Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Celebrating the Day of Fertility, the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, and a speech from 1961 by Fidel Castro commemorating May Day

  1. Day of Fertility

  2. Haymarket Massacre

  3. Speech by Fidel Castro


I. Celebrating the Day of Fertility


The first of May was originally celebrated by pagans throughout Europe as the beginning of summer, which was recognised as a day of fertility (both for the first spring planting and sexual intercourse). A maypole was oftentimes erected for young women and men to dance around and entwine the ribbons they carried with one another to find a mate... at least for the night. The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated the day as Beltane, the day of fire, in honor of the god of the sun; beginning their celebrations at midnight; soon acquiring the label Walpurgisnacht, or night of the witches.”

The festivities began on May Day morning when the young girls would go out in the pre-dawn hours to wash their faces in May dew, which was held to be fortifying as well as beautifying.… May Day festivals, which began with great public gaiety, usually ended in orgiastic displays of sexual licentiousness. Marriage vows were temporarily forgotten during this honey month. People coupled freely in the woods and fields, fertilizing the soil and each other, sharing a fervent participation in the regenerative magic of the earth.”

Persecution of May Day began as early as the 1600s; in 1644 the British Parliament banned its practice as immoral, with the Church bringing its full force to bear across the spectrum. Governments throughout Europe were largely ineffective in outlawing these celebrations, and thus the Church took a different approach – it attempted to assimilate the festivities by naming Saints days on the first of May. These efforts led to the destruction of May Day in some places, but the traditions and customs of May Day continued to remain strong throughout much of the peasantry of Europe, whose ties to one another and nature were far stronger than their ties to the ruling class and its religion. Celebrations became increasingly festive, especially at night when huge feasts, song, dance and free love were practiced throughout the night.
“After the revolutions of capitalism, the roots and principles of the tradition survived to various extents, with workers across Europe celebrating the first of May as the coming of spring and a day of sexual fertility. Most mythical and religious sentiments faded away, but the spirit of the festival in expressing the love of nature and one another gained strength.”

May Day Dawn Morris Dancing at The Royal Standard of England



II. Haymarket Massacre


In the United States, May Day, also referred to as International Workers' Day, has become associated with the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket massacre in which an untold number of people were gunned down by police during demonstrations where workers were demanding to reduce the average work day to 8 hours from 12 to 14 hours. During the following days riots and demonstrations took place which culminated into one of the greatest show trials in American history where 8 people, only one of which was actually present at the protest at Haymarket Square, were convicted as anarchists, murders, and inciting a riot. Four of the prisoners were executed, one committed suicide, and three were pardoned in 1893 due to immense public pressure.

May Day 2011: Thousands Take Part in Haymarket 125th Anniversary Reenactment



Today, May 1st is a national holiday in more than 80 countries and celebrated unofficially in many others. One of the countries that has been celebrating May Day for the longest period has been Cuba. The day is recognized as a national holiday and marked by festivities and parades throughout the country.

2 million Cuban people singing (May Day 2006)



III. Speech by Fidel Castro


And finally, let’s take a trip back in time, to just a few days after The Bay of Pigs, and read one of the most powerful speeches in history regarding the importance of May Day. The following is a speech given by Fidel Castro in 1961 commemorating this day.
Spoken: May 1, 1961
Source: Havana International Service in Spanish 0215 GMT 2 May 1961--E
Markup: Brian Basgen
Online Version: Castro Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2000

Distinguished visitors from Latin American and the entire world, combatants of the armed forces of the people, workers: We have had 14 and a half hours of parading. (Chanting) I think that only a people imbued with infinite enthusiasm is capable of enduring such tests. Nevertheless, I will try to be as brief as possible (Chanting)

We are very happy over this attitude by the people. I believe that today we should outline the course to follow, analyze a little what we have done up to now, and see at what point in our history we are, and what we have ahead. We have all had a chance to see the parade. Maybe we who are on this platform could appreciate it better than you in the square, maybe still better than those who have paraded. This May Day tells a lot, it tells a lot about what the revolution has been so far, what it has achieved so far; but maybe it does not tell us as much as it tells our visitors.

We have been witnesses, all of us Cubans, of every step taken by the revolution, so maybe we cannot realize how much we have advanced as fully as can be understood by visitors, particularly those visitors from Latin America, where today they are still living in a world very similar to the one we lived in yesterday. It is as if they were suddenly transported from the past to the present of our revolution, with all its extraordinary progress as compared to the past. We do not intend tonight to stress the merit of what we have done. We merely want to locate ourselves at the point where we are at the present.

We had a chance today to see genuine results of the revolution on this May Day, so different from the May Days of the past. Formerly that date was the occasion for each sector of labor to set forth its demands, its aspirations for improvement, to men who were deaf to the working class interests, men who could not even accede to those basic demands because they did not govern for the people, for the workers, for the peasants, or for the humble; they governed solely for the privileged, the dominant economic interests. Doing anything for the people would have meant harming the interests that they represented, and so they could not accede to any just demand from the people. The May Day parades of those days marked the complaints and protest of the workers.

How different today's parade has been! How different even from the first parades after the revolution triumphed. Today's parade shows us how much we have advanced. The workers (Light applause) now do not have to submit themselves to those trials; the workers now do not have to implore deaf executives; the workers now are not subject to the domination of any exploiting class; the workers no longer live in a country run by men serving exploiting interests. The workers know now that everything the revolution does, everything the government does or can do, has one goal: helping the workers, helping the people. (Applause)

Otherwise, there would be no explanation for the spontaneous sentiment of support for the Revolutionary Government, that overflowing good will that every man and woman has expressed today. (Applause)

Fruits of the revolution are seen everywhere. The first to parade today were the children of the Camilo Cienfuegos school center. We saw the Pioneers parade by with the smile of hope, confidence, and affection. We saw the young rebels parade by. We saw the women of the federation go by. We saw children from numberless schools created by the revolution parade. We saw 1,000 students from the 600 sugar-cane cooperatives who are studying artificial insemination here in the capital. We saw young people, humble people, parade with their uniforms of the school center where they are learning to be diplomatic representatives of the future.

We saw the pupils of the schools for young peasants of the Zapata swamps parade by, the swamps that the mercenaries chose for their attack. We saw thousands and thousands of peasants who are studying in the capital and who come from distant mountain areas or from cane cooperatives or from people's farms parade. We saw the young girls studying for children's club work. And here everyone of these groups staged scenes that are worthy of praise. And we saw also what is going into the rural areas. The volunteer teachers paraded and also representatives of the 100,000 young people on their way to the interior to wipe out illiteracy. Where does this strength come from? It comes from the people, and it is devoted to the people in return.

These young people are truly children of the people. When we saw them today writing Long Live Our Socialist Revolution with their formations we thought how hard it would have been to have all this without a revolution; how hard for any of these children from the mountains to have paraded here today, or any of these young people from the rural areas to have a chance to get to know the capital, or to study in any of these schools, or to parade with the joy and pride shown here today, or to march with the faith in the future shown today, because schools, university professions, art, culture, and honors were never for the children of poor families, in town or in the country. They were never for the peasant of the remote rural areas; they were never for the poor young fellow, black or white, or our countryside and cities.

Art, culture, university professions, opportunities, honors, elegant clothes were only the privilege of a small minority, a minority represented today with that grace and humor shown by some worker federations in their imitations of the rich. It is astounding to think that today more than 20,000 athletes paraded, if one remembers that we are just beginning. And this, without touching on the most marvelous thing we had a chance to see today, that is, this armed nation, this united people, which came to attend these ceremonies.

How would it have been possible without a revolution? How can one compare this present with the past? How can one avoid emotion on seeing endless lines of workers, athletes, and militiamen parade by? At times all went to intermingled. After all, workers, athletes, and soldiers are the same thing. Anybody could understand why our people must emerge victorious in any battle. We noted the many women in the ranks of the federations. The men were in the artillery units, mortar units, ack-ack units, or militia battalions. The women were the wives and sisters and sweethearts of the militiamen who marched by later in the battalions and those young men of the basic secondary schools, the Pioneers who paraded by were their sons.

And so one can see today the unity of the humble people who are fighting for the poor. Workers of every profession; manual laborers and intellectual workers; all were marching together, the writer, artist, actor, announcer, doctor, nurse, clinical employer. Marching together in great numbers under the flag of the national education workers union were the teachers, employees of the Education Ministry. (Applause).

Today we have had a chance to see everything worthwhile in our country, everything produced in our country. We have understood better than ever that there are two classes of citizens, or rather there were two classes of citizens; the citizens who worked, produced, and created and the citizens who lived without working or producing. These latter were parasites. (Applause)

In this young, fervent nation, who did not parade today, who could not parade here today? The parasites! Today the working people paraded, everybody who produces with his hands or his brain. I do not mean that workers who did not have a chance to parade were parasites, because they had to take care of their children, or were ill, or even just did not want to parade today. I am speaking only of those who were not represented here because they could not be represented by those who produce.

This is the people, the true people. He who lives as a parasite does not belong to the people. Only the invalid, the sick, the old, and children are entitled to live without working and are entitled to have us work for them and to care for them, and from the work of everyone they can be benefited. For the children, the old, the invalid, and the sick, we have the duty to work, all of us. (Applause) What no moral law will be able to justify ever is for the people to work for the parasites. (Applause)

Those who paraded today were the working people who will never resign themselves to work for the parasites. (Applause) In this manner our national community has understood what the revolution is, and has understood clearly what the meaning of a revolution is in which a nation gets rid of parasites from the outside and those inside. (Applause) We remember that because of the nationalization of the largest industries of the nation, and just before the U.S. factories were nationalized, some asked: Was not this factory a Cuban factory? Why should a Cuban factory be nationalized? Well, such a factory did not belong to the people, it belonged to some man. Now they belong to the nation. (Applause)

New Concept of Motherland

It was the custom to talk about the motherland; there were some who had a wrong idea of the motherland. There was the motherland of the privileged ones, of a man who has a large house, while the others live in hovels. What motherland did you have in mind, sir? A motherland where a small group lives from the work of others? A motherland of the barefoot child who is asking for alms on the street? What kind of motherland is this? A motherland which belonged to a small minority? Or the motherland of today? The motherland of today where we have won the right to direct our destiny, where we have learned to decide our destiny, a motherland which will be, now and forever--as Marti wanted it--for the well-being of everyone and not a motherland for few!

The motherland will be a place where such injustices will be eliminated, now we can have the real concept of motherland. We are willing to die for a motherland which belongs to all Cubans. (Applause) That is why the exploiting classes could not have the real concept of motherland. For them, the motherland was a privilege by which they took advantage of the work of others. That is why when a Yankee monopolist (shouts of Out!) when a leader, or a member of the U.S. ruling circles, talks about the motherland, they refer to the motherland of monopolies, of the large banking monopolies. And when they talk about the motherland, they are thinking about sending the Negroes of the South, the workers, to be killed to defend the motherland of monopolies. (Applause)

What kind of morality and what reason and what right do they have to make a Negro die to defend the monopolies, the factories, and the mines of the dominating classes? What right have they to send the Puerto Rican of Latin blood, of Latin tradition, to the battlefields to defend the policy of large capitalists and monopolies? This concept of motherland and this danger to their security to which they refer is the danger of the monopolies. You can understand what concept they have of morality, law, and rights, to send the Negroes of the South and the Puerto Ricans to the battlefields to fight for them. This is their concept of motherland. That is why the people receive the real concept of motherland only when the interests of the privileged classes are liquidated, and when a nation with its wealth becomes a nation for everyone, the wealth for everyone, and opportunity and happiness for everybody.

