Can the Caravan of Peace End the War on Drugs? at The Nation

A new peace movement to end the US-sponsored drug war begins with buses rolling and feet marching from the Tijuana–San Diego border on August 12 through twenty-five US cities to Washington, DC, in September.

Named the Caravan for Peace, the trek is intended to put human faces and names on the estimated 60,000 dead, 10,000 disappeared and 160,000 displaced people in Mexico since 2006, when the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Pentagon and the CIA supported the escalation of the Mexican armed forces.

The caravan, which has staged mass marches across Mexico since 2011, is led by well-known Catholic poet Javier Sicilia, 56, whose son Juan Francisco, then 24, was killed in crossfire in Cuernavaca in March 2011. After his son’s death, Sicilia, vowing not to write poetry any longer, formed a Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) and penned an anguished grito, or cry, titled “Estamos Hasta La Madre!” The English equivalent might be “Fed Up!,” but the Spanish slang also means that the authorities “insulted our mother protector, they’ve committed a sacrilege,” Sicilia says.

This is something I want to see. It’s about time we had something like this here to wake a few more people up.

Here’s the Caravan route. It won’t be going through my town, but there’s a chance I can get to see it in Chicago on September 3.

If they’re passing near you, you might offer to help get the local media’s attention.

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41 Responses to Peace

  1. allan says:

    thanks for posting this Pete. My feelings are that the Caravan is an important event and it deserves to be greeted warmly, by many, along the route.

    I also noticed the author of the Nation piece is Tom Hayden… darn radicals! Don’t they ever give up? (I know the prohibs all wish we’d go away…)

    If it weren’t so early in the year this would be a great SSDP project to support, every town on that list has at least one University…

    So everybody sittin’ here on Pete’s sofa… if you’re on the route or have fam/friends who are, please greet this group along the way…

  2. OhutumValik says:

    Sorry for OT (and also if this has already been linked), but The Fix has a rather lengthy interview with Gil Kerlikowske. It’s rambling, but not entirely uninteresting.

    [P]art of education has been realizing that, look, if we just continue to use this one tool—law enforcement—we are not going to make any real progress. And you know, some of my colleagues in law enforcement are pretty happy to embrace that too, because it’ll mean the finger is pointed perhaps less at them. /snip/

    When I was getting ready for Congressional confirmation, a staffer who was playing the part of Senator Chuck Grassley, asked me, “Are you aware that more people die from prescription drug overdoses, than any other drug?” And I said, “Well, actually, no, I am not.” Listen, this is a complicated problem. Do we reduce the quota put on pharmaceutical companies? Do we put restrictions on the number of prescriptions that can be written? What you realize once you get into this issue is how incredibly complicated it is.

    • Windy says:

      It is not at all complicated, this is an individual liberty, Constitutional issue and the government has no legitimate authority to ban or limit the access to any substances.

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        Does that apply just to drugs, or to dangerous substances like radioactive elements and deadly viruses too?

        • i’d have to say that when it comes to natural rather than manufactured substances, the answer is unequivocally YES!

          who among us can claim legitimate power to make rules about creation itself? raise your hand if you believe you have the *right* to declare life forms “illegal.” none of us has that right, so we simply can’t grant it to our overlords to use against us.

          no one has the authority to declare mere possession of any element of the natural world a criminal act. at best, in the name of “protecting” the rest of us, the government could be empowered to make rules concerning the transportation, storage and protection of such substances.

          but even that limited power has not yet been granted to our government. unless someone can point to a part of the Constitution stating otherwise, an amendment seems to be in order — granting a limited power to our governors to make rules only about how we should be moving around and storing things.

  3. OhutumValik says:

    Medical Xpress delivers news from Australia, where a link has been found between teenage cannabis use and anxiety disorders later in life. I was glad to see the article includes caveats.

    Professor Patton, lead investigator of the 2000 stories cohort, said that the findings could be explained by lasting changes to brain function caused by introducing cannabis at a time when the brain is developing rapidly. Equally it could be that the very factors which predispose people to use cannabis early also predispose them to common mental health problems. /snip/

    [T]he authors write that they cannot rule out the possibility that the factors that predispose people to use cannabis early also put them at risk for common mental disorders.

    “These common factors might include biological, personality, social and environmental factors, or a combination of these factors. This is a plausible hypothesis because social disadvantage is more common among persons who are problematic substance users and who meet criteria for common mental disorders,” they write.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Being hunted by your own government wouldn’t cause any anxiety, now would it?

    • Francis says:

      Wait, so people with anxiety are more likely to use a substance that we know has anxiolytic properties?! Shocking.

  4. claygooding says:

    It looks like 8/25 in Austin will be my chance to see this caravan.

    “”Do we reduce the quota put on pharmaceutical companies? Do we put restrictions on the number of prescriptions that can be written?””

