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Transnational social movements and the war on drugs


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Transnational social movements and the war on drugs
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Mostyn, Ben
University of South Florida
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global prohibition
transnational repression
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ABSTRACT: This thesis discusses the growing body of work on transnational social movement theory. Transnational social movement theory is an attempt to adapt social movement theory to the changing nature of international relations. To further this theory, I test the hypothesis that "a transnational social movement has caused drug law reforms at the local and state level". To test this hypothesis I undertake a case study of one local and one national drug law reform. The drug laws in the state of New South Wales, Australia were reformed in 1999 to allow heroin addicts to use a medical center to inject their drug. The second case study is of Bolivia's national coca laws where the government allows a small amount of coca to be grown for legal traditional consumption.I conclude that a transnational social movement has had little impact on these law reforms but perhaps in the future such a movement will begin to have a greater impact on local and national drug laws around the world. To become more effective, I suggest that the transnational movement should establish a set of goals, strengthen networks among activists, develop insurgent consciousness, develop an innovative repertoire of contention, and it needs to take advantage of the political opportunity structure when it opens.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
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Transnational Social Movements and the War on Drugs by Ben Mostyn A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Political Science College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Mark Amen, Ph.D. Steven Tauber, Ph.D. Harry E Vanden, Ph.D. Date of Approval: 18 November, 2004 Key Words: Bolivia, Transnational Repres sion, Sydney, Global Prohi bition, Resistance Copyright 2004, Ben Mostyn


i Table of Contents List of Figures iii Abstract iv Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Transnational Social Movement Theory 9 Introduction 9 Social Movement Theory 10 Transnational Social Movement Theory 15 Resistance to Globalization 19 Social Movement Theory and Drug Law Reform 21 Conclusion 23 Chapter Three: Transnational Repr ession: The War on Drugs 25 Introduction 25 Transnational Repression: The Role of the United Nations 26 Transnational Repression: The Role of the United States 31 Insurgent Consciousness: The Perception of Transnational Repression in Consumer Countries 36 Insurgent Consciousness: The Perception of Transnational Repression in Developi ng Countries 41 Conclusion 44 Chapter Four: Drug Law Reform Social Movements 46 Introduction 46 The Social Movement in New South Wales 47 The Transnational Social Movement 52 Conclusion 57 Chapter Five: A Transnational Social Movement 59 Introduction 59 History of Coca Use in Bolivia 60 The Social Movement in Bolivia 61 How did the cocaleros Garner so much support? 66 Law Reforms 71 The Transnational Social Movement 73 Conclusion 76


ii Chapter Six: Conclusion 78 Introduction 78 Did a Transnational Social Movement Cause Drug Law Reforms? 78 The Nature of Transnationa l Social Movements 79 How Can a Transnational Soci al Movement Further Develop for Drug Law Reform 82 Relevance to IR theories 84 Recommendations for Further Research 85 References 87


iii List of Figure s Figure 3.1 : Homicide Rate in the USA 37


iv Transnational Social Movements and the War on Drugs Ben Mostyn ABSTRACT This thesis discusses the growing body of work on transnational social movement theory. Transnational social movement theory is an attempt to adapt social movement theory to the changing nature of international relations To further this theo ry, I test the hypothesis that “a transnational social movement has cau sed drug law reforms at the local and state level”. To test this hypothesis I undert ake a case study of one loca l and one national drug law reform. The drug laws in the state of New South Wales, Aust ralia were reformed in 1999 to allow heroin addicts to use a medical cent er to inject their drug. The second case study is of Bolivia’s national coca laws where the government allows a sm all amount of coca to be grown for legal traditional consumption. I conclude that a transnational social m ovement has had little impact on these law reforms but perhaps in the future such a moveme nt will begin to have a greater impact on local and national drug laws around the world. To become more effective, I suggest that the transnational movement should establish a set of goals, streng then networks among activists, develop insurgent consciousness develop an innovative repertoire of contention, and it needs to take advantage of the political opportuni ty structure when it opens.


1 Chapter One Introduction In 2002, I attended the “Million Ma rijuana March” in Vancouver, Canada. For the past decade, on the first Saturday in May, diverse groups of people have taken to the streets of Argentina, South Africa, Japa n, Australia, Israel, North Amer ica, and Europe protesting marijuana prohibition. Roughly a year after I marched in Va ncouver, the Prime Minister of Canada announced he would repeal ma rijuana prohibition. Also, in 2002, a large group of coca farmers in Bolivia were marching on La Paz, demanding their government stop persecuting the growth of coca. Claimi ng that their President, Gonzalo Sanchez, was a puppet of the American government, they demanded his resignation and an end to US operations in Bolivia. Last year, Sanch ez was toppled from power and forced to flee to America. In 2003, New South Wales (NSW ) parliament passed a law to extend the operation of a heroin safe inj ecting facility until 2007. Thes e three episodes occurred on three separate continents and suggest that a so cial movement is arising in response to the War on Drugs. Further, this transnational so cial movement appears to be causing drug law reforms. To recognize the significance of this topic, it is necessary to identify the many problems perceived to be caused by the War on Drugs In many places, social movements are growing in opposition to the war. Broadly described as drug law reform groups, these social movements come in many forms. From peasant coca farmers in Bolivia, to student activists in the USA, to elected politicians in Europe, to medical professionals in Australia, a diverse group of people are working to reform drug prohibition (the War on Drugs). If these groups are able to form a transnat ional social movement and have a significant impact on drug policies around the world it w ould represent a movement away from


2 states dominating international relations to wards a situation where concerned citizens could combine outside of the traditional stat e-centered internationa l relations framework to affect public policy. Perhaps more star tlingly, an effective transnational social movement may represent a movement away from states even dominating their own public policy. If a tr ansnational social movement can change public policy in various countries it may mark a point where concerned citizens in on e country can change policy in another country. Several IR theories may be pot entially relevant for this thesis topic. I briefly summarize the three main IR theories (idealism, realism, and Marxism) in order to set the stage for determining, in the concluding chapter, which of these theories is most relevant in light of the results obtained from testing the hypothesis. The realist paradigm believes that the nation-state is the most important actor in international relations. Similarly, social movement theory tends to place the state in the center of social movements and contends that all social movements are in conflict with a nation state. Many social movement theorists – wittingly or unwittingly – agree with a realist rationale that a social movement can not exist unless it interacts with a nation state. A realist perspective would see the War on Drug s as the work of a hegemonic state (see Chapter Three) enacting a policy which best suit s its own interests. Such a powerful state would not let a transnational social movement have an impact on its public policy and further, would not let weaker states bow to the pressure of the movement either. However, social movement theory has recently seen a new branch of theorists who espouse transnational social movement theory. Transnational social movement theorists attempt to explain how social movements can operate across nation-state borders and how social movements can become an important non-state actor in inte rnational relations. In a similar vein, a growing body of theorists are formulating ways to analyze “resistance to globalization” – or “anti-globalization”. Both these new fields of study would most


3 likely adopt a neo-idealist belief. However, it appears that one group is ‘pro’ neo idealism and the other is ‘anti’ neo-idealism. Transnational social movement theorists ar e looking for evidence of interactions and similarities across borders which bring togeth er transnational social movements. Such theorists are generally ‘pro’ neo-idealism because they think interaction and cooperation between diverse groups of people over vary ing spaces can impact on local and national polities. Conversely, those scholars who anal yze resistance to glob alization are often highly critical of neo-li beralism claiming such interactions and similarities across borders have so far only brought together an elite cla ss at the expense of everyone else. They see interaction and cooperation amongst diverse grou ps as occurring simply in opposition to the negatives of a neo-ideal world. They strive to find an alternative form of neoliberalism which benefits the majority of the world’s population. However, these perspectives agree that a transnational non-st ate actor can impact on nation-state’s public policies just as the transnational environmental activist networks and transnational fundamental Islamic terrorist networks have been able to. Neo-id ealist theorists may agree that the transnational drug law reform social movement is increasingly able to combine their efforts to bring pr essure on nation st ates’ policies. The last major theory in IR is Marxism. Karl Marx famously called for the workers of the world to unite back in 1848 so he would su rely hope that the exploited classes of the world would be able to unite by 2004. Ma rxists must surely believe then, that transnational social movements can form so lidarity to change public policy. In the context of the War on Drugs, it is common for countries to be designated “producer” and “consumer” countries – two extremely Marxis t terms. That consumer countries are responsible for the demand for drugs and that these same consumer countries are also responsible for the repression th at destroys peasant crops wh ich are trying to meet this demand is a paradox that must have Marx tu rning in his grave. Further, a Marxian dilemma occurs because the War on Drugs is causing social movements in many


4 producer countries and consumer countries an d the Marxian paradigm believes that two groups at opposite ends of th e mode of production can not form solidarity to provoke change. I want to find out which of these theories be st explain reactions to the War on Drugs. In order to do that, I propose to test out th e following hypothesis: Transnational social movements have caused drug law reforms at the local and state levels. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that the War on Drugs has led to the proliferation of social movements on various continents. This assumption is supported by my description of the War on Drugs in Chapter Three. The War on Drugs, with the outright support of the Unite d Nations, is clearly a global phenomenon. Further, as various social movement organizations on every continent claim many problems have been caused by the War on Drugs it can be sa fely assumed that these social movements are clearly a response to the global War on Drugs. The independent variable in the hypothesis is transnationa l social movements. The concept of transnationalism is perhaps best defined by what it is not. Smith (2001) talks of a social science tendency towards binary frames. One such frame is the local-global binary which, taken to its extr eme, suggests there is a zero -sum game between the nationstate and globalization. The concept of tr ansnationalism, Smith contends, treats the nation-state and transnational practices as mo re mutually constitutive than such a zero sum game analysis nation-states and transna tional forces are inter-locked and enmeshed. Such transnational forces in clude the flow of people, m oney, goods, culture, ideas etc. through nation-states. Further, I would add, even if there is a zero-sum game between globalization and the state, the concept of tr ansnationalism may pr ovide an explanation for the complex and contradictory process of moving from a local to global world.


5 The definition of a social movement is hotly deba ted as will be seen in the next chapter. For the purposes of this thesis a group which advocates chan ge in public policy and tries to garner wide support for their publicly stated aims through coherent and innovative strategies, often in conflict with the state, will suffice. Th e definition of a transnational social movement is even trickier. By the mo st liberal definition, the simple presence of a social movement on separate continents ma y suggest a transnational social movement, yet to be truly transnational a social move ment must organize, cooperate and activate across borders. A transnational social moveme nt illustrates that political voice is now often exercised by micro-level actors capab le of jumping scales and transcending political borders: “The operation of so cial networks ‘from below’ through the mechanisms of transnational migration a nd political mobilization thus provides one important answer to the more general que stion of how socio-cu ltural and politicaleconomic forces articulate w ith the politics of every day life at local, national, and transnational scales throughout the world” (S mith, 2001, p.5). This definition will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter. The dependent variable is local and national dr ug law reforms. For the purposes of this thesis, a drug law reform is any change in a drug law which reduces punitive measures or which legitimizes the use of a previously ille gal drug. By local drug law reforms, I mean any law reform below the nation state level. For instance, a state in the USA or Australia may change its own laws with or without the support of the Federal Government. National drug law reforms occur when a count ry’s government changes the drug laws even though these reforms may only apply to a particular section of the country. Often national drug law reforms occur in a very limited fashion, whether it be the British government testing a new cannabis policy in a crime-ridden sect ion of London, the US government allowing religious uses of peyot e by indigenous Americans, or Bolivia’s government allowing certain zones of production for the production of coca for traditional use.


6 The methodology I will use wi ll be of a case study of tw o drug law reforms (i.e., evidence about the dependent variable) to te st the impact that a transnational social movement (i.e., the independent variable) had on them. A definitive study would require a larger sample of cases of the many drug law reforms occu rring throughout the world. Throughout most of Europe stretching to Russia continuing on to parts of China and into Thailand, drug law reforms have occurred. Drug law reform has swept through most states in Australia, New Zealand, some Pacifi c Islands and on to many states in the USA (and Canada) which have passed various dr ug law reform legislation. Throughout Latin America, several governments are also reform ing their drug laws (including Brazil in the past week). Since this is an exploratory case stu dy, I have limited myse lf to an in-depth analysis of only two cases. I selected cases where the level of economic development was significantly different in order to determ ine how important this factor was to whether or not transnational social movements had an impact on law reforms. I chose Australia due to its unique status as a developed country. It is not part of Europe (where changing inter-state relations complicates the relationshi p between transnational and local) and it is not the global hegemon (where a transnationa l social movement would be expected to have little impact). Geographically, Australia is very isolated which provides a unique test of the length and breadth of transnational forces. I have used Bolivia as representative of a country which is less ec onomically developed. Bolivia is considered to be the poorest country in continental Latin America, a continent which is at the center of the global War on Drugs. These two countri es provide relevant evidence in answering some of the central questions posed by tr ansnational social movements regarding solidarity and organizational strength am ongst disparate peopl e, movements and countries. The social movement theory will be used to set the limits on the case study and to direct the case study on what aspects of the social movement to study. It should be noted that it is not the aim of this thesis to undertake a public policy analys is. Of course, with any law reform a number of factors may be present (e.g. the media, the electorate, the elite, or the


7 bureaucracy) yet this thesis only seeks to m easure the impact of a transnational social movement. The case study method used will be an expl oratory case study using a multiple case (replication) study. Due to the nature of the what is being studied and the difficulty in testing the hypothesis, th is thesis serves as an exploratory case study to see what evidence there is of a transnational social movement fo r drug law reform and to explore if there is evidence of such a movement having an impact on local and national drug laws. Chapter Two discusses the development of social movement theory, the theory on transnational social movements and then also reviews another body of literature – resistance to globalization – which is similar to transnational social movement theory and may help its evolution. The last section of chapter one deals with the small collection of articles that have been written on social movement theory and the War on Drugs and concludes by noting that there has been nothi ng studied on transnational social movement theory and the War on Drugs. Chapter Three analyses the global War on Drugs and the growing dissatisfaction with it. This chapter therefore provides evidence in support of an important assumption on which the thesis is based – that the War on Drugs has caused a social movement on several continents. The War on Drugs will be analyzed by studying secondary sources such as newspaper articles and research papers th at discuss the UN conventions and American drug policy. The growing dissatisfaction w ith the War on Drugs is analyzed by quoting various activists’ arguments. Chapter four is a case study of the social movement that has occurred in Sydney, Australia, and Chapter five is a case study of the social movement that has occurred in Bolivia, as part of a transnational response to the War on Drugs. These chapters will test


8 the hypothesis by testing the impact that a tr ansnational social movement has had on the drug law reforms in each of the countries. Each of these chapters presents the drug law reform (the dependent variable) by using prim ary evidence (the law passed in parliament) in the case of English speaking parliaments (Australia) and second hand accounts in the case of Spanish speaking parliaments (Bolivia). These chapters test the hypothesis that a transnational social movement (the indepe ndent variable) caused the law reforms by using newspaper reports about social m ovement activities and parliamentarians’ comments on the drug law reforms to assess the impact that the social movements had on the law reforms. Generally this involves a timeline approach to see if major drug law reforms occurred at a similar time to major social movement activity (and whether parliamentarians responded to social movement activity). Each chap ter will subsequently look for evidence that a transnational social movement had an impact on the local and national drug law reform. The concluding chapter will assess the eviden ce found in the case studies and evaluate whether there is a causal relationship between a transnational social movement and the drug law reforms studied. It wi ll also discuss what can be learned about the nature of transnational social movements from the cas e studies and how the theory may suggest that the transnational social movement for dr ug law reform become more effective. The chapter will finish with suggestions for further research on this topic.


9 Chapter Two Literature Review Introduction A major debate running through social movement theory for the past 50 years has been whether a social movement is distinct fr om an interest group or a lobby group. This debate remains unresolved yet there appears to be growing consensus that in modern industrial societies, social movements and interest gr oups often overlap to the point of being indistinguishable. A major shortcoming of social movement th eory may be its inability to measure the outcomes of social movement activity. Severa l theorists have recently tried to measure the consequences of social movements by lo oking at their impact on various public policies and suggest that social movement theo ry has a large role to play in analyzing foreign policy and policies based on moral regulation. More recently, the role of the state has beco me an important issue in social movement theory. Whilst traditional social movement theory focuses on the state as the focus of social movement activity, there has been a m ove towards the study of transnational social movements. Many scholars in the field are tryi ng to come to terms with the increasingly global nature of the world. Se veral scholars adopt the tools of social movement theory and say they can apply to transnational social movements. Other scholars have attempted to begin ways of analyzing transnational so cial movements and the impact that global forces have on the political opportunity structure in local spheres.