This happiness now belongs to those youths who paraded, and the families who know that their children can have a school, receive scholarships, and go to the best universities abroad, a privilege enjoyed only by the richest families. And today any family, regardless of how poor, has the opportunity to send its children to schools in the nation and abroad. Any family knows that thanks to the revolution its children have all the opportunities which formerly belonged only to the rich. A nation which works for itself, whether it be in defense of or in achieving wealth can achieve what the minorities cannot. (Applause)

The revolution can win the people with its fervor and enthusiasm. The revolution can utilize all intelligence and creative spirit and take everyone toward a path of well-being and progress. The people who spent 15 hours here today are the same people who formerly could not spend even one hour at a public rally, or who were paid or forced to go to a public rally. These enthusiastic people are the discouraged people of yesterday. The difference is that yesterday they worked for others and today they work for themselves. (Applause)

Fight Against Imperialism

Think of the men who died in recent battles and decide whether a single drop of blood was worth being lost to defend the past. Consider that these workers and youths, the children of workers, fell 10 or 12 days ago to defend what we have seen today. They fell to defend this enthusiasm, this hope, and this joy of today. That is why when today we saw a happy face or a smile full of hope, we though that each smile of today was a flower over the grave of the fallen hero.

It was like giving thanks to those who gave their lives in the battle against imperialism. Without them we would not have had the May Day parade. We would not have been able to see what passed in front of us today. What would have happened to our antiaircraft batteries, what would have happened to our cannons and our soldiers who marched here? What would have happened to our workers, wives, sisters, and factories? What would have happened if imperialism had established even a single beachhead on our territory? What would have happened if the imperialists succeeded in taking one part of our territory, and from there, with Yankee bombs, machineguns, and planes, would have launched an armed attack against us.

Let us not talk about what would have happened if the imperialist had won. There is no sadder picture than a defeated revolution. The uprising of slaves in Rome [Spartacus uprising] and their defeat should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is. The Commune of Paris should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is. History tells us that a defeated revolution must pay the victors in blood. The victors not only collect the past debts but also try to collect future debts. But under certain circumstances, it is impossible to crush a revolution.

It has never happened in history that a revolutionary people who have really taken over power have been defeated. What would have happened this May Day if imperialism had won its game? That is why we were thinking of all we owed those who fell. That is why we were thinking that every smile today was like a tribute to those who made possible this hopeful day. The blood that was shed was the blood of workers and peasants, the blood of humble sons of the people, not blood of land- owners, millionaires, thieves, criminals, or exploiters. The blood shed was the blood of the exploited of yesterday, the free men of today. The blood shed was humble, honest, working, creative blood--the blood of patriots not the blood of mercenaries. It was the blood of militiamen who voluntarily came to defend the revolution. It was spontaneously offered blood to defend an ideal.

This ideal was not the ideal with which the Yankees inclucated their mercenaries. It was not an ideal of parrots. It was not an ideal of the tongue, but of the heart. It was not an ideal of those who came to recover their lost wealth. It was not the ideal of those who always lived at the expense of others. It was not the ideal of those who sell their soul for the gold of a powerful empire.

It was the ideal of the peasant who does not want to lose his land, the Negro who does not want discrimination, the humble, those who never lived from the sweat of others, and of those who never robbed from others, an ideal that a poor man of the people can feel.

The revolution is all for him because he was mistreated and humilated. He defends the revolution because the revolution is his life. Before sacrificing this he prefers to lose his life. He knows that he may fall, but never in vain, and that the cause for which he falls will serve for millions of his brothers.

Humble, honest blood was shed by the fatherland in the struggle against the mercenaires of imperialism. But what blood, what men did imperialism send here to establish that beachhead, to bleed our revolution dry, to destroy our achievements, to burn our cane? It was to be a war of destruction.

U.S. Planned Aggression

We can tell the people right here that at the same instant that three of our airports were being bombed, the Yankee agencies were telling the world that our airports had been attacked by planes from our own airforce. They coldbloodedly bombed our nation and told the world that the bombing was done by Cuban pilots with Cuban planes. This was done with planes on which they painted our insignia.

If nothing else, this deed should be enough to demonstrate how miserable are the actions of imperialism. It should be enough for us to realize what Yankee imperialism really is and what its press and its government is. It is possible that millions have heard only the report that Cuban planes piloted by defectors had attacked our airports. This was planned, because the imperialist studied the plan to bomb and the way to deceive the entire world. This should serve to keep us alert and to understand that the imperialists are capable of the most monstrous lies to cover the most monstrous deeds.

U.S. leaders publicly confessed their participation--without any explanation which they owe the world for the statements made by Kennedy that they would never would participate in aggression--and save us the effort of finding proof. Who were those who fought against those workers and peasants? We will explain.

Privileged Class Mercenaries

Of the first mercenaries captured, we can say that, without counting ships' crews, there were nearly 1,000 prisoners. Among that thousand we have the following: About 800 came from well-to-do families. They had a total of 27,556 caballerias of land, 9,666 houses, 70 industries, 10 sugar centrals, 2 banks, and 5 mines. So 800 out of 1,000 had all that. Moreover, many belonged to exclusive clubs and many were former soldiers for Batista.

Remember, during the prisoner interrogation that I asked who was a cane cutter and only one said that he had cut cane once. That is the social composition of the invaders.

We are sure that if we ask all those here how many owned sugar centrals, there would not be even one. If we asked the combatants who died, members of the milita or soldiers of the revolutionary army, if we compared the wealth of those who fell, surely there would be no land, no banks, no sugar centrals, or the like listed. And some of the shameless invaders said that they came to fight for ideals!

The invaders came to fight for free enterprise! Imagine, at this time for an idiot to come here to say that he fought for free enterprise! As if this people did not know what free enterprise is! It was slums, unemployment, begging. One hundred thousand families working the land to turn over 25 percent of their production to shareholders who never saw that land. How can they come to speak about free enterprise to a country where there was unemployment, illiteracy and where one had to beg to get into a hospital? The people knew that free enterprise was social clubs, and bathing in mud for the children because the beaches were fenced. The beaches were for the wealthy. One could never dream of going to Varadero, for that was for a few wealthy families. One could never dream of having a son study law. That was only for the privileged. A worker could never dream that his son might become a teacher or lawyer. Ninety percent of the sons of workers, or at least 75 percent of those who lived in places were there were no secondary schools had no chance to send their children to study. Not even in a dream could the daughters of the peasants dance here or parade here.

How can one of those who never knew labor say that he came to shed the people's blood to defend free enterprise? (Chanting, applause) And they did not stop at their fathers' mention of free enterprise; they included the United Fruit and the electrical company. Those were not free enterprises; they were monopolies. So when they came here they were not fighting for free enterprise; they came for the monopolies, for monopolies do not want free enterprise. They were defending the monopolistic interests of the Yankees here and abroad. How can they tell the Cuban people that they were coming to defend free enterprise?

They also say that they came to defend the 1940 constitution. How curious! That constitution was being torn into bits with the complicity of the U.S. Embassy, the reactionary church, and the politicians. So it is cynical for this group of privileged and Batista-type tyrants, criminals, and torturers to tell the people that they were coming to defend the constitution of 1940, which has been advanced by the Revolutionary Government.

Who represented you in the congress? The corrupt politicians, the rich, the big landholders. There was only a handful of workers in congress. They were always in the minority. The means of disseminating ideas were all in the hands of the rich. It was hard to learn about the horrible conditions because of that. The death of thousands of children for lack of medicine and doctors did not bother the free enterprise men. There was never an agrarian reform law because congress was in the hands of the rich. Even though the constitution said the land must be returned to the Cubans, and even though in 1959 the 1940 constitution had been in effect 19 years, no law took land from the Yankee monopolies, which had huge expanses.

Up to 200,000 hectares were held by some foreign monopolies. The constitution which said that land must be returned to the Cubans and the law setting a limit on landholdings were never enforced. There were teachers without employment, while children lacked schooling.

The Batista group took over through a coup sponsored by imperialism and the exploiting class; they needed such a man as Batista, so that the rural guard would serve the landowners against the peasants. (Applause) It did not matter to them that the nation was being plundered. The landowners did not give anybody modern weapons to fight that regime; they gave arms to that bloody regime itself, not caring about how it violated the constitution. The Yankees did not give arms to anybody to fight Batista. None of the fine little gentlemen fought, because they still had their Cadillacs; they had a regime that guaranteed their frivolous life. They cared nothing about politics, for they had a very good life. Now that their privileges have ended, they found a Yankee government willing to give them arms to come here and shed the blood of workers and peasants. (Applause)

Those gentlemen spoke of elections. What elections did they want? The ones of the corrupt politicians who bought votes? Those elections in which a poor person had to turn over his ballot in return for work? Those fake elections that were just a means for the exploiting class to stay in power? Those elections which were not a military coup? There are many pseudo-democracies in Latin America; what laws have they passed for the peasants? Where is nationalization of industry? Where is their agarian reform? (Applause)

A revolution expressing the will of the people is an election everyday, not every four years; it is a constant meeting with the people, like this meeting. The old politicians could never have gathered as many votes as there are people here tonight to support the revolution. Revolution means a thorough change.

What do they want? Elections with pictures on the posts. The revolution has changed the conception of pseudo-democracy for direct government by the people.

No Time for Elections

There had to be a period for abolition of the privileges. Do the people have time now for elections? No! What were the political parties? Just an expression of class interests. Here there is just one class, the humble; that class is in power, and so it is not interested in the ambition of an exploiting minority to get back in power. Those people would have no chance at all in an election. The revolution has no time to waste in such foolishness. There is no chance for the exploiting class to regain power. The revolution and the people know that the revolution expressed their will; the revolution does not come to power with Yankee arms. It comes to power through the will of the people fighting against arms of all kinds, Yankee arms.

The revolution keeps in power through the people. What are the people interested in? In having the revolution go ahead without losing a minute. (Applause) Can any government in America claim to have more popular support than this one? Why should democracy be the pedantic, false democracy of the others, rather than this direct expression of the will of the people? The people go to die fighting instead of going to a poll to scratch names on paper. The revolution has given every citizen a weapon, a weapon to every man who wanted to enter the militia. So some fool comes along to ask if, since we have a majority why don't we hold elections? Because the people do not care to please fools and fine little gentlemen! The people are interested in moving forward.

They have no time to waste. The people must spend tremendous amounts of energy in preparing to meet aggression, when everybody knows we want to be building schools, houses, and factories. We are not warlike. The Yankees spend half of their budget on armaments; we are not warlike. We are obliged to spend that energy, because of the imperialists. We have no expansionist ambitions. We do not want to exploit any worker of another county. We are not interested in aggressive plans; we have been forced to have tanks, planes, machineguns, and a military force to defend ourselves.

The recent invasion shows how right we were to arm. At Playa Giron, they came to kill peasants and workers. Imperialism forced us to arm for defense. We have been forced to put energy and material and resources into that, although we would prefer to put them into more schools, so that in future parades there can be more athletes and school children. If our people were not armed, they could not crush mercenaries coming with modern equipment.

The imperialists would have hurled themselves on us long ago if we had not been armed. But we prefer to die rather than surrender the country we have now. They know that. They know they will meet resistance, and so the aggressive circles of imperialism have to stop and think.

So we are forced, by the threat of aggression to proclaim to the four corners of the world: All the peoples of American should rise in indignation after the statement that a country can intervene in another just because the first is strong. Such a policy would mean that the powerful neighbor takes the right to intervene to keep a people from governing themselves according to their own choice. It is inconceivable that there should be such miserable governments; after the aggression that killed peasants and workers, it is inconceivable that they have even begun a policy of breaking with Cuba, instead of breaking with Somoza, Guatemala, or the government in Washington that pays for planes, tanks, and arms to come her and kill peasants.

The Costa Rican government has said that, if mercenaries are executed, it will break with us. It has no reason at all for a break, so it seeks some pretext, and hits on the idea of if there are executions. That government, in insolent intervention, stated its disposal to break with us if any of the mercenaries are executed. It does not break with Kennedy who organized the expedition, or with Guatemala, or Nicaragua. We did not break with it; we merely answered the note.

