Representatives of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the Republican Socialist Youth Movement attended an Anti-Imperialist Symposium in Athens focusing on the issue of drugs and their relevance to imperialism. This is an issue on which the IRSP has been active for decades taking a progressive but robust stance on the matter.
Other representatives present came from a variety of left-wing and anti-imperialist movements, based in other countries such as the Basque Country, Turkey, Greece, the USA, Mexico and the Philippines. They offered their positions on the matter also.
The IRSP noted from the outset that this is a complicated and multi-faceted matter. Human beings have used substances throughout history as a form of release, and this can be harmless. However, the reaction of people to drugs is determined largely by their social circumstances: those living in poverty and social misery are much more likely to become addicted to the release offered by drugs than those living comfortably.
When those form working-class and poor communities become addicted, they are often almost zombified, and their disjointed antisocial actions and the acts they commit to feed their habits tear apart the solidarity in working-class communities. Therefore, drugs are facilitated by the state: they ensure that the working class and poor do not rise up to assert their rights. The state too uses their resulting anti-community activity to increase its repressive behaviours and surveillance. On a global scale the imperialists subjugate entire nations by allowing the proliferation of violent narco-cartels and keeping the people enslaved as drug-addled ghosts of their former selves.
Given the detriment that such substances cause to the anti-imperialist and left-wing cause in local communities and internationally, there must be a line based on domestic material conditions and on an international analysis and we must strive to diminish the impact of drugs on the most vulnerable in society.