Monday, December 12, 2005


Pseudosocialism (qua Leninism) and the DEA

My guess is that the average politically educated American—there must be at least several thousand of them—would agree with the writer of the Wikipedia entry on socialism—to wit, "many would say that socialism is defined by state ownership and state planning of the means of production...."

Such loose use of language gets us into all sorts of trouble, since this definition does not consider the nature of the state itself. A totalitarian state controlling the means of production may be more properly called "pseudosocialism," i.e.—"false socialism." When practiced under a stifling bureaucracy you might even call it Leninism.

'Socialism' of course as a term has such a positive root in "social" that there was a time when many wanted to claim it for their own.1 'Social' derives from 'socius,' Latin for "companion." The Online Etymology Dictionary offers

... "characterized by friendliness or geniality," also "allied, associated," from M.Fr. social (14c.), from L. socialis "united, living with others".... Meaning "living or liking to live with others, disposed to friendly intercourse" is attested from 1729. Meaning "pertaining to society as a natural condition of human life" first attested 1695, in Locke.

Don't worry about the suffix; the "ism" in 'socialism' is the same as, and no worse than, the "ism" in 'capitalism.'

Partly because of the misappropriation of the term by some very bad actors and partly because of the concerted effort by the minions of world capitalism to sully it,2 'socialism' has had to fight to stay alive as the positive term that it is. Yet it endures and probably will so long as social injustice persists. But the control of resources and production should never be thought of as socialism unless that control derives from the authority of those who are "characterized by friendliness or geniality," predisposed to "living with others," and (must I add?) possessed of good sense.

I probably wouldn't have wandered so far afield this morning if I hadn't spilled my coffee on an article in the Washington Post: Federal Marijuana Monopoly Challenged.

Marc Kaufman writes,

For decades, the federal government has been the nation's only legal producer of marijuana for medical research. Working with growers at the University of Mississippi, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has controlled both the quality and distribution of the drug for the past 36 years.

But for the first time the government's monopoly on research marijuana is under serious legal challenge. The effort is being spearheaded by a group that wants to produce medicines from currently illegal psychedelic drugs and by a professor at the University of Massachusetts who has agreed to grow marijuana for the group if the government lets him.

In a hearing due to start today before an administrative law judge at the Drug Enforcement Administration, professor Lyle Craker and his supporters will argue for a DEA license to grow the research drugs. It is the climax of a decades-long effort to expand research into marijuana and controlled drugs and of Craker's almost five-year effort to become a competing marijuana grower.

"Our work is focused on finding medicinal uses of plants, and marijuana is one with clear potential," said Craker, director of the medicinal plant program of the university's Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences in Amherst, Mass., and editor of the Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants. "There's only one government-approved source of marijuana for scientific research in this country, and that just isn't adequate."

The DEA, which has to license anyone who wants to grow marijuana, disagrees.

Here you can find all the arguments against pseudosocialism—

All this going on under a Republican administration. Imagine!



1The names Lenin, Mao and Hitler quickly come to mind. Just as George Bush in more recent times has attempted to appropriate "compassionate" and "conservatism" with equally little justification and with pretty much the same intent.

Like the men with whom he shares company, George has always taken a Humpty-Dumpty view of words—

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

George's latest sally in his War on Meaning concerns the Constitution. Having taken an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, Bush has simply redefined it.

Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue reports

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don't give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”


2Why, the capitalists—through their toadies in the Republican party—even struggle to stamp out the adjective "social" as in "social security" and "social worker," preferring that it should be used as a noun, as in "cocktail party" or "fundraiser"! [back]

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