Drug Policy Alliance Looking Forward
In slow yet incremental steps, progress is being made toward establishing more sensible and humane drug policies in the United States.
The past half century has been characterized by politically-motivated hysteria around the so-called War on Drugs, resulting in harsh sentencing laws, and a subsequent soaring of mass incarceration rates. Half of the federal prison population is in for drug offenses, and the result has been highly detrimental to families and communities.
Two years ago former Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would begin to reassess the draconian mandatory minimum sentences on non-violent drug offenders that disproportionately target young African American and Latino males. Such public pronouncements, along with continued grassroots organizing, and heightened public awareness that the War on Drugs has been an abysmal failure, are helping to shift the tide in drug policies. The Drug Policy Alliance has made measurable strides in criminal justice reforms such as in helping to decriminalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
Guest – Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Nadelmann received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard as well as a Masters’ degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and taught at Princeton University for seven years. He has authored two books ” Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe ” and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the U.S. as well as top academic journals.
Radicals In America: The US Left Since The Second World War
Radicals in the United States, often controversial and frequently dismissed by the status quo, have nonetheless played a significant role in mobilizing social justice movements. In the recently published book “Radicals in America: The U.S. Left since the Second World War,” authors Christopher Phelps and Howard Brick have compiled
a comprehensive history of radicalism that includes the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle through the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The list of accomplishments by the Left is significant, including: racial integration, desegregation of the armed forces, the maintenance of labor unions for nearly 50 years until the election of President Ronald Reagan, the rise of feminism, abortion-rights, and the American withdrawal from Vietnam. The authors of Radicals in America explain how successive generations join movements of dissent, face political setbacks and repression and yet still have succeeded in sparking the imagination among mass movements.
Guest – Christopher Phelps, historian of modern American political and intellectual life. Born near Washington, D.C., he has taught at universities in five countries: Britain, the United States, Poland, Hungary, and Canada. He is author of the intellectual biography Young Sidney Hook (Cornell, 1997; 2d ed., Michigan, 2005) and Radicals in America (Cambridge, 2015), a comprehensive history of the American left since the Second World War co-authored with Howard Brick.