Those who promote the policy of isolating Cuba at the orders of imperialism are miserable traitors to the interests and feelings of America. (Applause) These facts show us the rotten politics that prevail in many Latin American countries, and how the Cuban revolution has turned those corrupt forms upside down to establish new forms in this country.

New Socialist Constitution

To those who talk to us about the 1940 constitution, we say that the 1940 constitution is already too outdated and old for us. We have advanced too far for that short section of the 1940 constitution that was good for its time but which was never carried out. That constitution has been left behind by this revolution, which, as we have said, is a socialist revolution. We must talk of a new constitution, yes, a new constitution, but not a bourgeois constitution, not a constitution corresponding to the domination of certain classes by exploiting classes, but a constitution corresponding to a new social system without the exploitation of many by man. That new social system is called socialism, and this constitution will therefore be a socialist constitution.

Kennedy's Protests

If Mr. Kennedy does not like socialism, well we do not like imperialism! We do not like capitalism! We have as much right to protest over the existence of an imperialist-capitalist regime 90 miles from our coast as he feels he has to protect over the existence of a socialist regime 90 miles from his coast. Now then, we would not think of protesting over that, because that is the business of the people of the United States. It would be absurd for us to try to tell the people of the United States what system of government they must have, for in that case we would be considering that the United States is not a sovereign nation and that we have rights over the domestic life of the United States.

Rights do not come from size. Right does not come from one country being bigger than another. That does not matter. We have only limited territory, a small nation, but our right is as respectable as that of any country, regardless of its size. It does not occur to us to tell the people of the United States what system of government they must have. Therefore it is absurd for Mr. Kennedy to take it into his head to tell us what kind of government he wants us to have here. That is absurd. It occurs to Mr. Kennedy to do that only because he does not have a clear concept of international law or sovereignty. Who had those notions before Kennedy? Hitler and Mussolini!

They spoke the same language of force; it is the fascist language. We heard it in the years before Germany's attack on Czechoslovakia. Hitler split it up because it was governed by a reactionary government. The bourgeoisie, reactionary and profascist, afraid of the advance of a socialist system, preferred even domination by Hitler. We heard that language on the eve of the invasion of Denmark, Belgium, Poland, and so forth. It is the right of might. This is the only right Kennedy advances in claiming the right to interfere in our country.

This is a socialist regime, yes! Yes, this is a socialist regime. It is here, but the fault is not ours, the blame belongs to Columbus, the English colonizers, the Spanish colonizers. The people of the U.S. will someday get tired.

No Threat to U.S.

The U.S. Government says that a socialist regime here threatens U.S. security. But what threatens the security of the North American people is the aggressive policy of the warmongers of the United States. What threatens the security of the North American family and people is the violence, that aggressive policy, that policy that ignores the sovereignty and the rights of other peoples. The one who is threatening the security of the United States is Kennedy, with that aggressive policy. That aggressive policy can give rise to a world war; and that world war can cost the lives of tens of millions of North Americans. Therefore, the one who threatens the security of the United States is not the Cuban Revolutionary Government but the aggressor and aggressive government of the United States.

We do not endanger the security of a single North American. We do not endanger the life or security of a single North American family. We, making cooperatives, agrarian reform, people's ranches, houses, schools, literacy campaigns, and sending thousands and thousands of teachers to the interior, building hospitals, sending doctors, giving scholarships, building factories, increasing the productive capacity of our country, creating public beaches, converting fortresses into schools, and give the people the right to a better future--we do not endanger a single U.S. family or a single U.S. citizen.

The ones who endangers the lives of millions of families, of tens of millions of North American are those who are playing with atomic war. It is those who, as General Cardenas said, are playing with the possibility of New York becoming a Hiroshima. The ones who are playing with atomic war, with their aggressive war, with their policy that violated the rights of people are the ones who are endangering the security of the North American nation, the security of the lives of unknown millions of North Americans.

What do the monopolists fear? Why do they say that they are not secure with the socialist revolution nearby. They are, as Khrushchev says, proving that they know their system is inferior. They do not even believe in their own system. Why don't they leave us alone when all our government wants is peace.

U.S. Refusal to Negotiate

Recently, our government issued a statement that we were willing to negotiate. Why? Because we are afraid? No! We are convinced that they fear the revolution more than we fear them. They have a mentality that does not permit them to sleep when they know that there is a revolution nearby.

Fear? No one has fear here. The people who struggle for their liberty are never frightened. The frightened ones are the wealthy. The ones who have been wealthy. We are not interested in having imperialism commit suicide at our expense. They do not care about the death of Negroes, Puerto Ricans, or Americans. But we do care about every Cuban life. We are interested in peace.

We are ready to negotiate. They say that economic conditions can be discussed, but no communism. Well, where did they get the idea we would discuss that? We would discuss economic problems. But we are not even ready to admit that these talks so much as brush a petal of a rose here. The Cuban people are capable of establishing the regime they want there. We have never been thought of the possibility of discussing our regime. We will discuss only things that will not effect our sovereignty. We do want to negotiate on behalf of peace.

Those who do not worry about taking American people to war are being led by emotions. We have no fear. If they think so, let them get over that idea. No Cuban is afraid. If they think we will discuss internal politics, let them forget that, for one one will do that here. Let them discuss all topics they want to discuss. We discussed things with invaders, did we not? Well, we will debate with anyone. We are willing to talk. We are willing to debate. But does that mean we are aching to negotiate? Of course not. We are just taking a sensible step. Does that mean the revolution will slow down? Of course not! We will continue, picking up speed as we can.

Kill Foreign Invaders

If they want to say that that they do not care about the sovereignty of countries, let them. But we are ready to defend as well as to negotiate. We are ready to fire a million shots at the first Yankee parachutist that tries to land here. From the first moment they land on our soil they can be sure that they have begun the most difficult war they ever heard of. That war would be the beginning of the end for imperialism. With the same willingness to negotiate, we will fight. Even the Pioneers will fight. Each man, woman, and child has one duty in case of foreign attack--kill! If we were attacked by foreigners there would be no prisoners. The invading foreigners must know they must kill us all! While one lives, he has an enemy! Death struggle! There is no middle ground! It would be a war without prisoners!

If the invaders land on Cuban soil we will not want our lives. We will fight to the last man against whoever sets foot on our land. All men and women must know their duty. This duty will be fulfilled in simple and natural manner as peoples fight in a righteous war.

It is a crime that our people are not left in peace to complete our work of justice for those who once lived in humiliation and misery. It is too bad that illegitimate interests have determined to harm our country. While they tried to cut off our supplies, they were supplying mercenaries with weapons to invade our country and shed the people's blood. And in this shameful task, who participated?

I have already told you of the social composition. Well, the priests were not missing either. Three of them came. None were Cubans, they were Spanish. You remember that when we asked them they said they came on a purely spiritual mission. They said they came on a Christian mission. But reviewing their books we find this: An appeal to the people by Ismael de Lugo: Attention Cuban Catholics: Liberating forces have landed on Cuban beaches. We come in the name of God--as if Calvino came in the name of God--justice, and democracy to reestablish trampled freedom; this must be a lie. We come because of love, not hate. We come with thousands of Cubans, all of whom are Catholics and Christians-- what a lie--their spirit is the spirit of the crusades. (Editor's Notes: Castro continues reading the message written by Father de Lugo.....)

And that gentlemen is not even a Cuban; he is a Falangist Spaniard. He could have saved all those appeals and warlike energy by fighting against the Moorish guard of Franco. Why should he come here with three other Falangist Spanish priests instead of going to Spain to fight for freedom against Franco, who has been oppressing Spanish people for 20 odd years and who has sold out to Yankee imperialism? The Yankees are not fighting for freedom in Spain, or Nicaragua, or Guatemala. They are great friends of Franco. And these Falangist priests came here, when it is in Spain they should fight for freedom for peasants and workers. That Falangist priest comes here instead to preach against workers and peasants who have thrown off exploitation. And there were three, not just one; and the fourth, in the Escambray, is a Spanish priest too.

Foreign Priests To Be Expelled

We are going to announce here to the people that in the next few days the Revolutionary Government will pass a law declaring void any permit to remain in Cuba held by any foreign priest in our country. And this law will have only one exception; do you know for whom? A foreign priest can remain with special permission, provided the government approves, if he has not been combatting the Cuban revolution; that is, if he has not displayed an attitude opposed to the revolution; that is, there will be exceptions if a priest has been honest, has not been combatting the revolution, has not been carrying out counterrevolutionary activities. He can request permission, and the government can grant it if it deems proper, because there are some foreign priests, by way of exception, that have not taken a stand against the revolution, although the general rule has been otherwise.

Of course, they will say we are impious, enemies of religion. Can they say that after a leader of the ecclesiastic service, while proclaiming that he is coming to give spiritual service, also signs a manifesto like this one--of this political nature? Can the revolution go on allowing these acts to go on with impunity?

And let these gentlemen come to bring hell here, to bring hell on earth here, with their war criminals, their Calvinos, their Soler Puigs, their big landowners, and their privileged sons, to bring hell on earth here to the peasants and workers? Can we let the Spanish Falange go on promoting bloodshed and conspiracy here through its priests? No, we are not disposed to allow it. The Falangist priests know now, they can begin packing. (Applause)

They have been waging counterrevolutionary activities in the schools, too, poisoning the minds of pupils. They have found fertile soil in schools usually attended by children of the rich. There they have been promoting counterrevolutionary poison in the minds of the young. They have been forming terrorist minds. They have been teaching hatred for the country. Why should the revolution stand for that? We would be guilty if we let that go on.

Nationalization of Private Schools

We announce here that in the next few days the Revolutionary Government will pass a law nationalizing the private schools. This law cannot be a law for one sector; it will be general. That means the private schools will be nationalized; of course, not a little school where one teacher gives classes, but private schools with several teachers.

Directors of private schools have displayed different types of conduct. Many private school directors have not been instilling counterrevolutionary poison. The revolution feels it is its duty to organize and establish the principle of free education for all citizens. The people feel they have the duty of training future generations in a spirit of love for the country, for justice, for the revolution.

What shall be done in the case of private schools that have not displayed counterrevolutionary conduce? The Revolutionary Government will indemnify those directors or owners of schools whose attitude has not been counterrevolutionary, whose attitude has been favorable to the revolution; and the revolution will not indemnify any school whose directors have been waging a counterrevolutionary campaign, who have been against the revolution. That is, there will be indemnity for those schools that have displayed a patriotic, decent attitude toward the revolution. They will be indemnified, and their directors will be invited to work with the Revolutionary Government in directing that school or another school. That is to say, these directors will be called on to help in the field of education, besides being indemnified.

The teachers and employees of all these schools, of a lay nature, will be given work. That is, the employees and teachers of these schools will have their work guaranteed. The pupils of these schools can go on attending them, the educational standards will be kept up and even improved, and furthermore they will have to pay absolutely nothing to attend these schools.

Religion Not Restricted

Villanueva is included in this nationalization, of course. They will say this impious government opposes religious instruction. No sir. What we oppose are those shameless acts they have been committing, and this crime against our country. The can teach religion, yes; in the churches they can teach religion.

Religion is one thing, politics another. If those gentlemen were not against the political interests of the people, we would not care at all about their pastorals, their discussions of religious matters. The churches can remain open; religion can be taught there. Would it not be much better if they had stuck to their religious teaching? Would it not be much better to have peace? They can have peace, within strict limits of the respect due the revolutionary people and government. But they cannot make war on the people in the service of the exploiters. That has nothing to do with religion; it has to do with blood, with gold, with material interests. They can have the consideration of the people, in the limits of that mutual respect for rights.