    Putting restrictions on either will result in people that need the medicines being denied and if our government causes even one denial to any needing the medication is just piling more wrong on top of the pile,,,,it would be an incentive for counterfeit pharmaceuticals thus continuing the guaranteed results of even more harm.

  5. kaptinemo says:

    ” Do we reduce the quota put on pharmaceutical companies? Do we put restrictions on the number of prescriptions that can be written?”

    Right away, people should see a problem with that statement. It’s very basic, very fundamental, core-level and yet very few seem to ever be aware of it, at least outside of reform circles.

    It’s authoritarianism. The main part of the underlying bedrock of drug prohibition itself (the racism is an adjunct; the desire to control is the primary motivation).

    It never occurs to those proposing the controlling that maybe (putative) adults can regulate their own appetites without much nudging. But of course, those making those propositions are quite certain of their own moral superiority; it’s a given in their own minds that they shall be the ones doing the restricting. The question of whether they should be doing it at all never, ever enters their consciousness. And thus the idiots smilingly, with supreme confidence opened Pandora’s Box, and all Hell has broken loose because of that unwarranted arrogance…which is illustrated in the current DrugCzar’s musings.

    • Francis says:

      Yep, I had the exact same reaction as you, kap. The answer to every one of the drug war’s inevitable failures is always more of the same, i.e., less freedom and more coercion backed by the threat of violence. It’s like that old saying: “when all you’ve got is a DEA-issued assault rifle, everything looks like a dog.”

    • strayan says:

      Good and somewhat related article:

      the prescription drug system is unjust because it violates citizens’ rights of self-medication. Citizens have rights of self-medication for the same reasons that they have rights of informed consent. The prescription drug system has bad consequences and it privileges regulators’ and physicians’ judgements about a patient’s health over the patient’s judgement about her overall well-being. Most troublingly, the prescription drug system violates patients’ rights.

      Instead, I propose that prohibitive pharmaceutical policies, which are a kind of strong paternalism, be replaced by non-prohibitive policies that enable patients to obtain whatever medicines they choose while promoting informed consumer choices by making expert advice readily available.

    • Since the Feds have cracked down on pain killers, Doctors have began avoiding the prescribing of them to avoid the minutia and scrutiny it puts them under, seeing it as a liability to their career.

      Over the last two months my wife has undergone immense suffering and pain because of this due to very legitimate medical issues (she is 65 yrs old). I am sure the Feds tightening their noose has inconvenienced regular patients and Doctors more than the black market. What a useless and destructive system we have.

  6. kaptinemo says:

    Oh, and for that author to call Gil ” ‘the most progressive Drug Czar the country has had” goes to show how little research was done. The last person who was actually qualified to be the DrugCzar was Dr. Peter Bourne.

    Everyone else, and I mean EVERYONE else in that position since Bourne has been nothing but a political hack, and Gil’s no exception.

    • Peter says:

      guess the bar is set pretty low on that one

    • Windy says:

      Since “progressives” have a very strong underlying streak of authoritarianism (“you MUST do it this way, or else!”) I think the label fits him to a T.

    • Servetus says:

      Kerlikowske isn’t progressive in the sense of making real progress against the drug war. Progress has been blocked by the status quo, if not Kerlikowske himself, who appears to have little desire to go out on a limb by demanding change.

  7. OhutumValik says:

    I feel a little ashamed that before becoming a regular reader of drug reform related blogs, pretty much the only thing I knew regarding the Carter years was the (totally bizarre) Rabbit Incident (on April 20th, btw).

    Maybe the fact that I was three years old at the time ameliorates this a bit.

  8. Duncan20903 says:


    It might be a little more amusing if the prohibitionists would occasionally come up with some new propaganda instead of recycling Reefer Madness over and over and over and over again. What is with these Australians?

    Marijuana causes brain damage: study

    Oh skip it. I’ll be over in the corner drooling on and babbling nonsense to myself if anyone needs me.

    • darkcycle says:

      Huh. 80% reduction in white matter. Seems kinda…impossible. And counter intuitive, knowing what we know about cannabis and brain tissue. FYI “white matter” and “grey matter” are not really terms a researcher would use(nor is even remotely accurate to say thinking goes on in one or the other). Brain neural tissue is composed of bundles of neurons. Neurons are of two types, Myelinated and un-myelinated, you probably know, meyelin is a fatty sheath that insulates and protects the axon (elongated portion)of the neuron. It also makes nerve conduction faster and more efficient. Bundles of non-myelinated neurons are “grey” bundles of myelinated neurons are “white” (from the visible fatty sheaths).
      You cannot survive with a 80% reduction in myelinated neurons. I’m guessin that even a 10% reduction in white matter would probably result in a brain that would only be useful as a door stop.
      Odd, isn’t it, that THC has been shown to protect myelin? In fact it was this effect that prompted the U.S. Gov’s patent #6630507. “Cannabis as a Neuroprotectant”

      • claygooding says:

        Since the white stuff is fat,,I have enuff on the rest of my body to make up the loss and that also means I am less of a fathead than a non-user,,,win/win.