10 A growing field of research which is simila r to transnational social movement theory concerns resistance to globaliz ation. Although lacking in the depth that social movement theory brings to transnational social moveme nt theory, this literature, with its emphasis on globalization, provides a more complex unders tanding of transnational forces and their impact on social movements. Several arti cles concerning resi stance to globalization provide frameworks for analyzing transnational social movements. They also provide an interesting way to analyze transnational repression that may be increasing due to globalization. Lastly, I review three articles that apply so cial movement theory to the War on Drugs and groups striving to reform drug la ws. These articles use a si milar framework to analyze a similar situation to the case studies I undertake in the following chapters. They use social movement theory to explain drug laws howev er they do not consider the impact of a transnational social movement on local and national drug laws. Social Movement Theory Tarrow (1998) gives a summary of social movement theory from a political science perspective. The irreducible act at the ba se of all social movements is contentious collective action. Contentious politics occurs when ordinary people join forces in confrontations with au thorities and elites “…mounting, c oordinating and sustaining them [confrontations] are the unique co ntribution of the social move ment – an invention of the modern age and an accompaniment to the rise of the modern state” (p.2). Tarrow argues that social movements only became possible when modern states were born and that social movements must be seen as interaction with the state. Tarrow’s (1994) history of social movement th eory begins with a brief discussion of Marx and class conflict, Lenin and res ource management and Gramsci and cultural hegemony. Marx sought to an swer why so many groups who should revolt did not and answered with his concept of false consciousne ss – that groups often falsely believed the


11 status quo was good for them. Lenin conclude d that such groups needed leaders to organize them and represent their “real” in terests. Gramsci added to these ideas by suggesting that a working class culture, or solidarity, developed by multiple levels of leaders and initiative would need to interact in a dialogue with th e dominant capitalist culture and the state. Although Gramsci concluded that there was no guarantee the working class society would win the battle for collective action. According to Tarrow (1994), collective beha vior theorists of the 1950s and 1960s resembled Marx in their focus on the grievanc es responsible for mobilization. “The most sophisticated versions of this theory linked collective behavior to the functional view of society in which societal dysfunctions produced different forms of collective behavior – some of which took the form of political movements and interest groups” (p. 14). In 1965, Mancur Olson’s The Logic of Collective Action applied a utilitarian rationalist approach to collective acti on and found that collective po litics is unlikely due to individuals’ narrow self intere st and the problem of free-ride rs. Olson concluded the cost to individuals of collective action was far hi gher than the perceived benefits, especially considering that they would receive the be nefits of collective action whether they participated or not. However, John McCarthy and Mayer Zald (1977) in what came to be known as resource mobilization theory, overcame the problem of self-interest by proposing that professional movement organizations use expanded person al resources, professionalization, and external financial support to build social movements. Fireman and Gamson (1979) offer a critique and extension of Olson’s 1965 work by adopting utilitarian logic to a resource m obilization perspective. Although Olson was concerned with interest groups, they claim that sharp distinctions between dramatic social movements and other political organizations are being abandoned. Using utilitarian


12 logic, they conclude that se lf-interest can be overcome if a group of elites (organizers): encouraging solidarity; align the program of a social movement with the interests of the solidary constituency; and stress that the move ment is necessary and can produce results. Tarrow (1998) labels the actions available to social movements as “repertoires of contention” which is not only what people do when they are engaged in contentious politics (e.g. marching) but what they know how to do and what others expect them to do. Social movements often begin as a narrow a nd specific conflict with the state and then are joined by groups not normally known fo r insurgent tendencies. Innovation accelerates and new modes of contention are formed as various groups combine and interact. The demobilization phase begins as the social movement exhausts itself, periphery members drop off as the state offe rs moderate concessi ons to woo them and frustrate the radicals. Finally, often the radicals participate in extreme actions and the state suppresses them. The main arguments of Tarrow’s study is that when political structures open, social movements are more likely to arise. Ta rrow theorizes that social movements don’t simply arise due to deprivation, because depriv ation is far more widespread than social movements are. Rather, it depends on a polit ical opportunity structure – the dimensions of the political environment which either encourage or discourage people from using collective action. Social Movements respond to changes in opportunity such as the opening up of access to power (e.g. democratiz ation), a shift in ruling alignments, the availability of influentia l allies and from cleavages within and among elites. Tarrow (1998) concludes that successful m ovements need formal structure but also a large degree of freedom. “What underlies the most successful of them is the role of informal connective tissue operating wi thin and between formal movement organizations” (p.137). As a large degree of a social movement’s power comes from the fact that they activate people over whom they have no control, it is important that the


13 leadership and structure do not become too domineering. A less fo rmal structure also increases the potential of forming alliances with similar movements. Elaborating on the political oppor tunity structure which is central to Tarrow’s work, Loveman (1998) seeks to answer when and why sustained collec tive action will occur under severe repression – which she claims to be an important area of research largely neglected by social movement theory. Studying human rights or ganizations which emerged during the extremely repressive dict atorships of Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina from the 1960s to the 1980s, she suggests th at it may not always be improvements in political opportunity that induc e social movement participatio n. Her research leads her to conclude that such repression may indeed cr eate social movements. The “early risers” may mobilize in response to, rather than desp ite severe repression. Their action may then create space for later waves of particip ants who may indeed be responding to improvements in the struct ure of opportunities. Giugni (1999) states that the study of the cons equences of social movements is one of the most neglected topics in the literature. This is even more unfortunate, he laments, as the raisons d’etre of social moveme nts is to bring about changes in society. Further he notes, measuring the impact of social movements, in regards to causality is very hard. He suggests the following methodological agenda: He concludes that the study of the conseque nces of social movements should become a central and durable concern in social movement research. Define the range of movement consequences Specify the types of consequences to be studies Search for plausible relevant causes Reconstruct causal patterns and histories


14 Burstein (1999) tries to place social movement s within a pluralist theory of democracy. Firstly, he argues that there should be no di stinction drawn between social movement organizations (SMOs) and interest groups. Briefly summarizing th e literature on the issue, he says attempts to distinguish SMOs from intere st groups by saying SMOs are more marginalized or that they speak on beha lf of those lacking fo rmal representation or that they employ unconventional disruptive tactics are flawed. Rather, in the context of democratic politics, we need just one theory about collective action which realizes “how seamless is the set of ‘protest’ activities that includes both street demonstrations and arguments before the Supreme Cour t” (See also, Burstein 1991) Having established that SMOs a nd interest groups are the sa me thing, Burstein concedes that SMOs have a very limited impact on pub lic policy when public opinion feels very strongly on an issue. However, he (tenta tively) concludes that SMOs can influence public policy (within national governments) on issues the public care s little about; and they can influence policy indirectly by cha nging the public’s polic y preferences and its intensity of concern for particul ar issues. Further, he also (tentatively) concludes that social movements can have a large impact on the way in which public policy is implemented through bureaucracies and courts. Wald, Button, and Rienzo (1996) use two broad theoretical frameworks – urbanism/diversity approach and social movement theory – to analyze why some American communities adopt local gay rights po licies and others don’t. Using a strongly behaviorist approach they run a multivariate logistic regression analysis to measure the impact four factors – urbanism, resource mob ilization, political opportunity structure, and oppositional movements – have on gay rights ordi nances in 126 local communities. They conclude that while urbanism has the larg est impact, they may have underestimated the impact of political opportunity st ructure in their analysis. Fu rther, they claim traditional approaches to public policy differences are le ss able to explain polic y debates rooted in


15 questions of moral regulation and social iden tity and that their findings illustrate the value of extending theories of social move ments to the realm of conventional politics. Another area of public policy that has been neglected by social movement theorists is foreign policy. Culverson (1996) attempts to amend this with his analysis of the antiapartheid movement in America. By anal yzing the long term change in opportunity structure that the anti-apart heid movement experienced in America, Culverson claims resource mobilization theory has many in adequacies and proposes a political process approach. Culverson also deals with the dile mma of defining an interest group vs. social movement. He settles for Tarrow’s definiti on that a social movement is, “groups possessing a purposive organization, whose l eaders identify their goals with the preferences of an immobilized constituency, which they attempt to mobilize in direct action in relation to a target of influence in the political system” (quoted in Culverson, p.132). Culverson concludes that grassroots or ganizations, and the impact they have on institutions beyond their reach, merit the same consideration in politi cal science research as more traditional concerns – interest groups, congress and the foreign policy bureaucracy. Transnational Social Movement Theory Smith and Johnston (2002) in their introduction to Globalization and Resistance: Transnational dimension of social movements begin by admitting that most social movement theory takes the modern nation-st ate as the context of contemporary political contention and that whilst the global integr ation process has cruc ial implications for political contention, it is poorly understood. They argue that the pape rs in their book have a general theme that global processes shap e both domestic and transnational political mobilization. Domestically, global proce sses produce similar opportunities in different countries by changing the opportunity/repress ion structure, help social movements borrow ideas and information across borders wh ich results in social movements tending


16 to take similar forms. At the transnational level, global processes create globally defined targets; feed a flow of information, resour ces, skills, technology; and affect organization, interpretations and the framing of issues. McCarthy (1997) also argues th at while critics are correct to fault social movement theory for being excessively state-based, it is not parochial a nd can be adapted to transnational contention. He expands on this idea and uses the conceptual tools often applied to state-based social movements a nd uses them to increase knowledge about the transnational dimensions of social moveme nt activity. He concludes, however, that whilst these tools provide an enormous first step, the study of transnational movements must also be based on newly generated systema tic evidence about the shape and extent of them over time and across space. Giugni (2002) expands on the idea of globa l forces impacting on domestic social movements. Claiming that theorists often st ress the differences of movement families across countries, Giugni sets out to provide a general framew ork to explain similarities among social movements in different countries He suggests four steps to account for similarities among social movements across bo rders: identify similarities across nationstates; look for possible explan atory factors; formulate clear and testable hypotheses to explain the similarities; test the hypothese s on different movements and in different circumstances To identify similarities he suggests singling out concrete items that lend themselves to empirical observation: issues, themes and goals; levels of mobilization; strategies, tactics and forms of action; organizational structur e; cultural frames, ideas, and discourses; timing of protest. Regarding possible explan ations for similarities across countries, he looks at three sets of factors: long-term, global, macro structural changes; similar configurations on the state level; shor t-term exchanges among nation states.


17 Once movement similarities have been identified, Giugni suggests three possible explanations which all impact on political opportunities in multiple countries: the globalization model where the inter-connectedness of the world simultaneously affects transnational movements; the structural a ffinity model where similar structures in countries lead to convergent patterns; and the diffusion mode l where cross-national flows of information diffuses from one country to another. Giugni concludes that future research should further expl ore the relationshi p between globalizat ion and political opportunities in different countries. As a way of measuring the extent of a tran snational social moveme nt, Alger (1997) lists five categories of transnational social m ovement activity which may be identified: creating and mobilizing global networks, part icipating in multilateral political arenas, facilitating interstate cooperation, acting within st ates, and enhancing public participation. It is interesting to chart Tarrow’s ideas on tr ansnational social movements. As late as 1998, in a new chapter devoted to transnational contention, he was argu ing that whilst the thesis of transnational social movements made strong claims, transnational movements were often advocacy networks which “lac k the categorical basis, the sustained interpersonal relations, and the exposure to similar opportunities and constraints that social movement scholars have found in do mestic social networks” (Tarrow, 1998, p. 189). Tarrow, writing for the Annual Review of Political Science in 2001 begins his article by declaring that a) nation states still dominate most areas of policy; b) globalization has been around for at least a century; and c) stat es have always reached beyond their borders and played a transnational role. Tarrow th en defines a Transnational Social Movement as:


18 “socially mobilized groups with constituents in at least two states engaged in sustained contentious interaction with power holders in at least one state other than their own, or against an international institution …(p 11) Tarrow argues that TNSMs are different from International Nongovernmental Organizations which engage in “routine transactions … made up of dedicated, cosmopolitan, well-educated people” (p.12) and Transnational Advocacy Networks (“TANs are not alternatives to social move ments or INGOs; on the contrary they can contain them” (p.13)). Tarrow concludes that gl obal civil forces are cu rrently resulting in INGOs and TANs and enabling them to voi ce their concerns th rough international institutions. Social Movement Theory however would indicate that gl obal civil forces are currently not strong enough to maintain a global social network and global collective identity to create a transna tional social movement strong enough to compete with the political opportunitie s national polities. By 2002, Tarrow had further conceded that whilst there is something new in these transnational interac tions, they cannot necessarily be attributed as products of globalization. However, the perception of globa lization is a very useful framing device for social movements. Firstly, it is an e ffective device for bringing together material claims and principled issue groups. Second, it brings together many divergent groups with very divergent demands. Third, the hegemonic state of the world makes it easy to condense the target to simple anti-American ism. But fourth, gl obalization has so far lacked the capacity to transform region-specific claims into a new global collective identity. To summarize, social movement theory is st ill grappling with the difference between a social movement and interest groups. This problem is becoming even more difficult in contemporary times with transnational social movements often indistinguishable from transnational advocacy groups. Both theories also adm it problems in measuring the consequences of social movements – local or transnational. However, transnational social movement theory is trying to ame nd its predecessor’s focus on the state as the


19 center of activity to account for the globalizing world. One area which may assist this is the literature on resist ance to globalization. Resistance to Globalization A field of study which is grow ing very quickly concerns “r esistance to globalization”. Separate and distinct from transnational soci al theory, the two neve rtheless significantly overlap. A central tenant of this literature is that there is no single globalization. Rather there are several alternative globalizations. Often this literature focuses on market-driven globalization as the dominant fo rm which needs to be resiste d. In fact, it could be said that much of this literature is obsessed with neo-liberalism. “The issues on which the new resistance movements campaign may seem di verse … but all are part of a societal response to market-driven globalization” (G ills, 2002, p. 9). The alternative forms of globalization which these author s discuss are referred to as “grassroots globalization” (Routledge, 2003) and “globalization from below” (Waterman, 2002). Peck and Tickell (2002) talk of a first stage of “roll-back” neo-liberal globalization in the 1980s which has been replaced by a second stag e of “roll-out” neo-liberalism. In the 1980s, the first stage saw a global policy of deregulation which removed government intervention from social polic ies. This resulted in a s econd phase which saw aggressive social policies in the areas of incarceration, policing and urba n surveillance to discipline and contain those people margin alized and dispossessed by the first stage. They claim that these aggressive incarce ration policies have transfus ed from America around the world (see also Wacquant, 1999). They conclu de that it will be pr emature to anticipate an era of “pushback” neoliberalism until intern ational institutions are remade in a way which contain and challenges the forces of marketization. In response to this aggressi ve government behavior, Rou tledge (2003) discusses the challenges to the currently dominating ne o-liberal globalizati on by what he terms “grassroots globalization” – a network of diverse social movements working in


20 association to engage in multi-scalar political action. Using a term common to this body of literature he discusses space and the space which such resistance occupies. Many of the social movements are based locally yet have to form coalitions across diverse geographic scales. They form networks whic h become embedded in different places at a variety of spatial scales: global, regional, lo cal, national. These al liances across various scales lead to contradictions among networ ks. Routledge paraphrases David Harvey by concluding that social move ments can either remain place based and avoid these contradictions or gain greater solidarity by creating a more universal politics that transcends narrow solidarities. Waterman (2002) further discusses the dic hotomy between social movements based in local places and globalized spaces. He men tions the problems facing social movement theory which suggest locality is the pr ivileged site for movements now that globalization has created new trans-, supraor non-territorial terrain. Waterman expands on the idea of globalization’s discontents mentioned in Peck and Tickell (2002) and Routledge (2003) and says that globalizatio n makes an alternativ e global solidarity culture (loosely labeled “globalization from below”) both necessary and possible. Waterman then sets out a list of criteria by which to evaluate such an international solidarity – identity, substitution, complement arity, reciprocity, affinity, restitution. Throughout these criteria, he argues, transnational social movements need to be understood in communicatio nal/cultural rather than in the traditional political/organizational terms. Chin and Mittleman (2002) conceptualize resist ance to globalization as constitutive of cultural processes. They call for a conceptual framework that integr ates the local with the global using the “Gramsci-Polanyi-Scott tr iad”. This triad i nvolves the concept of counter-hegemony, submerged coll ective action and in frapolitics. Co unter-hegemony is openly declared militant movements (e.g. de monstrations, boycotts) with the aim of seizing control of the state. Submerged networks offer different meanings to those the


21 dominating classes dictate but ra rely come into direct confr ontation. Infrapolitics is everyday forms of resistance which fall short of openly declared contestations. It may involve the formation of disside nt subcultures and is made up of hidden transcripts which occur outside of the su rveillance structures set up by the dominant classes (e.g. drug use, addiction, and trafficking?). To summarize, the literature which explores resistance to globalization is focused on the impact globalization is having on soci al movements, or more exactly, how “Globalization” is causing social movements wh ich happen to be transnational. This perhaps exposes a weakness be cause many theorists in this area do not consider transnational social movements caused by othe r factors (which may be transnational but are distinct from globalization). Social Movement Theory and Drug Law Reform Bluthenal (1998) argues that be cause syringe exchange programs (SEPs) are illegal, they are a unique social movement. He begins hi s article by arguing that drug policy appears to be data-proof, and even though SEPs have the support of over 20 national and state medical, professional, and scientific associa tions and former Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders, consecutive federal governments have re fused to lift a ban on them. Therefore, the harm reduction elements (i.e. reform) of drug policy in Oakland California have come about due to the mobilization of impacted communities and their allies. Using a social movement theory approach to harm reduction in the USA, Bluthenal looks for three elements: the structure of politic al opportunities, insurgent consciousness, and organization strength among syringe exchange operators. “Beginning to understand the social movement aspects of harm reduction is vital given the continued reluctance or inability of local, state, and federal government officials to effectively respond to the epidemic of HIV among IDUs in the United States” (p.1152).