Christianity arose as a religion of the poor, the slaves, and the oppressed of Rome--the religion that flourished in the catacombs. It was the religion of the poor, and it obtained the respect of the laws. It coexisted with the Roman Empire. Then came feudalism. That church coexisted with feudalism, later with absolute monarchies, later with bourgeois republics. Here the bourgeois republic disappears; why should not that same church coexist with a system of social justice that is far superior to those previous forms of government? This system is much more like Christianity than Yankee imperialism or bourgeois republics, or the Roman Empire. We believe coexistence is perfectly possible. The revolution does not oppose religion. They have used religion as a pretext to combat the poor. They forget what Christ said about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

Small Business man Protected

Those are the facts. We have spoken, as always, clearly. It means only that we are prepared to defend the revolution and continue forward, convinced of the justice of our cause.

We have spoken of our socialist revolution. It does not mean the little businessman or little industrialist need worry. Mines, fuel, banking, sugar mills, export and import trade--the bulk of the economy-- is in the hands of the people. That way the people can develop our economy. The little industralist and little businessman can coesxist with the revolution. The revolution has always cared for the interests of the small owners.

Urban reform is a proof. This month all little landlords will be collecting around 105,000 pesos. Formerly if the tenant did not pay his rent the landlord did not collect; now a fund has been established to insure that the little landlord will be paid. The revolution will have some 80 million pesos a year for construction from the urban reform. And when rental is the only income of these landlords, the revolution has ruled that after the house is all paid for, the landlord will receive a pension. A socialist revolution does not mean that interests of certain sectors are eliminated without consideration. The interests of the big landholders, bankers, and industrialists were eliminated. No social interest of the lesser levels of society is to be condemned. The revolution will adhere to its word: No middle interest will be affected without due consideration.

Little businessmen industrialists have credit today. The revolution has no interest in nationalizing them. The revolution has enough to do with developing the sources of wealth it now has at its disposal. The revolution feels that there can be collaboration from the little businessman and little industrialist. It believes that their interest can coincide with those of the revolution. Counterrevolutionaries have claimed that barbershops would be nationalized, even food stands. The revolution does not aim at those. The solution of those problems will be the result of a long evolution. There are some problems; sometimes tomatoes and pineapples are sold in the city at far higher prices than in the country. There is still a small plague of middlemen. The revolution still has measures to take to do away with the middleman abuse, to improve consumption for the people. But I do not want anybody to be confused. I want everybody to know what to expect.

Call for Collaboration

Basically, the revolution has already passed its measures. Nobody need worry. Why not join in this enthusiasm, in this prowess? Why are there still Cubans bothered by this happiness? I asked myself that while watching the parade. Why are some Cubans so incapable of understanding that his happiness can also be theirs? Why do they no adapt to the revolution? Why not see their children in the schools here also? Some people cannot adopt, but the future society will be better than the old one.

This is the hour in which we, far from using the moment against those who do not understand, should ask them if the time has not come for them to join us. The revolution found it necessary to be detained. Perhaps they have. The revolution does not want to use its force against a minority. The revolution wants all Cubans to understand. We do not want all this happiness and emotion all to ourselves. It is the glory of the people.

We say this to those who have lied in the past and have not understood. We frankly say that our revolution should not be lessened by severe sanctions against all the mercenaries. It might serve as a weapon for our enemies. We say this because we tell the people all that will benefit the revolution. We have had a moral victory and it will be greater if we do not besmirch our victory.

The lives lost hurt us as much as they do others. But we must overcome that and speak for our prestige and our cause. What is before us? The risks of imperialist aggression! Big tasks! We have reached a point in which we should realize that the time has come to make the greatest effort. The coming months are very important. They will be months in which we must make greater efforts in all fields. We all have the duty to do the utmost. no one has a right to rest. With what we have seen today we must learn that with efforts and courage we can harvest wonderful fruit. And today's fruits are nothing compared to what can be done if we apply ourselves to the maximum.

Before concluding, I want to recall what I said during the Moncada trial. Here is a paragraph: The country cannot remain on its knees imploring miracles from the golden calf. No social problem is resolved spontaneously. At that time we expressed our views. The revolution has followed the revolutionary ideas of those who had an important role in this struggle.

That is why when one million Cubans met to proclaim the Havana Declaration, the document expressed the essence of our revolution, our socialist revolution. It said that it condemned landed estates, starvation wages, illiteracy, absence of teachers, doctors, and hospitals, discrimination, exploitation of women, oligarchies that hold our countries back, governments that ignore the will of their people by obeying U.S. orders, monopoly of news by Yankee agencies, laws that prevent the masses from organizing, and imperialist monopolies which exploit our wealth. The general assembly of the people condemns exploitation of man by man. The general assembly proclaims the following: The right to work education, the dignity of man, civil rights for women, secure old age, artistic freedom, nationalization of monopolies, and the like. This is the program of our socialist revolution.

Long live the Cuban working class! Long live the Latin American sister nations! Long live the nation! Fatherland or death! We shall win!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Democracy Now’s interview of Jeremy Scahill: Assassinations, Drones, Dirty Wars, Asymmetric Warfare, and Africa’s Bleak Future

To say that Democracy Now! is a powerhouse when it comes to tackling some of the most important issues of our time is an understatement. Since their inception in 1996 they have shared and provided a perspective that most mainstream media outlets have been restricted from reporting.

We were privy to an excellent example of such reporting on April 23-24 when Jeremy Scahill, “the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and author of the international bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”, was interviewed by Amy Goodman.

The first part of the interview is focused on Scahill discussing the implications of Obama’s kill list and the details of the administration’s assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old Denver-born son Abdulrahman, two U.S. citizens killed by drones strikes in Yemen in 2011.

In part 2 Scahill talks about the documentary based on his new book, "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield", and gives us a glimpse into what the future holds in regards to asymmetric warfare, pays tribute to the importance of Wikileaks, and explains the reasons why the future of Africa looks so bleak.

The relevance and significance of this interview will most likely only be apparent in retrospect so it is well worth noting and well worth the watch.

Part 1: Jeremy Scahill: The Secret Story Behind Obama’s Assassination of Two Americans in Yemen



Part 2: The World Is a Battlefield: Jeremy Scahill on "Dirty Wars" and Obama’s Expanding Drone Attacks

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sharing a Story from My Father: In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

  1. Introduction

  2. The Story


I. Introduction


Growing up I was always reminded of the Armenian genocide, of my ancestral history. It was so normal to hear the elders talk about it that it didn’t really faze me, not until I wrote a research paper on it in university. That’s when it hit me, and it was devastating.

It became real when I read documented accounts of what had happened and saw photos of the atrocities. It became real when I came across a historical novel detailing parts of what had transpired. The deportations, the concentration camps, the death marches, the massacres; it all became real when I realized that it wasn’t just stories my elders were sharing; it was what they lived through. It was their life story.

I was confused at first. I couldn’t grasp it. I was wounded. Grief, anger, and frustration took over. I couldn’t focus on anything else for quite some time. The sense of bonding that I felt with other Armenians was perplexing. I had never been one to connect with a certain group. I liked diversity, but delving deep into my community comforted me. It healed me. It brought me back to life and allowed me to appreciate the opportunities I was given. Opportunities I tended to take for granted. It healed me from procrastination.

Slowly I began to let go of the hate. I began to understand that the people of an entire nation could not be held accountable for what those in power orchestrated - that would be foolish and irresponsible of me. I owed more than that to my forefathers, to myself. It took me a while, but I forced myself to learn the details; that the reasons for the genocide and the denials, not just of the perpetrators of these crimes but also of their allies, were just politics and economics; business as usual in the world of the corrupt, a topic that I do not wish to discuss in this post.

Today, April 24th, is Genocide Remembrance Day, the day that we commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1923. Today I’ll share with you a short story that my father shared with me. Today I’ll tell you about what his grandmother shared with him. Today we’ll take a glimpse into her life. Today I’ll reflect on the circumstances that made me who I am and set into motion the events that have brought me to this place at this time.

II. The Story


The story begins in 1915-1916 during one of the death marches from that period. Inhabitants of certain regions, totaling over a million Armenians, were ordered to pack up their belongings and head south towards the Syrian Desert. The pretext was that they were being relocated for their own safety. The reality was genocide.

These death marches, like all others before and after them, started off small. Villages were emptied; some would be re-inhabited by a different ethnicity, some would be razed. Occupants from neighboring villages were merged into large convoys. The procession would grow. Days, weeks, and at times months would go by. Countless would drop dead. Families would be shattered. Children would be lost. Many would be slaughtered.

My great grandmother’s group was fortunate. At first they were under the supervision of English and French soldiers. They were safe for a while. She was 25 years old, had 5 children; 2 boys and 3 girls, and her husband was still alive.

One night she awoke and saw people running and screaming. Within minutes she found out that the English and the French were gone, and that the Turks were coming. Everyone knew what that meant.

She woke-up her husband and gathered the children. They began to march again, this time without protection. There was no time for rest anymore. Food and water were in short supply. Stragglers and those left behind would die.

She was lucky. They were alive and her family was still together. A few days into the journey though, her luck would change. Her husband got sick. He carried on for as long as he could but he was slowing them down, which meant death for him and the children, and rape and servitude for his beloved.

The story goes that he sat down at a foot of a tree and told her to leave. There was no other choice. His time had come to an end but theirs mustn’t. They had to live. They left him some food and water and continued with their march.

That was the last time that he saw them. It was the last time that the children saw their father. It was the last time she saw her husband.

Before the death marches began they lived in Nakhchivan Tepe, a village 12 miles north of Urmia, Iran. We don’t know how far towards Syria they were driven, but after things settled down they went back home, less one person. They were lucky.

My great grandmother never remarried. She worked and raised the five children by herself, an amazing achievement for the time. She also raised many of her grandchildren, my father being one. He called her mother and remembers her with great fondness, love, and admiration. He refers to her as the peacekeeper, and from the way I have heard other family members and family friends describe her, she deserves the title. Her name was Tarlan, and she was an amazing woman. I feel sad for not knowing her. I feel sorrow for her pain. I feel pain for my father’s loss. I feel powerful for being a part of this family.

And that is just one story from the Armenian Genocide.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy 420! (Almost everything you wanted to know about Cannabis)




I. Introduction


April is indeed one of the most exciting months of the year. On April 19 we have the pleasure of celebrating Bicycle Day, and on April 20 we follow it up with 420.

April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization expands and evolves, it has become essential for us to recognize and celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided.

Cannabis Sativa 'Blueberry' - Source

As for how this day came to be chosen as an official holiday for the 420 community, in the following 2002 interview, Steven Hager, at the time the editor-in-chief of High Times magazine, explains its origins.
The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971, calling themselves the Waldos, because ‘their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school’. The group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase ‘4:20 Louis’. Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply ‘4:20’, which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general.”

420 Revealed -- A Day of Peace



Many changes have taken place on the global landscape since that interview, one of the most significant of which occurred on 6 November 2012. During the last United States presidential elections Washington State and Colorado join the fray by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.
“’It’s very monumental,’ said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a Washington-based group that advocates legalization. ‘No state has ever done this. Technically, marijuana isn’t even legal in Amsterdam.’”

After Historic Votes Legalizing Marijuana, Colorado & Washington Prepare for Federal Gov’t Showdown



So why did the residents of Washington and Colorado disregard the warning from the former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration that “once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down”? The odds are that they realized that the war on drugs is complete madness. It’s a war that has gone through multiple mutations and over the last few decades grown into the monstrosity that it is today. A one sided war declared by nations on their citizens. A war sustained entirely due to fear, greed, and ignorance.

The Chain of Destruction (Holocaust in Slow Motion)

Further information at: The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

But the tides are turning and the times are changing. What we know for sure is that we’re moving in the right direction and our transformation is reverberating around the globe, to the dismay of some and the jubilation of others.
Uruguay becomes first country to legalize marijuana trade - “A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation….

“Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases.

“When the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes a year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces), and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.”

