Friday, May 12, 2006

Cliches as protest - Global Marijuana March

The Global Marijuana March has once again come and gone. Drug War Chronicle provides an overview of this year's marches.

Drug War Chronicle, reporting on New York City, the home of the March, cites "High Times editor Steve Bloom comment[ing] in his blog, 'from thousands of supporters in the '90s to a handful on Sunday, the rally appeared to be on life support.'"

Marshall McLuhan famously said, "the medium is the message." A march in the street for marijuana law reform affirms the countercultural nature of marijuana use and its users.

Dana Beal, the march organizer insists this is politics. But as executed it is not only low-order politics, it is antique.

I believe that pot, properly used, can contribute to creativity. But these protests, at least, in the broad scope of their coverage, certainly lack freshness and originality. They are, in essence, a bad advertisment for marijuana. Perhaps the White House should simply broadcast some of the video highlights. Could it do worse?

Marijuana law reformers definitely need new tactics. Maybe we need new strategy. Do we need new leadership?

Our "politics" is jejune and utterly ineffective when it simply evokes nostalgia for the more successful, innovative and vital demonstrations and marches of the past.

MPP, NORML, DPA and SSDP might consider providing constructive outlets for the more "primitive" political energies that this march feeds on. Those organizations' successes in legislatures and at the ballot have been very impressive. I suspect that to some degree their successes are in spite of the counter-reaction these marches inspire.

Is the Seattle Hempfest model fundamentally different from the model of this global march, or simply an extremely well executed example, tailored to local conditions? At a minimum the global march needs to think about how it trains and organizes its organizers.

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