22 Bluthenal describes the political opportunity st ructure which enabled SEPs to start in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite Federal bans and a State Governor and Attorney General opposed, county police and authorities agreed not to persecute SEPs. Bluthenal continues, however that the favorable po litical environment still required insurgent consciousness to capitalize on the situations. Insurgent consciousne ss is the recognition by aggrieved populations, moral/pol itical entrepreneurs, or other interest ed parties that a conducive political environment exists. Lastly, Bluthenal feels it is necessary to measure the organizational strength and political suppo rt which made it pos sible to sustain the contentious action. In the social movement theory, says Bluthenal, organizational strength is typically assessed by looking at the availa bility of potential members, established incentives for par ticipation, reliable communicati on networks and leadership among the immediate aggrieved population. Weiloch (2002) claims there has been a pa radigmatic shift away from a resource mobilization approach to the study of social movements with a continued interjection of cultural analyses into theoretical models of collective action. This emphasis, he continues, has led to an understanding that polit ical grievances are in extricably tied to ideas, ideology and identity. Wieloch uses social movement theory’s concept of collective identity through wh ich political activists crea te in-group cohesion and distinguish themselves from society at large. He develops this idea into a concept of “oppositional capital” whereby dr ug users redefine “stigmati zation” as status. Weiloch hypothesizes that the value pla ced on being rebellious helps drug users form a collective identity. Further, Wieloch claims that a specific phenomenon in the history of contemporary Western societies has been the expression of politic al resistance through everyday practices (e.g. Drug use?). Wieloc h analyzes the zine, Junkphood to describe how actors within the harm reduction social m ovement are able to present their collective identity by co-opting popular culture symbols often used in opposition to them (e.g. the word, “junkie”). He concludes “that it is not just through le tter-writing campaigns,


23 political rallies, or alliance-building strate gies that harm reduc tion activists express themselves as oppositional. Th ey also do so more broadl y through popular culture. Popular culture has often been recognized as political in its expression of a social criticism” (p.66). Lastly, Kubler (2001) argues that drug policy in Switzerla nd can be presented as a competition between competing coalitions advocating opposing positions – harm reduction versus prohibitionist. Stating that Swiss drug policy wa s originally based on the prohibitionist regime esta blished by a series of interna tional conventions (see Chapter Three), by the late 1980s and 1990s, it had changed to a policy of harm-reduction. Kubler uses the advocacy coal ition framework and adds elements from social movement theory – specifically the mobilizing structure and the political opportunity structure. By using this framework, Kubler attempts to account for the policy change. Kubler concludes that the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s gave new impetus to long term critics of drug prohibition and mobilized powerful actors within the health sector to form a coalition advocating harm reduction. Alt hough Kubler considered a major drug policy change to have taken place, Swiss drug pol icy ended up as a compromise between the policy that the harm reduction coalition was advocating and the policy that an opposing abstinence/prohibitionist coalition was advoca ting. He also concluded that coalition behavior is strongly framed by openings in the political oppor tunity structure – that is, activists mobilize where they expect to have most impact. Conclusion Social movement theory and transnational so cial movement theory are still grappling with the fundamental question of defining a social movement. There is disagreement over the difference between a social movement an interest group and an advocacy group. This debate has been further complicated by growing transnational advocacy groups. A further problem for theorists have been that of measuring the consequences of social


24 movements. Analysts of resistance to gl obalization are furthering our understanding of the impact of globalization on social moveme nts but are encounteri ng similar problems in measuring the impact of such social movements. By offering a case study of a social movement in a less developed country and a social movement in an industrialized country, this thesis will further the understanding of social movements in the contemporary world. By offe ring two case studies of policy changes, it will further the understanding of measuring the consequences of social movements. By testing the hypothesis that a transnational so cial movement has caused reforms in local and national drug policies it will further the understanding of transnational social movements and their impact on nation-state and local public polic y. Further, this hypothesis extends the work al ready undertaken on social m ovement theory and drug policy by moving the unit of analysis be yond the local and/or national to the transnational.


25 Chapter Three Transnational Repression – The War on Drugs Introduction According to social movement theory, not al l aggrieved populations will form a social movement but all social movements do come from an aggrieved population. In regards to a transnational social movement, it stands to reason that there needs to be a transnational aggrieved populat ion. The cause of this vis a vis the drug law reform movement comes from the global War on Drugs. I have coined the term transnational repression to describe the war on drugs. The first element of this transnational repression comes from the United Nations. The UN, since its very inception, has attempted to rid the world of illegal drugs through global repression. Nearly every country in th e world is a signatory to UN conventions that force them to outlaw the possession and di stribution of certain drugs. Lately, with these conventions coming under attack, the UN has sought to suppress any report which suggests prohibition is not the best policy. They have also put pressure on countries which are trying new approaches for tr eating drug addiction that don’t focus on punishment and incarceration. The second element of this transnational repr ession comes from the United States. Apart from the large role America plays in the enforcement of UN conventions it also acts unilaterally in many areas of drug policy. Most visible is US policy in the Andean region of South America where it has sustained a m ilitary presence in Bolivia since the mid 1980s. With Plan Colombia in the 1990s, Am erica has used its military and funded


26 local militias in an attempt to suppress drug cultivation in Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Less visibly, it has used back room tactics to thwart a propos ed heroin trial in Canberra, Australia. The War on Drugs has created conditions whic h some people find unacceptable and this discontent is the basis for the social movements analyzed in the following chapters. This chapter ends with an analysis of the nega tive impact this transnational repression is having on developed (consumer) countries a nd developing (produce r) countries. Many people feel that prohibitionist policies have fa iled and that this policy itself causes more problems than drug use. Transnational Repression: The Role of the United Nations According to Bewley-Taylor (2003) there are currently three intern ational conventions which regulate worldwide drug control. The 1961 Single Convention (United Nations, 1961), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Su bstances (United Nations, 1971) and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in narc otic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. As of November 2002, 179 states were party to the Single Convention, and the number of nations signatory to the 1971 and 1988 c onventions is 172 and 166 respectively. However, international narcotics repressi on began almost 100 years ago in Shanghai, 1909. The first attempt to deal with the drug probl em on a multi-lateral international scale was the Opium Commission which met in Shanghai in 1909. This resulted in a fairly vague document but did have the goal of suppres sing opium smoking. Waddell (1970) claims that until the end of the 19th Century, trade in narcotics was legitimate. However, with the advent of opium derivatives and the hypodermic syringe, plus the expansion of world trade, an increase in addiction became appa rent. The 1909 meeting passed a number of resolutions urging the gradual suppression of opium smoki ng but it was not until The Hague in 1912 when the first internati onal narcotics convention was signed.


27 As evidence of the importance of drugs to international relations, Article 23 of the League of Nation’s Covenant said that the league members s hould supervise opium traffic (Waddell, 1970). The Geneva Convention of 1925 required governments to submit annual statistics of their opium a nd coca production and another convention in 1931 strengthened this requirement to include es timates of countries whether or not they were parties to the agreement. “Thus for the first time the principle of a planned economy on a world scale for a particular industry were introduced” (Waddell, 1970, p. 313). At its first meeting, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council created the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), again showing the importance of the drug trade to international relations. The commission convened the Paris Protocol of 1948 and every party to this protocol is obliged to inform the secretary ge neral of any new drug which the party considers capable of abuse. The Secretary General forwards this information to the World Health Organizati on (WHO) which then must decide whether the drug is addiction forming (Waddell, 1970) Bewley Taylor (2003) however, notes that the WHO can only make non-binding reco mmendations. It is the CND which makes the final decision and this body is unlikely to change the schedule. By 1961, eleven treaties and protocols had b een created to deal with international narcotics control (Waddell, 1970). In 1961, with drug use continually increasing around the world (and especially in America) the definitive Single Convention was held. The Single Convention (so named because it sou ght to have a single law for worldwide prohibition (Malkin, Elliot, & McRae, 2003)) obliges signatory nations to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and posse ssion of drugs. It places more than 100 drugs in four schedules with cocaine, hero in and cannabis in sche dule one which subjects them to all of the control measures under the convention. The Single Convention also


28 created the International Narcotics Contro l Board (INCB) which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the UN conven tions (Bewley-Taylor, 2003). It also set the goal to abolish the ch ewing of coca leaf within 25 years (Jelsma, 2003). The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substan ces came about as a result of growing global concern of the harmful effects of increasingly popular substances such as amphetamines, barbiturates and LSD. Once again, the substances were classified according to four schedules based on depende nce creating properties, potential level of abuse and the therapeutic valu e of the drug. Once again, subs tances in schedule one must be strictly limited to medical and scientific pur poses. As with the Paris Protocol of 1948, under these conventions, the WHO is responsible for medical and scie ntific assessment of all substances and to advise the CND (Bewley-Taylor, 2003). The 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffi c in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was convened due to the huge increase in drug trafficking since the introduction of the Single Convention, and due to the earlier conventions’ limited treatment of this issue. The 1988 conventi on provides comprehensive measures against drug trafficking, including provisions on money laundering, asset seizur e, agreements on mutual legal assistance and the diversion of precursor chemicals. Whilst the earlier conventions had required criminal sanctions for supplying drugs, the 1988 Convention requires each party to make the possession of drugs for personal consumption a criminal offence under domestic law (Bewley-Taylor, 2003). In 1998, recognizing the continual inability of the UN treaties to control drug use and distribution, Kofi Annan ope ned the “Twentieth Special Session of General Assembly Devoted to Countering the Worl d Drug Problem Together”. In his speech he announced a mission to create a drug-free world in the tw enty-first century, calling the consensus on drug policy “almost unprecedented in United Nati ons history” (Annan, 1998). More than 150 governments at the session committed themselves to strengthening national


29 legislation against drugs and “strengthening judicial coope ration” (UNODC newsletter, 2003). According to Thoumi (2002) “I t is widely recognized that American policies, highly influenced by the peculiar puritanical way in which the United St ates look at mindaltering drugs, have had a si gnificant effect on international policies and United Nations conventions”. Sir Keith Morris (2003), Brit ish ambassador to Colombia in the early 1990s claims that the 1988 UN convention wa s primarily used by America to garner international legitimacy for its increasingly militaristic and interventionist drug policy in Latin America. Bewley-Taylor (1999) in his detailed account of The United States and International Drug Control concludes, “The present UN-sanctioned prohibition-based international drug control system can, as has b een demonstrated, be seen as the product of ninety years of endeavor by the United States” (p.211). A recent incident shows America’s role in the United Nations. In the late 1990s, the World Health Organization was due to release its first repor t on Marijuana in 15 years. The report stated that marijuana was far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately, the report was never released. According to New Scientist “It is understood that advisers fr om the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the UN International Drug Control Programme warned the WHO that it would play into the hands of groups campaigning to legalize marijuana”(“High Anxieties”, 1998). In a similar vein, Jelmsa (2003) talks of a WHO study into cocaine use. Quoting a briefing kit summarizing the st udy as saying that most cocai ne users suffered no negative consequences and that coca was sacred fo r indigenous Andean populations, the study went as far as to say, “Most authorities agree that it is unrealistic to expect to eradicate the use of cocaine and other drugs…The largest future issue is wh ether international organizations, such as WHO and the United Nations Drug Control Program will continue to focus on supply reduction approaches such as crop destruction and substitution and law enforcement efforts in the face of mountin g criticism and cynicism about the effectiveness of these


30 approaches. Countries such as Australia, Bolivia, Canada and Colombia are now interested in examining a range of options to legalize and decriminalize the personal use and possession of cocaine and other related products … current national and local approaches which over-emphasize punitive drug control measures may actually contribute to the development of health related problems.” (quoted in Jelmsa, 2003, p. 189) In response to the briefing kit, Neil Boyer, the USA’s representative to the 48th meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva said that the WHO was heading in the wrong direction, was “undermining the efforts of th e international community to stamp out the illegal cultivation and production of coca”, accused the WHO of associating with organizations which supported the legalizati on of drugs, and issued a clear threat: “If WHO activities relating to drugs fail to re inforce proven drug-control approaches, funds for the relevant programs should be curtaile d” (Jelsma, 2003, p. 189). Large parts of the report were never published. One last event shows the role of the UN in transnational repression. When the NSW state parliament voted to legally sanction a medically supervised heroin injection site, the INCB threatened to embargo Australia’s $160 mi llion a year legal opiat e trade. Claiming that five times in the past the INCB had thre atened action against c ountries but each time the country had backed down. “Ultimately the issue was solved because the pressure was such that the country did not want to be named at the [UN’s] Economic and Social Council of being in breach of the treaty” sa id a spokesman (Mann, 1999). In the board’s annual report for 2000 it renewed its attack on the trial. “By permitting injecting drug rooms, a government could be considered to be in contravention of the international drug control treaties by facilitating in, aiding a nd/or abetting the commission of crimes involving illegal drug possession and use as well as other cr iminal offence, including drug trafficking”(quo ted in Riley, 2000).1


31 Transnational Repression: The Role of the USA The second major force behind the War on Drugs is the USA. America has pursued an aggressively interventionist policy in La tin America since the 1980s. This policy culminated in 1989 with the invasion of Panama and removal of its head of state to face trial in the USA. In the 1990s, interventio nist repressive polic y morphed into Plan Colombia. Even further a field, the USA has also intervened in the domestic politics of Australia to fight the proposed lib eralization of drug laws there. Whilst America’s draconian drug laws aros e from a desire to stop demand from American drug consumers, the 1980s also saw a radi cal shift of policy to try and prevent supply from abroad. Totaklian (1988) docum ents how the Reagan Administration turned drugs into an issue of national security whic h allowed it to militaries the drug war. He concludes, “Employing a strategic-military rati onale to deal with the drug problem leads, and has led, to an interventionist attitude and policy which places national sovereignty in great jeopardy” (p. 141). Considering recent events, it seems worthwhile to quote at length from Cocaine Politics (Scott and Marshall, 1991): Defense Secretary Richard Cheney, branding dr ugs a ‘direct threat to the sovereignty and security of our country,’ ordered commanders to develop specific plans for “operational support” of anti-drug missions in Latin America and vowed to ensure ‘a more aggressive and robust’ US military presence in the Andes. And with the invasion of Panama in December 1989, justified in part as an effort to capture an indicted drug suspect (General Noriega), the Bush Administration dramatically demonstrated the terms on which it is willing to fight the new drug war (p. 2). Another country at the forefront of the Wa r on Drugs is Bolivia. Despite the importance of the coca leaf to many Bolivians, where it has been used for over 5,000 years, America has pressured the country’s government to erad icate coca crops. This began in 1961 with pressure to sign the Single Convention on Na rcotics and began in earnest in the 1980s under the Reagan and Bush Administrations From 1980 – 1982 Bolivia had a military


32 government heavily involved in drug trafficking but large mobilizations against it led to a popularly elected leftist party in 1982. It was in 1984 that the Reagan administration began pressuring the Bolivian government to eradicate coca and the Bolivian government compromised with “alternative development” – substituting coca crops with legal crops (Estellano, 1994). In 1986, Operation Blast Furnace was a name given to a US military operation which invaded Bolivia to destroy cocaine-processi ng plants. Over 170 US personnel, using helicopters, took part in this five-month operati on destroying dozens of labs. Afterwards, during the second half of th e 1980s, pressure continually increased from America (and partly Europe) to reduce the production and di stribution of the coca leaf (Healy, 1991). This pressure culminated in the 1988 anti-coca law ( Ley de Regimen de la Coca y Sustancias Controladas ) which spelled out a plan to eradicate coca in 10 years. In 1990, the commander in Chief of the Bo livian armed forces revealed that US ambassador Gobert Gelbard had made forei gn aid to Bolivia conditional on the active participation of the military in the counter-narcotics effort. In 1991, it was revealed the US ambassador was promoting and negotiating th e sale of Chapare fruits and vegetables without consulting the Bolivian government and in 1992, Bolivia’s Agriculture Minister told the press that a freeze on US aid was likely if Bolivia expelled Drug Enforcement Administration agents (Arganaras, 1997). At the same time, USAID was donating $679 million to the Bolivian government for projects in line with the alternative development. On June 27, 1995, Bolivia and the United Stat es signed a new treaty allowing the United States to extradite drug traffickers (and suspect s of several other crimes). According to the Latin American Weekly Report of July 13 that year, many critics claimed the Bolivian president conceded too much power to the US (“Washington Extracts”, 1995). America could now accuse any Bolivian citizen of drug trafficking and extradite them to America for trial.