Uruguay's Legal Cannabis Trade (New Documentary)



Below you will find the most recent global map available from wikipedia on the legality of cannabis. Please pay special attention to the dark blue areas, especially in the United States and Uruguay, the 420 celebrations are bound to be quite festive in those regions, not to mention contagious.

click to enlarge - Source: “Legality of cannabis by country”

So while dinosaurs like Canada’s Stephen Harper spew garbage trying to justify their stance on prohibition by getting lost in their own circular argument, some of the greatest thinkers of our time are pointing out the obvious, that the war on drugs is a War on Consciousness:
“I stand here invoking the hard-won right of freedom of speech to call for and demand another right to be recognised and that is the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness. There’s a war on consciousness in our society, and if we as adults are not allowed to make sovereign decisions about what to experience with our own consciousness while doing no harm to others, including the decision to use responsibly ancient and sacred visionary plants, then we cannot claim to be free in any way and it’s useless for our society to go around the world imposing our form of democracy on others while we nourish this rot at the heart of society and we do not allow individual freedom over consciousness.” - Graham Hancock, 12 January 2013, TEDx conference in Whitechapel, London

The War on Consciousness - Graham Hancock



The liberation of information that has come about thanks to the advent of the internet is reshaping our world, and one of the long-standing dogmas being challenged is the validity of prohibition.

Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups Who Benefit From Drug Prohibition

further information at: The Dominoes Are Falling, the Tides Are Turning, the War on Drugs Is Ending, but Prohibitionists Just Won’t Give up the Ghost: How to End Prohibition

One of the most astonishing aspects of the war on drugs, specifically in relation to cannabis, is that even though the federal government has classified it as a ‘Schedule I’ substance, which means that according to the federal government the cannabis plant “has no currently accepted medical use”, in the United States there are at present 5 people who have a federal medical marijuana license.

Cannabis Medicine - Patient 0: Robert Randall - Patient 1: Irvin Rosenfeld



Rather than respond to public and political demands for marijuana's medical availability, federal drug agencies are instead promoting bureaucratically sanctioned alternatives which are synthetic, expensive and often ineffective. It is ironic that after decades of pretending marijuana is medically useless, federal drug agencies are now aggressively pushing synthetic Marinol, the so-called ‘pot pill,’ by arguing it is as safe and effective as marijuana.”

Marijuana vs Marinol



So while our centralized corporate governments enforce their archaic agendas by desperately waging war on this plant, we should keep in mind that there are countless benefits associated with ending prohibition. Benefits that we have utilized for much of human history by developing a symbiotic relationship with trees (also known as cannabis, ganja, marijuana, weed, pot, herb, grass, Mary Jane, reefer, skunk, kif, Maui wowie, the chronic, and bud).

Taylor French on Medical Cannabis for Parkinson's Disease



THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, is concentrated in the flower - the sex organ - of the cannabis plant and I cannot envision a better way to spend a day than enjoying some BC Bud. So yours truly will be taking the day off while enjoying this exquisite bounty of nature.

Below I have compiled some information on cannabis for those who wish to join in these festivities, as well as for those who wish to learn more about this plant. Consider it just a small list of some of the reasons why we should end prohibition.

While reviewing this information, the most important thing to keep in mind is that those who consume cannabis are not criminals. They are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, our grandparents and our children, and many have been sacrificed to further the agenda of certain individuals and organizations who feed off the profits from the criminalization of this plant.

Happy 420 everyone.

Peace,

chycho



II. History


Historical Timeline: History of Marijuana as Medicine - 2900 BC to Present - ProCon.org, a “501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity” whose “purpose is to provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias”, provides a historical timeline of cannabis as medicine from 2900 BC to the present.

Timeline: Erowid has published a timeline documenting the historical use of Marijuana starting from 6000 B.C. where Cannabis seeds were used in China for food, concluding with the details of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in 2011.

Interview: 420 Revealed: A Day of Peace (7:52) - “HIGH TIMES Editor-in-Chief Steven Hager visits ABC News to explain the origin and significance of 420 in this 2002 interview. Noting incidents of violence surrounding a day of peace -- a trend sadly continued by the Virginia Tech shootings -- Hager calls for the date to also be used for an exploration into the cause of such tragedies.”



History: A Brief Summary of America’s War on Drugs - In this piece I provide a brief summary of where we stand regarding America’s War on Drugs, starting in 1973 when Oregon became the first state to modify its law and decriminalize marijuana use all the way up to where we stand with Washington State and Colorado legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Some astonishing statistics are provided regarding the justice and prison systems in the United States as well as some advice on how we can help end prohibition.

Lecture: Cannabis Forgetting and the Botany of Desire: Michael Pollan - “Contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan delivers this Avenali Lecture on the stories of four familiar plant species: the apple, the tulip, the potato, and cannabis.”



Lecture: Book Discussion The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 - “Kathleen Frydl talked about her book, The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973, in which she argues that contrary to common perception, the war on drugs did not begin with President Nixon’s pronouncement in 1971, but was rather a further development of preexisting initiatives. She spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.”



III. Health and Medical News


News: New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds - “Long stigmatized because of its ‘high’-inducing cousins, hemp — derived from low-hallucinogenic varieties of cannabis — is making a comeback, not just as a source of fiber for textiles, but also as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits. A new study, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, details just how many healthful compounds hempseed oil contains.”

Research: Study conducted in the Czech Republic entitled “Survey on Cannabis Use in Parkinson’s Disease: Subjective Improvement of Motor Symptoms” (pdf) - “An anonymous questionnaire sent to all patients attending the Prague Movement Disorder Centre revealed that 25% of 339 respondents had taken cannabis and 45.9% of these described some form of benefit….

“We realized that after this public information, some of our patients spontaneously started to take cannabis to alleviate their PD symptoms. The aim of this study therefore is to evaluate their possible experience with cannabis….

“Due to the illegal status of cannabis in the Czech Republic, it was impossible to run a proper clinical trial and we had to use an anonymous retrospective questionnaire-based study; we are well aware of its limitations. Questionnaires are used quite commonly in clinical research because they enable obtaining data from a large group of patients; however, results from this type of study cannot be conclusive and should rather serve as a baseline for future research.”

Taylor French on Medical Cannabis for Parkinson's Disease



News: Marijuana stops child's severe seizures - “She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. Her heart had stopped a number of times. When it happened at home, Paige did cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. When it happened in the hospital, where they'd already signed a do-not-resuscitate order, they said their goodbyes. Doctors had even suggested putting Charlotte in a medically induced coma to give her small, battered body a rest….

“Charlotte gets a dose of the cannabis oil twice a day in her food. Gedde found three to four milligrams of oil per pound of the girl's body weight stopped the seizures. Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle. She feeds herself and is talking more and more each day.”

Medical News: Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows - “The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.”

Suppression: U.S. Government Repressed Marijuana-Tumor Research - “A Spanish medical team’s study released in Madrid in February 2000 has shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, destroys tumors in lab rats. These findings, however, are not news to the U.S. government. A study in Virginia in 1974 yielded similar results but was suppressed by the DEA, and in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade U.S. universities and researchers to destroy all cannabis research work done between 1966 and 1976, including compendiums in libraries.”

Documentary: Medical Cannabis - Then & Now - “A SHORT FILM ABOUT THE PROHIBITION OF NATURE & THE NATURE OF PROHIBITION. Cannabis is one of the oldest and safest medicines in human history. The oldest historical medical text, by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, lists it as one the most important of the botanical remedies. It has been utilized since prehistory until the 19th century without a single recorded death resulting from its use - compared to legal pharmaceutical drugs which kill 200,000 people a year... This film is in support of Peter Davy, a Timaru cancer patient currently facing a prison sentence for growing medicinal cannabis to treat his illness. He will be sentenced on 4/20 this year (2011). Starring Professor David Nutt, Dr Geoff Noller, Dakta Green and a cross section of medical users.”



Medical News: Federal Government Reports Marijuana Effective in Combatting Certain Cancers Reports ADSI - “In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana ‘inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines.’ The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide "risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer. Referring to the NCI report, Patient Rights attorney Matthew Pappas said, ‘The Federal government's continuing attack on people prescribed medical cannabis by their doctors is hypocritical considering the benefits reported by its own National Cancer Institute.’”

Medical News: Cannabis sativa hemp, the miracle plant, contains the cure for cancer and other ailments - “My name is Rick Simpson. I have been providing people with Hemp Oil medicines, at no cost, for about three years. The results have been nothing short of amazing. Throughout man's history hemp has always been known as the most medicinal plant in the world. Even with this knowledge, hemp has always been used as a political and religious football. I want this knowledge out there for everyone to learn! Watch the documentary Run From The Cure to understand more about using cannabis as a cure for cancer and other medical problems!”

Medical News: New Studies Destroy the Last Objection to Medical Marijuana - “New research on "vaporization" has demonstrated that all those fears about the ill effects of smoking marijuana are 100 percent obsolete….Unlike smoking, a vaporizer does not burn the plant material, but heats it just to the point at which the THC and the other cannabinoids vaporize…. In a rational world, the government officials objecting to medical marijuana based on the health risks of smoking would greet this research with open arms. They would join with groups like the Marijuana Policy Project in spreading the word about this important, health-enhancing technology.”

Research: The Marijuana Myth: What If Everything You Think You Know About This Plant Is Wrong? - “And that's when I uncovered information that really challenged the stories I'd been told. People were using this ‘weed’ to get off of opiates, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine and other powerful drugs. Thus, it was gaining traction as ‘an exit drug,’ instead of the ‘gateway drug.’ Seniors were also secretly using it to improve their cognition. Wait...what? How is that possible? Didn't marijuana make you a ‘brain-dead loser’? No, not according to the scientific data I discovered. The opposite was true as researchers found that the plant allowed neurogenesis in the brain -- the growth of new neural pathways, even when the brain had been damaged by age or trauma.”

Lecture: WAMM's Healing Garden, with Valerie Corral - “Co-founder of WAMM (Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana) in Santa Cruz,CA, Valerie tells of the amazing help that Cannabis brings to the terminally ill, with spiritual benefits from a mindful approach to life and death in hospice. Conference hosted by Patients Out of Time.”



Medical News: Marijuana skin cream could help allergies - “The chemicals that give marijuana its mood-altering kick might also be an option for treating skin allergies, according to a study done in mice.”

Scientific Research: British Journal of Pharmacology: Special Issue: Cannabinoid Receptor 2: CB2 Receptors (January 2008 Volume 153, No 2, Pages 177–401) - “This issue has been edited by Ruth Ross and Ken Mackie and contains 16 review articles and 5 original articles which seek to give further insight into the function and role of the hitherto enigmatic CB2 receptor. The meeting ‘CB2 cannabinoid receptors: New vistas’ was held in Banff, Canada in 2007 and was organized by Keith Sharkey, Ken Mackie, Betty Yao, Marnie Duncan and Ruth Ross. This meeting was designed to bring together scientists studying CB2 receptors from diverse perspectives, including those interested in the chemistry of CB2 ligands, the role of CB2 receptors in normal biological processes, and the involvement of CB2 receptors in pathological processes.” abstract and Commentary (pdf).

News: Former Surgeon General: Mainstream Medicine Has Endorsed Medical Marijuana - “The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group in the United States. Its 124,000 members are doctors specializing in internal medicine and related subspecialties, including cardiology, neurology, pulmonary disease, oncology and infectious diseases. The College publishes Annals of Internal Medicine, the most widely cited medical specialty journal in the world. In a landmark position paper released in February, these distinguished physicians are saying what many of us have been arguing for years: Most of our laws have gotten it wrong when it comes to medical marijuana, and it's time for public policy to get in step with science.”

Medical News: Smoked Marijuana Improved ADHD Driver's Performance - “Researchers noted that 'people with ADHD are found to violate traffic regulations, to commit criminal offences and to be involved in traffic accidents more often than the statistical norm' and conclude from their investigation that 'it has to be taken into account that in persons with ADHD THC may have atypical and even performance-enhancing effects.'”

