An ethnographic study of women and drug use in inner city neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, revealed that cannabis is commonly used in conjunction with crack cocaine to minimize the undesirable effects of crack pipe smoking, specifically paranoia and weight loss.
An impressive reduction of the coca-cultivated area has been achieved within the framework of Plan Dignidad, but this ‘success’ has exacted a heavy toll in terms of the impoverishment and criminalisation of the Bolivian coca leaf-growing peasantry, or cocaleros, as they are known.
What can Alternative Development interventions realistically hope to achieve, given the growing demand for illicit drugs and the continuing prevalence of rural poverty. Non-conditionality for the concept, harm reduction for the production side, and open mindedness for an honest debate are, in the view of Martin Jelsma, necessary steps to “prevent Alternative Development as the Sacred Heart in the global drugs policy from beeing blown apart by the roaring helicopters on the horizon”. Martin Jelsma gave his critical assessment of Alternative Development at the International Conference on The Role of Alternative Development in Drug Control and Development Cooperation.
This briefing contributes towards theorising democratic, egalitarian and emancipatory politics that have for some time been struggling from below. Hilary Wainwright highlights practical lessons learnt from the experiences of labour and broad-based social movements in Brazil, the UK and the USA.