33 In 1998, President Hugo Banzer launched a “ze ro coca” policy to elim inate all illicit coca in five years and announced the transfer of the Armed Forces High Command to Cochabamba, the city closest to the coca grow ing region of Bolivia. With US financial support, the Bolivian military is reinforcing its existing infrastructure in the Chapare region, ensuring military control of the regi on for the foreseeable future (Youngers, 2004). In 2002, America interfered in local Boliv ian politics in a less violent way: Prior to election day, the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Manuel Rocha, warned that if Morales were elected, or his Socialists included in a coalition government, Washington would close its markets to Bolivian textiles and natural gas comments that were roundly denounced by politicians from all of Bolivia's numerous parties (Langman, 2002) Several commentators have pointed out that the US ambassador was Morales’s greatest campaigner. More recently, with America’s goals in Bolivia proving more and more elusive, repression is increasing. In April, 2004, several cocaleros reported being tortured and forced to sign pre-written false statements accusing their political leader, Evo Morales, of murdering Bolivian soldiers ( The Andean initiatives potential dangers to th e consolidation of civilian rule initially generated opposition among many Latin Amer ican governments. However the US congress put its full weight behind ensuri ng the use of US diplomatic and economic leverage to coerce cooperation from reluct ant drug war partners. In 1986, it enacted a “certification” requirement for drug producing and transport countries (Youngers, 2004). In 1995, in a report to the US congress, Presiden t Clinton criticized four countries for not doing enough in the War on Drugs – Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru – but asked for congressional certification necessary fo r US aid on the grounds of “vital national


34 interest”. That is, Cl inton realized that it w ould be counter productive to cut aid to drug producing countries. The four countries reacted with indignation and called for a hemispheric summit on drug policy (“Closing Ranks”, March 16, 1995). However, America refused to enter into such a discussion. As the prohibitionist policies of the 1980s failed, the USA implemented a new program called Plan Colombia. Most sensationally, th is involved billions of dollars to fight drug dealers, aerial spraying of crops in the Andes, shooting down suspected drug-courier planes, encouraging crop substitution for co ca growers and offering military support to Colombian para-militaries (many of which have been accused of human rights abuses). Perhaps foreseeing a quagmire, the Clin ton Administration placed a cap of 4000 American “advisers”. In one tragic implementation of this polic y, a suspected drug-pla ne was shot down over Peru in April, 2001. Instead of carrying dr ugs it was carrying two American missionaries and their infant child (Kellogg, 2002). Other reports have found that some peasants agree to replace their coca with co coa only to have their new legitimate crops sprayed with herbicides by American planes. Furt her, many people are worried about the environmental impact of spraying. Approximately 65% of America’s federal dr ug control budget for FY 2002 is allocated for supply-side efforts. Colombia is the th ird largest recipient of US foreign aid with nearly $1 billion a year given to the Colomb ian armed forces. In 1999, the US trained a total of about 13,000 Latin American military a nd police, either in the region or on US bases (including the former School of the Amer icas in Georgia). The nature of this training is questionable as Y oungers notes: “The jungle warf are-type training that DOD provides to Latin American security forces is not well suited for dr ug control efforts, which should be oriented toward sound inve stigations and criminal prosecutions”.


35 Further a field, America has also put pressure on Australia to tow the line with its drug policy. According to Albrechtsen (2004) this pressure started over 50 years ago. The Australian government banned the importation of heroin in 1953 under pressure from the WHO, which in turn was under pressure from the USA (Mandelson, 1993). According to a contemporary news report (“ Concern at Australia”, 1953), heroin was removed from the list of free life saving drugs under the federal health scheme because international organizations were becoming c oncerned with the high consumption rate in Australia. However, the newspaper also reported the head of the national medical association saying that at firs t they opposed the ban. “Heroi n addiction is not a problem in Australia” and that a ban is “a distinct departure on the pa rt of the government because it interferes with the doctors right to prescrib e whatever drug he thi nks is most suitable for his patient” yet due to concerns that overseas in America “dope peddlers peddle sweets loaded with heroin among the teenagers” the medi cal association changed its stance and supported the legisl ation. Another medical author ity, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was wrong to ban a drug which had been useful for over half a century, “the bureaucratic banning of a drug is not something that should go unchallenged.” Lastly, Professor R.H. Thorpe, Professor of Pharmacology at Sydney University noted the international pressure on Australia, “heroin is banned in 47 countries, including the United States,” he said, “if you take whisky from people addicted to it, they will take gin or methylated spirits. If you take one drug from them, they will take others. But if heroin can be suppressed in all decent countries the manufacture of it is likely to cease”. According to Mandelson (1993), the followi ng year newspapers were outraged. A tabloid, The Sun wrote, “In the opinion of an ove rwhelming majority of medical men …the political decision was more than a major mistake. They claim it was a blunder that is causing indescribable agony” (p.129). In 1956, the medical association in Australia


36 held a plebiscite of its doctors and only one state was in favor of continuing the ban. As the spokesman of one branch concluded, “the government has only blindly followed the lead of the United States” (p.130). The Sydney Morning Herald editorialized that the government had been over-influenced by the WHO and not enough by local medical opinion (Mandelson, 1993). Whilst heroin addiction may not have been a problem in the early 1950s, it certainly was in the late 1990s. Australia followed the rest of the wo rld in signing the 1961 and 1971 UN treaties, and heroin addic tion doubled every ten years (Wodak, 1991). Starting to question the wisdom of prohibiti on, several states began to cons ider a trial of distributing heroin. Gardner (2001) repo rts however that, through b ackroom pressure, the US sabotaged the 1997 Canberra heroin prescription trial. Members of President Clinton’s cabinet threatened to ruin the Tasmanian opium industry if any of that opium was used in a prescription trial. Soon after, the Prime Minister vetoed the trial because he felt it would send the wrong message to children. Insurgent Consciousness: The Perception of Transnational Repression in Consumer Countries A growing social movement is arising on ev ery continent criticizing the War on Drugs. The various members and groups which make up this social movement make many claims about the negative consequences of the War on Drugs in the hope to garner support for their stated aims (i .e. to raise insurgent conscious ness). They claim that the increasing repression being directed at drug users is causing many problems in many developed countries. They claim that dr ug prohibition has caused the number of drug users and the amount of drugs produced aro und the world to increase. Ergo, drug overdoses are increasing. Prison populations are exploding, violence and crime is increasing, disease and health problems are exacerbated, human rights abuses are becoming common place in the drug war, dr ug users are being ostracized from society and all of this is coming at a gigantic cost to taxpayers.


37 Drug law reform activists claim that possibly the worst impact of drug prohibition is the fact that drug consumption continues to incr ease. Drug dealers charge very highly for the risks they run. Because their choice of o ccupation could lead them to being murdered, violently attacked, or arrest ed, they mark up the price of their commodity hugely – as does every link in the heroin di stribution chain. Th is huge profit motive results in dealers encouraging (perhaps “pushing”) users to use more and non-users to become users. The huge profits also attract others to become dealers who in tu rn encourage more heroin use. In Australia in the 1930s, during the Depression – a time of e xpected increase in drug use there was about 5,000 opium smokers (Lonie, 1979). In 2001 – a time of relative economic prosperity there was an estim ated 100,000 heroin addicts and 300,000 opiate users (Totaro, 2000). Wodak (1991) estimates that the number of opiate addicts in Australia has doubled every de cade since the 1960s and is currently increasing at an increasing rate. This point is best demons trated by Miron and Zwiebal (1995) in “The Economic Case Against Drug Prohibition” which states, “Perhaps the most incontrovertible effect of prohibition is an upward shift in the supply curve for drugs” (p. 177). Drug law reform proponents argue that those heroin users lucky enough to survive their several daily fixes face many secondary health problems. The high price of heroin makes it near impossible to afford de cent living conditions or even adequate amounts of food. It is often used in dirty places which causes di sease and syringes are often shared which spreads disease. It is often used in a hu rried manner which can cause damage to veins and flesh. The adulterants present in much illegal heroin cause many problems as well, including blood clots and abs cesses (Hando, Hall, Rutter, & Dolan, 1999). In the US in 1997, where the draconian drug laws include no state funded needle exchange, over 1/3 of AIDS cases reported to the Center for Di sease Control and Prevention were attributed to injecting drug use (Stein, 2000). In a reply to a lett er by Congressman Souder which


38 criticized needle ex change (Souder, 2004), several rese archers wrote to the National Institute on Health claiming that prohibition of needle exchanges caused many problems: In our opinion Mr. Souder's views do a grave disservice to the community in attempting to refute international research that supports the effectiveness of needle exchange programs in reducing the risk of blood borne diseases. As investigators of the ALIVE and needle exchange evaluation studies in Baltimore, MD, our group has published numerous reports that showed that the Balti more needle exchange program (NEP) is associated with lower HIV incidence over ti me, reduced frequency of drug injection, less needle sharing, greater admissions to drug abuse treatment programs and fewer discarded needles on the street” (Strathdee, Vl ahov, Celentano, & Nelson, 2004). Many drug law reform activists claim that drug prohibition is responsible for a very large increase in violence and ho micides in developed countries (see Figure 3.1). Often, only the toughest criminals survive the competitiv ely violent world of drug dealing which means that drug distribution has become do minated by very unpleasant people. These people often have violent battles, or gang wa rs, to control the lucrative drug trade. “There seems to be considerable consensus that much of drug-rela ted violence today is linked to the distribution rather than the us e of drugs” (Shelley and Wright, 1995). Then there are police raids – another form of violence in society – where police risk their own lives, those of innocent bystanders and the drug d ealers, in a vain attempt to clear society of heroin (see especially, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Further, activists claim that drug prohibition ha s led to a huge increase in crime in the wider community such as property theft and ar med robbery. The heavily inflated cost of heroin means that many users are forced to commit crime to pay fo r their habit. Don Weatherburn, head of the NSW Bureau of Statistics was quoted in The Australian (17 June 1999) saying “The increase in armed robbe ry is a national problem almost certainly driven by the national growth in heroin use. ” Heroin addicts are also responsible for approximately 80% of property crime (Bell, 1997). These crimes have a devastating impact on society from the unfortunate victim s to the fact that everyone pays higher insurance premiums. The othe r common way for heroin user s to raise money for their habit is prostitution. Street prostitutes are of ten drug addicts who are forced to sell their


39 bodies to pay the huge cost of an addiction to an illegal substance (Stein, 2000). Such activities often result in drug users being ostracized by their family and non-drug addicted friends and mainst ream society (Kubler, 2001). Figure 3.1: US homicide rate (Gray, 1998) Activists claim that another result of drug distribution being controlled by illegal dealers is that they prefer to sell very potent substances. The more potent the substance the easier it is to smuggle and the more it is able to be so ld for. This has led to most opiate addicts transferring from the very safe (vir tually impossible to die of overdose) opium smoking to the very dangerous and more addic tive heroin injecting. It also partially explains the crack epidemic America experi enced in the 1980s. Further, due to the repression many drug users have experienced, they are less likely to call authorities for help in the event of an overdose. Woda k (1996) details the problems experienced in Hong Kong after opiate use was outlawed in the 1940s. Within a decade heroin injecting had replaced opium smoking and was beginning to spread to more and more people. This trend has been repeated all ove r the world. In 1964, in Austra lia, there were four fatal


40 overdose attributed to opiates (Hall, 1999) In 1974 there were 70 (Wodak, 1999). The year 1999 had 960 (Totaro, 2000). Activists try to appeal to the wider comm unity by emphasizing the imprisoning of people who are sympathetic. The pris on population of the USA has ju st recently surpassed two million inmates. One group in particular ( attributes this to the War on Drugs. Over half a million of America’s prison population are guilty of nonviolent drug crimes and many more are peop le committing property crime to pay for their drugs (Human Rights Watch, 2001). In th e USA, in the year 2001, 700,000 people were arrested for marijuana offences – 89% of which were charged with possession (Marijuana Policy Project, 2002). Drug prohibition has also resulted in polic e powers continually being increased and expanded. Paradoxically, drug prohibition has al so resulted in massi ve amounts of police corruption. The end result has been corrupt police with wide ranging powers. The fact that drug using, buying and selling are all consensual activities makes it hard for police to catch people in the act. According to Gray (1998) almost all drug arrests in the US involve illegal searches. Recently, the Ne w South Wales (NSW) Premier introduced new laws to give police the power to search almost a ny house (although he used the term, “Drug House”) they choose and imprison people at will. Nick Meagher, President of the NSW Law Society, called it “Nazi -style legislation”, addin g, “They are saying you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocen t” (Lagan, Stevenson & Jacobson, 2001). These laws were introduced just four y ears after the release of the Woods Royal Commission into Police Corruption (1996). Justice Woods found that police corruption was rife in the NSW service and that ove r 80% of it was caused by drug prohibition. Drug law reform activists commonly attempt to tie the War on Drugs into a civil rights issue. Drug prohibition has been a huge impe diment to racial equality around the world. At every level of the criminal justice system members of minority gr oups are more likely


41 to be treated harshly. Because drug use is so widespread, police can almost choose who to arrest. According to the Race and Prisons website, in the USA, black people make up less than 10% of drug users ye t over 50% of people in jail for drug related offences. Another example of the law being discriminato ry is mandatory sentencing. Meierhoefer (1992, p.20) found that “Four years later following the implementation of harsher drug sentencing laws, the average federal drug offe nse sentence was 49% higher for blacks”. Human Rights Watch (2000) stated, "The racial ly disproportionate nature of the War on Drugs is not just devastating to black Americans. It contradi cts faith in the principles of justice and equal protection of the laws that should be the bedrock of any constitutional democracy.” Some activists – includi ng Arianna Huffington, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Drug Policy Alliance are more blunt, often saying, “The War on Drugs is the new Jim Crow” (see Huffington, 2000; Boyd, 2001; Scotti and Kronenberg, 2001) Last but not least, de veloped countries are pa ying huge amounts of ta x dollars on the War on Drugs. In the USA, the Federal Government alone pays over $20 bi llion a year with state governments paying another $20 billion on the War on Drugs. Activists have set up a website called the War on Drugs Clock which continually ticks over to show the expense of the War on Drugs (www.drugsense.or g/wodclock.htm). In Australia, the New South Wales Attorney General, Nicholas Co wdery (2001) estimates that the cost of trialing and imprisoning dr ug offenders is over $AUD1.2 billion per year. Insurgent Consciousness: The Perception of Transnational Repression in Producer Countries2: Drug law reform activists in producer and consumer countries often claim that the War on Drugs is causing many problems in producer countries. They claim that the impact of transnational repression on de veloping countries has been, primarily, to increase the amount of drugs in the world. This has ha d a dreadful impact on the economies of many producer countries as a large amount of their peasant crops are illega l and not subject to


42 tax. The transnational repression is also ha ving a large impact on the implementation of democracy in many countries and continued vi olence, war and human rights abuses. Drug law reform activists often claim the Wa r on Drugs has been lost and that illegal drugs are more available now than ever be fore. United Nations estimates show opium production is currently (as it always seems to be) at a world time high (Penington, 1999). Similarly cocaine production has been constantly increasing over the past few decades. Once again, the gigantic profit motive that pr ohibition creates only en courages more and more farmers in producer count ries to grow illegal crops. Healy (1991) and Estellano (1994) documen t the importance of coca to Bolivia’s economy. Cocaine generated more income in the early 1990s for Bolivia than all legal exports and foreign aid combined. Estell ano (1994) and Mason and Campany (1995) go so far as to say that the capitalist/neo-liberal system itself encourages peasants in Bolivia to produce cocaine. The Colombian economy re ceives about $3-4 billion each year from drug capital (Akiba, 1997). In Afghanistan, heroin accounts for 50% of the economy (Smith, 2004) and in neighboring Tajikista n, the heroin trade that comes from Afghanistan is ten times as big as the entire legal economy (McDonald, 2004). As further criticism of the War on Drugs, Akib a (1997) says that many peasants who voluntarily eradicated their crops ended up su ffering severe economic hardship. Mason and Campany (1995) argue that this leads to peasants supporting insurgent guerillas in Peru and Colombia who protect them from the local and international attempts to eradicate their crops. Support for national governments is further eroded due to the repression they exercise in the name of the War on Drugs (Leeds, 1996). Activists claim that this huge illegal economy has very negative consequences for many developing countries. Despite the huge amount of income gene rated in these countries by illegal drug production, none of it is taxed. Instead, the money goes to drug dealers who become very wealthy and powerful. This leads to corrupted and weakened local


43 governments, judiciaries and police forces. Leeds (1996) documents the terrible impact the corruption and violence of police and govern ment forces, combined with the violence of drug dealers has on the democratization of Latin American countries. Similarly in central Asia, the huge profits from drug distribution can benefit terrorism. A Time Magazine reported on drug trafficking in Afghanista n, (McGirk, 2004, p.41) “The emergence of Khan's network reflects the challe nges the U.S. still faces in Afghanistan as the U.S. struggles to hunt al-Qaeda's leaders, disarm Afghanistan's warlords and shore up President Hamid Karzai against a revived Taliban-led insurgency. The renewed trade in opium has worsened all those problems”. As evidence of the destabilizing effect drug money can have on producer countries, Wodak (1996, p.36) lists some horrifying statistics “In Colombia in the first five years of the 1990s, more than 1500 politicians and union leaders, over 1000 police officers, 70 journalists, four of six Presid ential candidates in 1990, an attorney general and a governor have been killed.” The War on Drugs may be a metaphor in the western world but it is very real in other places. Drug law reformers often argue that a further restraint on democracy is that, following brutal military rule in many Latin American countries, the USA is supporting militaries before civilian control has had time to exert its authority (i.e. at a time when it is crucial to curb military behavior) (Youngers, 2004) In 2000, there was a military coup in Ecuador and in 2002 there was nearly a military coup in Venezuela. Further, Youngers claims that Washington is at least indirect ly fuelling human rights violations and, in Colombia, contributing to the region’s most brutal counterinsurgency campaign. The Bolivian counter-narcotics police are trained and funded by the US government and commit a litany of abuses. Massive sweeps lead to arbitrary detenti ons and 60% of those detained claim to have been threatened dur ing their arrest and 44% tortured and/or beaten. Other arrests are not arbitrary bu t “intended to suppress peaceful and lawful protest activity” (Human Right s Watch quoted in Youngers, 2004) In October, 2000, the


44 military fired indiscriminately at a prot est by coca growers killing two civilians, wounding 78, illegally detaining 48 and torturing 16 (Youngers, 2004). Conclusion Since the early 20th century, drug policy has been an inte rnational matter. This approach has become increasingly transnational and in creasingly repressive. Beginning with early treaties and then the League of Nations’ ea rly attempts to cont rol drug distribution, international drug policy continually became more repressive and by the end of the century, several United Nations treatie s attempted to eradicate drug production, distribution, and use. Due to the lack of success of these treaties, the USA took an increasingly unilateral appro ach to drug producti on, particularly in Latin America, culminating in the current Plan Colombia which is extremely repressive. This increasing repression has created condi tions in many countries which a growing number of people are finding unacceptable. There is a growing perception that drug prohibition has been a cause of increasing dangerous drug use, spreading disease, increasing violence and crime along with pol ice corruption and pr ison populations in consumer countries. Added to this, is the perception that in pr oducer countries, drug prohibition is increasing the size of drug cr ops, destabilizing econom ies and threatening democracies due to increasing militarization. The next two chapters are a case study of tw o drug law reforms in two very different countries – Bolivia and Austra lia. The chapters explore th e evidence to see whether a transnational social movement which finds the War on Drugs unacceptable has had an impact on these law reforms. 1 One other example of transnational repression occurred in th is area. In a shrewd political move, the Premier of NSW organized for a Catholic order of nuns, The Sisters of Charity to operate the medically superv ised injecting center. This


45 move helped counter criticism of the center. However, the Vatican’s Congreg ation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued orders from Rome forcing the nuns to withdraw from the proj ect. In a press release the nuns said, “We are also very disappointed that we were not asked by the Vatican to provide information on the proposed trial injecting service. Our commitment to further research and strategies to combat dr ug addiction is strengthened by the fact that the Vatican’s determination was based on practical concer ns, rather than an in-principal objection.” The Vatican has since ruled that even though injecting centers save lives, it is immoral to assist a person’s drug addiction. 2 Although this section primarily deals with Latin America, transnational re pression is further extending into Asia. Amnesty International recently criticized Thailand for executing, without trial, over 2,000 suspected drug users in an attempt to make the country drug-free in three months. Bu rma’s abysmal military regime is supported and funded by Australia and America in its anti-narcotic efforts. George Bush congratulated the Taliban in May, 2001 for its efforts in eradicating opium in Afghanistan and gave them $43 million as a reward (ironically, his administration later accused drug users of funding terrorists).


