Catch up

It is a big deal that the people of Oregon voted to decriminalize simple possession of anything. We should do that! Yes, but also, no.

Why not? There’s one very significant reason, and it’s political reality. Do you want to get a citizen initiative on the ballot? BC is the only province with a process.

Registered voters can use the initiative process to propose a new provincial law or changes to an existing provincial law.
The voter must collect signatures from 10% of the registered voters in each of the province’s electoral districts for an initiative petition to succeed.

Oh. that sounds difficult, right? with the 87 ridings, and all those right-wing ones…..? we can continue Demanding? and Calling On? perhaps….. louder?

that strategy is not working. it’s been a few years.

the politicians and governments are not going to do this. seriously. the government in Oregon didn’t! it was the people! and to get that win, drug users and advocates and allies dropped their shit and organized.

can we do that? you’re not busy, or working on a grant, or going away. drop it. no one is going to do this for us, and we have to work together. if you won’t take a month out of your comfortable life for this, to give all of yourself to this, in whatever way you can contribute the most, you’re not an ally and you’re not in this fight, and you’re not with us.

the objective is to get those signatures.

but the method! is to spark this conversation in every electoral district. to talk to everyone! this is outreach. get it? this can be a big, network-building, months-long, intense campaign, all over the province. we can do this if we want to. 

that’s the essential thing: sparking the conversation, not trying to control it, and letting people have it themselves. the public discourse is how we reduce discrimination and bring people in. also:

  • stop centring ourselves, this is a social/political issue that impacts everyone
  • emphasize the economic sinkhole of criminalization
  • the drug war is racist, and a consequence of colonialism. defund the police.
  • safe supply does decriminalize. thats why we ask doctors – among the most powerful people in cdn society – to step up for us and prescribe. to defy the aura of criminal association.
  • when people object to the possibility of profound social change, thats how you know its necessary.
  • nothing about prohibition, the drug war, criminalization – none of this is natural or inevitable or necessary. its our world, lets change it. 
  • STOP TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF. talk about the impacts on the person you’re trying to convince.
decriminalize yourself

i’m tired of having to say that drug users should be at the centre of this and set the terms. that shouldnt need to be said. meet us where we’re at. catch up.

a public discussion is itself a process of decriminalization, since the goal is for drug users to simply be part of the public! boring regular people – rather than Those People. that’s the goal.

as long as users continue to be Those People, our deaths (and lives) aren’t real and nothing will change.

we need new strategies. we need to learn from other campaigns. what we have been doing has not been effective enough. we need to catch up.

we don’t want compassion : we need identification. we need the public to see themselves in us, to identify with us. not a brother, cousin, mother, or son. themselves.

we need to do what we can to bridge that gap too.

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