Medical News: Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer's - “THC, the key compound in marijuana, may also be the key to new drugs for Alzheimer's disease. That's because the marijuana compound blocks the formation of brain-clogging Alzheimer's plaques better than current Alzheimer's drugs. The finding -- in test-tube studies -- comes from the lab of Kim Janda, PhD, director of the Worm Institute of Research and Medicine at Scripps Research Institute.”

Medical News: Results from Two Studies of Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis - “Two recent studies – one conducted in Great Britain and one in Canada – provide new information about the possible effectiveness of marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS symptoms.”

News: Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain - “A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.”

Mental Health: POT STIRRING: Some are using marijuana as their drug of choice to curb anxiety - “A hundred years ago, a doctor might have recommended marijuana for my condition—or “nervous inquietude” as the U.S. Dispensatory called it in 1854—and to anyone suffering from menstrual cramps, gout, cholera, or migraines. During the nineteenth century, American pharmaceutical companies freely produced cannabis for ailments. But in 1937, Congress criminalized “marihuana” with a tax act. In 1996, when California passed the first state initiative to decriminalize marijuana for treating illness, certain liberal populations, like the People’s Republic of Berkeley, quickly embraced cannabis as a means to ease nausea and other symptoms associated with AIDS, cancer, and treatments for both. Yet it didn’t get any notice in the area of anxiety and depression.”

Medical News and Politics: Medical Pot Use Not Associated With “Serious” Side Effects, Study Says - “The medical use of cannabis is not associated with serious negative side effects, according to a meta-analysis published this week in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMAJ)… Investigators ‘did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events associated with medical cannabinoid use.’ Responding to the study, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: ‘Cannabinoids possess a safety profile that is unmatched by virtually every other available prescription drug or over-the-counter medication, including aspirin. To think that almost no serious adverse side effects have been associated with drug's medicinal use over a 30-year period is remarkable. What other medications can make such a claim?’”

Health: Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection - “The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. The new findings ‘were against our expectations,’ said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years… ‘We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,’ he said. ‘What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.’”

Further information on this story at: The Greatest Story Never Told - “…something in marijuana exerts an anti-cancer effect.”

Health: Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study - “Measurements and main results. Exposed and nonexposed neonates were compared at 3 days and 1 month old, using the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale, including supplementary items to capture possible subtle effects. There were no significant differences between exposed and nonexposed neonates on day 3. At 1 month, the exposed neonates showed better physiological stability and required less examiner facilitation to reach organized states. The neonates of heavy-marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers.

Conclusions. The absence of any differences between the exposed on nonexposed groups in the early neonatal period suggest that the better scores of exposed neonates at 1 month are traceable to the cultural positioning and social and economic characteristics of mothers using marijuana that select for the use of marijuana but also promote neonatal development. Pediatrics 1994;93:254-260; prenatal marijuana exposure, neonatal outcomes, Jamaica, Brazelton scale supplementary items.

Medical News and Politics: What Your Government Knows About Cannabis And Cancer -- And Isn't Telling You - “Fortunately, in the past 10 years scientists overseas have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so abruptly left off, reporting that cannabinoids can halt the spread of numerous cancer cells -- including prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. (An excellent paper summarizing much of this research, "Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise," appears in the January 2008 edition of the journal Cancer Research.) A 2006 patient trial published in the British Journal of Cancer even reported that the intracranial administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in humans with advanced glioblastoma…

“What possible advancements in the treatment of cancer may have been achieved over the past 34 years had U.S. government officials chosen to advance -- rather than suppress -- clinical research into the anti-cancer effects of cannabis? It's a shame we have to speculate; it's even more tragic that the families of Senator Kennedy and thousands of others must suffer while we do.”



IV. Politics and Economics


Statement: Former LA Police Officer Mike Ruppert Confronts CIA Director John Deutch on Drug Trafficking – “On November 15, 1996, there was a town meeting in Los Angeles on allegations of CIA involvement in drug trafficking. Former Los Angeles Police Narcotics Detective Mike Ruppert seized the opportunity to confront then CIA Director John Deutch.”



Interview: Mike Ruppert: Wall Street, CIA and the Global Drug Trade - “Well, in March of '98, it was about four months after I confronted CIA Director John Deutch at Locke High School on world television--he had come to Los Angeles to talk about allegations about CIA dealing drugs. I stood up on CNN and ABC Nightline and I said: ‘I am a former LAPD narcotics detective. I worked South Central and I can tell you, Director Deutch, that the Agency has dealt drugs in this country for a long time.’ And the room exploded, and what I saw at that time was there was a crying lack of knowledge in the body politic about how much evidence there really was about the criminal activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, specifically about dealing drugs. I said: ‘Wait a minute; I can pull out a little newsletter and say, 'If you look at this document, here's the proof for that.'’ Because a lot of people were running around with the vague notion that maybe the CIA were bad guys and had done some things wrong, and they didn't know how much actual proof there was. So that's been the mission: to present the real proof that's irrefutable about what goes on.”

News: “Absurd on every single level”: How the feds may be crippling the legal pot industry - “Because the federal government still classifies pot as a dangerous drug, corner cannabis stores and cultivators cannot secure access to traditional banking services, and do a shocking amount of their business in cash. Banks are reluctant to work with pot-related businesses, out of fear that the government will prosecute them for laundering illegally obtained money. This heightens the potential for crime at pot shops, imposes heavy costs on businesses seeking legitimacy, and could cripple the industry just as it gets started.”

News: High Times launches investment fund for marijuana business - “Executives at High Times, a New York magazine that has covered the marijuana scene for four decades, are launching a new private-equity fund expected to boost a burgeoning American marijuana industry.

“The HT Growth Fund plans to raise $100 million over the next two years to invest in cannabis-related businesses. ‘What we are looking to do is provide capital and credit to companies that are established and have grown and reached their potential as much as they can without access to traditional capital markets,’ said Michael Safir, managing director of the new fund and former business manager of High Times.”

Interview: Retired Police Captain demolishes the War on Drugs - “LEAP co-founder, Peter Christ, appears on WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, NY and takes on all aspects of our disastrous War on Drugs. Captain Christ is vice-chair of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition”



News: Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke - “If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.

“Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a ‘record’ financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.”

Interview: Mike Levine & Gary Webb - The Big White Lie + Dark Alliance= CIA drug cartel – “Michael Levine joins Montel Williams with Gary Webb to discuss the CIA's active sabotage against the American people, and their unwillingness to cooperate with open investigations.”

Mike Levine & Gary Webb - The Big White Lie + Dark Alliance = CIA drug cartel


Article: Freeway Ricky Ross and the CIA Cocaine Conspiracy - “In the 80s the US government financed a dirty war by bankrolling the Contras against the left-wing Sandanistas of Nicaragua. To help fund their campaign, the CIA allowed rebels to flood American cities with crack cocaine, with the help of street dealers like LA's Freeway Rick. But when news of the conspiracy spread, someone had to take the fall.”

Freeway Ricky Ross talks about his past drug kingpin status


News: BUSTED: Over 70% of All Major US Drug Seizures Are Marijuana Related - “A new study has found that over 70% of recent seizures of illicit drugs in the United States are marijuana related, painting a picture of the American drug landscape and a mis-prioritized, failed, war on drugs. The study, ‘Busted: Analyzing America’s Most Recent Drug Hauls,’ looked at major drug seizures as reported by over 1,500 media outlets in the United States during a 13 month period from March 2012 – April 2013.

“The study found that of the 5,000 most recent drug busts reported in the news, 70.5% involved marijuana — 140% more than all cocaine (13%), heroin (10%) and methamphetamine (6%) busts combined. The study did not look at prescription medication abuse or other designer drugs, only the ‘big four,’ which together account for 69% of the seized drugs analyzed by American forensic labs each year.”



Hypocrisy: U.S. drug czar slams medical marijuana during S.F. event - “Speaking at a gathering of law enforcement officers at the University of San Francisco, Kerlikowske also said that calling cannabis medicine ‘sends a terrible message’ to the nation’s teens. High school students are more likely to smoke marijuana than tobacco due to the growing ‘perception’ that marijuana is less harmful, he said. Kerlikowske had stern words for legalization, which is often painted as a solution to the public health and budget woes caused by drug use. ‘The Obama Administration strongly believes it is a false choice,’ he said, and not ‘ground in science.’ ‘Medicinal marijuana has never been through the FDA process,’ he added. ‘We have the world’s most renowned process to decide what is medicine and what should go in peoples’ bodies. And marijuana has never been through that process.’”

News: Washington State and Colorado Join the Fray: Cannabis Legalized - The big news from 6 November 2012 was not that the lesser of two evils won the US presidential elections, but that “Washington and Colorado voters legalized recreational use of marijuana.” Under the measures, “personal possession of up to an ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana would be legal for anyone at least 21 years of age. They also will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system modeled after a regime many states have in place for alcohol sales.” In addition, the cultivation of up to six plants for personal use will be legal in Colorado while still remaining illegal in Washington State.

News: UN Drug Czar: States Can't Legalize Marijuana Under International Law - “The president of the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, wrote a threatening letter to the U.S. government to challenge marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Apparently the voters in Colorado and Washington were unaware that they would have to not only fight off the federal government, but global drug czars as well in their effort to exercise their local sovereignty.”

News: Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal - “Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. ‘There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,’ said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law. The number of addicts considered ‘problematic’ -- those who repeatedly use ‘hard’ drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.”



Interview: Lottery winner puts $1-million toward effort to legalize marijuana - “Bob Erb has been playing the lottery since he was a young pothead in the 1970s, smoking 15 joints a day. Today, Mr. Erb is still crushing 15 joints a day — except now he’s smoking them as a multi-millionaire. The 60-year-old Terrace, B.C., farmer and grandfather won a $25-million jackpot last November and promptly began doling money out to friends, family, charity and hard luck cases. Perhaps the biggest recipient, however, has been a cause very close to his heart: the legalization of marijuana. Mr. Erb has dropped $1-million for the effort, and is probably now the biggest financial backer of 420 Day, the annual pot-fuelled haze of a protest this Saturday. He spoke with the Post’s Sarah Boesveld Thursday about his high life and plans for bringing pot legalization to national attention:”



Interview: National Disgrace - “Harry Levine has often described what reform of marijuana arrest policies should look like in this country: Everyone should be treated like white, upper-middle class people already are (“they don’t get arrested, ticketed, or fined”). The Queens College, CUNY sociology professor has published reports and articles about marijuana arrests in New York City, California, Colorado, Washington, and other states and major cities. His research, compiled with attorney Loren Siegel, has served as a key resource for those urging recognition that pot arrests in the United States are, as Levine tells TNI, racist to the point of national scandal.”

Statistics: Some Astonishing Statistics - According to the FBI, in 2011 49.5% of arrests for drug abuse violations were related to marijuana, 43.3% of those for simple possession. “Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses,” a minor decrease from the past 5 years when the total was over 800,000 arrests per year.



The monetary cost of this has been astronomical to the U.S. taxpayer. In 2007 alone, a staggering $74 billion was spent on corrections, $104 billion on policing, and $50 billion on judicial, even though reports indicate that $37 billion would be saved annually with legalization.

click to enlarge - Source

Keep in mind that “the United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners”, with "1 in 100 U.S. adults behind bars.” The numbers become even more mindboggling when you consider that “the U.S. correctional population -- those in jail, prison, on probation or on parole -- totaled 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 adults.


Source: chart, table

News: Pot Prisoners Cost Americans $1 Billion a Year - “The new report is noteworthy because it undermines the common claim from law enforcement officers and bureaucrats, specifically White House drug czar John Walters, that few, if any, Americans are incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In reality, nearly 1 out of 8 U.S. drug prisoners are locked up for pot. Of course, several hundred thousand more Americans are arrested each year for violating marijuana laws, costing taxpayers another $8 billion dollars annually in criminal justice costs.”

