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Russell Simmons; 40-Year War on Drugs…

June 17, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Co-authored by Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

40 years ago today, President Richard Milhous Nixon declared America’s “War on Drugs.” This failed war continues even today to have a devastating and debilitating impact on the lives of millions of Americans. We add our voices to the growing number of people of good conscience to demand a resolute end to this awful destructive and nonproductive war.

The “War on Drugs” has not only wasted more than a trillion dollars over the last four decades, but this misguided war has also caused millions of families and communities to be injured and decimated. Instead of a “War on Drugs,”  President Nixon should have declared a “War on Poverty,” because we all  know the bitter truth that the prolonged social disillusionment and self-destructive consequence of the petulant mire of decades of poverty for  millions of Americans actually sets the stage for the persistence of drug abuse, violence and hopelessness.

It’s most regrettable that the majority of voters in November of 68 underestimated Richard Nixon’s repressive policy intentions. How did Nixon manage to become president of the United States in the first place? The answer to this question is important in 2011 as the nation prepares for the 2012 elections.

The current sentiments of the so-called Tea Party are very similar to the regressive views of Nixon and Agnew back in the late 1960s. Nixon and Agnew ran a divisive but successful “law and order” campaign and were elected in 1968 in direct counter action to the profound social and political change in the consciousness of the majority of people who wanted real change in their lives. Thus, President Nixon was elected during a reactionary period in American history. It was a period of repression, and the so-called “law and order” theme really was a code phrase for solidifying the “status quo” on the right to prevent further progressive social change that had become characteristic of the early and mid 1960s.

We should be mindful not to let history to repeat itself today as we approach the 2012 elections. President Obama has to continue to strive both to put an end to the failed drug policies of the past and to promote more treatment for drug-related illnesses, rather than to build more prisons. We applaud him for the crack/powder disparities being brought down; however, we all know that America needs more public policy rehabilitation from the punitive and careless drug policies that have led to the United States to have highest incarceration rate in the world, while expanding the ranks of the poor and destitute. We will proudly work with this administration to further fix these decades-old problems.

The consolation is that we have won some victories, even in the face of the failed War on Drugs. We recalled that in the aftermath of Nixon’s declaration, the state of New York passed one of the most draconian drug laws ever enacted by a state: The Rockefeller Drug Laws in 1973. The results, in particular for African Americans and Latino Americans, were horrible and thousands were unjustly imprisoned for long prison terms, even for first-time, nonviolent offenders. But we thank the hip-hop community for helping to lead the way to successfully challenge and end the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Let us all on this day re-dedicate ourselves to the struggle to end poverty and to further dismantle the drug policies of the past that have had such a negative impact on the soul, spirit and life of our nation. Let us on this day prepare ourselves to push for more reforms and effective strategies and policies that will enable more people to become self-empowered and compassionate for the whole of humanity. And finally, on this day let’s work harder to end the madness of ineffective drug policies. We should learn from the past without repeating it.

Written By Russell Simmons

Official website;  


12 Responses to “Russell Simmons; 40-Year War on Drugs…”
  1. Shane Breen says:

    Hi Russell if you are reading this check your email and contact us re: your company stealing our website content. Thank you!

  2. John says:

    Staff, the reason I’m here as a Ron Paul supporter is because I have a section on Google News set up to show me Paul-related articles. I’d suspect other supporters have done the same thing. This is probably why whenever an article is posted with his name in it, you get a flood of his supporters coming to investigate.

    I think a lot of folks are jaded and cynical as far as media coverage of Paul goes. The mainstream media hasn’t been too kind to him in the past, and people fed up with it, some to the point of labeling legitimate arguments against him as slander.

    That said, although you mentioned his name in the title, you never mentioned him in the article. How does he pertain? You did mention the Tea Party and their regressive views, but I assume you’re referring to those Tea Partiers whose only break from run-of-the-mill neoconservatives is their fiscal views.

    Ron Paul doesn’t consider himself a part of that camp. His social conservatism is defined by not forcing his views onto others. He doesn’t like drugs, he doesn’t support drug usage, but he recognizes that the War on Drugs has failed and believes that the federal government does not have the authority to dictate drug policy to the individual states.

