For The Antiprohibitionist Reform Of The Un Conventions On Drugs

Thank you, thank you, Mr Chairman. Some news: in the meantime, during our meeting, thanks to the help of Joao de Menezes Pereira, we have two new Portuguese parliamentarians, members of Parliamentarians for Anti-prohibitionist Action - Moreira da Silva of the popular group, and Camilla Madeira of the Socialist Party, who is the President of the Young Socialists, so we thank Joao, and especially these two new MPs who have joined this association, this network of Parliamentarians, just as we thank the speaker you heard this afternoon, Carlos Erreira of the Libertarian Movement of Costa Rica, who also brought four new members of Parliamentarians for Anti-prohibitionist Action: Ronaldo Alfonso, Peter Sueraro, Carlos Salazar and Federico Malovasi. In all, then, there are seven new members of this network of Parliamentarians for Anti-prohibitionist Action; we have heard from today’s speeches, from the report of the Secretary Marco Perduca, and also from the speeches of Jean Pierre Galant and many others, that the problem is the organisation and the mobilisation in such a short time, so near to the Vienna meeting, of forces, political groups, and also associations of any type, of any nationality, even those whose activities, approaches and interests may vary considerably: the problem is now to bring together different approaches and interests towards a common objective. In themselves, the international conventions cannot, I believe, be considered either the cause of prohibitionism in the world, this would be exaggerating their importance, because national legislations continue to be national legislations, or simply the consequence, the result of international prohibitionism, as if they were a neutral, insignificant factor of prohibitionism: they go hand in hand with national prohibitionism, I think it would be futile to place all our hopes and anti-prohibitionist efforts on the international conventions, because as Marco Perduca reminded us, it is ultimately national governments that can intervene at the United Nations, though at the same time the United Nations is a seat, an organ, an institution, a bureaucracy if you like, that channels funds, resources, people, data, and analyses to the prohibitionist front; and this is an important factor: as well as being everything we have said in the last two days, prohibitionism is also a bureaucracy, or rather a production of dozens, hundreds, thousands of bureaucracies at town, provincial, regional and national level, bureaucracies that often need not to speak about policy, to take it for granted that policy, the choice of policy is made higher up, "against drugs" they say, and in fact those who hand out leaflets against us say: "You are in favour of drugs," so they think they can eliminate the political factor through this underlying falsification, to avoid the question of policy, of justice, legality and the Rule of Law. Once they have performed this ideological operation, which assigns ethical status to the mission of offering us a drug-free world, nothing else counts: data no longer count, science no longer counts, the toxicological differences between one substance and another no longer count, nothing counts except the watchword; and every time there is an opportunity for verification, which in theory should be the verification of the results achieved by the current policies, there is no verification, and we are simply told: more money, more prohibitionism, more bureaucracies, more people, more helicopters, more fumigation, more repression, more death penalties in those countries which have the death penalty, even for simple users of narcotic substances... more. This, then, is our task, and for this reason the appointment in April is related to what each of us does, from those who deal exclusively with international politics to those involved in trying to hand out sterile needles in cities where it is prohibited. And so the thread that links such different interests and objectives if we are not present, and when I say “we” I mean those who are here in this room and not many others, if we are not present, then we already know what will happen in April 2003 in Vienna: they will take the data and throw it in the bin, or rather they will use it to say: more, we must carry on with the same policies we have pursued up to now, only more so, to the delight of Iran, to the delight of Burma, to the delight of China, to the delight of the dictatorships around the world who on this issue, more than on any other issue, can play the role of teachers, because this is what happens at the United Nations: these countries claim to have the toughest and most repressive policies, it is to their advantage. The hundreds of people murdered on the charge of... with charges relating to drugs, the policy serves the Chinese dictatorship, the Burmese dictatorship, the Vietnamese dictatorship, to eliminate political dissidents, human rights campaigners, it serves this purpose, so they back their policies, take the floor and say: "You Western Europeans, especially the Dutch, especially the Swiss and a few other places, by tolerating depenalisation, by tolerating consumption, and so on, are sending out a weak signal, and it is because of your weakness that we are unable to defeat and eliminate drugs from the face of the earth.” This is what, without us, we know will