Corruption: Policing for Profit: The Drug War’s Hidden Economic Agenda - “During the 25 years of its existence, the "War on Drugs" has transformed the criminal justice system, to the point where the imperatives of drug law enforcement now drive many of the broader legislative, law enforcement, and corrections policies in counterproductive ways. One significant impetus for this transformation has been the enactment of forfeiture laws which allow law enforcement agencies to keep the lion's share of the drug-related assets they seize. Another has been the federal law enforcement aid program, revised a decade ago to focus on assisting state anti-drug efforts. Collectively these financial incentives have left many law enforcement agencies dependent on drug law enforcement to meet their budgetary requirements, at the expense of alternative goals such as the investigation and prosecution of non-drug crimes, crime prevention strategies, and drug education and treatment. In this article we present a legal and empirical analysis of these laws and their consequences. In so doing, we seek to explain why the drug war continues with such heavy emphasis on law enforcement and incarceration, and show the way to more rational policies.”

News: Researchers say marijuana is less of a drag than cigarettes - “A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine was completed on 5,263 teenage students in Switzerland and is producing some hair raising results. In line with a lot of studies that have been released in 2007 and 2008, this study boldly claims that it has found that marijuana use does not produce the fearful symptoms spread by anti-drug groups. The study seems to make a case that teenagers who use only marijuana, opposed to students who use marijuana and cigarettes are more active in sports, have better grades, are more socially adept and have used less illegal drugs.”

Documentary: The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex - “The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture.” (Please note that the first few minutes of the following documentary are in Dutch, but the rest is in English).



News: Denver 'Legalizes' Possession of Marijuana, Again - “The measure, which passed with a solid 57% of the vote, reads as follows: 'The Denver Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office shall make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the City’s lowest law enforcement priority.'”

Video: Police Officer Steals Marijuana (0:55) - “Police Officer bakes brownies then calls 911 and says ‘I think we are dying.’ This shows us how little the law enforcement community actually knows about Marijuana and its effects. By making this call, the officer actually admits to stealing and consuming an illegal substance. Should not he then be charged with possession and theft? Why was he allowed to just resign? Is he above the law? This is Pathetically hilarious if you consider how many people are rotting in jail for lesser crimes.”



Cover-up: Global drug Czar refuses to answer questions regarding the use of Cannabis from an NGO representative



News: In the UK, “cannabis has been reclassified by the government from a Class C to a Class B drug, carrying a higher maximum jail sentence for possession… It's a decision that has been taken for political reasons, to trump the Tories' law and order agenda, rather than for any scientific reason.” This decision was made despite claims that there was no scientific basis for a change. “The experts - including doctors, police, judges and drug counsellors” - had “concluded that cannabis should remain in the Class C category.”

All the experts admit that we should legalise drugs”, which explains why numerous scientists have decided to resign in reaction to the UK government sacking its top drug adviser after he said that “marijuana, Ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol”. David Nutt said he was disappointed by his sacking:

“Politics is politics and science is science, and there's a bit of a tension between them sometime … I'm not prepared to mislead the public about the harmfulness of drugs like cannabis and Ecstasy.”


Atrocity: Quadriplegic Serving 10-Day Sentence For First-Time Marijuana Charge Dies In DC Jail - “A 27-year-old quadriplegic man sentenced to serve ten days in a Washington, DC jail on charges that he possessed a minor amount of marijuana died while in custody last week (2004) due to inadequate health care, including prison officials' failure to provide him with a ventilator.”

Statistics: Drug War Clock - This site keeps track of the money spent on the War On Drugs in the United States. “The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second.” Further information on Americas war on drugs available at Basic Facts About the War on Drugs, and information on the American prison system available at Human Rights Watch.


Politics: Top 10 Pot Studies Government Wished it Had Never Funded
    1. MARIJUANA DOES HAVE MEDICAL VALUE
    2. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 4)
    3. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 3)
    4. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART 2)
    5. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 1)
    6. PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK (PART II: DOES PROHIBITION CAUSE THE "GATEWAY EFFECT"?)
    7. PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK (PART I)
    8. THE "GATEWAY EFFECT" MAY BE A MIRAGE
    9. HEAVY MARIJUANA USE AS A YOUNG ADULT WON’T RUIN YOUR LIFE
    10. MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY
I loved the oops’s so I had to put them all in

Politics: Cops & Customs Agents Caught Drug Smuggling - “Following last September's crash of a Gulfstream jet used by the CIA for torture flights that contained 4 tonnes of cocaine, more customs officials and cops have been caught in drug smuggling and drug dealing rackets. Customs supervisor Walter Golembiowski and officer John Ajello face narcotics, bribery and conspiracy charges after they were arrested for helping smuggle drugs and contraband through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.”



Political Medical News: Canadian Medical Marijuana Users Banned from the US; and DNA Samples Taken - “The US is accumulating data on every single person in every possible way and follows their own rules, ignoring any rights we think we might have. That medical marijuana is legal in California has no relevance to them. There is no distinction between marijuana use and heroin addiction to them. Nor is there any distinction between a medical user and a street drug dealer. I was now declared criminally ill despite being legal in every inch of Canada and did not commit any offence on US soil. It has been three months since this has happened, and I am still traumatized by the entire experience but at least able to talk about it.”

Political News: Tough-on-crime policies ineffective, U.S. sentencing expert contends - “The Harper government is embracing tough-on-crime policies even as the United States backs away from similar approaches that have produced record levels of incarceration, huge taxpayer costs and racialized prisons, says an American expert on sentencing policy…“Mauer's observations are relevant because the federal Tackling Violent Crime Act, which received royal assent on Feb. 28, echoes the punitive approach to crime adopted in the United States in the 1980s…“The Harper government pushed the bill through even though crime rates in Canada have been falling steadily since the early '90s and are now at their lowest level in 25 years.”

Economics: £300m cannabis windfall for Dutch - “Cannabis nets the Dutch treasury more than £300 million a year and has become one of the country's top cash crops, new figures show.”



Statistics: Canada tokes at 4 times world average: UN - “Canadians use marijuana at four times the world average, making Canada the leader of the industrialized world in cannabis consumption, a recent United Nations report found. The 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. The world average is 3.8 per cent.

“In the report, Canada ranks fifth in the world for marijuana use, behind Ghana at 21.5 per cent, Zambia, 17.7 per cent, and Papua New Guinea and Micronesia with 29 per cent each. Cannabis accounts for the bulk of global drug use, consumed by 160 million people.”



Opinion: It’s Time To Legalize All Drugs, Not Just Marijuana - “The most dangerous thing about any illegal drug is its manufacture and distribution exists solely on the black market. Anything that exists on the black market is by its very definition unregulated and dangerous. Black markets can be faulted in almost every way for almost every American affliction: poverty, violence, a lack of quality education, crime and healthcare. While we still haven’t legalized marijuana we are sitting on the tipping point, but it’s important to remember that prohibition never has and never will work, regardless of what is being prohibited. It’s time to push this conversation, the Drug War is not just a war on some people, it’s a war on all people.”

News: Oregon’s Largest Media Outlet Calls For Legislature To Tax And Regulate Marijuana - “It’s not everyday that a state’s largest media outlet tells the state’s legislature that they ‘shouldn’t pass up their chance to determine how legalization would work.’ But that’s exactly what happened yesterday when The Oregonian’s Editorial Board published an article with those exact words. Oregon House Bill 3371 was passed out of the Judiciary Committee this last week. Oregon House Bill 3371 would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. It brings me great joy to see an article like this at the same time that the Oregon Legislature is currently working on a bill. Public opinion is on our side, traditional media now appears to be on our side, and hopefully the Oregon Legislature is taking note of all of it.”

News: Policing for profit thrives in BC - “In British Columbia, the government can take away your home, your car and your cash, without ever charging you with a crime. Most people in BC are not aware of how easily the government can take away their most valuable possessions. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever been charged with a crime. In many cases the government doesn’t need to go to court at all! The BC Liberals have made it easier and easier for police to profit from seizing private property. This trend is called “policing for profit” and it is very dangerous. Policing for profit corrupts police forces and results in policing priorities being set based on their financial gain.”

News: Ex-DEA Chief Lobbying Holder to Nullify Marijuana Legalization Owns a Drug Testing Company - “It turns out Peter B. Bensinger, who in the letter is representing the lobbying organization Save Our Society from Drugs, has a huge financial stake in preventing the legalization of cannabis. He is the founder and CEO of a drug testing company. After Bensinger left the DEA he founded Bensinger Dupont Associates which according to their website handles large scale drug testing for corporations.”





V. Famous Marijuana Smokers


Scientist: Carl Edward Sagan, Ph.D. (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He is world-famous for writing popular science books and for co-writing and presenting the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which has been seen by more than 600 million people in over 60 countries, making it the most widely watched PBS program in history.

Carl Sagan was also a marijuana advocate. “Under the pseudonym ‘Mr. X’, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. The essay explained that marijuana use had helped to inspire some of Sagan's works and enhance sensual and intellectual experiences. After Sagan's death, his friend Lester Grinspoon disclosed this information to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life, in 1999 brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan's life. Not long after his death, widow Ann Druyan had gone on to preside over the board of directors of NORML, a foundation dedicated to reforming cannabis laws.“



Elder: María Sabina “(1888 - November 23, 1985) was a Mazatec medicine woman who lived her whole life in a modest dwelling in the Sierra Mazateca of southern Mexico. Her practice was based on the use of the various species of native psilocybe mushrooms. abina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera, defined in New Age parlance as a native shaman, to allow Westerners to participate in the healing vigil known as the velada, where all participants partake of the psilocybe mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind. The velada is seen as a purification and as a communion with the sacred.”

In the early 1930's, prior to Maria's rise to prominence, Robert J. Weitlaner, witnessed, but it is not recorded he participated in, the Mazatec mushroom ceremony just northeast of Oaxaca. On July 16, 1938, his daughter Irmgard, with an anthropologist who eventually became her husband, Jean Bassett Johnson, together with two others, Bernard Bevan and Louise Lacaud, attended a mushroom rite in Huautla. Johnson later gave a full account of the event and were the first white persons ‘recorded’ to attend such a ceremony (although it is said they did not participate in the ceremony or ingest the mushrooms).”

R. Gordon Wasson encountered Sabina on his trip to Mexico in 1955. “On June 19th, 1955 she introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms during a healing ceremony. He became the first Westerner to experience the effects of these psychedelic fungi, followed shortly thereafter by Valentina Wasson. Wasson wrote about his experience with María and the psilocybin mushrooms in an article for Life Magazine in 1957. In the Life Magazine article, Wasson referred to María Sabina as ‘Eva Mendez’ in an attempt to protect her privacy, but the attempt failed. Over the coming years, María Sabina was inundated with visitors from the United States. The onslaught of ‘young people with long hair who came in search of God’ disrupted her village and led to her arrest on more than one occasion by local federales.”

source

Politician: Barack Obama, the 44th and current President of the United States, and the ungrateful hypocrite, who has forgotten about his online audience, “inhaled frequently”.



Scientist: Francis Harry Compton Crick “(8 June 1916 – 28 July 2004), was a British molecular biologist, physicist, and neuroscientist, and most noted for being one of the co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. He, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine ‘for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material’.”

Crick forged his own path through life… He seldom read newspapers, because working in intelligence had convinced him that most stories never reached the press”, and “he experimented with marijuana and LSD.” Crick, the “father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA.”

“Despite his Establishment image, Crick was a devotee of novelist Aldous Huxley, whose accounts of his experiments with LSD and another hallucinogen, mescaline, in the short stories The ‘Doors Of Perception’ and ‘Heaven And Hell’ became cult texts for the hippies of the Sixties and Seventies. In the late Sixties, Crick was a founder member of ‘Soma’, a legalise-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley’s novel ‘Brave New World’. He even put his name to a famous letter to the Times (pdf) in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws.”

source

Athlete: Wakakirin Shinichi (born September 21, 1983 as Shinichi Suzukawa) is a former sumo wrestler from Hyogo prefecture in Japan. His highest rank was maegashira 9. He was thrown out of the sport in February 2009 after being arrested for cannabis possession.”