  9. Matthew Meyer says:

    OT: Just as cigarette companies are looking to Asian markets, will Prohibs become more active in producing their sewage overseas?

    “Scientists from Melbourne’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne University and Wollongong University used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 59 people who had been using marijuana for 15 years on average.
    The images were compared with scans of 33 healthy people who had never used the drug.
    The scans showed long-term heavy cannabis users had disruptions in their white matter fibres, said senior researcher Dr Marc Seal of MCRI.
    There was a reduction in the volume of white matter of more than 80 per cent in the users studied, Dr Seal said.”

    • kaptinemo says:

      The author just made a typo, and the editor didn’t catch it, is all. They meant that in 80% of those they studied they claimed to have discovered cell loss.

      Expect the prohibs to be all over this ‘like white on rice’, trumpeting it from the rooftops, at least until the study is picked apart. Think of the ‘Zhang Study’ before Tashkin’s study tore it apart. Think Heath and Ricaurte. That’s what I believe will happen…because it’s happened so many times before…

  10. ezrydn says:

    These clowns really found people walking around to test with 80% of their brain missing? REALLY?!?! Holy Zombies, Batman! Pass the protective Bong!

  11. Little Dickie Darkleson says:

    A poem, by L. Dickie Darkleson
    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    I wish Kerlikowsi rhymed with “Blowjob”
    Don’t you?

  12. Duncan20903 says:


    I’m trying to imagine Malcolm writing something that deserves to be removed from a comments column. Gosh liberals are ever so tolerant and open minded. /sarcasm

    • Windy says:

      Duncan, his comments probably violated NPRs authoritarian intention to obfuscate the issue and support prohibition.

      • Byddaf yn egluro: says:

        Thanks for the new Boilerplate:

        “Readers are reminded that any comments that violate NPRs authoritarian intention to obfuscate the issue of prohibition will be immediately removed.”

    • allan says:

      No dpr wwweb pirate I know is more polite than Malcolm. In reading their rules for comments the only one I see that he might tread upon is the 400 word limit…

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      maybe it was the child-raping boilerplate? “Will you applaud when your own child is caged and raped…”

      Yeah, that prolly wouldn’t go over too well at NPR.

      • Byddaf yn egluro: says:

        …, or maybe this one:

        Most Prohibitionists eventually get to experience utter loneliness, also known as “the sadomoralist condition”—a form of existential despair as they begin to finally realize the utter futility and destructiveness of their life’s work. This is ultimately compounded by the deep realization that it’s simply not possible to prove any of the nonsense they’ve been zealously propagating for many long decades. It’s this type of loneliness that often turns their attention to a higher power, the one that usually comes in liquid form. This is a serious terminal affliction and not one that a psychologist, philosopher, or priest can help with. Eventually, they become trapped in a very dark place where they have literally nobody left to relate to. In such situations, it is our civic duty, and moral obligation, to point their festering, lonely souls to the nearest cliff.”

  13. darkcycle says:

    Just a happy reminder…Seattle Hempfest, Nation’s largest Cannabis protestival August 17-18-19, Myrtle Edwards park, Seattle waterfront. darkcycle will be at the High Times/NORML tent on and off throughout the festival. Come say “Hi” if you’re there!

  14. Servetus says:

    Trouble is brewing again in Arizona with Governor Jan Brewer who keeps acquiescing to schemes that obstruct medical marijuana dispensaries:

    Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a waiver which will allow Attorney General Tom Horne to try to close down the marijuana dispensaries that her state health department is in the process of licensing.

    The move comes in the wake of Horne’s formal legal opinion that the state cannot legally permit anyone to sell marijuana, even only to those who have a doctor’s recommendation to use the drug. Horne said as long as the drug remains illegal under federal law, the state is powerless to authorize anything to the contrary.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Yeah, who cares that in the 16 years of State level medicinal cannabis patient protection laws that the Feds have never filed a single challenge to these laws? Who cares if SCOTUS precedents all the way back to Gambino v United States of America 275 US 310 (1927) support the various States rights to implement such laws? Who cares that in City of Garden Grove v Felix Kha (2007) and County of San Diego v San Diego NORML (2009) these very issues were presented in an attempt to strike down the 1996 Compassionate Use Act in both cases and in the latter the Medical Marijuana Program Act was challenged as well, that both cases went to the SCOTUS who didn’t think that the preemption issue was even worth arguing?

      Have I ever mentioned that I’ve observed that prohibitionists appear never let the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric?

    • claygooding says:

      It makes you wish we could tap government p-hones like they do ours,,so we could hear these prohibitionist mf’ers crying cause they are losing.

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