46 Chapter Four Heroin Laws in New South Wales, Australia Introduction Australia pursued a drug policy of “harm reduc tion” in the 1980s yet it still was firmly rooted in the prohibitionist mould. In the 1990s with some activists feeling that the harm reduction policies did not go far enough, illegal s hooting galleries were established. As these were clearly outside the law and presen ted tremendous risk to the organizers (from authorities and from drug users) these should be considered as social movement activity. These illegal galleries cont ributed to a Royal Commissi on recommending the government establish a legal safe injecting facility (SIF) but the government rejected this idea. Some activists, feeling that all options had been tried, established a mock SIF to ensure that such facilities were on the agenda at an upcoming parliamentary “drug summit” (where both houses of parliament were devoted to the issue of drug po licy for a week). Subsequently, the drug summit passed a resolu tion to establish a legal SIF and a few months later the parliament reformed the drug laws to allow the trial. The local social movement in Sydney and Australia can be seen to be part of a transnational social movement. Safe injecti ng facilities, as were present in Sydney, are present throughout Europe and North America. Legal SIFs are also currently running in almost 30 cities around the world and activis ts in Sydney repeatedly used them as evidence to further their own cause. Transnational activists also wrote letters to newspapers in Australia encouraging the count ry to make drug law reforms. Lastly, the International Harm Reduction A ssociation (IHRA) provides activ ists with a transnational network to exchange ideas. However, ther e is little evidence to suggest that this


47 transnational social movement had an impact on the eventual drug law reform in New South Wales (NSW). The Social Movement in New South Wales Wodak (1996) gives a brief history of the Au stralian Government’s decision to adopt a harm-reduction approach to drug use (as opposed to “zero tolerance”). It began during the 1984 federal election after the prime mini ster (a notorious alcoholic) cried on television when asked about his daughter’s heroin use (Manderson, 1993). From 1985 – after a Special Premiers Conference on Drugs the Prime Minister and all state health ministers declared harm minimization as th e official national drug policy. Whilst the government still adopted prohi bition (87% of its drug bu dget was spent on criminal justice and border patrol), two central aspects of this appro ach were needle distribution and methadone maintenance because these di d not violate UN treat ies. Wodak (2003) says that civil disobedience played a role in forcing the Australian government to adopt harm minimization but it was poorly documented. Although Australia allowed needle distri bution and methadone maintenance, many activists felt that a wider harm minimization approach was needed. They acted outside the law by operating illegal shooting ga lleries (Van Beek, 2003, p.626-7) (Wodak, 2003, p.610). Van Beek and Wodak document how in the early 1990s, an increasing number of commercial sex industry establishments starte d renting rooms for the purpose of injecting drugs and providing clean injecting equipmen t. They would also check the rooms for overdoses, in which case they would call an ambulance. The police, in conjunction with local health officials, recognized the public he alth benefits and developed guidelines that allowed these premises to continue. By the mid 1990s, the Kings Cross neighborhood in Sydney had 12 such facilities. Although these centers were set-up by strip-club owners for profit, they can be seen as sustained act ivity in conflict with an unsuccessful law – especially the participation by health officials.


48 By the end of the 1990s, activists had seemingl y become disillusioned that all avenues for drug law reform were being exhausted. Accord ing to drug law reform activists (Kidman, 1997), 24 out of 26 Australian government e nquiries into drug policy had suggested moving away from prohibition but these we re rarely implemented. In 1979, the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry in to Drugs (the Williams Report) found itself recommending the same ideas (that drug use is a medical problem, not a criminal justice one) of a former commission. “If the Commi ssion is proposing a polic y that is not novel the question that inevitably must be answered is why it has not worked before. The answer is that is has not re ally been tried” (quoted in Hartland, McDonald, Dance, & Bammer, 1992, p.177). By the late 1990s, two major events further disp irited activists. Th e first was when the Prime Minister personally intervened in a proposed Canberra heroin trial in 1997. The chief of the local government in Canberra str ongly pressed for a hero in prescription trial and in 1997 a meeting of federal, State and Territory health, police and justice ministers voted in favor of the trial (Ferrari, 1997). Yet a few weeks later, the Prime Minister announced that his government would not pr ovide the money and would not allow the importation of heroin into Aust ralia (Reuters, 1997). The se cond event occurred in 1998. In 1996, the Wood Royal Commission into polic e corruption in NSW discovered that the illegal shooting galleries were operating in S ydney. Whilst he heard th at the galleries had saved thousands of lives, he also discovered th at corrupt police were selling heroin on the premises so they were shut down. He recommended a parliamentary inquiry into establishing a legal SIF because a SIF might reduce police corruption and reduce overdose deaths. However, in 1998, the parl iamentary inquiry voted 6:4 against a trial SIF despite activists thinking they had made a very str ong case for one (Wodak, 2003). Drug law reform proponents increasingly felt th at the government wa s ignoring reasoned scientific debate, so several members of the Sydney community decided to try an exercise in civil disobedience. They set up an illegal SIF in a church.


49 Alex Wodak, president of the Australia n Drug Law Reform Foundation, Ann Symonds, co-founder of Australian parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform, the Reverend Ray Richmond, a member of the International Harm Reduction Association and parents of drug users or deceased drug users established an unsan ctioned SIF in May 1999. Despairing at the large number of overdos es in Kings Cross, they called it “The Tolerance Room” in response to the Prime Ministers avowed allegiance to a policy of “Zero Tolerance” (Wodak, Symonds, & Ri chmond, 2003, p. 614). It was this civil disobedience exercise that put SIFs firm ly on the agenda of the 1999 “Drug Summit” (Van Beek, 2003, p. 627). On May 4, when the T-Room opened in the Rev Ray Richmond’s church, he told the press, “Sometimes you have to run foul of the law; that is why in Western democracies the church and State are separated … if our people are removed or intimidated, others will take their place. If there is no respons e from the Government, the service will open again. If we are closed down, we will open again.” The newspaper report also concluded that “The injection room … forms part of a strategic move by church, health and social activists in Sydney to place the issue on the agenda of the drugs summit” (Totaro and Humphries, 1999b). The organizers acknowledging that the very limited facility w ould do little to address the concerns related to drug use in Kings Cross and the facil ity was only to serve as a symbol of civil disobedience. No doubt, this sym bolism was accentuated by the fact that it was held in a church with a reverend keen to cont inue the tradition of sanctuary. Despite this historical tradition, police ra ided the premise three times and on the third, arrested the clergyman and three drug users. A magistrate cleared all charges. The publicity surrounding the T-Room for ced the NSW government to include the consideration of a trial SIF at the upcoming dr ug summit. Pleased with this outcome the organizers decided to close the T-Room perman ently. “As an agent for social change, the


50 T-Room succeeded in keeping the issue of a tr ial [SIF] on the table, thus enabling another review to take place. The f acility also served an educational functi on, teaching the public (and also perhaps policy makers) that hygien ic, sanctioned, and supervised injecting rooms were a legitimate and far superior alternative to unsupervised, unhygienic, and unsanctioned shooting galleries” (Wodak et al, 2003, p.617). Byrne (2001) discusses briefly the sustained push for a “heroin trial” in Australia. Groups such as Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform mounted a heavy publicity campaign (in the form of letters to the editors of newspapers). Alex Wodak has written many letters to newspapers and on occasion been invited to write op-ed pieces and appear on TV news shows. Another notable letter-w riter has been Tony Trimingham, the father of a deceased heroin addict and founder of Parents for Drug Law Reform. His letters made such an impact on the local Sydney ne wspaper that they featured him in a TV commercial explaining his preferred he roin policy governme nt regulation and distribution. It is clear that this social movement, and especially the exer cise in civil disobedience, had an impact on the eventual drug law reform. On 8 February, 1999 the Illawarra Mercury wrote that NSW Premier, Bob Carr “a long-ti me opponent of heroin trials and legal shooting galleries – warned ag ainst adopting untested solu tions to drug problems … he said, ‘The difficulty is that some of the ne w solutions people enthusiastically promote could be even more disastrous” (“Govt Plan s Drugs Debate”, 1999). In April, when the Premier announced the drug summit, there was no mention of trial SIFs. Yet the Tolerance Room opened on May 4 and on May 6, 1999 Carr was still holding firm in his opposition. According to the Sydney Morning Herald (Totaro and Humphries, 1999a), “Mr Carr signaled that the Government wa s unlikely to legalize shooting rooms for heroin addicts, whatever the outcome of the NSW Drugs Summit … ‘The starting point has to be our resolution to get people off th e drug, not to sustain them in a crippling


51 dependence on it,’ Mr Carr said”. However, by this point Carr had acknowledged that the summit would have to discuss the issue. From May 17 21, 1999 both hous es of NSW parliament devot ed an entire week to the issue of illicit drugs. This became known as the “Drugs Summit”. Experts and speakers with different opinions addressed the parliame nt for the week and towards the end of the week votes were held on l 68 resolutions. Alth ough the Government (and especially the conservative Opposition) were under no legal oblig ation to pass the reso lutions into law, the fact that they had called the summit as an election promise, placed a lot of pressure to do so. The most radical resolution to admini ster heroin to addicts – was rejected by a vote of 78-67. Yet two other proposals were passed overwhelmingly: to establish a medical facility to supervise heroin injecti on; and the decriminalization of possession of 15 grams of marijuana. And it was at the summit where the Premier so ftened his approach to reforming drug laws. The Sydney Morning Herald of May 23, 1999 (Humphries and Totaro, 1999) claimed, “The Premier has conceded that his position on drug law reform has softened as a result of the Drug Summit”. It quotes th e Premier as saying “it took something to persuade me to a position to say we will not ve to” heroin safe injecting rooms. Further, the article said, the “‘weight of the scientific presentation’ [by drug law reform activists] to the summit could not be overlooked in its potency to persuade him and other MPs that the arguments for alternative policies were worthy of at least serious consideration by his government”. On the 18th of November, 1999, the Drug Summit Legislative Response Bill passed through New South Wales parliament. Th is bill amended the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 to allow the licensing and use of a si ngle medically supervised injecting centre for the self-administration of prohibited drugs for a trial period of 18 months. It also amended the Bail Act 1978 so as to provide that a court may impose bail conditions requiring an accused person to under go drug or alcohol treatment (i.e. not be


52 sent to prison). In 2002, when the 18 months was up, the parliament passed the Drug Summit Legislative Response Amendment (Trial Period Extension) Bill 2002 which allowed the trial to continue for another 12 months. And a year later, parliament passed Drug Summit Legislative Response Amendment (Trial Period Extension) Bill 2003 which allowed the trial to conti nue until October 31, 2007. In more recent events, on May 26, 2004, Sydne y’s Lord Mayor and Member of State Parliament, Clover Moore, told a parliamentar y inquiry to decriminalize heroin or risk riots in the pre-dominantly Aboriginal part of the city. According to the Sydney Morning Herald Moore told the inquiry that she supports decriminalization of heroin, “Yes, and the community I represent says ‘yes, yes, ye s’” (“Make drug legal”, 2004). The next day, the Premier, Bob Carr, said he was open to the idea of opening a second injection center in the city but “a precondition would be unani mity among Aboriginal leadership and the police that this is the way forward” (Saunde rs, 2004). It should be noted that the riots Moore warned of would probabl y be related to many grievan ces of Aboriginal people and not solely heroin legislation. The Transnational Social Movement The social movement which brought about dr ug law reform in NSW did not occur in a vacuum. As the illegal galle ries were operating in Sydne y during the 1990s, there were also illegal galleries operati ng throughout Europe and Canada. Once the push for a legal SIF intensified in Sydney, activists began to cite figures from legal SIFs in Europe, particularly ones operating in Switzerland. Further, activists from around the world wrote letters to Sydney newspapers encourag ing them to push ahead with the SIF. Lastly, the International Harm Reduction A ssociation has provided like-minded activists with a network to discuss ideas. Throughout this section, it is also shown that the Sydney experience is now influencing similar struggles in Canada. It is possible that the SIF in Sydney has helped establish a similar faci lity in Canada which in turn may open up further opportunities in Australia.


53 As mentioned above, Wodak (2003) says that civil disobedience played a role in Australia adopting a harm minimization policy in the 1980s. Kubler (2001) briefly talks about harm reduction advocates in Switzerland also using civ il disobedience in the 1980s to bring about drug policy reform. In 1985, th e surgeon general in Zu rich threatened to withdraw the license of any h ealth professional who sold or handed out syringes to drug users. The major cantonal medical corpor ation called for civil disobedience and 300 practitioners signed a declaratio n stating they would hand out needles in spite of the ban. They were soon joined by chemist shops. In December, a federal commission of drug experts suggested that the cantons make clean injection materials readily available and in June 1986 the cantonal parliament passed an initiative forcing the surgeon general to allow free distribution of needles. As in Sydney, an illegal injecting center had been running in Vancouver throughout the 1990s. Although such an operation clearly put the organizers at risk of arrest and drug related violence, activists operated an illegal center for almost a year and claim that up to 200 heroin and cocaine addicts a day freque nted the building. The site was well advertised with volunte ers putting posters up in the area and the police were “somewhat tolerant” of the site because of the hundreds of pe ople dying of overdoses in the city at the time (Howell, 2002). Th e center even hosted guest lecturers including the thencoroner Larry Campbell, now the city’s Mayor, who encouraged the social movement: “I told them they should organize and I didn’t wa nt to see them in my morgue”. Similar illegal shooting galleries are operating all over Europe. Due to the confidential nature of their services, such galleries have not form ed a strong network, yet they do represent a social movement operating on several continents. An example of transnational contention occurr ed in Vancouver when activists in the city opened a renegade heroin injection site (similar to the one in Sydney). The Globe and Mail newspaper reported a social worker saying "If you look at every place where safe-


54 injection sites have been established (27 countries around the world), they have all required actions of civil disobedience” (Gil l, 2002). Following a November election which the newspaper described as the first in Canada based on drugs – the incumbent Mayor and challenger both supported supervis ed injecting sites although the incumbent did not run because he lost the support of his party – it seemed that such an act of civil disobedience would not be required. However, frustrated that it was taking too long for the city to implement its promise (at the co st of lives), in Apr il 2003 an unsanctioned shooting gallery was set up and the Mayor ordered the police to not interfere. Activists are using these transnational examples to promote their own goals. In Australia, drug law reform advocates commonly sited heroin trials in Europe to argue that local trials were a good idea: “Why have the Neth erlands, Germany, Spain and other countries commenced or planned heroin trials or are c onsidering doing so? Why did 71 per cent of Swiss voters in a national referendum in Se ptember 1997 support retention of the option of heroin prescription for tr eatment refractory heroin inje ctors?” wrote Wodak (1999) in Canberra’s largest newspaper. Subsequentl y, activists in Vancouve r would cite Sydney as evidence that their city needed a heroin tr ial. Now in Montreal, activists are using the worldwide trend to mount an argument for a heroin trial in their city. Thomas Kerr, director of Health Research and Policy at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network wrote in the Montreal Gazette “Bustling urban centers around the globe have dramatically reduced the social and economic impact of open drug scenes … for example, 26 cities in Europe, one city in Australia and recen tly Vancouver have opened safe-injection facilities” (Kerr, Palmer, & and Jurgens, 2003). Activists are beginning to mobilize across borders. A growing trend is for activists to write letters to newspapers in foreign count ries asking them to resist the US and UN pressure to wage a War on Drugs. It is not unusual for Americans to write letters to Australian newspapers encouraging them to continue their drug law reforms and ignore


55 the pressure from their own country. W illiam A Rhode MD, of Boston, USA wrote to the Canberra Times on 24 November, 1999: “Your recent publications concerning drug-l aw reform, treatment diversion, and safeinjection houses have been followed closely by the US drug-treatment community… Only when the public demands a medical cure to addiction, just like AIDS or cancer, will there be effective means to stop this epidemic. In the meantime, the legal and legislative establishments are going to continue having a field day making money off the poor untreated addicts. Perhaps if you looked at Scotland or Switzerland, you would find much more effective solutions. In the US this appears impossible just too much money and too large an Establishment benefiting from the status quo. I hope Australia won't fall prey to the same dilemma. Eventually it will bankrupt all of you. Don't get fooled over the contretemps concerning one legal shooting gallery. That's just the death knell for the Establishment. At this distance, I am praying for more sanity from Australia.” In an op-ed piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on March 6, 2000, Dr Ernest Drucker, Professor of Epidemiology and Social Medici ne at Montefiore Medical Centre/Albert Einstein College of Medici ne in New York, wrote: In my own country, command centre of the global ‘War on Drugs’, even such a debate would be impossible and the actual implementation of such programs [heroin trials] still unthinkable … But the US is not content to impose this insanely self destructive approach upon its citizens alone. We insist that other nations do likewise and toe the line of ‘zero tolerance’ …the stunning success of your approach to AIDS (Australia having averted an epidemic among its drug users) is one of the things that has drawn me back here – to learn from your fine public health professionals and emulate their programs wherever possible in the US … So now that the nation's first injecting room is soon to open in Kings Cross ( with others to follow in Victoria and elsewhere ), I am once again filled with admiration for Australia's compassionate pragmatism in drug matters. And its courage to do the right thing even in the fa ce of strong outside pr essures to abstain from the sort of harm-minimization strategies that have already saved thousands of Australians lives. Good on you! This letter writing effort may have had an impact on journalists, who apparently took a similar angle in their reporting. David Marr, an Australian journalist was quoted in the St Petersburg Times as writing in an Australian news paper during the le gislative debate over the trial SIF, “… this country is not free to take radical action to solve its drug problems. Wherever a nation breaks ranks, the US will be there, cajoling or threatening” (quoted in Taylor Martin, 2001).


