Undoing colonial carcerality everywhere: Palestine & the global drug war

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Undoing colonial carcerality everywhere: Palestine & the global drug war

9 May 2024
The Mainlander
Bilal Bagha
Care Not Cops 604
Naja Kassir
Nanky Rai
Shams Abdul
Tyson Singh ਟਾਈਸਨ ਸਿੰਘ
Nesa Hamidi Tousi

Substances are weaponized as a tool of settler colonialism by Canada, while their prohibition and attached criminalization have been used to uphold the settler state, and its attendant forms of racial capitalism.

Collective prohibitionist policies are key to the interlocking social relations of colonial control and capitalism under Canada. The carceral apparatus, which includes courts, prisons and provincial-level child apprehension systems, is largely powered by drug war-related charges, either through direct drug-related events, or the indirect violence generated by an unregulated drug market.

Like much of the world, Canada is overseeing a crisis of mass death due to the unregulated drug market now producing a contaminated and unpredictable supply in response to a century of shifting forms of surveillance and crackdowns on illicit procurement. More than 42,000 people died by drug opioid and stimulant drug poisonings between January 2016 and September 2023 in Canada (and at least 14,000 people died in the province of British Columbia alone from April 2016 to January 2024).

In Palestine, restrictions on substances have been employed as a tool of war by the settler state of Israel.