This incident shocked Japan. 6 months before, four sumo wrestlers were “kicked out of the sport for using the drug and a player on the national rugby team was banned for life.” In addition, police “arrested a rock star and staged high-profile raids at some of the nation's top universities, arresting students and confiscating Ziploc bags full of suspicious substances.”

source

Athlete: Michael Phelps “is a retired American swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (18, double the second highest record holders), Olympic gold medals in individual events (11), and Olympic medals in individual events for a male (13). In winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps took the record for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. Five of those victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four golds and two silver medals, making him the most successful athlete of the Games for the third Olympics in a row.”

“In February 2009, publication of a photograph of Phelps using a water pipe, a device used for smoking tobacco or marijuana, resulted in the loss of Kellogg as a sponsor, as well as a three-month suspension from USA Swimming. Phelps admitted that the photo, taken at a student party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic.”

source



VI. Entertainment


Music: Bob Marley: No Woman No Cry (5:56) - Here is a little Marley to light up your day. This song specifically is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy. And here is the Boney M (4:34) version just in case you enjoy your 70’s flash, I know I do.

Gathering: UCSC Porter Meadow 420 (2:59) - “Time Laps starting 1.5 hours before and ending 1.5 hours after 4:20 at UCSC.”

Entertainment: 4/20 Parachute Stoner Dash (Yakety Sax Benny Hill theme) - “Festivities at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.”

Celebration: “Vancouver 420 Celebration 2008!! 10,000 Strong!!” (4:17) - “Everyone came out this year! Great Turn-out!! Good show! Same time next year!”

Music: Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong LIVE (4:38)

Truth: Bill Hicks - Drugs and Evolution (4:36).


Economics of Entertainment: Marijuana Movies: Riding High In Hollywood? - “Pot-centric comedies have become a major cash crop for Hollywood. Between sleeper hits and blockbusters, the genre has generated more than $400 million in domestic box office in the last 10 years, and even more on DVD — following a pattern typical for other genres, like horror flicks and family fare. Stoner roles have launched or resurrected the careers of Oscar winners (Sean Penn, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), movie stars (Matthew McConaughey, Dazed and Confused), and former child actors (Neil Patrick Harris, White Castle). And for better or worse, toking up on screen even seems to have lost some of its shock value.”

source

Music: Cannabis helps me unwind says Violinist Nigel Kennedy - “Nigel Kennedy, the 51 year old orchestral violinist and Birminghams original ‘Aston Villain’ has told how orchestral musicians will often use illicit or prescription drugs to fight off stagefright, and after a long evening playing in front of an audience, he will often unwind by smoking a joint or two.”

source



VII. Religion and Spirituality


Spirituality: Spiritual use of cannabis - “The cannabis plant has an ancient history of ritual usage as a trance inducing drug and is found in pharmacological cults around the world. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus. In India, it has been engaged by itinerant sadhus for centuries, and in modern times the Rastafari movement has embraced it. Some historians and etymologists have claimed that cannabis was used as a religious sacrament by ancient Jews, early Christians and Muslims of the Sufi order.”

Biblical: Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher - “High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week… ‘As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,’ Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday. Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the ‘burning bush.’’”

Religion and Politics: Jamaica Explores Legalizing Marijuana - “Jamaica is considering the legalization of marijuana, a drug revered by members of the island's large Rastafarian population who say smoking it is part of their religion. “A seven-member government commission has been researching possible changes to the Caribbean nation's anti-drug laws, which some police complain are clogging courts and jails with marijuana-related cases…

“In 2003, a government commission recommended legalizing marijuana in small amounts for personal use. But lawmakers never acted, saying legalization might entail loss of their country's U.S. anti-drug certification. Countries that lose it face economic sanctions.”

Deity: Shiva “is a major Hindu god and one aspect of Trimurti. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the supreme God. In the Smarta tradition, he is one of the five primary forms of God. Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas.”

Cannabis or ganja is associated with worship of the Hindu god Shiva, who is popularly believed to like the hemp plant. Ganja is offered to Shiva images, especially on Shivratri festival. This practice is particularly witnessed at temples of Benares, Baidynath and Tarakeswar. Ganja is not only offered to the Lord, but also consumed by Shaivite (sect of Shiva) yogis. Charas is smoked by some Shaivite devotees and cannabis itself is seen as a gift (‘prasad,’ or offering) to Shiva to aid in sadhana…

“During the Hindu festival of Holi, people consume a drink called bhang which contains cannabis flowers. According to one description, when elixir of life was produced from the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons, Shiva created cannabis from his own body to purify the elixir (whence, for cannabis, the epithet angaj or body-born). Another account suggests that the cannabis plant sprang when a drop of the elixir dropped on the ground. Thus, cannabis is used by sages due to association with elixir and Shiva. Wise drinking of bhang, according to religious rites, is believed to cleanse sins, unite one with Shiva and avoid the miseries of hell in the after-life.”

source



VIII. Environment


Information: Hemp - “Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend. The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. The oil from the fruits (‘seeds’) oxidizes (commonly, though inaccurately, called "drying") to become solid on exposure to air, similar to linseed oil, and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix as well. A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemp seed sold in the EU was used in animal and bird feed. Hempseed is also used as a fishing bait.

“In modern times hemp is used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hempcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel.”

Article: Hemp Could Free Us From Oil, Prevent Deforestation, Cure Cancer and It’s Environmentally Friendly – So Why Is It Illegal? - “Hemp is a tall, beautiful and gracious looking annual plant that can reach heights over twelve feet. Although hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa var. indica) come from a similar species of plant, they are very different and confusion has been caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters. The reason hemp is illegal is not because of any negative impact to the environment or human health, but exactly the opposite. It is so environmentally friendly, nutritionally and medicinally beneficial, that it provides too many abundant resources which would make it impossible for powerful corporations to compete.”

Commentary: How Hemp Threatens the Corporatocracy | Brainwash Update - “Abby Martin takes a look at the real reason why hemp is illegal in the US, the truth might surprise you.”



Interview: Building Toward The Future With Hemp - “All over the Pacific Northwest one can see the effects of the massive deforestation that's been taking place out there during the past 20 years. Whole valleys and mountainsides have been clear-cut - stripped of all plant life - to meet our insatiable demand for fiber, paper and wood. So when High Times learned that Bill Conde, a longtime hemp activist who once ran for governor of Oregon, was researching making an alternative to plywood utilizing hemp, we decided to look into it.

“What immediately stands out when going to see Conde is the huge billboard for Conde's Redwood Lumber on the side of Interstate 5, just outside of Harrisburg, Oregon. On one side of the company name is a giant green marijuana leaf and on the other side is an American flag inside a peace sign. In the heart of lumber country, the lumber industry is talking about planting hemp and converting to it as a primary source of fiber. Credit goes largely to Conde, David Seber and Barry Davis, partners in the research and development company called C & S, the company at the forefront in research on hemp use for fiber. HT met with Conde and Seber - Davis was unavailable - to find out what progress they've made in developing a substitute for clear-cutting old-growth forest.”

Documentary: Hemp for Victory - 1942 USDA Full Film - Government Promotes Hemp - “Hemp for Victory was a film released by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1942, urging U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp for World War II. Of course, it was just five years earlier in 1937 when the anti-Cannabis campaign efforts of Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics successfully culminated in the early stages of both hemp and marijuana prohibition.”



Information: The history and benefits of hemp - “Hemp is another word for the plant Cannabis sativa L. Marijuana comes from this same plant genus – and so do broccoli and cauliflower. But the strains of hemp used in industrial and consumer products contain only a negligible level of the intoxicating substance delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Thus, industrial grade hemp is not marijuana. Hemp is the most useful and beneficial plant in nature.”

Documentary: The Hemp Revolution - “This documentary covers a whole lot of ground. It deals with every historical and contemporary aspect of hemp usage and cultivation (mainly in the U.S.), which turns out to be a lot. From describing the production of a fibre much more durable and economic than wood, the documentary discusses hemps multilateral uses as e.g. food products, as a non-polluting fuel and as a pharmaceutical product with much less griveous sideeffects than chemical pharmaceutical products. The film also investigates why America went from a country which produced vast quantities of the non-narcotic industrial hemp, to the complete ban on hemp production in 1938. This story in particular is interesting, and it points out that the large oilbased industries actually had a key role in the aforementioned ban. Food for thought! The conclusion of the documentary could be that hemp may prove to be a valid alternative to both oil and wood in the future.”





IX. Education


Lecture: “Former narcotics investigator Mike Ruppert , and author of ‘The Truth and Lies of 911’, was forced out of the LAPD in 1977 when he exposed evidence of drug trafficking by the CIA. This is one of his first appearances caught on Video in 1997 at the Granada Forum in Tarzana, CA. Topic is ‘CIA Drug Running’”



Documentary: At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, The House I Live In, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg , Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to America’s War on Drugs.

Further information at: The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

Documentary: As for the facts about cannabis and drug prohibition, the following documentary, The Union, is an excellent introduction to the topic.



History: One of the most astonishing aspects of the war on drugs, specifically in relation to cannabis, is that even though the federal government has classified it as a Schedule I substance, which means that according to the federal government the cannabis plant “has no currently accepted medical use”, in the United States there are at present 5 people who have a federal medical marijuana license.



Children's Book: "'It’s Just a Plant' is an illustrated children's book about marijuana. It follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the plant from a diverse cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer."

Classification: Drug classification rethink urged - “The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said… The alternative system was prepared by Professor David Nutt, a senior member of the Committee that advises the government on drug classification, and Professor Colin Blakemore - chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. There are three class A drugs in the top five of the system, as well as one Class B and alcohol.”

“Tobacco is listed as the ninth most harmful drug and cannabis, a class C drug (UK), comes in at number 11. Perhaps most surprising is the presence of two Class A drugs - ecstasy and LSD - in the bottom six. This places them well below tobacco and alcohol and a number of class B and C drugs.”

Education: Gary Webb on C.I.A. Trafficking of Cocaine - “Gary Webb is the San Jose Mercury News journalist that was run out of his job and blacklisted from the industry for daring to report what he found out. ”


Evidence Begins To Indicate Gary Webb Was Murdered - “We will simply not let the issue drop. How on earth can somebody have two different gunshot wounds and their cause of death still be passed off as suicide?

Government Tactics: Cannabis blunder at Tokyo airport - “A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security. Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in…

“‘I knew that using passengers' bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog's ability,’ the officer was quoted as saying. ‘The dogs have always been able to find it before... I became overconfident that it would work.’”

Lecture: Don’t Talk to Police - “Law school professor and former criminal defense attorney tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police.”



Truth: Doug Stanhope on Medicinal Marijuana - “Doug discusses drug use, medicinal, recreational... whatever.”





X. How to End Prohibition


As for what we, personally, can do to help end America’s war on drugs? Our best option is to support grassroots organizations that are working towards repealing prohibition, they did, after all, get the ball rolling on this.
In 1973 Oregon became the first state to modify its law and decriminalize marijuana use, which meant possession became a civil offense punishable by a fine. A key reason for this legislative change was pressure exerted by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), a private citizens group founded in 1971 that believed drug laws were unfair to recreational users."
Below you will find the names and websites of some of the more prominent groups spearheading the battle to end prohibition in the United States and Canada. They are trying to bring sanity back into our lives and I’m sure they would appreciate our support as much as we appreciate their efforts.

Organizations Working Towards Ending Prohibition

  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)

  • Erowid

  • Moms for Marijuana

  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

  • Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

  • DrugSense

  • Educators For Sensible Drug Policy (EFSDP)

  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (USA) and NORML Canada

  • The November Coalition

  • Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)

  • Drug Policy Alliance (DPA Network)