56 There is evidence that such anti-Americanis m is creeping on to the Letters pages of American newspapers. On March 11, 2003 the New York Times published a letter from an Australian criticizing Am erican tobacco policy (Mostyn, 2003), “How can America justify destroying other country’s drug crops and then exporting its own crops, which kill millions worldwide?” On June 24, 2004, Robe rt L Cohen M.D., former director of Rikers Island medical services wrote to the New York Times advocating harm reduction measures in US prisons, “A policy of ha rm reduction through distribution of clean needles and decriminalization of drug use as practiced throughout Europe would have prevented the spread of these often fatal il lnesses to hundreds of thousands of men and women in American jails and prisons.” One international group that bri ngs together drug law reform activists is the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA). Less radical and extreme than groups advocating full legalization and the repeal of the UN conventions, the IHRA is a more pragmatic group that advocates harm reduction methods within the current pr ohibitive regime. Although, many members of the group advocate a legalization/regulation policy (for instance, the president is Dr Al ex Wodak, an organizer of the illegal SIF in Sydney), it is not a stated aim of this group. This allows the IHRA to maintain legitimacy with many national governments. The IHRA’s mission stat ement remains relatively vague to help it maintain the middle ground among drug law reformers (who often differ wildly on preferred drug policy). It does claim howeve r, to promote human rights, to foster dialogue with international organizations, encourage discussion a bout the relationship between drug policy and public health outco mes, promote dialogue with the criminal justice system regarding the interaction between public health and public order, promoting regional harm reduction efforts, a nd to support internati onal needle exchange activities. One example of how the IHRA allows memb ers to exchange ideas occurred when Vancouver’s Mayor, Larry Campbell, addresse d the International Conference in April


57 and planned to talk about the process the ci ty had to go through to open a supervised heroin injection site. “I’ll talk about th e transition from recognizing we had a huge problem to the citizen involve ment, political involvement and how we went about solving the concerns of the citizens” (Carrigg, 2004) Further, according to Carrigg, “Campbell said the key belief Vancouver and Australia have in common when it comes to drug issues is the philosophy that arresting drug users does not solve the problem” … and although Campbell did not have time to visi t the injecting center in Sydney he would meet with the site’s managers. “We’ll comp are notes to see what they are doing that is working that we’re not [doing] and vice versa” (quoted in Carrigg, 2004). Conclusion The drug law passed into effect in NSW in October 1999 to implement an SIF came about as a direct result of the “Drug Summit” he ld in the state’s parlia ment in May of that year. The issue of an SIF was clearly raised because of a civil disobedience exercise in that same May which forced the summit to discuss and seriously consider such a facility. The civil disobedience exercise was a product of frustrated activists who were angered by Australian governments continually thwar ting attempts at liberalizing drug laws. Put in a transnational context, it can be seen that there is a growi ng movement to reform drug laws. Illegal shooting galleries are ope rating all over the world. These galleries represent a movement operating outside of the law. The ideas behind them are spreading around the world through conferences, publicity, a nd interactions between organizers. To a limited extent, this represents the early st ages of a transnational social movement. There is also a group of people campaigning ac ross borders to try and reform drug laws in as many places as possible and increase reco gnition of the transnational nature of the repressive War on Drugs. This increased awaren ess should increase the size of the social movement.


58 In some places these illegal shooting galleri es are putting pressure on authorities to legalize and regulate them. In Sydney, this was clearly the case with the Wood Royal Commission (1996) which forced the government to consider the issue. These illegal galleries also paved the way for the eventual civil disobedience exercise which led to the legal SIF. In turn, these legal SIFs ar e providing activists around the world solid evidence to advance the case for local legal SIFs. It is probably fair to conclude that a loca l social movement the illegal galleries in Sydney in the 1990s and especially the we ll publicized civil di sobedience shooting gallery had a large impact on reforming the drug law. It is much harder to conclude that a transnational social movement had a la rge impact on the drug law reform. Whilst similar social movement activities were ha ppening in North America and Europe at the same time, whilst Australian activists did point to such activities and whilst activists from these countries did write letters to Australian newspapers, the impact on the eventual law reform was probably quite limited. There is no evidence that the lawmakers were responding to a transnational social m ovement when they changed the law.


59 Chapter Five Coca Laws in Bolivia Introduction It is commonly believed that coca has been used in Bolivia since 3000 B.C. Chewing of the coca leaf has been associat ed with mundane every-day us es and also with spiritual and religious significance. With the arrival of the Spanish colonialists, the spiritual importance of coca was downplayed whilst its importance to the labor force was increased. To this day however despite colonial efforts an d more recently US and UN efforts, coca is still us ed regularly in Bolivia. Bolivia’s coca farmers – known as cocaleros – have had a huge impact on Bolivian politics over the past 20 years. Since the ea rly 1980s Bolivia’s coca farmers (the source ingredient for cocaine) have developed into a political forc e in Bolivia, organizing large demonstrations, road-blocks, hunger strikes an d “chew-ins”. As America’s intervention in Bolivia has increased so has the cocalero ’s appeal and support. As Bolivia’s government has increasingly acceded to US demands, the cocaleros have increasingly gained more power. It is an amazing battle for control of Bolivian politics between the world’s only superpower and a gr oup of well-organized peasants. The cocalero social movement has been a factor in the government allowing some coca to be grown legally and used for traditional purposes. The cocaleros have also forced the government to reform some of the very punitive drug laws. More recently, the government promised to expand the amount of le gal coca growing zone s and last year the cocaleros played a major role in forcing the president into exile.


60 The cocaleros can be seen to be part of a grow ing transnational social movement. A similar movement is sprouting in neighbori ng Peru. And across Latin America a growing movement for drug law reform is mobilizi ng. In Washington, some advocacy groups have spoken out in support for their claims. Ev en further a field, legislation to allow the importation of coca leaves has pass ed through European parliaments. History of Coca Use in Bolivia Cassman, Cartmell, and Belmonte (2003) clai m there is substantial archeological evidence for the pervasive and generali zed use of coca as far back as 3000 B.C. The evidence suggests that coca was used as a sacr ifice to the sun, sea, earth, and many other sacred supernatural beings. However, there is also evidence that coca had a material as well as spiritual component. Coca was also used as a stimulant, hunger suppressant, and medicine. Cassman et al conclude that “coca in prehistory held dual characteristics: it was equally mundane and sacred” (p152). The Spanish conquerors were quick to realize that coca leaves could help laborers work longer and more efficiently. “Therefore, coca played a vital role in the economy of the new mercantile capitalist system” (Cassman et al, 2003, 154). In fact, coca production had to be greatly increased to support early Spanish mining activities. However, in 1552 and 1567, at the first and sec ond conventions of Lima, eight prohibitionist clergymen urged the total eradication of coca feeling that coca usage was the main obstacle to the conversion of Indians from idol atry to belief in Christiani ty. In 1569, Phillip II decreed that coca could be used by the indigenous population for anything but idolatry. According to the Andean Information Networ k (2004), “The production of the coca leaf with few limitations was legally accepted until 1988” when Law 1008 was introduced (see below). Law 1008 was passed by the Na tionalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) government of Victor Paz Estensoro, who had first come to power in the 1950s on a wave


61 of indigenous support. Gitnacht (2004) not es the irony that in 2002 an MNR President would be forced to resign by this same constituency. The Social Movement in Bolivia Healy (1991) gives a detailed account of the “P olitical Ascent of Bolivia’s Peasant Coca Leaf Producers”. Peasant sindicatos were first organized in Bolivia in 1953 as part of the national agrarian reform program. They were established to help new settlers claim virgin forested farmlands and to address a wi de range of community development needs. During the 1960s the first federation of sindicat os emerged in Chapare (the main coca producing area in Bolivia) and by 1991 there were 40,000 peasant families belonging to 160 local sindicatos, under th e umbrella of 30 sub-federa tions organized into five federations. Approximately 85% of the Ch apare sindicatos come under the jurisdiction of two federations. It was only in the 1980s that sindicatos acqui red their national re putation through their opposition to, and mobilization against, those st ate policies designed to control coca leaf production. Chapare peasants participate in freq uent sindicato meetings at the local level and then send delegates to the congresses of the federations to “devise their political strategies, exchange information about govern ment activities, and choose direct-action tactics to thwart state efforts to contro l their means of livel ihood” (Healy, 1991, p.89). Neo-liberalism played a major role in the rise of the cocaleros The year 1985 saw the election of Victor Paz Este nssoro who administered th e “shock therapy” to reduce hyperinflation with the New Economic Policy (NPE). This neo-liberal program abolished subsidies, liquidated social ga ins, closed-down state owned companies (including the huge tin producer which em ployed over 20,000 people), and proclaimed the liberalization of the economy. Critics cl aimed the impact of neo-liberalist reforms were devastating. To wit, the state-owned tin mining company. According to Arganaras


62 (1997), tin mining in Bolivia was in declin e but the international banking community forced the government to close it completely in 1985 leaving 23,000 workers unemployed (Healy, 1991). Estellano (1994) also claims that the majority of peasants were seriously affected by the free importati on of agricultural products concluding, “the capitalist system itself encourages ever-incre asing investment in cocaine production” (p. 40). The closing down of the tin mines erad icated the most powerful workers union in the country whilst increasing the number of people whose livelihood relied on coca. At the start of the 1980s the Chapare federati on of sindicatos was an obscure grassroots organization. By the end of the decade, several Chapare sindicato federations had entered the vanguard of the peasant organizations for the whole country and even, arguably, for the entire national trade union movement. By 1988, estimates suggested that over 200,000 Bo livians made their living from farming coca and at least 300,000 more worked in the underground economy generated by the coca trade (out of Bolivia’s total population of 7 million) (Kawell, 1989). In the weeks leading up to the congressional vote on the Le y de le regimen (the coca law) in 1988 there were many protests in Bo livia. In one protest, a crow d of several hundred gathered at the drug police post in Villa Tunari. Af ter asking permission to enter the eradication program office located on the site 12 pe ople were shot by local police (although protesters claimed that the DEA was invol ved) In another protest at the time in Cochabamba, several thousand protestors yell ed, “Gringos out of Chapare! Gringos out of Bolivia!”(Kawell, 1989). Kawell states “US attempts to impose its drug control policy in Bolivia have provoked bitter oppositi on from the well organized coca farmers unions, as well as from large sect ors of the Bolivian people”(p.25). On 18 April, 1995 the government declared a th ree month state of siege in response to widespread social protest over coca eradi cation efforts. Throughout the 1990s, Ledebur (2002, p2) described the situation as “Conf lict and social unrest stemming from the


63 application of United States antidrug policy in the Chapare region generally occurs in recurring cycles of protest, repr ession and temporary conciliation.” More recently, the situation has intensified. In January, 2003, 11 people were killed in Chapare in violent c onfrontations between cocaleros armed with dynamite booby traps and pre-World War II Mauser ri fles, and police and soldiers, armed with tear-gas and M16s. In March, 33 more people were killed in La Paz in a clash between police and soldiers. This violence resulted in Eva Morales and Felipe Quispe putting aside their differences (see below) to achieve the more important aim of defeating the government. Together they formed a "staff of the people" and threatened nationwid e roadblocks unless President Sanchez de Lozada resigned (Araquipa, 2003). Qu ispe issued a statement on February 12, 2003. This is an excerpt: … after a detailed evaluation of the inability of the government to create a peaceful living conditions among Bolivians and better distri bution of wealth, the Confederation of Unions of Farmers and Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB) has made the decision that the only way to defend democracy, demand the rights of indigenous people and the workers salaries, is to DEMAND THE IMIDIA TE RESIGNATION of President Gonzalo Snchez de Lozada and simultaneously CALL FOR A CONSTITUANT ASSEMBLY, which will enable the construction of a new social pact between Bolivians, between indigenous and mestizos, campesinos and city folks, and between all Bolivians with dignity, who are not disposed to continue being cheated, or living under the constant threat of death. Because of the urgency and risk to the liv es of Bolivians, we order every regional federation to: 1). immediately organize a blockade of roads, and, gradually, a national economic blockade (Huanca, 2003) In March, 2003, The Guardian (Hodgson, 2003) reported that the vice minister of social defense, Ernesto Justiniano sa id the government, “following a wave of social unrest which left scores dead and nearly toppled the government”, would launch a six month study to determine the scale of the nation’ s legal coca consumpti on and subsequently allow farmers outside the traditional area to grow small crops of the plant. The Guardian said that the US may cut $50m in aid and quoted a US official as saying, “Our policy is


64 very clear and it remains clear. Any proposal that would legitimize or legalize any coca which is illegal would be a violation of Bo livian law and a violation of international treaties to which Bolivia is a signatory” (Hodgson, 2003). The Boston Globe reported that a US Embassy official said, “It clear ly sets a bad precedent. Once you permit any legalized coca, it would probably multip ly and never stop” (Lindsay, 2003). The Chicago Sun Times (Novak, 2004) suggested that many in the US intelligence committee were worried that Bolivia was becoming an “ungove rned” area, “They fear that Colombia’s narcoterrorists will switch their growing a nd processing operati ons to Bolivia, making irrelevant US counter-drug policy in Colombi a”. A further challe nge to Bolivian drug policy was seen when former US president, Jimmy Carter, met with Evo Morales to tell him he supported a pause in Chapare coca er adication while the United Nations studies the program (Novak, 2004). According to the New York Times (Rohter, 2003), President Sanchez de Lozada visited the White House in 2002 and told President Bush that he would push ahead with a plan to eradicate coca but he needed more support from Washington or else, “I may be back here in a year, this time seeking political asyl um”. By October, 2003, he was indeed in America after being toppled by a popular upr ising in Bolivia. Although US officials interviewed by the Times tried to downplay the importan ce of drug issues, many analysts claimed the coca problem was “intimately tied to the broader issues of impoverishment and disenfranchisement that stoked explosive protest in the months leading up to Sanchez de Lozada’s downfall”. The protests which led to Sanchez de Lozad a’s resignation were spurred by several interrelated issues. Alt hough he tried to de-legitimize the protestors by calling them “anarchist narcos” (Adams, 2003), many anal ysts suggested the protestors were motivated by more than drug law reform. Ma ny analysts suggested that the major factor in Sanchez de Lozada’s downfall was his plan to export gas through a Chilean port “The factor which, above all others, brought toge ther the many strands of opposition last year,


65 was opposition to the government's plans to export natural gas to the US” (“Talk of Plots”, 2004). As mentioned above, neo-liber alism had some devastating consequences in Bolivia throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Many leaders of the protests which resulted in Sanchez de Lozada’s resignation demanded that the gas industry be re-nationalized and were angry at the perception of foreign companies stealing their natural resources (“An Angry People”, 2003). Other analysts have suggested that a combination of issues motivated the protesters – from land reform for peasants, to pensions for the elderly, to better wages for workers (Plummer, 2003). A referendum in July 2004 regarding the future of the country's vast natural gas reserves gave new President Carlos Mesa a mandate to export the gas (Hall, 2004). Although there were many critics of the wording of the referendum, this might suggest that natural gas did not play as large a role as first t hought (see also Vargas, 2004) Clearly, some of the protestors were more concerned with Sanchez De Lozada’s capitulation to American drug policy. Dionisio Nunez, interviewed by the Times said that their party, MAS, intended to demand that the new government modify the laws against coca cultivation and expand the areas where it is legal to sell coca leaves. “A new president can’t return to a policy of repression and militarization … ther e has to be a change, to a policy that is truly Bolivian, not one that is imposed by foreig ners with the pretext that eradication will put an end to narcotics trafficking.” US Congress was told the following dubious information: Morales and the leader of the coca grower s’ union took advantage of economic dislocation and led the cocalero protests that forced Pr esident Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada from power on October 17. President Sanchez had been a key ally of the United States in the eradication of cocaine produ ction. Yet he was ousted in a movement reportedly supported by European activists and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The coca growers union leader then told Sanchez’ s vice president and successor, Carlos Mesa, 90 days to implement the cocaleros’ agenda to resume large-scale production of the raw material for cocaine. The union leader threaten ed to continue a wave of violence against Bolivian society and the government if newlyinstalled President Mesa failed (Waller, 2003).


66 How Did The Cocaleros Garner So Much Support? Firstly, representatives of the Chapare federatio n have stressed the cultural importance of coca. Protecting coca is protecting Bolivia’s culture. This appeals to many parts of Bolivia which don’t produce Coca but have traditionally chewed it. Further, it taps into the indigenous pride resonating across the Americas. The coca issue can be seen as yet another struggle between the government an d the long persecuted natives. The cocaleros have successfully used nationalism to their advantage. This is further evident in another of the cocaleros rallying points – anti-Americanism. The cocaleros could point to the presence of th e DEA in Bolivia, America’s military activities in the country, America’s support of Bolivia’s military, and crop spraying by American planes as evidence of their “an ti-imperialist” argume nt (Healy, 1991). In addition, the Chapare federations felt entitled to a position of greater leadership within the national organizations because they consid er themselves to be most aggressively protecting Bolivia’s national s overeignty. This garnered support from leftist parties (including the Communists) in Bolivia which issued a formal statement in 1989 “declaring that coca-leaf pr oducers should be considered the vanguard of the Bolivian labor movement since their in terests conflicted most directly with those of the US government”. Further, the document said, “They [the USA] say that in order that there be no more coca in Bolivia, we must extinguish th e Andean culture for, to the extent that this culture exists, there will always be coca” (Healy, 1991, p105). The Boston Globe recently quoted Eva Morales who said, “The War on Drugs is failing, there is a legal market, legal consumption for coca here. It co uld be industrialized, an d this is what the United States doesn’t understand. They think they can spend billions of dollars to reach zero coca, but this isn’t a solution” (Lindsay, 2003). The cocaleros also made their case in terms of ec onomic benefits. Whilst Bolivia stayed in a prolonged recession, coca provided many jobs to locals of Chapare, but also for


67 many migrant workers from other areas. The devastating affects of the IMF structural adjustment program on peasant agricultu re in the mid 1980s only increased the importance of coca to the economy. The in crease in migration to the coca-growing regions further increased their power at the national level. Lastly, Healy talks of the Chapare peasants’ political skill in exploiting other issues, particularly the environment. Despite the fa ct their coca farms cause great harm to the environment, the cocaleros have been able to force the government on to the defensive by “incessant hammering” (p.96) on the eco logy issue of herbicide spraying. This resulted in the Ley de la Regimen article which bans herbicidal spraying. The environmental issue is very valuable oversea s in garnering support ag ainst US policies in Latin America. Equally important to the cocalero’s garner ing support has been their repertoire of contention. Road-blocks have been common in Bolivian politics; mass demonstrations are common to social movements around the wo rld. Hunger strikes ar e radical yet also common. Most interesting are the “chew-ins ” which are part of a growing worldwide new mode of contention. According to Healy (1991) roadblocks have been a common mode of contention in Bolivia for a long time. The cocaleros have used this traditional mode of contention to garner nation-wide support. Through roadblocks the cocaleros made great progress in the 1980s. In 1983 and 1987 cocaleros organized large roadblocks with the participation of many peasants in non-coca producing areas. In 1983, they pressured the state into signing numerous decrees, including the “free mark eting of the coca leaf ”. Conversely, when peasant groups organize road blocks in non-coca producing area s, often aspects of the cocalero’s agenda form part of the dema nds. In 1987, to protest the draft proposal of the 1988 anti-coca laws, the cocaleros were able to enlist the participation of university students and employees, miners, factory workers, and schoolteachers.


68 Mass demonstrations are another historical mode of contention in Bolivia. Estellano (1994, p.44) talks of a “collective tradition of social particip ation in the history of the struggles of Bolivia’s poor” which began with resistance to the Banzer dictatorship. The same masses frustrated the coup of 1979. Th ese battles ultimately opened the way for democracy. Mass demonstration have occurred often in Bolivia with the cocaleros organizing such protests in the small towns of Chapare and the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz. These demonstrations have also us ed a mode of contention common in the past 40 years – the sit-in at government offices. Perhaps a more extreme form of contention – although still a common one is the hunger strike. Peasant leaders throughout the country went on a hunger strike in January 1989 to protest the government’s announcement of th e new coca-leaf law which planned to eradicate the coca leaf in ten years. By par ticipating in this protest, as with the other protests, peasant leaders from non-coca produc ing areas were able to add their own specific grievances whilst si multaneously strengthening the cocaleros’ claims. However, the most dynamic and interesting mode of contention used by the cocaleros is the “Chew-in”. Adapting to the worldwide phenomenon of “teach-ins ”, “sit-ins” and the like, the cocaleros have adapted this worldwide new mode of contention to their own circumstances. The chew-in celebrates the traditional uses of the coca leaf and often includes thousands of representatives from many areas. They often consist of mass rallies and parades with coca leaf costumes militant speeches, marching bands, anti-US rallies, avid coca leaf chewing and displays of colorful textiles. The chew-in also represents an important part of any social movement – symbolism. As mentioned above, the cocaleros have been very effective in garnering support based on cultural heritage and the coca leaf has become a symbol of Bolivian culture and history. Often, costumes and wreaths made of coca leafs are used by the cocaleros to make a


69 point. Sometimes such wreaths are worn in parliament evidence of how successful this use of symbolism has become. Evo Morales has been quoted as saying, “There is a unanimous defense of coca because the coca leaf is becoming the banner for national unity, a symbol of national unity in defense of our dignity. Si nce coca is a victim of the United States, as coca growers we are also vi ctims of the United States, but then we rise up to question these policies to eradicate coca” (Beaumont, 2003). Another important part of the cocalero’s success has been their leadership. The cocaleros have a clearly visible leader, Evo Morales. However, there are leaders of other social movements Leonida Zurita Vargas, an indi genous woman, and Felipe Quispe Huanca, another indigenous leader who have also greatly helped the cocalero’s cause. Evo Morales has become the clear leader of the cocaleros movement. In the lead up to the 2002 Presidential election, US Ambassador to Manuel Rocha told Bolivians that if Morales was elected President, his country wo uld cut all aid to the country. According go Gomez (2002), Morales’s party ci rculated a poster in Bolivi an cities with an enormous photo of Morales in the middle. Above, in en ormous letters: "Bolivians: You Decide. Who's in Charge? Rocha or the Voice of the People." The poster had a huge impact and hundreds of thousands more had to be printed than had been planned on. Eva Morales almost won the 2002 Presidential election. He narrowly lost with 20% of the vote compared to the Gonzalo Sanc hez de Lozada’s 22%. (He became a congressman with 86% of his district’s vo te (Gomez, 2002)). Of course, with such success in the campaign, Morales has been noti ced by more mainstream politicians. Juan del Grando, Mayor of La Paz, has said of Eva Morales and the Co ca Growers Federation, “The emergence of new political and al ternative movements despite their scant participation in political lif e marks the start of a new way of conducting politics which responds to the legitimate demands of the marginalized majoriti es” (Vanden, 2003, p.1).


70 Indeed, now 30% of congress is in indige nous hands (Gomez, 2002) and MAS controls the second highest amount of seats in Bolivia’s congress (Langman, 2002). One personality who is evidence of the cocalero’s wide reaching appeal is Leonida Zurita Vargas, secretary general of Bartolina Si sa, the National Federation of the Women’s Peasant Movement and president of the Si x Federation of Coca Growers in Bolivia. According to Vargas, change is only possible through coalitions. "We have to fight for making alliances. We have to fight for the poor … Neo-liberalism has brought war, a War on Drugs. Now it's a war against terrorism. Still, the bullets are getting to us," Vargas said. "We are fighting on two levels for our land, the 'mother of life', and for coca leaf which is part of our cultur e, part of our heritage" (Olson, 2003). Felipe Quispe Huanca is another indigenous lead er in Bolivia. Lead ing an uprising from 1990 – 1993 resulted in his impris onment for five years. Executive Secretary of the United Confederate Syndicate of the Farmwork ers of Bolivia which served as the voice of the main group of displaced Indians. In 2002, he founded the Pachakutic Indigenous Movement (MIP), which aimed to get indigeno us people elected to Bolivian Congress. In August, he himself was elected. In a recent speech, Quispe supported the coca growers whilst distinguishing them from narc o-traffickers and coca ine users. At the same time, though, he recognized the corrupt ion in Bolivia being caused by the War on Drugs, claiming that the traffickers were in cahoots with many hi gh-level politicians (Saytanides, 2003). Quispe is described as unusual in Latin Amer ican politics because he is fighting for the right of his ethnic group (the Aymara – of whom Evo Morales is one) to secede from Bolivia (“Bolivia’s Internal Divides”, 2004) In the 2002 election, MIP won twice as many seats as Morales’s MAS in the Aymara hear tland. In fact, Quispe is so dedicated to the cause of secession that he resigned from his seat in parliament earlier this year to more fully devote himself to the issue.


71 Law Reforms On July 19, 1988, Law 1008 was passed by the Bolivian congress. It provides the judicial basis for the War on Drugs in Boli via and defines the legal status of coca cultivation and its relationship with the ill egal drug cocaine. According to Bolivian judges, the law was drafted by US advisers. Law 1008 presumes the guilt of the accused which allows courts to prohibit bail so that a person is imprisoned for the duration of their trial. Under article 116, reports by anti-narcotics officers are taken as pre-constituted proof that is automatically ad missible at trial. Further, under Law 1008, the decision to go to trial was entirely in the hands of prosecu tors. Lastly, all illi cit coca is subject to forced eradication. Dubbe rly (1995, p.278) wrote in the American Bar Association: Inter-American Legal Materials “Many of the criticisms voiced against Ley 1008 are justified. The law, as written, contains provisions which so me jurists find unconstitutional; and as practiced it appears to contribute to possible human rights violations. Certainly, as applied, th e law can be brutal and unfair”. However, the cocaleros managed, with their social movement activity in the lead up to the passing of Law 1008 to force the govern ment to establish 3 zones of production which allows up to 12,000 hectares to grow co ca for local consumption. This coca can be used for tea, chewing, and traditional ceremonies. It should be noted that 1988 also marked the year that the Single Convention (1 961) had sought to er adicate all traditional uses of coca from the planet. Further reforms to the law occurred on February 2nd, 1996, when President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada signed into law legislati on which attempted to reform some of the controversial aspects of Law 1008. The law was intended to alleviate the long detention periods Bolivians suffer while awaiting trial (people had been jail ed for up to 5 years before acquittal). It also allowed judge s to reduce or dismiss charges brought by prosecutors, it also established territorial ju risdiction for drug courts which meant that


72 accused people would face trial where the crime was allegedly committed (whereas before, they could be tried in any part of Bolivia). A further law reform occurred on Februa ry 9, 2002. The Supreme Decree 26415 was passed on November 27, 2001 and it put an end to th e sale of coca leaf in previously legal markets. After a particularly contentious January 2002, cocaleros and the government arrived at an agreement with the mediati on of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, the Catholic Church and the Permanent Human Rights Assembly. Cocaleros halted their roadblocks and the government agreed to suspend Supreme Decree 26415 for three months, carry out investigati ons of those killed in January and release jailed union leaders. The 90 Day suspension of the decree expired on May 9, 2002 but the Bolivian government stated that it would not re-enact the decrees during the current administration (Lebedur, 2002). On October 7, 2004 the cocaleros achieved one of th eir biggest victories to date. They forced the government to sign an agreemen t allowing a further 3,200 hectares of legal coca in the cochabamba region. According to Contreras’s (2004) repo rt, “point four of the new agreement reads: ‘the reduction of all coca crops the Tropic of Cochabamba to no less than 3,200 hectares is agreed upon, until the results of the Study of the Demand for Legal Coca Consumption are known’”. The report quotes Evo Morales as saying, “The re is joy throughout the Chapare, because if we calculate it, this allows every coca-growing family one cato of coca. This is the product of many years of struggl e with previous governments, who were subject to the will of the United States Embassy”. The repor t concludes that “Morales said that this agreement with the government has essentially broken Law 1008, the Bolivian ‘Regulation of Coca and Contro lled Substances Law’ that ha s been in effect since 1988, and that the coca growers have been trying to change ever since.”


73 The Transnational Social Movement In Latin America, the cocalero movement is spreading from Bolivia to Peru. According to Muller (2003), last June fifty peasants me t with Peru’s President and its Drug Tsar and made an agreement which was signed by both sides. However, due to pressure by the US government, the Peruvian government reneged. In April 2003, a larg e demonstration in Peru of cocaleros marched to the national capital, Lima, and met with President Alejandro Toledo. This followe d strikes, protests, and ro adblocks that had occurred earlier. The chief demands by coca farmers include the suspension of forcible coca eradication, a larger quota of legally grown coca, subsidies for alternate crops and freedom for their jailed leader, Nelson Palo mino. As further evidence of the social movement broadening its coalition, the New York Times reported that in Peru the discontent in coca growing regions is benefiting the Shining Pat h. Michael Shifter, of the policy group Inter-America n dialogue told the Times “Right now Shining Path is strongest in coca growing areas. To the extent that the US pushes on [coca] eradication targets without any kind of flexibility, it makes people th ere much more amenable to turning to violent protest or insurgent gr oups like the Shining Pa th” (Rohter, 2003). Hill (2004) in his testimony to US congress agreed, “Peru’ s large indigenous population remains relatively politically inactive and has not been mobilized to the extent seen in Bolivia … Ominously, SL [Shining Path] has now adopted the FARC (Colombian rebels) model of protecting narcotics traffickers in exchange for funding”. US Drug Czar, John Walters, stated that Bolivia and Peru had suff ered setbacks in their anti drug efforts. “[Colombian] President Uribe is the model fo r Bolivia and Peru to follow … the issue for them is how to reduce the drug problem, which is being used to feed political uprising” (Ledebur, 2003). In Colombia, a presidential candidate in 2002 declared that if he became president he would legalize drugs (he finished third). Senator Naomi Sanin, another presidential


74 candidate, called for an internat ional conference to address faile d anti-drug strategies. In August 2001, a bill was introduced to legali ze the cultivation, production, distribution and consumption of psychoactive substances under the control of a state monopoly. Another bill was introduced to suspend chem ical eradication of Colombian coca and opium poppy fields and to ex empt small farmers who grow the crops from criminal charges. Finally, during the Thirty-first General Assembly of Governors, 4 of the governors requested that the cen tral government lead a broa d international debate on drug legalization (Tokatlian, 2002). There is a growing drug law reform moveme nt across Latin America and evidence of resource mobilization. In fact, February 2003 saw the first confer ence entitled “Out From the Shadows: Ending Proh ibition in the 21st Century” in Merida, Mexico. Over 300 academics, activists, government official s and legislators attended. Amongst the participants were members of congress fr om six countries – Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay a nd Italy (Saytanides 2003). A report on the DRCNet website ( “Out From the Shadows” 2003), one of the major sponsors of the summit, said that a major hurdle that needs to be overcome [in the mobilization of a hemispheric social move ment] is the North American emphasis on libertarianism and the Latin American emphasis on community. Ethan Nadelmann touched on how the drug law reform moveme nt in North America focuses on libertarian principles whilst the Latin American move ment focuses on concern for community and anti-imperialism. However, the report continues, “But ideological and other di visions at Merida should not be overstated. Most of the conference, both in formal sessions and informal conversations, centered on addressing the conc rete problems of creating a hemispheric movement for regulation and legalization”. According to Daugirdas (2003), Ethan Nadelmann at the conference s uggested that the best approach is not to forge solidarity,


75 but rather to remain decentralized. “Although there is a growing transnational movement for drug policy reform, Nadelmann believes it cannot succeed as such, but rather as a collective of nati onalist movements”. The DRCNet report concludes: “But all in all, conference attendees seemed uniformly happy to be there and pleased with the results. They were, after all, present at th e birth of what promises to be a vigorous and growing hemispheric drug reform movement that can play a vital role in a global effort to end prohibition in the 21st century.” Further north, the cocaleros found advocates in Washington repeating their demands. In November 2003, the Washington Office on Latin America (Ledebur, 2003) issued a special update on Bolivia saying: “His [Sanchez de Lozada] fall from power in October should serve as a wake up call to Washington, which has largely ignored the cr isis brewing in its own backyard … The socio-economic situation in poor countries like Bolivia is further exacerbated by rigid US drug control policies. US inflexibility on meeting coca eradication targets has left many rural Bolivian families without income, has generated social conflict and violence, and has contributed to Sanchez de Lozada’s in creasing lack of legitimacy… Washington should make two contributions: The US government should provide sign ificantly more economic assistance to Bolivia for development efforts, and do so without linking it to anti-drug objectives. The US government should also waive coca eradication targets for 2003 and support Bolivian government efforts to: o Negotiate the terms under which any future coca eradication will be carried out o Carry out an independent study of the legal coca market; and o Reform anti-drug legislation as d eemed appropriate or necessary by Bolivian actors A further indicator of the cocaleros transnational impact is that they are being talked about in US Congress. General James T. Hill, Army Commander of the United States Southern Command, testified before the House Armed Services Committee of the United States House of Representatives on Marc h 24, 2004. In his testimony he explained his version of the situation in Bolivia over the past year: There are legitimate and historic grievances, manifested partially in tension over indigenous traditions that revolve around growing coca in limited amounts as part of their


76 native culture. Yet the limited amounts never seem to stay limited, and the cocaleros who seek expanded rights to grow coca certain ly envision the profits from illicit narcotics rather than the practice of ancient traditions. These cocaleros have found leaders who have tapped into indigenous and other social tensions. Indigenous groups, working with the labor unions and others, mounted violent protests last October that led to the eventual resignation of then Pr esident Gonzalo Sanches de Lozada. If radicals continue to hijack the indigenous movement, we could find ourselves faced with a narco-state that supports the uncontrolled cultivation of coca … Bolivia bears very close scrutiny in the upcoming year. One last transnational impact that the cocaleros have had has been to force their government to represent their interests at the UN. According to the Washington Times (Andrade, 2004) the Bolivian government was pl anning a proposal to be presented at the UN General Assembly meeting in Vienna in Ap ril, to legalize coca. According to the newspaper report, Evo Morales “maintains that if the international campaign succeeds in its objective, the Bolivian coca growers would be free to export their product. Whether the UN General Assembly is willing to agree is another matter”. Bolivia and Peru delegations had already called for a discussion of decrimina lization at the UN throughout the 1990s (Jelsma, 2003). Even further a field, there appears to be a sm all movement in Europe to legalize coca and allow its importation for use in teas and for chewing. However, like the peasants in Bolivia, European activists blame the US fo r thwarting their attempts. Oomen (2003) told the Vienna Civic Center: One experience we had in 1995, during our first campaign to legalize coca, was in the Luxembourg parliament at the Chambre des Dputs. One member proposed a parliamentary resolution to ask the government to allow the import of coca leaves and inoffensive derivates to the country. The resolution was approved unanimously in the session of 22 February 1995. The next morning the US Embassy called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg to ask if the deputies had gone crazy. Conclusion Clearly, there is a social movement in Bo livia caused by the gl obal War on Drugs. The cocaleros often demonstrate and protest agains t the War on Drugs which they see as


77 primarily the result of United States pressure. This social movement has been able to reform drug laws. Bolivia passed a very repr essive drug law in 1988 yet some articles in this law were not prohibitionist. The article which allowed legal coca to grow in certain areas was a clear result of the growing power of the cocaleros social movement. Further reforms in 1996, 2002, and 2004 can also be seen to be caused in large part by this powerful national movement. The impact of a transnational social moveme nt on Bolivia’s coca laws was probably very limited. The transnational movement is only in its infancy. However, as the transnational movement grows it may provide Bolivia’s cocaleros with a larger opportunity structure. For in stance, if Colombia were to pass laws legalizing drug production, the USA may re-think its entire Lati n American drug policy. However, for Bolivia to achieve any meaningful drug la w reforms it may require a transnational movement putting pressure on Wa shington (in Washington).


78 CONCLUSION Introduction This chapter begins by assessi ng the evidence on the hypothesis and c oncluding that there is little evidence to suggest that a transnational social movement caused drug law reforms in Australia and Bolivia. The second section gives some detail on what my thesis reveals about the nature of transnati onal social movements and some of the problems facing the transnational drug law reform movement. Th is is followed by some recommendations on how the movement can organize more effec tively to achieve drug law reforms. These findings are then applied to In ternational Relations theories where I conclude that my case studies vindicate the rea list paradigm. The chapter ends with my recommendations for further research on this topic. Did a Transnational Social Move ment Cause Drug Law Reforms? The two case studies on coca law reform in Bolivia and heroin law reform in Australia found no substantial evidence that a transnatio nal social movement was a causal factor. However, there is evidence that a transnationa l social movement is growing in resistance to the global War on Drugs. Studying a timeline of when cont entious social movement activ ity occurred in relation to drug law reforms and comments by law makers little evidence ca n be found that a transnational social movement had any impact on the local social movement activity or the subsequent law reform. The case studies presented the evidence that lawmakers responded to a local social movement in each case but there is no evidence that


79 lawmakers responded to a transnational social movement. Further, there is no evidence that any transnational social movement ac tivity preceded or caused a drug law reform. I intended to do a third case study on marijuana laws in North America, but decided that it would have little impact on the conclusion because the findings would be quite similar. As the literature on transnational social m ovement theory and resi stance to globalization predicted, my findings support the idea that global forces (i.e. the War on Drugs) are impacting on similar social movements aris ing in various locations. Much of the literature also focuses on the difficulty in or ganizing a transnational social movement and my findings further substantiate these ideas. It should be noted however, that a transnational social moveme nt is growing in resistance to the War on Drugs. Since the 1980s, forms of resistance have occurred in European, Canadian and Australian illegal safe injecti ng facilities which ultimately resulted in the legal reforms to legally sanction such facilities in Europe, Vancouver and Sydney. Similarly, the indigenous social movement which has spread throughout North America and South America had an impact on the Boliv ian cocaleros taking pride in their culture of coca. Although neither of these transnat ional movements had a direct impact on the law reforms, it is possible the reforms would not have happened without the transnational movements. The Nature of Transnational Social Movements This thesis can elucidate the nature of tran snational social movements. Firstly, the concept of transnational repression may become a useful tool in an alyzing transnational social movements. Further, the two case st udies show that it is extremely hard to organize a transnationa l social movement and for such a movement to have an impact on domestic policies. Some of the problems which can be identified in the transnational social movement for drug law reform are a lack of agreed goals, a lack of communication, and a lack of solidarity.


80 One aspect of this thesis which may further transnational social movement theory is the concept of transnational repres sion The War on Drugs may be part of Peck and Tickell’s (2002) concept of roll-out ne o-liberalism where repression has spread from government to government to contain the people disposse ssed by globalization. This transnational repression may suggest that transnational social movement theory needs to go back to the basics, so to speak. Just as early social movement theory focused on an aggrieved population, it may become an essential part of transnational social movement theory to identify a transnationally repressed populace. Where transnational repression can be identified (for instance, in the case of gay people, religious minorities, the environment), the beginnings of a transnational social m ovement may be sown. Tarrow (1998) theorizes that when there is severe repression, soci al movements are less likely to organize and solidarity is harder to form. Although according to Lovemen (1998) severe repression may work in the movement’s favor. Firstly, there is a lack of disagreement on goals and aims. This is a problem which will affect many transnational social moveme nts (Giugni, 2002). Di fferent people and different groups have vastly di fferent aims within the drug law reform social movement. Many participants in Australia simply had th e goal of reducing hero in overdose deaths on the streets of their own city without maki ng the connection with the wider War on Drugs being fought around the world in places such as Bolivia. Similarly, participants in Bolivia are not concerned that activists in Australia are blaming the War on Drugs for causing overdose deaths in Australia. This has meant that activists in Australia have done little to help the cocaleros and vice versa despite the fact they are both campaigning against the War on Drugs. An integral aspect of a transnational so cial movement is communication networks (Routledge, 2003). A reason that the transnati onal social movement had little impact on drug law reforms may be that the reforms studied here occurred from the late 1980s to the


81 late 1990s and perhaps transnational forces were not as strong then as they are today and might be in the future. To date, there has been little effort to coordinate protest activity from one country to another. As Routledge di scusses, a large part of the problem is the imbalance between access to technology in the Developed and Developing Worlds. Transnational social movements need to find ways to overcome this imbalance and ensure that activists from all parts of the world have fair and equal participation. If participants feel that their concerns are being neglected they will be unproductive members of the social movement. There also appears to be a lack of solidar ity amongst the various movements that make up the transnational social movement. This lack of solidarity may be caused by the large distances which separate the activists – the tyranny of distance. A factor may be an ignorance that other similar movements are ha ppening in different countries (a lack of insurgent consciousness as defined by Bluthe nal (1998)). Lack of solidarity may be caused by a lack of identity, affinity, and reciprocity communica tion and networking between activists from country to country on how they can help each other (Waterman, 2002). A further impediment to solidarity may be the different nature of social movements in developing and industrialized countries. In under-developed count ries, a traditional definition of a social movement – that it in volves a large group taking to the streets, risking life and limb, in sustained contention with elites and the state – may still apply. However, in modern industrialized states with more effective communication networks, where a much smaller group can advocate soci al change through a variety of methods, a new definition of social movement may be needed. Lifestyles in modern industrial countries may not facilitate ongoing contenti ous activity, but they do allow more refined efforts, such as letter writing and email campaigns.


82 This would indicate that although movement s in economically developed countries can communicate more easily with one another, ot her factors (such as the growing middleclass) hinder the formation of transnationa l social movements. Conversely, movements in less economically developed countries ma y lack the resources to communicate across borders but because contentious activity is more widespread, they are able to have an equal impact. This dichotomy may explai n why a transnational social movement appeared to have little imp act on drug law reforms in both an industrialized and a less developed country. How Can A Transnational Social Move ment Further Develop For Drug Law Reform? Having identified the problems facing the tran snational social movement it could be helpful to see what advice the theorists ma y offer to solve them. According to the literature I reviewed, the movement needs to establish a set of goals, to strengthen networks among activists, to develop insurgen t consciousness, to develop an innovative repertoire of contention, and it needs to take advantage of th e political opportunity structure when it opens. One of the most important earl y steps for a social movement to take is to establish a clearly defined set of goals th at the majority of participants agree on. As mentioned above, this can present a major problem for a social movement which can remain locally based or gain greater solidar ity by creating a more univers al politics that transcends narrow solidarities (Routledge, 2003). Althou gh there is widespread disagreement on what drug policy would be most effective (for instance, many people support marijuana law reform but not heroin law reform) agreem ent should be possible on several points. Firstly, many movement participants agree th at incarceration should not be used for nonviolent drug offences. Secondl y, there needs to be widespre ad agreement on targeting the three UN conventions which affect activists in all countries (and advocate punishment for drug use). Third, widespread consensus can probably be reached amongst activists in


83 most countries that American military in tervention in foreign countries should be discontinued. To establish a set of goals, a good comm unication network is necessary (Routledge, 2003). The IHRA conferences and the Ou t From the Shadows conference are good beginnings but they also repr esent one of the central prob lems identified above. The IHRA is primarily concerned with heroin injecting whilst the Out From the Shadows conference, based in Latin America, was pr imarily concerned with coca and cocaine. There needs to be an organi zation that is broader and oppos ed to the whole War on Drugs to bring the various local so cial movements together. To increase insurgent consciousness it is necessary to make it widely known that there is a growing social movement working for drug law reform (Fireman and Gramson (1979)). Drug law reformers need to make it more widely known to the huge number of illegal drug users that they are working hard to chan ge the laws to prevent them from going to jail. Although the notorious pr oblem of free-riders needs to be overcome, activists need to clearly annunciate to as wide an audience as possible the benefits of drug law reform. Another important part of social moveme nt formation is developing an innovative repertoire of contention (Tarrow, 1998). In regards to a transnational social movement, this requires the diffusion of ideas. This ha s already been seen with the chew-in the cocaleros have developed which has been adopted fr om sit-ins and teach-ins. Further, at the marijuana march I attended in Vancouver, 2002, activists adopted a similar tactic by openly smoking marijuana in defiance of the ma ny attendant police. Perhaps, the illegal SIF which opened in Sydney was a similar tactic as activists condoned heroin injection on the premises. This repertoire of conten tion needs to be developed and encouraged although the political opportunity stru cture does not presently allow it.


84 Activists need to recognize openings in th e political opportunity structure (Tarrow, 1998). Drug law reforms are occurring in ma ny locales and nation-st ates on a continuing basis and these need to be widely publicized so that other countries know it is possible. When drug law reforms occur, it opens the pol itical opportunity struct ure. This partly explains how the activists in Sydney could ope n an illegal safe injecting facility as the opportunity structure had been opened when Aust ralia adopted an official policy of harm reduction. Similarly, the cocaleros can march down the street in the thousands chewing coca because they have forced the political opportunity structure in that country to open to the point where they won’t be persecuted for it. By reco gnizing these openings in the political opportunity structure, activists were able to cause drug la w reforms. Activists need to continually press to open the po litical opportunity structure and perhaps widespread visible non-violent drug use is an appropriate method (this would perhaps represent the triad of Chin and Mittleman (2002) by turn ing infrapolitics into counterhegemony). The transnational social move ment also needs to recognize opportunities to open the political opportunity structure. For inst ance, 2008 marks the deadline for the United Nations latest attempts to eradicate drugs from the planet. As this wi ll clearly fail and as many activists see the United Nations as the ma jor obstacle to broader law reforms, drug law reformers need to be prepared to capitalize on the failure and use it to demonstrate the futility of the War on Drugs. The year 2008 will also mark a presidential election in the USA – the other major force behind the Wa r on Drugs. It is important the social movement make drug law reform an issue at this election to combine with the perceived failure of the United Nations. Relevance to IR Theories As discussed briefly in the introduction, the realist para digm would predict that a transnational social movement would have li ttle impact on local and national drug law reforms. The realist paradigm would predic t that states, and espe cially strong states,


85 would ignore such a movement and continue to do what best served its own interests. Further, the realist paradigm suggests that international bodies ar e often dominated by strong states to further their own interest s and international bodies do not represent smaller, weaker states. It would come as no surprise to a realist theo rist that a transnational social movement has had limited impact on reforming local and national drug laws. The pressure of the USA and UN has resulted in prohibi tive drug laws in the countries studied and a transnational social movement has not been able to reform these laws. The networks created by grassroots organizations and the diffusion of id eas these networks facilitate have been no match for the brute force of state power holders Even when social movements have been able to cause a drug law reform in one area – e.g. Sydney’s heroin safe injecting facilities the change in state policy has had littl e impact on other states’ drug policies. It should also be noted that a Marxist appr oach would also predict that the relations between activists in producer and consumer countries would have di fficulty in organizing their efforts together and this has so far been the case. Recommendations for Further Research I believe that the hypothesis, “transnational social movements have caused drug law reforms at the local and state levels”, is a st rong one. Social movement theory has been inadequate in measuring the impact of so cial movements and this problem may be exacerbated with transnational social move ment theory. Measuring the change on a tangible such as public policy can be an e ffective way to measure social movements’ impact. To further this study of a tr ansnational social movement’s impact on drug law reforms it may be interesting to review Giugni’s (2002) suggestions. He suggests to: identify similarities across nation-states; look for possi ble explanatory factors; formulate clear and


86 testable hypotheses; test the hypotheses on different movements and in different circumstances. I think this thesis has fo llowed the four steps and is a good beginning. Further research may perhaps look more at a pluralist public policy perspective and try to assess the influence of a transn ational social movement compar ed to the other forces in public policy (e.g., media, lobby groups (esp ecially those lobby groups campaigning for drug prohibition), electorates, bureaucracy). Burstein (1999), Wald et al (1996), and Culverson (1996) all look at local social m ovements within a public policy approach but no study has yet been done on a transnational so cial movement within a pluralist theory of democracy. Further study would also benefit from conducting interviews and surveys with participants in the social movement. It woul d enable the researcher to gauge the opinion within the social movement about whether they were a transnational social movement or not. It would be particularly interesting to gauge the responses from developed countries compared to the responses from less develope d countries. It would also offer a wide variety of answers on the imp act that participan ts thought their movement was having on a transnational scale and give evidence of individuals’ personal aims within the movement. One can only feel that transnational social movements are constantly growing and their impact on international relations will grow too. Further st udy may benefit from tracking the changes from the early days when tran snational social movements appear to be having little impact to perhaps the day in the future when they are a force to be reckoned with. If the War on Drugs is to be repeal ed one day, a transnational social movement may be instrumental.


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Transnational social movements and the war on drugs
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
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ABSTRACT: This thesis discusses the growing body of work on transnational social movement theory. Transnational social movement theory is an attempt to adapt social movement theory to the changing nature of international relations. To further this theory, I test the hypothesis that "a transnational social movement has caused drug law reforms at the local and state level". To test this hypothesis I undertake a case study of one local and one national drug law reform. The drug laws in the state of New South Wales, Australia were reformed in 1999 to allow heroin addicts to use a medical center to inject their drug. The second case study is of Bolivia's national coca laws where the government allows a small amount of coca to be grown for legal traditional consumption.I conclude that a transnational social movement has had little impact on these law reforms but perhaps in the future such a movement will begin to have a greater impact on local and national drug laws around the world. To become more effective, I suggest that the transnational movement should establish a set of goals, strengthen networks among activists, develop insurgent consciousness, develop an innovative repertoire of contention, and it needs to take advantage of the political opportunity structure when it opens.
Adviser: Amen, Mark.
global prohibition.
transnational repression.
Dissertations, Academic
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4 856