Julio Huato juliohuato at
Thu May 10 18:45:29 MDT 2001

I said: "What state power is protecting the drug cartels?  Yet, they are
challenging the state power in the US."

Borba100 at cites this and says that my rhetorical question implies the
answer that NO state power protects the drug cartels.  That's a trick.  I
don't answer my rhetorical question that way.  Borba100 does it for me, but
he should not put words in my mouth.

My point was precisely that these criminal organizations were able to COOPT
and create an organized force, army and intelligence, as a result of the
profitability and strength of their ventures.  How can he validly infer that
I say that no state power protects the drug lords?  Borba100 is playing a
cheap polemical trick on me rather than trying to clarify the issue.

Part of the challenge these criminal organizations pose to the US state
consists of infiltrating and corrupting its agencies.  The reason why I say
that it is a challenge to the US state is because I do NOT believe that the
'normal' function of the US or Mexican states is to protect the drug
traffickers.  If and when they do it, they contradict their 'normal'
function.  Now, does Borba100 believe that this is NOT a challenge?  Does he
believe that the US or Mexican state, by protecting the drug traffickers in
particular instances, are fulfilling their 'normal' function?  He seems to
believe in this.  Can he argue his point sensibly?  Well, despite his
attempt, I don't think so.  The readers should judge by themselves.

Borba100 says that if I were right, I'd be legitimizing the 'present order'.
  In fact, it is precisely the other way round.  Even if the US and Mexican
governments were able to control the illegal drug business, the present
order could not be legitimized, unless we believe that the 'essence' of
capitalist reproduction is state power dedicated to protect drug trade.  For
instance, the government of Vicente Fox claims to be committed to fight the
drug lords.  The critics from the Left don't say he's not doing it.  They
only criticize that he is engaged in a quixotic attempt, given the
tremendous amounts of money the drug lords mobilize.  And they criticize him
for spending public resources in a struggle aimed to help first and foremost
the US, a country that cannot contain 'its own' drug problem.  I do not have
independent sources to falsify these claims.  But, as far as I'm concerned,
the Mexican state can clean its drug act and I will not be satisfied yet.
And I think Mexican workers should not be satisfied even if such situation

Since Borba100 has falsely attributed to me the denial that state power is
(partially) involved in protecting drug trafficking, his whole argument is
misplaced.  I'll let him argue against himself on that.  Let me address his
statement that "drug cartels and big gangsterism in general are the heart of
US strategy."  This is why this cannot be right.

Does Borba100 has any idea of the gross revenues from the illegal drug
business in the US?  Let's remember that the US is the largest market of
illegal drugs in the world.  Has he compared his estimate with the mass of
value circulated annually through legal capitalist activities in the US?
This mass of value is certainly MUCH larger than 10 trillion dollars (2000
US GDP), since GDP is only net value added plus depreciation.

If drug accounting data are not easily available, we can do a little mental
exercise.  Take an average US family, how much of this family's income is
spent on illegal drugs?  15%?  I doubt it.  How much is it spent paying for
housing, transportation, food, recreation, education, etc.?  I'm no expert,
but I doubt drug expenditures are a significant chunk of the AVERAGE
family's budget.  That is not all.  Let's consider now the budget of an
AVERAGE capitalist enterprise.  If regular US businesses have a budget item
(secret, of course) called 'illegal drug purchases', what share is it of
their average expenditures?  I doubt it is a large one.  Now, the annual
budgets of families and businesses are the bulk of the value circulated
through the cycle of capitalist reproduction in the US each year.  If the
share of drug purchases in this aggregate cycle is NOT very large, as I
suspect, as big as these sums may seem to us, the drug business cannot be
the heart of US capitalism.  And this share cannot justify attributing to
the US state a strategy aimed mainly to protect the drug business.  And to
the extent that the drug business jeopardizes the legal part of capitalist
reproduction, the protection of drug activities is contrary to the strategy
of the US state.

Marxists do not need conspiracy theories to make their case against US
capitalism.  By fulfilling its normal function of protecting legal, even
'legitimate', capitalist activities, the US state is exposed to a much more
fundamental, radical, devastating, and serious Marxist critique than one
based on its abuses.  The STRATEGY of Marxists to 'win people over' cannot
hinge on the criminal connections of the US government, real or invented.
The real abuses are to be fought, but there's no need to turn them into the
'heart' of US capitalism or US state power.  If radicals and Marxists in the
US don't grasp this, they do the system a favor.
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