Dawn Paley, a Canadian journalist, offers a transformative view of the US war on drugs in the Western Hemisphere (with the exclusion of Canada as a targeted nation because it is a neoliberal partner of the United States in exploitation). Her just-released book, Drug War Capitalism, is a sweeping, exhaustively detailed analysis that reveals the insidious actual goals of the US-led and funded militarization south of the border in the name of destroying drug cartels. As Paley writes, “This war is about control over territory and society [and market share, cheap labor, mineral rights and profits], much more so than it is about cocaine or marijuana.”
The following is the Truthout interview with Dawn Paley about Drug War Capitalism:
Mark Karlin: You state the so-called war on drugs is really a war on people. This is a key point in your exhaustively documented and cogently threaded book. Can you expand on that – and of course you are talking about a certain class and background of person: the indigenous and the poor south of the US Border?
Dawn Paley: There is excellent work being done in the US examining and resisting the impacts of the drug war, specifically when it comes to the mass incarceration of young people from communities of color on that pretext. Drug War Capitalism looks at how the drug war is deployed south of the US border, where the key mechanism for social control is the use of terror against the people/el pueblo/los pueblos. Some activists and writers use words like social cleansing to describe the impacts of drug war militarization and paramilitarization, and how both primarily target poor young men in urban and rural environments. The case of Ayotzinapa, with the disappearance of 43 students and the murder of three others (one of the disappeared students is now confirmed to have been murdered) by municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero, is just the latest example of how often the victims of the drug war come from marginalized – and often well organized – communities and groups.