Since its dramatic acceleration in the 1970s, the American War on Drugs has succeeded in creating a “prison-industrial complex” that trumps some of the most brutal totalitarian systems of the twentieth century in both scope and scale. How did this happen? How did drug policy evolve into such a potent tool for social control and mass incarceration? Justin Rogers-Cooper sits down to talk about the historical development of the modern drug war, how it has always been fought along racial and class lines, its larger context of deindustrialization and the decline of unions, and what we can expect from a system whose very existence challenges the idea of the United States as a “free and tolerant” society.
Episode Fourteen: The War on Drugs