Todd Gordon



Neoliberalism, Racism, and the War on Drugs in Canada

This article offers an antiracist class analysis of the contemporary war on drugs in Canada. It situates this war within the state’s historic role of imposing bourgeois order and discipline in immigrant communities. In the eyes of the state, drugs associated with non-British immigrant communities — cannabis, opiates, and cocaine, for example — represent signs of disorder, an either festive or financial alternative to market relations. This war has intensified in the period of neoliberalism, as Canada has become even more dependant on cheap immigrant labor from the Global South. After looking at the historical emergence of the drug war, the article will explore its contemporary form, drawing out its most salient patterns and relating them to the demands of neoliberalism. Finally, it will look specifically at the criminalization of khat, and with it the Somalian community in Toronto.

Canada, war on drugs, neoliberalism, antiracist Marxism, the state, khat, policing, immigration, opiates, cannabis, cocaine

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 1 (2006): 59-78