    President Obama, while an inspiring figure and role model, has done little in regards to drug policy. When he was running for president, Obama said he would confront drug policy issues. When he became president, he said he might consider reforming them at some point.

    Whenever people are asked to submit questions to him, as Youtube has done a couple of times, questions about drug prohibition (especially regarding marijuana) dominate. And he has yet to directly answer any of those questions. So I really don’t think Obama is doing anything to confront our drug policy. However, with the issue as popular as it is, it’s entirely possible that he’s saving that for his reelection bid. Who knows?

  3. Jason says:

    Ron Paul 2012, And its Trillions with a S, spent on the “War on Drugs”.

    The fake left-right puppet paradigm is shattering and the mainstream rules are trembling. Which explains all the anti-Ron Paul coverage going on because he is a real truth speaking politician something that we no longer have.

  4. Staff says:

    You all love some Ron Paul… -Smile-


  5. charlie says:

    so you put ron pauls name in the title, fail to mention his want to end the war on drugs, say that the tea party is for the war on drugs, obviously in the hopes of getting people to associate paul with the tea party, and therefor the war on drugs, then because obama reduced disparity of prison terms between crack and cocaine, we should vote for obama?

    wtf does this article mean? your a big fan of josef goerbbles?

  6. Craig Edge says:

    Ron Paul 2012!

  7. Mike says:

    Interesting… the author removed all mention of Dr. Ron Paul. Would the author please explain why?

  8. Gary says:

    AJ is absolutely right. Obama has done nothing regarding the drug war to bring any relief to blacks or latinos who have been unequitably victimized by the drug war. I would hate to lay the accusation on the writer of this article that he is being partial towards obama because of his race, but it could certainly be interpreted that way with this authors completely willful ignorance of the facts.

    Obama did not campaign on ending the drug war, he has not decriminalized drugs, incarceration rates have not dropped, and none of these things are on his agenda. Ron Paul is the only prominent figure in American politics who advocates decriminalizing drugs (ok Gary Johnson does too). He would do more to help blacks and latinos in a week than Obama has done in nearly 4 years. Oh and guess who the inflationary spending and money printing hurts the worst? It hurts the poorest people in america. Another great thing your body obama has done for blacks and latinos.

    Quit drinking the kool-aid. Obama is hardly different from Bush!

  9. When one does an honest assessment of the drug policies of the past 40 years it would be difficult to conclude that they have done anything but make a bad situation worse. How many men of color have been incarcerated or killed because of the “war on drugs”, separating families, removing fathers j(and mothers) from homes, and propagating a culture that in many cases accepts this tragedy as normal? The drug war does nothing but create a profitable market in contraband much in the same way prohibition did during the first part of the 20th century. Many fortunes were made on the backs and deaths of the small time players in that fiasco, and it continues today with other drugs. It is high time that we look at the truth of this situation and stop kidding ourselves.

    It is all too easy when examined through the tainted lens of the war on drugs to paint the actors as evil when they are in most cases a product and victims of the system that is supposed to deter their behavior. We have drug cartels on our southern border that grow stronger and bolder each day due to the power of the market created by the current drug policies and still we refuse to see it for what it is. It’s time for a change people… It’s time for Ron Paul.

  10. V says:

    So I’m confused… You want to keep Obama in office so he does nothing really at all, just as we have all seen, about drug laws? And not elect Dr. Ron Paul who runs on the idea of basically ending this pointless ‘war on drugs’? Oh boy…. X/

  11. Shaggy says:

    Walter Williams has been preaching this for years, though he has no false impression that the left has any answers.

  12. AJ says:

    Can you explain how Ron Paul has a regressive view? Ron Paul wants to legalize the drugs so that people are not incarcerated for a drug crime that hurts nobody but the user. If we legalize drugs the gangs and underground market would lose their source of income, forcing everyday Americans to seek out legitimate employment rather than the current alternative. And to say President Obmama has done ANYTHING to fix the war on drugs is a fallacy.

    Obama re-signed the Bush Patriot act which allows for illegal searches, wire taps, going through your garbage, search all records (phone, texts, websites etc) and use that against you any way his administration sees fit. So if you think the authoritarian police state we live in now is helping the war on drugs you are wrong. It is making it easier to criminalize people that have committed no harm to anyone else.

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