happen. Are we prepared for the task that faces us? I don’t know, it depends above all on each of us as individuals even more than as an organisation. April 2003, only a few months to go, and in any case it won’t be the very last chance we have, these two days... this conference has been extremely useful, as we have said, to store up information and knowledge, to exchange information and knowledge, to increase the tools at our disposal, after which without politics, without political initiatives, without acts of civil disobedience and all the other things that have been said, then masses of information and knowledge will simply bury us alive. In these cases, being right is not enough, and can actually be of no use at all; the problem is to what extent good reasons are turned into political initiative. As a Radical I feel I should point out that in a few days, from 31 October to 3 November, we are holding the Transnational Radical Party Congress in Tirana, the slogan of the Congress is: "The globalisation of freedom and democracy". The Congress will discuss the institution of new institutional instruments, the World Organisation of Democracy, a proposal launched by Emma Bonino and Marco Pannella, as well as the other fronts on the abolition of the death penalty, the reinforcement, after the International Criminal Court, of judicial and institutional instruments for the affirmation of freedom and democracy; I believe that a decisive factor for the success of the anti-prohibitionist battle is the link with other fronts of freedom and justice, the examples I have just given with respect to the United Nations and to the level of debate at the United Nations make it clear that the problem of drugs and prohibitionism is linked to the problem of democracy and the Rule of Law, the two things cannot be separated. Anti-prohibitionism is one of the fronts of anti-totalitarianism, against dictatorships, against totalitarian regimes, against ideologies and clericalism, anti-prohibitionism on drugs is an integral part of the wider battle of anti-prohibitionism on ideas, on personal beliefs, on the profession of religious faiths, on everything that concerns individual freedom and rights, as acquired - as we say in the definition of rights - over centuries of the development of the democratic and liberal civilisation that we know and that we defend. I will end with a formal note concerning the Radical Party organisation: at the end of today’s proceedings, we will meet with the Italian participants who have joined the Coordinamento Radicale Antiproibizionista for 2002. At the Congress we held in Paris in 1998, we already realised that the Radical anti-prohibitionists had as soon as possible to entrust the battle, also in terms of political debate and internal democracy as a Radical subject, to the Transnational Radical Party, we said this was what we had to do, it was stated in the motion, in the context of the Transnational Radical Party Congress; we are now in this context, because the first session of the Congress was held in Geneva a few months ago and the next session will be held in Tirana, as I said, in a few days’ time... I believe that in this context, and this is the proposal that we are putting, together with the Secretary Meyssan, to the members of the CoRA, we can entrust not only the battle but also the debate and the political planning of the Radical anti-prohibitionist front to the Transnational Radical Party and also to the IAL as far as the involvement and mobilisation of leading figures, experts and scientists at international level is concerned - we have heard many of them over the last two days, we have heard from Arnold Trebach, from Gianfranco Dell'Alba, and from Marco Perduca that the IAL has decided to become a constituent subject of the Transnational Radical Party. I will end by responding to those of you, and to people we have been in contact with over the last few months, who have raised the “Radical Party” problem: is it not, perhaps, an obstacle that you are called a "party", that you are called "Radical"? I believe that the term “party” is important to underline the fact that this is a political battle, or at least also a political battle, the term "Radical" is our name, our history, "Radical" means acts of civil disobedience, the things that have been done and remembered; I believe that "Radical" is now paradoxically a guarantee of a multifaceted, cross-party approach, in parliaments, in the European Parliament, it is no coincidence that in the sphere of parliamentary action, with respect to which I have been assigned a precise position within the International Anti-prohibitionist League, it is the Radicals who have already created a network of Anti-prohibitionist Parliamentarians, which after only a few weeks already numbers 65 members, I believe that this is a sign of confidence in our ability to work on objectives, without vetting those who share those objectives... I would therefore like to express sincere thanks first of all to our Chairman, Arnold Trebach, for having decided together with these dangerous individuals, the Radicals, to enter a new phase of his action, of his anti-prohibitionist militancy... I believe he has not made a mistake. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Marco Cappato, Member of the European Parliament, Co-ordinator of the PAA

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