It was no fringe group that gathered in Los Angeles last week. Not that the hysterical opposition won't call them that and other names, desperate to preserve the rapidly eroding edifice of drug war ideology.

But the depth of harm wrought by our drug war is so great, the need for change so urgent, that names or even campaigns can no longer stop the current, or undercurrent, that is floating our way: the war on drugs must end, and those with sufficient vision are helping to make that come to pass.

Expect to see more such people, soon.

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Issue #150, 8/22/00 Los Angeles Shadow Convention Energizes Reformers for November and Beyond | Chronic Pain Doctor and Pharmacy Under Assault in California Case | Interview with Chris Conrad | Apprendi Sentencing Ruling Begins to Bite | Heroin Injection Center Wins Approval in Sydney | Appeals Court Denies Government's Request for Emergency Order Halting Oakland CBC from Distributing Marijuana | RESOURCES: Drug War Facts Updated, TomPaine.com Drug War Feature This Week, Alternet, Spanish Language Documents, More | Benefit Screening for Jack Herer | Errata | Alerts: Colombia, Mandatory Minimums, California, New York | HEA Campaign | Event Calendar | Job Listings (NYC): Streetwork Project | Editorial: No Fringe Group
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