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Rage for order: The pathological roots of America's 80 year drug war.


One of the reasons I think of the war on drugs as a mechanism for racist and classist social control is because if fails at its own goals - for nearly 80 years. What accounts for the popularity and durability of such a program unless its serving some other social good than the one explicitly state. The other social good being served was the control of certain populations.

Writer Alexandra Chasin explores the enduring blueprints of drug war architect Harry J. Anslinger, a Prohibition-era bureaucrat who built the racist and classist mechanisms for social control into the earliest iterations of America's narcotic enforcement policies, creating a self-failing system and laying the groundwork for modern mass incarceration.

Alexandra is author of Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger's War on Drugs from University of Chicago Press.

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Alexandra Chasin

Alexandra Chasin is a writer and Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Lang College, The New School.


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