Pubdate: Wed, 06 Apr 2016
Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Anderson Valley Advertiser
Author: Fred Gardner


"Nixon's Drug War Was (and Still is) a Racist Tool to Disrupt and 
Neutralize Black Communities" was the headline of an article 
published this week by Melissa Franqui, communications director of 
the Drug Policy Alliance. She was literally stating a half-truth. Her 
hook was a comment made in 1994 by John Ehrlichman, a top Nixon aide 
who had done time for his role in the Watergate cover-up, to a very 
good journalist named Dan Baum. Baum had used the quote at the time, 
Dr. Sunil Aggarwal cited it in a scholarly article in 2012 (and I 
cited it, too), but Ehrlichman's blunt confession remained below the 
radar until Baum recounted it in the new issue of Harpers:

"I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions 
that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was 
really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after 
public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to 
protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after 
that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.

You understand what I'm saying?

We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or 
black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with 
marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both 
heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their 
leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them 
night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying 
about the drugs?

Of course we did."

Reading Franqui's headline and article, you would never know that the 
gang in the White House was targeting not just black people but "the 
antiwar left." And what a success they made of it! Today the US 
military has bases in more than 100 foreign countries and US 
armaments manufacturers are selling weapons of mass destruction to 
governments and insurgents waging war from Afghanistan to Nigeria. 
(Who says nothing is manufactured in the US anymore?) The 
military-industrial complex is so thoroughly in charge that Barack 
Obama was compelled to replace Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a 
soldier, with Ashton Carter, an arms salesman.

The DPA's right-on analysis of Prohibition entwined with racism 
should not stop there.

What other purposes were and are being served by proponents of the 
War on Drugs? The federal government spends trillions of dollars -we, 
the people, are not allowed to know how much-making the world safe 
for corporate investment. It is very heartening to hear homeboy 
Bernie Sanders ask, "Who made us the police of the world?"

Now obstructing Sanders' path to the White House are the Democratic 
Party "super-delegates" -office-holders and party functionaries who 
are not obligated to abide by the will of the rank-and-file as 
expressed in the primaries.

The super-delegate mechanism was created by party insiders in 
response to "antiwar leftists" nominating a candidate in 1972, 
Senator George McGovern, who was slaughtered by the Nixon gang in the 
1972 general election.

The strategy described so succinctly by Ehrlichman achieved both its 
goals, and the electoral process is warped to this day.

One in every eight black men has been disenfranchised by a felony 
conviction. Rank-and-file Democrats don't get to choose the party's 
candidate for president.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom