Materialist analysis -drug war

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Lazarus
Materialist analysis -drug war
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I have read little in the comunist press on the war on drugs.

From my own research I contend it is possibly the most important economic phenomenon of our times.

The market in illegal drugs is worth trillions of dollars, and this can be viewed alongside the market in legal drugs, both of which condition each other.

I have read that the US financial system is depensent on laundering the cartels' money and that the CIA has been a key figure in drug trafficking. The war on drugs itself is a means to oppress the poor, particularly the minorities.

At this very moment it is being reported that parts of the USA (not only Mexico) are under the control of the cartels.

I consider this as big an issue as oil, and would like to see a comprehensive analysis of this phenomenon from a communist perspective.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Beltov
Drug wars

Lazarus, thanks for your question. You might find this article of interest.

Also, you say that, "The war on drugs itself is a means to oppress the poor." could you expand on this?

:)

Beltov.

Alf
'Decomposing Capitalism Fuels

'Decomposing Capitalism Fuels Drug Violence' is the title of the article. The drug wars in Mexico indeed show an accelerating tendency towards loss of control by the bourgeoisie. The policy of drug prohibition has unleashed criminal forces and utterly destructive violence on a scale that dwarfs anything from 30s Chicago, which seems a toddle in comparison. The ruling class is showing signs of panic and is now seriously considering a policy of decriminalisation. But even if this is introduced, it will not make the drug cartels disappear overnight. Furthermore the drug cartels are so tied up with so many state agencies, and the state and capital as a whole make such vast profits through their indirect exploitation of the drugs trade, that it is hard to see how they will even begin to implement such a policy. And meanwhile, the increasing impossibility of life under capitalism can only push more and more of its victims towards some kind of drug dependence. All this is indeed further evidence of a system in terminal decline, which is what we mean by decomposition.
Lazarus - it would be very interesting if you could write down more of the conclusions you have drawn from your researches, and post them on here.

devoration1
black market

The black market economy should probably be looked at as a whole (drugs probably make up one of if not the largest market share, but also illegal gun running, prostitution/human trafficking, counterfeit goods, etc) as simply an extension of the 'legitimate' economy- and encountering similar problems in a more visible/dramatic way (market saturation, inability to maintain jurisdictional peace, etc).

I'm afraid to ask what individual left communists believe concerning a socialist society and drug policy- similar topics have unleashed extremely disturbing and sadistic/inhumane 'policies' being suggested by militants and revolutionaries on other forums.

jk1921
devoration1, can you

devoration1, can you elaborate on what you have read on other forums?

Lazarus
Drug war -means to oppress the poor

Under the guise of the drug war, the state does as it wants.

The drug war is required to maintain illegality which in turn maintains drug profits which maintain banks ....

Oppression of the poor

E.g.

War on Drugs - Fuelling The Prison Boom

Never mind putting your money in oil, or pharmaceuticals if you are looking for a long term investment.
In the United States, the new business to be in is the business surrounding locking people up.
Indeed so fast is the growth in the new prisons business, human rights campaigners are looking at the war on drugs as the newest form of legal slavery.
Prison Inc. = Slavery?
Human Rights organisations are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various hi-brand American corporations for around 25 cents (around 18p) an hour.

For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or sick days. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems. Moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.
There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the US.
According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens."
The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S.
Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people.
From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million.
Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the United States, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100 private prisons, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, and so the exponential growth increases year on year, making private prisons a good, long term investment.
http://pr.cannazine.co.uk/201008101305/green/eco-news/drug-dealing-fuell...

As others have said, the drug war forms part of a capitalist totality in crisis.
My opinion is that certain substances like cannabis and coca leaf will prove to be beneficial on some level. Opiates are already used widely in a legal setting, marijuana is making its entrance into the medical world. The real story of the future may well be synthetic substances.
I think communists cannot simply say yes or no to prohibition/legtalisation, every substance is different. What about alcohol and tobacco? I do noteven know if in a future communist society that consumption of substances would fall or rise, that the amelioration of conditions would doaway with the need for such "recreation" or that it would in fact escalate as people have the time and freedom to explore such avenues. I simply do not know.

The "legalisation" of drugs under capitalism will be attempted in a fashion which allows corporations to monopolise the profits. However, the reality remains to be seen.

It is very possible that the near future will see the legalisation of hitherto controlled substances, and this could indeed be an active factor in maintaining social passivity.

I wonder if the CIA drug involvement, apart from generating huge profits,is also concerned with maintaining drug supply, without which the working class would be more prone to revolt. Pure speculation, I know.

Murky waters, but the magnitude of the economics involved mean that it is worthy of investigation.

Alf
future drug policy

Agree with Lazarus - difficult to make any detailed plans about how 'drugs' will be used. Obviously in a communist society where human beings are able to fulfil their potential there will be a greatly reduced need for addictive substances of all kinds, but it's perfectly possible that people will still enjoy good wine, beer or malt whiskey, especially in a convivial social context, and that there will probably be a very different attitude to 'mind expanding' substances such as marijuana and mushrooms, which could also (as in previous forms of society, particularly primitive communism) be used in a more constructive and collective manner, for exploring the unconscious and so on. The essential point is surely that whether we are talking about alcohol or more powerful psychedelics, they would no longer dominate and destroy the individual but be used in a self-controlled manner. In such a society prohibition wouldn't come into it.
The more immediate problem is what you do in a revolutionary situation, where people have not yet acquired all the habits of a human society. In Russia in 1917 they had to take fairly drastic measures to prevent the looting of alcohol and random drunkenness because they needed to be be fully awake to carry out the political and military tasks of the revolution. Polish workers decided to ban alcohol from their assemblies for the same reason in 1980. Then you have the immense problem of how you deal with all the well-armed drug gangs that have grown up over the past few decades, which takes us back to where we started...

devoration1
Libcom & Revleft have several

Libcom & Revleft have several threads where all manner of militants (stalinists, anarchists, maoists, syndicalists, etc) give their opinion on drugs, many of which are more extreme and repressive than those found in socially conservative Law & Order politicians:

"i dont think there is anything good in a dope fiend"

"Am I really alone here in my views on drugs (that they should be illegal and that drug dealing should be dealt with ruthlessly by a Communist state and that drug takers should be forced into rehabilitation and re-education)? "

I spent a lot of time volunteering with a Harm Reduction organization and studying the issue as part of my career training, and find these attitudes towards drugs and the people who use them come from the same place that give us every other kind of intolerance- an irrational fear that isn't based on reality. A lot of militants feel the same way I do about drug use (that it is a personal decision, that no mind or mood altering substance should be prohibited, that the medical literature going back a century show the majority of drug users do not become dependant and those that do can function normally as long as the substances they consume are of known purity and origin on a maintenance basis, etc).

The problems we associate with most drug use comes from the prohibition itself- the black market inflation makes maintenance nearly impossible economically, dubious strength and purity of the substances being sold and used, the forced criminality by nature of the substances being prohibited, the life altering experiences of being caught and incarcerated and forever labeled a criminal, the social stigma and taboo's that force drug users with health problems to receive inadequate care or no care at all, the law prohibits the treatments available for those that seek it, etc.

In this sense I think drug use and prohibition should fall under the same category as abortion rights, rights for the LGBT community, the freedom to believe in any God you choose - social issues that are not the concern of proletarian political organs, either in the immediate transfer of power or after the establishment of worldwide socialism.

Regarding the revolutionary outbreak and early period of the active class struggle, I think we should be very careful not to repeat the acts of people like the IWW with their 'Dehorn Squads', and their support (along with that of the KKK) for alcohol prohibition. This idealism of the revolutionary as exemplary individual is petit-bourgeois- we don't need to do things like forcibly close down bars and brothels (as the Wobblies did) to force workers to participate in strikes/committee's- simple rules like not allowing workers who are disruptively intoxicated into meetings ought to be enough.

The armies of drug cartels are based on wealth from the massive inflation in the black market- outright legalization of all drugs would immediatley defuse their ability to raise funds and maintain their power (even if they continued to sell drugs after legalization, the profit margin wouldn't be anywhere near enough for them to maintain the profits they need to operate effectively as an army). Otherwise they should be treated as any other counter-revolutionary armed paramilitary (which is after all what they are now- war lords, no different than the tribal chiefs or feudal land owners of old).

I am fearful that the social stigma's will override concerns for humanism and a repeat of China circa late 40's will occur. Here's a link to an article by the Maoist RCP where they exalt the great Mao and his 'successful eradication of all drug addiction in China':

How Maoist Revolution Wiped Out Drug Addiction in China
by C. Clark Kissinger

http://revcom.us/a/china/opium.htm

jk1921
The problems associated with

The problems associated with drugs and intoxicating substances in general do not just stem from their illegal status, but also from the social context within which "addiction" takes place. Its clear that a considerable degree of the social problems that currently flow from drug "abuse" are really problems of capitalist society itself: alienation, reification, every man for himself, destruction of traditional social and cultural structures which leave individuals to fend for themselves, etc. Many legal drugs are more dangerous than the typically illegal recreational drugs. I wouldn't be surprised if prescription medications kill more people every year than marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc. combined. Psychiatric drugs are among the most dangerous, often causing prolonged neurological deficits years after you stop taking them. And of course there are few social support structures to help people dealing with such problems (often the doctors will deny the drugs caused anything and prescribe more drugs) leading to a downward spiral to depression, disability and sometimes suicide.

The issue of the prison/industrial complex in the U.S. is important, but I think we shouldn't take too instrumentalist an approach on this. Yes, some private corporations make a profit off of this, but this is essentially an issue of the strengthening of the state repressive apparatus in the overall context of a militarization and criminalization of social life in general, reflecting the decomposition of the capitalist system itself.

devoration1
I agree entirely concerning

I agree entirely concerning the extension of the states repressive apparatus (with the side benefit of profit via the prison-industrial complex)- historically drug laws were originally another method of racial legislation (banning 'opium dens' during anti-Asian waves, the control of Cocaine was introduced entirely at the behest of Southern politicians riding the anti-black sentiment of recent race riots, excessive taxation/control of Cannabis originally in the Southwest as a means of punishing or 'excluding' hispanics, etc), a means to further institutionalize racialism and a means of punishing ethnic minorities and immigrants.

A relatively recent article in Rolling Stone magazine documents the journey of one psychiatric drug- Zyprexa (Olanzapine)- from novel schizophrenia drug to off-label treatment for OCD, depression, etc as a means to extend patent rights and make far higher profits for Ely Lilly.

"Eli Lilly insists that it has not marketed Zyprexa off-label and that it has accurately represented the drug's side effects. But some medical researchers who have studied the atypical antipsychotics say that, in the final tally, the drugs, which have already been linked to some deaths, may eventually be responsible for tens of thousands of cases of diabetes and other potentially fatal diseases. And despite their early promise for treating schizophrenia, the drugs have not even performed any better than the crude and imprecise earlier medications that preceded them. "We have been paying $16 billion a year instead of $2 billion a year for drugs that seem to be no better and might be worse," says Douglas Leslie, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina who contributed to an extensive federal study of the drugs. The story of how Zyprexa and other atypicals became a multibillion-dollar market suggests that the medical community — doctors, researchers, the institutions that back them — may be themselves prone to a placebo effect: the willed conviction that a new drug, presented as a breakthrough, must in fact be one, that a product sold as healing must in fact do good."

http://psychrights.org/articles/090123BitterPillRollingStoneBenWallace-W...

It's difficult to imagine a humane and progressive medical field within the context of a profit-driven society- this includes currently 'illegal' and controlled drugs and what to do with the social aspects that have sprung up around them (the best example I think is the American methamphetamine problem going back to the late 1960's- the 'tweeker' subculture). The oath of a doctor is hollow when they prioritize the effort and treatment given to patients based on insurance and income levels rather than severity of illness.

What do you think of the armed drug gangs or tribal narco- juntas in relation to the working class population of nations (such as Columbia, Mexico, Myanmar, Albania, etc) that have them?

Red Hughs
Hi And...

(Just came and saw the forum - it seems quite good so far)
Agree with ALF in general...
Also agree the drug was is very much a war against the working class, simply because drug-based repression is focus on the poorest section of the working class.

A communist revolution would not be distinguished by changes in the consumption of particular commodities but a change in social relations. A weakness of many opponents of the drug war is that they operate from a perspective of bourgeois individualism, imagining that one could have a capitalist society "undistorted" by repression of the drug war. The actually situation is that until the end of capitalist society, we can anticipate a whole slew further horrors with the present ones unlikely to let up (one can look at the direction the US took "health care reform" as a clue).

The US state of California semi-legalizing Marajuana already produces a rather strange former of semi-legal pot capitalism.

*"Libcom & Revleft have several threads where all manner of militants (Stalinists, anarchists, Maoists, Syndicalists, etc) give their opinion on drugs, many of which are more extreme and repressive than those found in socially conservative Law & Order politicians:"*

Indeed - Scratch the capitalist left, find the urge to repression...
It is excellent to see the ICC has installed good forum software and hopefully will inspire an exodus of the most intelligent comrades from the mire of libcom.

I would suggest you add the ability to put text in bold, italic and quotation boxes a la libcom. But woo hoo, great stuff guys.

Marin Jensen
Why do people take drugs?

I find this a very interesting discussion, and I agree with many of the points raised - I would just like to add a couple of thoughts here myself:

First of all, on the nature of the illegal drug trade today, I found this article in the New York Times very revealing. Basically, it demonstrates that the trade in heroin, cocaine, etc., has become something remarkably resembling a straightforward capitalist business. In this case, the overdosed victim was a worker who started taking heroin after suffering from an industrial accident because it was cheaper than subscription painkillers - which says something about the medical system. The two "dealers" were both Mexican immigrant workers who had found themselves out of work and forced to take any job to feed their families. And the whole thing is clearly bringing in huge profits to the "drug company".

The second point I would like to make is that the one question never raised in the bourgeois press (hypocritical in the extreme on the subject, in general) is WHY there is such a colossal market in the US (for example) for dangerous drugs. Why is there such an overpowering desire to escape from reality? This it seems to me is a social question. While I agree with devoration1 that simply applying repression is both futile and offensive, I think it is more than just a question of "personal choice". After all, our "choices" in capitalism are precisely not wholly free, but determined by the social environment. 

It's worth taking alcohol as an example, since this is also a dangerous drug and much abused. Alcoholism has always been a major problem in the working class, associated amongst other things with violence towards women and children, for example. It would be worth digging deeper into how the workers' movement historically has reacted to it.

I think Alf's examples of Poland and Russia are good ones: it was necessary for the workers to respond to the problem of widespread alcohol addiction within the working class (the revolutionary workers who stormed the Winter Palace apparently destroyed all the Tsar's store of wine and liquor to prevent drunkenness among their own people). This was a collective decision, collectively assumed, and not targeting individuals. It's also worth pointing out that the moments of massive class struggle have generally seen an abrupt decline in alcohol abuse and in "criminal behaviour", because the wretched social anomie and misery that the masses experience under capitalism gives way to hope and confidence in the future.

baboon
Alcohol

Alcohol 

I’ll avoid any jokes about having spent a lifetime’s research into this subject and instead try to expand on the point raised by Lone above about the question in the workers’ movement.

 

There’s no doubt that this is a drug, that it’s legal and that it has produced devastating consequences within the working class. Even with an analysis of the corruptness of capitalism, I was astonished to see, sometime in the 90s, the deliberate targeting of children by the booze industry and the acceptance of that by the state.

 

As far as the workers’ movement goes, I remember that strikers in Poland in 1980 organised against the free flow of alcohol, but I can find no references for this. In “The Accumulation of Capital”, Rosa Luxemburg talks about how newly-formed proletarians being demoralised by alcohol and examples come to mind about how this was a weapon of civilisation in the initiation of the third sector into the capitalist world.

It was such a problem in Russia at the turn of the 20th century that there were reports of children organising demonstrations outside of the massive factories to protest against the use and abuse of alcohol. Trotsky wrote about it, particularly pointing to the reduction in the working day and the danger of increased alcohol consumption, which he saw as a threat that demanded a change in social attitudes – for him the cinema replacing the beer hall for example. Another option for him, an inadequate one, was the armoured car (see how inadequate below).

The 1919 Bolshevik’s programme saw the combating of alcohol as an issue of public health (along with STD’s and TB) that required education and consciousness.

 

There’s a good section on it in Victor Serge’s “Year One of the Russian Revolution”. In this upheaval Serge clearly identifies alcohol as a weapon (“its most murderous”) of the counter-revolution. The idea, “conceived in clandestine circles” was to “drown the revolution in liquor before going on to drown it in blood”. He talks about the easy availability of alcohol, filling up the cellars of hotels, palaces and restaurants and the “contagious madness” of the crowds that descended on them. In some instances machine-gunners barred the way but “more than once the wine went to the heads of the gunners”.

He quotes a report by Antonov-Ovseyenko:

“The problem was particularly serious with the cellars of the Winter Palace. The Preobrazhensky regiment, which had been put in charge of them, got drunk and became quite useless. The Pavlovsky regiment, our sure revolutionary shield, went the same way. Teams of soldiers were sent, picked from various regiments: they too got drunk. The workers’ committees attempted no further resistance. The crowd had to be dispersed by armoured cars, whose crews were soon reeling too. By nightfall it had become a wild orgy. ‘Let’s drink up the Romanovs’ leftovers’, they said gaily in the crowd. Order was restored in the end by sailors fresh from Helsinki, men of iron who had been more used to killing than to drinking. In the suburb of Vassili-Ostrov, the Finland regiment, which was led by anarcho-syndicalists elements, decided to shoot the looters on the spot and blow up the wine cellars”.

Serge adds: “These devotees of liberty took no half-measures and a good job too”.

He also notes how vast quantities of alcohol made an appearance at the front. Trotsky said in a speech to the Petrograd Soviet: “Vodka is a much a political force as the word. It is the revolutionary word which aroused men for the struggle against their oppressors. If you do not succeed in barring the path to drunken excess, all you will have left in the way of defences will the armoured cars. Remember this: each day of drunkenness brings the other side closer to victory and us to the old slavery.”

 

 

baboon
don't know about the stuff

don't know about the stuff above - I couldn't paste directly??

ernie
imperialism and heroin use

Alfred McCoy´s book The politics of Heroin is an excellent analysis of the relationship between the growth of heroin use and the unfolding of imperialist tensions. He rejects the idea that the growth heroin use in the US in the 50´s 60´s etc was a deliberate CIA plot but instead shows how the relationship between US imperialism and the drugs trade is a by-product of its strategic imperialist needs. The most recent issue (2003) also gives a very interesting and devastating analysis of the role of heroin in the morass that is Afghanistan. It is a fundamental book for understanding the international drugs trade.

Another interesting book is In search of Respect: selling crack in the Barrio, Philippe Bourgeois. I have not read the whole book but the first few chapters are very interesting. He addresses the question of why drug use in the US ghettos is so self-destructive and comes to the conclusion that it is an internalised reflection of the fact that capitalist society has totally rejected and dehumanized those who live in the ghettos. The book is a record of his ´field work´with a crack dealer for a year. The dealer makes the point that all he is doing is trying to live what is meant to be the American dream; being a small time capitalist, selling a commodity!

Someone raised the question of the way that drug dealing has become part of or the economy in some parts of US cities. The is well illustrated in the Wire and the Corner. There are more academic studies about the economics of the local drugs trade, but I cannot get at them at the moment, but the central point is that in the areas where industry has been destroyed drug dealing is the only means of employment in some of these areas. There are the same tendencies in the most devastated cities and towns in the UK, and Europe.

This is an important question for communists to address and analysis, and I fully agree with those who have said that alcohol should not be missed from this analysis. It is the most destructive drug, especially for the working class. A baboon and others have shown the workers´movement has always had a concern to address this question.

baboon
Some disparate

Some disparate points:

 

Totally agree with Ernie on the relationship between the drugs industry and imperialism, particularly US imperialism as the strongest expression of it. There's a tendency to see the drug issue as a problem for capitalism, as something the bourgeoisie has to "deal with". Thjis is true in a sense but it is a problem like war and militarism, an essential product of imperialism.

 

According to Newsnight Review last night, the rumours, which have been around for ages, about the CIA deliberately moving huge quantities of drugs into the ghettos of LA in the late 60s, have now been demonstrably confirmed.

 

Looking into this subject last week, I came across a video of 3 Fox News presenters back in the US studio absolutely gobsmacked by the report that they had just had from Afghanistan showing US troops guarding pallet loads of opium and the officer in charge trying to explain the turn a blind eye policy.

 

Given the lack of medical care to returning US (and British and other Isaf) soldiers, the number of mentally and physically injured casualties on proscribed (and unproscribed) opiates have soared.

 

This is just a few points and I'll return to the issue in more detail.

baboon
Some disparate

Some disparate points:

 

Totally agree with Ernie on the relationship between the drugs industry and imperialism, particularly US imperialism as the strongest expression of it. There's a tendency to see the drug issue as a problem for capitalism, as something the bourgeoisie has to "deal with". Thjis is true in a sense but it is a problem like war and militarism, an essential product of imperialism.

 

According to Newsnight Review last night, the rumours, which have been around for ages, about the CIA deliberately moving huge quantities of drugs into the ghettos of LA in the late 60s, have now been demonstrably confirmed.

 

Looking into this subject last week, I came across a video of 3 Fox News presenters back in the US studio absolutely gobsmacked by the report that they had just had from Afghanistan showing US troops guarding pallet loads of opium and the officer in charge trying to explain the turn a blind eye policy.

 

Given the lack of medical care to returning US (and British and other Isaf) soldiers, the number of mentally and physically injured casualties on proscribed (and unproscribed) opiates have soared.

 

This is just a few points and I'll return to the issue in more detail.

baboon
More on drugs

I think that any analysis of the development of humanity and consciousness that didn’t include the use of drugs would be lacking. I think that fundamentally drugs are a “good thing” and that this becomes self-evident when one uses the term “medicines” instead of “drugs” and particularly when the layers of bourgeois hypocrisy and constrictions of bourgeois ideology are stripped away.

To demonstrate the contribution of drugs to the advancement of humanity one has to start with prehistory and a telling example is the archaeological evidence from a Neanderthal-occupied cave in Shanidar, Northern Iraq over 60,000 years ago, which clearly shows the morality of these ancient cousins of ours. The remains of 115 flower pollens were found in one burial – not in several others – pointing to a ‘medicine man’. Intense and long-term care had clearly been applied to some of the severely disabled present. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, some of the flowers had objective healing qualities, considerable therapeutic effect with marked medical activity. The plants contain diuretics, astringents, anti-inflammatories and stimulants. Incidentally, on the subject of morality and care: a recent excavation at the caves of Sima de los Huesos in Spain, home to Homo heidelbergensis, a direct ancestor of ours and close relative to Neanderthals, dated to some 530,000 years ago in the Middle Pleistocene, shows the long-term care of a young child suffering from a severe and terminal congenital skull deformation. This is confirmation, if it were needed, of the analyses of Darwin and Wallace and scientific socialism in respect of the development of care, cooperation and community in ancient society.

 

The “gatherer” part of Hunter-Gatherer society has long been ignored by the scribes of capitalism or relegated to a secondary role in a sort of unimportant “women’s work” way (ethnological evidence shows that the hunting of small game by the gatherer element of society was often more important than the big game hunters even in the provision of meat). I don’t think that the development of gathering can be underestimated because it was a development of the scientific collection of information, identification, validation, classification and practical usage for food, medicines and hallucinogens. Shanidar shows the potential for this development in Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago and I would think, some hundreds of thousands of years before that. Hallucinogenic compounds are found in plant roots, stems, leaves, seeds and flowers. They are also found in mushrooms, cacti and fungal parasites on some plants, particularly grasses. LSD, for example, is an active ingredient in two of these ergots.  It is pure speculation on my part, but the use of hallucinogenic fungal parasitic compounds on grasses could well have contributed to the development of agriculture. It’s not speculation to say that agriculture didn’t develop as a “good idea” and then spread out, as the “marxist” explanation of Childes has it. 

Prior to and along with the independent development of agriculture came the independent development of religion(s) world-wide with their own cultural specificities certainly, but showing universal expressions of symbolism as well as very similar expressions of the cosmos reinforcing the past, present and future of these societies.  Hallucinogens have played a vital role in the development of cultural and spiritual practices of ancient society for millennia and for many primitive cultures the psychic effects of these elements are as important as the physical. More than any other plant they are closely linked to the treatment of disease, the struggle against death and all associated rituals (James L. Pearson, 2002).

In the expressions of European cave art of the Upper Palaeolithic of around 30 to 10 thousand years ago, I think that there is a general relationship to hallucinatory experience with the geometric “signs” that accompany and surround this art and the neurologically ordered, cross-cultural universal human nervous system. I think that one could make a case for these “signs” and symbolism expressing a development of consciousness to the point of being a necessary precursor to written language. One can’t leave out of this the role of shamanism(s) from the development of religion and the shaman would have been the direct product of the tribe or community . Mind-altering drugs have provoked interest since the end of the 19th century from Francis Galton, Freud and others and more recent investigations have shown that the effects of hallucinogens effects on the brain from the similarities of psychoactive drugs and certain natural substances already present. Altered states of consciousness can be induced by the ingestion of psychoactive drugs and this is the preferred method for many cultures across the globe (hallucinogens are not the only means to achieve this  – others are chanting, clapping, rhythmic drumming, flickering flames, sensory deprivation, dancing, fasting and similar “signs” are “seen” through pain, fatigue, epilepsy, migraine and schizophrenia). These altered states can be identified by everyone through dreams which themselves have a spectrum of altered states. There’s a belief that our “desire” to alter consciousness periodically is an innate drive analogous to hunger or the sex-drive and that the desire for intoxication is a universal and natural phenomenon (Harvard-trained physician Andrew Weil, 1972, 17). Research psychopharmacoligist, Ronald Siegel says that the quest for intoxication through drugs is a primary force because the human nervous system is arranged to respond as it does to other types of stimuli (Siegel, 1989, 10). I’m not sure about that but find it interesting given the global and spatial use of hallucinogens in the development of humanity and the biological universality (culturally affected) of its nervous system.

 

From the interpretation of the evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic writ large on the cave walls then the carvings on the chambered and stone structures prior to and during the Neolithic show similar expressions of “hard-wired” hallucinatory constructs. The building of these beautiful monuments and the regular ceremonies on behalf of the community prefigured and then celebrated the development of agriculture and the development of consciousness that went along with it. Would these chambered and stone structures clearly associated with altered states of consciousness (David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce, 2005) represent at least some of the development of the “mental means of production” that Marx talked of? I think so.

 

Early Sanskrit and Chinese writings tell of the hallucinogenic properties and qualities of psychoactive plants. The use of hallucinogenic plants in the Old World was widespread; henbane, belladonna, mandrake, etc. The church was very much against such usages, carrying out its pogroms against “witchcraft”, and our knowledge of the extent of them in Medieval Europe comes from the records of the Inquisition. The use of mushrooms by Siberian shamans was documented by travellers in the 1600s. In the New World, the use of hallucinogenic drugs was chronicled by scribes involved in the Spanish invasion. The Chicimecans – the original Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Nazca cultures are all very rich in the use of psychoactive drugs. Their extent in North and South America underlines the remnants of prehistoric cognition in a shamanistic, religious and cultural context of society and the independent development of the use of mind-altering substances.

 

After being classed as “abuse” drugs with no accepted medical use, only very recently has research into them been allowed. Research into MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and other psychoactive drugs are yielding positive medicinal results. Research is underway in the US and Switzerland into both LSD and psilocybin – the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms” – in helping terminal cancer patients deal with anxiety, pain and depression. The latter is helping in recalling distant memories and it’s also being use to treat tobacco addiction. Research is being allowed into smoking cannabis, previously out of bounds. Its soothing effects on multiple sclerosis are already known and chronic pain is much reduced after smoking the highest doses, particularly neuropathic pain which is very resistant to other forms of treatment. MDMA could also help people suffering from post-traumatic stress. These elements, from the New Scientist of September 4, 2010, give an indication of the possible benefits of some of these drugs under a capitalism which will be very limited at best.

The devastation and ravages presently caused by drugs and alcohol are a consequence of capitalism particularly in its stage of decomposition. This shouldn’t blind us to the positive side of drugs during the development of humanity and the potential for their use in a communist society.

I think that any analysis of the development of humanity and consciousness that didn’t include the use of drugs would be lacking. I think that fundamentally drugs are a “good thing” and that this becomes self-evident when one uses the term “medicines” instead of “drugs” and particularly when the layers of bourgeois hypocrisy and constrictions of bourgeois ideology are stripped away.

 

To demonstrate the contribution of drugs to the advancement of humanity one has to start with prehistory and a telling example is the archaeological evidence from a Neanderthal-occupied cave in Shanidar, Northern Iraq over 60,000 years ago, which clearly shows the morality of these ancient cousins of ours. The remains of 115 flower pollens were found in one burial – not in several others – pointing to a ‘medicine man’. Intense and long-term care had clearly been applied to some of the severely disabled present. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, some of the flowers had objective healing qualities, considerable therapeutic effect with marked medical activity. The plants contain diuretics, astringents, anti-inflammatories and stimulants. Incidentally, on the subject of morality and care: a recent excavation at the caves of Sima de los Huesos in Spain, home to Homo heidelbergensis, a direct ancestor of ours and close relative to Neanderthals, dated to some 530,000 years ago in the Middle Pleistocene, shows the long-term care of a young child suffering from a severe and terminal congenital skull deformation. This is confirmation, if it were needed, of the analyses of Darwin and Wallace and scientific socialism in respect of the development of care, cooperation and community in ancient society.

 

The “gatherer” part of Hunter-Gatherer society has long been ignored by the scribes of capitalism or relegated to a secondary role in a sort of unimportant “women’s work” way (ethnological evidence shows that the hunting of small game by the gatherer element of society was often more important than the big game hunters even in the provision of meat). I don’t think that the development of gathering can be underestimated because it was a development of the scientific collection of information, identification, validation, classification and practical usage for food, medicines and hallucinogens. Shanidar shows the potential for this development in Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago and I would think, some hundreds of thousands of years before that. Hallucinogenic compounds are found in plant roots, stems, leaves, seeds and flowers. They are also found in mushrooms, cacti and fungal parasites on some plants, particularly grasses. LSD, for example, is an active ingredient in two of these ergots.  It is pure speculation on my part, but the use of hallucinogenic fungal parasitic compounds on grasses could well have contributed to the development of agriculture. It’s not speculation to say that agriculture didn’t develop as a “good idea” and then spread out, as the “marxist” explanation of Childes has it. 

Prior to and along with the independent development of agriculture came the independent development of religion(s) world-wide with their own cultural specificities certainly, but showing universal expressions of symbolism as well as very similar expressions of the cosmos reinforcing the past, present and future of these societies.  Hallucinogens have played a vital role in the development of cultural and spiritual practices of ancient society for millennia and for many primitive cultures the psychic effects of these elements are as important as the physical. More than any other plant they are closely linked to the treatment of disease, the struggle against death and all associated rituals (James L. Pearson, 2002).

In the expressions of European cave art of the Upper Palaeolithic of around 30 to 10 thousand years ago, I think that there is a general relationship to hallucinatory experience with the geometric “signs” that accompany and surround this art and the neurologically ordered, cross-cultural universal human nervous system. I think that one could make a case for these “signs” and symbolism expressing a development of consciousness to the point of being a necessary precursor to written language. One can’t leave out of this the role of shamanism(s) from the development of religion and the shaman would have been the direct product of the tribe or community . Mind-altering drugs have provoked interest since the end of the 19th century from Francis Galton, Freud and others and more recent investigations have shown that the effects of hallucinogens effects on the brain from the similarities of psychoactive drugs and certain natural substances already present. Altered states of consciousness can be induced by the ingestion of psychoactive drugs and this is the preferred method for many cultures across the globe (hallucinogens are not the only means to achieve this  – others are chanting, clapping, rhythmic drumming, flickering flames, sensory deprivation, dancing, fasting and similar “signs” are “seen” through pain, fatigue, epilepsy, migraine and schizophrenia). These altered states can be identified by everyone through dreams which themselves have a spectrum of altered states. There’s a belief that our “desire” to alter consciousness periodically is an innate drive analogous to hunger or the sex-drive and that the desire for intoxication is a universal and natural phenomenon (Harvard-trained physician Andrew Weil, 1972, 17). Research psychopharmacoligist, Ronald Siegel says that the quest for intoxication through drugs is a primary force because the human nervous system is arranged to respond as it does to other types of stimuli (Siegel, 1989, 10). I’m not sure about that but find it interesting given the global and spatial use of hallucinogens in the development of humanity and the biological universality (culturally affected) of its nervous system.

 

From the interpretation of the evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic writ large on the cave walls then the carvings on the chambered and stone structures prior to and during the Neolithic show similar expressions of “hard-wired” hallucinatory constructs. The building of these beautiful monuments and the regular ceremonies on behalf of the community prefigured and then celebrated the development of agriculture and the development of consciousness that went along with it. Would these chambered and stone structures clearly associated with altered states of consciousness (David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce, 2005) represent at least some of the development of the “mental means of production” that Marx talked of? I think so.

 

Early Sanskrit and Chinese writings tell of the hallucinogenic properties and qualities of psychoactive plants. The use of hallucinogenic plants in the Old World was widespread; henbane, belladonna, mandrake, etc. The church was very much against such usages, carrying out its pogroms against “witchcraft”, and our knowledge of the extent of them in Medieval Europe comes from the records of the Inquisition. The use of mushrooms by Siberian shamans was documented by travellers in the 1600s. In the New World, the use of hallucinogenic drugs was chronicled by scribes involved in the Spanish invasion. The Chicimecans – the original Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Nazca cultures are all very rich in the use of psychoactive drugs. Their extent in North and South America underlines the remnants of prehistoric cognition in a shamanistic, religious and cultural context of society and the independent development of the use of mind-altering substances.

 

After being classed as “abuse” drugs with no accepted medical use, only very recently has research into them been allowed. Research into MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and other psychoactive drugs are yielding positive medicinal results. Research is underway in the US and Switzerland into both LSD and psilocybin – the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms” – in helping terminal cancer patients deal with anxiety, pain and depression. The latter is helping in recalling distant memories and it’s also being use to treat tobacco addiction. Research is being allowed into smoking cannabis, previously out of bounds. Its soothing effects on multiple sclerosis are already known and chronic pain is much reduced after smoking the highest doses, particularly neuropathic pain which is very resistant to other forms of treatment. MDMA could also help people suffering from post-traumatic stress. These elements, from the New Scientist of September 4, 2010, give an indication of the possible benefits of some of these drugs under a capitalism which will be very limited at best.

The devastation and ravages presently caused by drugs and alcohol are a consequence of capitalism particularly in its stage of decomposition. This shouldn’t blind us to the positive side of drugs during the development of humanity and the potential for their use in a communist society.

I think that any analysis of the development of humanity and consciousness that didn’t include the use of drugs would be lacking. I think that fundamentally drugs are a “good thing” and that this becomes self-evident when one uses the term “medicines” instead of “drugs” and particularly when the layers of bourgeois hypocrisy and constrictions of bourgeois ideology are stripped away.

 

To demonstrate the contribution of drugs to the advancement of humanity one has to start with prehistory and a telling example is the archaeological evidence from a Neanderthal-occupied cave in Shanidar, Northern Iraq over 60,000 years ago, which clearly shows the morality of these ancient cousins of ours. The remains of 115 flower pollens were found in one burial – not in several others – pointing to a ‘medicine man’. Intense and long-term care had clearly been applied to some of the severely disabled present. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, some of the flowers had objective healing qualities, considerable therapeutic effect with marked medical activity. The plants contain diuretics, astringents, anti-inflammatories and stimulants. Incidentally, on the subject of morality and care: a recent excavation at the caves of Sima de los Huesos in Spain, home to Homo heidelbergensis, a direct ancestor of ours and close relative to Neanderthals, dated to some 530,000 years ago in the Middle Pleistocene, shows the long-term care of a young child suffering from a severe and terminal congenital skull deformation. This is confirmation, if it were needed, of the analyses of Darwin and Wallace and scientific socialism in respect of the development of care, cooperation and community in ancient society.

 

The “gatherer” part of Hunter-Gatherer society has long been ignored by the scribes of capitalism or relegated to a secondary role in a sort of unimportant “women’s work” way (ethnological evidence shows that the hunting of small game by the gatherer element of society was often more important than the big game hunters even in the provision of meat). I don’t think that the development of gathering can be underestimated because it was a development of the scientific collection of information, identification, validation, classification and practical usage for food, medicines and hallucinogens. Shanidar shows the potential for this development in Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago and I would think, some hundreds of thousands of years before that. Hallucinogenic compounds are found in plant roots, stems, leaves, seeds and flowers. They are also found in mushrooms, cacti and fungal parasites on some plants, particularly grasses. LSD, for example, is an active ingredient in two of these ergots.  It is pure speculation on my part, but the use of hallucinogenic fungal parasitic compounds on grasses could well have contributed to the development of agriculture. It’s not speculation to say that agriculture didn’t develop as a “good idea” and then spread out, as the “marxist” explanation of Childes has it. 

Prior to and along with the independent development of agriculture came the independent development of religion(s) world-wide with their own cultural specificities certainly, but showing universal expressions of symbolism as well as very similar expressions of the cosmos reinforcing the past, present and future of these societies.  Hallucinogens have played a vital role in the development of cultural and spiritual practices of ancient society for millennia and for many primitive cultures the psychic effects of these elements are as important as the physical. More than any other plant they are closely linked to the treatment of disease, the struggle against death and all associated rituals (James L. Pearson, 2002).

In the expressions of European cave art of the Upper Palaeolithic of around 30 to 10 thousand years ago, I think that there is a general relationship to hallucinatory experience with the geometric “signs” that accompany and surround this art and the neurologically ordered, cross-cultural universal human nervous system. I think that one could make a case for these “signs” and symbolism expressing a development of consciousness to the point of being a necessary precursor to written language. One can’t leave out of this the role of shamanism(s) from the development of religion and the shaman would have been the direct product of the tribe or community . Mind-altering drugs have provoked interest since the end of the 19th century from Francis Galton, Freud and others and more recent investigations have shown that the effects of hallucinogens effects on the brain from the similarities of psychoactive drugs and certain natural substances already present. Altered states of consciousness can be induced by the ingestion of psychoactive drugs and this is the preferred method for many cultures across the globe (hallucinogens are not the only means to achieve this  – others are chanting, clapping, rhythmic drumming, flickering flames, sensory deprivation, dancing, fasting and similar “signs” are “seen” through pain, fatigue, epilepsy, migraine and schizophrenia). These altered states can be identified by everyone through dreams which themselves have a spectrum of altered states. There’s a belief that our “desire” to alter consciousness periodically is an innate drive analogous to hunger or the sex-drive and that the desire for intoxication is a universal and natural phenomenon (Harvard-trained physician Andrew Weil, 1972, 17). Research psychopharmacoligist, Ronald Siegel says that the quest for intoxication through drugs is a primary force because the human nervous system is arranged to respond as it does to other types of stimuli (Siegel, 1989, 10). I’m not sure about that but find it interesting given the global and spatial use of hallucinogens in the development of humanity and the biological universality (culturally affected) of its nervous system.

 

From the interpretation of the evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic writ large on the cave walls then the carvings on the chambered and stone structures prior to and during the Neolithic show similar expressions of “hard-wired” hallucinatory constructs. The building of these beautiful monuments and the regular ceremonies on behalf of the community prefigured and then celebrated the development of agriculture and the development of consciousness that went along with it. Would these chambered and stone structures clearly associated with altered states of consciousness (David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce, 2005) represent at least some of the development of the “mental means of production” that Marx talked of? I think so.

 

Early Sanskrit and Chinese writings tell of the hallucinogenic properties and qualities of psychoactive plants. The use of hallucinogenic plants in the Old World was widespread; henbane, belladonna, mandrake, etc. The church was very much against such usages, carrying out its pogroms against “witchcraft”, and our knowledge of the extent of them in Medieval Europe comes from the records of the Inquisition. The use of mushrooms by Siberian shamans was documented by travellers in the 1600s. In the New World, the use of hallucinogenic drugs was chronicled by scribes involved in the Spanish invasion. The Chicimecans – the original Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Nazca cultures are all very rich in the use of psychoactive drugs. Their extent in North and South America underlines the remnants of prehistoric cognition in a shamanistic, religious and cultural context of society and the independent development of the use of mind-altering substances.

 

After being classed as “abuse” drugs with no accepted medical use, only very recently has research into them been allowed. Research into MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and other psychoactive drugs are yielding positive medicinal results. Research is underway in the US and Switzerland into both LSD and psilocybin – the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms” – in helping terminal cancer patients deal with anxiety, pain and depression. The latter is helping in recalling distant memories and it’s also being use to treat tobacco addiction. Research is being allowed into smoking cannabis, previously out of bounds. Its soothing effects on multiple sclerosis are already known and chronic pain is much reduced after smoking the highest doses, particularly neuropathic pain which is very resistant to other forms of treatment. MDMA could also help people suffering from post-traumatic stress. These elements, from the New Scientist of September 4, 2010, give an indication of the possible benefits of some of these drugs under a capitalism which will be very limited at best.

The devastation and ravages presently caused by drugs and alcohol are a consequence of capitalism particularly in its stage of decomposition. This shouldn’t blind us to the positive side of drugs during the development of humanity and the potential for their use in a communist society.

I think that any analysis of the development of humanity and consciousness that didn’t include the use of drugs would be lacking. I think that fundamentally drugs are a “good thing” and that this becomes self-evident when one uses the term “medicines” instead of “drugs” and particularly when the layers of bourgeois hypocrisy and constrictions of bourgeois ideology are stripped away.

 

To demonstrate the contribution of drugs to the advancement of humanity one has to start with prehistory and a telling example is the archaeological evidence from a Neanderthal-occupied cave in Shanidar, Northern Iraq over 60,000 years ago, which clearly shows the morality of these ancient cousins of ours. The remains of 115 flower pollens were found in one burial – not in several others – pointing to a ‘medicine man’. Intense and long-term care had clearly been applied to some of the severely disabled present. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, some of the flowers had objective healing qualities, considerable therapeutic effect with marked medical activity. The plants contain diuretics, astringents, anti-inflammatories and stimulants. Incidentally, on the subject of morality and care: a recent excavation at the caves of Sima de los Huesos in Spain, home to Homo heidelbergensis, a direct ancestor of ours and close relative to Neanderthals, dated to some 530,000 years ago in the Middle Pleistocene, shows the long-term care of a young child suffering from a severe and terminal congenital skull deformation. This is confirmation, if it were needed, of the analyses of Darwin and Wallace and scientific socialism in respect of the development of care, cooperation and community in ancient society.

 

The “gatherer” part of Hunter-Gatherer society has long been ignored by the scribes of capitalism or relegated to a secondary role in a sort of unimportant “women’s work” way (ethnological evidence shows that the hunting of small game by the gatherer element of society was often more important than the big game hunters even in the provision of meat). I don’t think that the development of gathering can be underestimated because it was a development of the scientific collection of information, identification, validation, classification and practical usage for food, medicines and hallucinogens. Shanidar shows the potential for this development in Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago and I would think, some hundreds of thousands of years before that. Hallucinogenic compounds are found in plant roots, stems, leaves, seeds and flowers. They are also found in mushrooms, cacti and fungal parasites on some plants, particularly grasses. LSD, for example, is an active ingredient in two of these ergots.  It is pure speculation on my part, but the use of hallucinogenic fungal parasitic compounds on grasses could well have contributed to the development of agriculture. It’s not speculation to say that agriculture didn’t develop as a “good idea” and then spread out, as the “marxist” explanation of Childes has it. 

Prior to and along with the independent development of agriculture came the independent development of religion(s) world-wide with their own cultural specificities certainly, but showing universal expressions of symbolism as well as very similar expressions of the cosmos reinforcing the past, present and future of these societies.  Hallucinogens have played a vital role in the development of cultural and spiritual practices of ancient society for millennia and for many primitive cultures the psychic effects of these elements are as important as the physical. More than any other plant they are closely linked to the treatment of disease, the struggle against death and all associated rituals (James L. Pearson, 2002).

In the expressions of European cave art of the Upper Palaeolithic of around 30 to 10 thousand years ago, I think that there is a general relationship to hallucinatory experience with the geometric “signs” that accompany and surround this art and the neurologically ordered, cross-cultural universal human nervous system. I think that one could make a case for these “signs” and symbolism expressing a development of consciousness to the point of being a necessary precursor to written language. One can’t leave out of this the role of shamanism(s) from the development of religion and the shaman would have been the direct product of the tribe or community . Mind-altering drugs have provoked interest since the end of the 19th century from Francis Galton, Freud and others and more recent investigations have shown that the effects of hallucinogens effects on the brain from the similarities of psychoactive drugs and certain natural substances already present. Altered states of consciousness can be induced by the ingestion of psychoactive drugs and this is the preferred method for many cultures across the globe (hallucinogens are not the only means to achieve this  – others are chanting, clapping, rhythmic drumming, flickering flames, sensory deprivation, dancing, fasting and similar “signs” are “seen” through pain, fatigue, epilepsy, migraine and schizophrenia). These altered states can be identified by everyone through dreams which themselves have a spectrum of altered states. There’s a belief that our “desire” to alter consciousness periodically is an innate drive analogous to hunger or the sex-drive and that the desire for intoxication is a universal and natural phenomenon (Harvard-trained physician Andrew Weil, 1972, 17). Research psychopharmacoligist, Ronald Siegel says that the quest for intoxication through drugs is a primary force because the human nervous system is arranged to respond as it does to other types of stimuli (Siegel, 1989, 10). I’m not sure about that but find it interesting given the global and spatial use of hallucinogens in the development of humanity and the biological universality (culturally affected) of its nervous system.

 

From the interpretation of the evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic writ large on the cave walls then the carvings on the chambered and stone structures prior to and during the Neolithic show similar expressions of “hard-wired” hallucinatory constructs. The building of these beautiful monuments and the regular ceremonies on behalf of the community prefigured and then celebrated the development of agriculture and the development of consciousness that went along with it. Would these chambered and stone structures clearly associated with altered states of consciousness (David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce, 2005) represent at least some of the development of the “mental means of production” that Marx talked of? I think so.

 

Early Sanskrit and Chinese writings tell of the hallucinogenic properties and qualities of psychoactive plants. The use of hallucinogenic plants in the Old World was widespread; henbane, belladonna, mandrake, etc. The church was very much against such usages, carrying out its pogroms against “witchcraft”, and our knowledge of the extent of them in Medieval Europe comes from the records of the Inquisition. The use of mushrooms by Siberian shamans was documented by travellers in the 1600s. In the New World, the use of hallucinogenic drugs was chronicled by scribes involved in the Spanish invasion. The Chicimecans – the original Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Nazca cultures are all very rich in the use of psychoactive drugs. Their extent in North and South America underlines the remnants of prehistoric cognition in a shamanistic, religious and cultural context of society and the independent development of the use of mind-altering substances.

 

After being classed as “abuse” drugs with no accepted medical use, only very recently has research into them been allowed. Research into MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and other psychoactive drugs are yielding positive medicinal results. Research is underway in the US and Switzerland into both LSD and psilocybin – the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms” – in helping terminal cancer patients deal with anxiety, pain and depression. The latter is helping in recalling distant memories and it’s also being use to treat tobacco addiction. Research is being allowed into smoking cannabis, previously out of bounds. Its soothing effects on multiple sclerosis are already known and chronic pain is much reduced after smoking the highest doses, particularly neuropathic pain which is very resistant to other forms of treatment. MDMA could also help people suffering from post-traumatic stress. These elements, from the New Scientist of September 4, 2010, give an indication of the possible benefits of some of these drugs under a capitalism which will be very limited at best.

The devastation and ravages presently caused by drugs and alcohol are a consequence of capitalism particularly in its stage of decomposition. This shouldn’t blind us to the positive side of drugs during the development of humanity and the potential for their use in a communist society.

 

jk1921
There aren't any easy answers

There aren't any easy answers to these questions. All of the substances you mention for their possible therapeutic effects can also cause serious chronic health problems themselves. Any substance that acts on neurotransmitters can have grave and unpredictable consequences for the user. We just don't know enough about how the nervous system functions and the interactions between the body, mind and society to really have any definitive answers about the safety of most of this stuff. What helps one person causes debillitating effects in the next person. Currently, I would have to say use any of this stuff at your own risk: that goes for prescription pharmaceuticals pushed by your doctor; recreational substances passes around at social functions and herbal and alternative supplements so popular with the eco-liberal crowd.