The fight over the introduction of harm reduction in the Political Declaration of the UNGASS review has now reached the newspapers. A report by Reuters said that the 'US and Europe split over drugs policy'. "US negotiators are trying to push through anti-drug programmes that were promoted during the former Bush administration but which are no longer advocated by President Barack Obama," participants at the talks in Vienna told Reuters.
The future of our public services will be as central to the next election as the future of the economy. The experience of Newcastle City Council shows that most political party leaders are wrong when they believe the solution lies in further competition and outsourcing.
The issue of harm reduction continues to be controversial during the negotiations in Vienna for the Political Declaration that has to be adopted in March 2009 at the High Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). There is severe pressure on delegates to drop their insistence on incorporating the language and principles of harm reduction in the political declaration, or to accept some watered down version.
Against a barrage of opposition media propaganda funded by Bolivia’s elites, the new constitution was approved with 61% of the popular vote. Bolivia was once the prized pupil for its wholesale application of policies encouraged by the IMF and the World Bank. Now it is one of the countries articulating an alternative.
While browsing through a major Moscow bookstore recently, I happened to notice one bookshelf with a tersely written label that read, simply, “Jews.” It contained a randomly arranged collection of books on the ancient history of Palestine, tracts on Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theories, memoirs of escaped Holocaust victims, pamphlets written by “revisionist historians” arguing that the Holocaust never happened, Russian-language publications from Israel, and a large number of books that I would classify as practical guides for organizing a pogrom. In
Obama's Cairo speech shifted the discourse, away from justifying reckless imperial hubris, unilateralism and militarism and towards a more cooperative and potentially even internationalist approach. It is the task of people across the US to mobilise and turn that new language into new policies.
Unless Left parties acknowledge their blunders and rebuild their links with progressive intellectuals and civil society activists, and involve them as well in changing course, they will face marginalisation and a historic decline.
The Obama White House announced today that the new President supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of HIV/AIDS infection among drug users. Will he also lift the ban on the concept of harm reduction, which has paralysed the international drug policy debate under his predecessors?
Allan Clear of the Harm Reduction Coalition made an urgent appeal on the Obama White House to intervene in the current negotiations about the Political Declaration on the 1998 UNGASS review that has to be adopted in March 2009 at the High Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). For more than two million people living with HIV, mainly in Africa, hopes are high for a change in Obama's foreign policy.