02/20/11 James D. Cockcroft

James D. Cockcroft, author Mexico's Revolution - Then and Now + Terry Nelson of LEAP & US Rep Mike McCaul

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Sunday, February 20, 2011
James D. Cockcroft



Cultural Baggage / February 20, 2011


Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”


My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.


Alright, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Our guest today will be Mister James D. Cockcroft. He’s author of Mexico’s Revolution: Then and Now. He’s a bilingual and award winning author of forty five books on Latin America and Mexico, Latin culture, migration and human rights.

He’s the internet professor for the State University of New York. He’s a poet, a three time Fulbright scholar and a veteran activist with La Base de Paix, Montreal – excuse my French, among other organizations. With that let’s welcome our guest, James D. Cockcroft. Hello, sir.

James D. Cockcroft: Hello, Dean. How are you today?

Dean Becker: I’m good. I want to tell you your book – I found it to be exhilarating to see such truths stated so clearly and cleanly. Not a lot of verbiage wasted. When you want to make a point you get right to it and I appreciate the heck out of that.

James D. Cockcroft: Well, thank you.

Dean Becker: Yes, sir. You know I normally when I read a book I put these little plastic flags on it to mark a page and typically, I have six, eight, ten – I’ve got about forty in here in that middle chapter, the Imperialism: Failed Unites States. It rings very true with me.

Let’s talk first though, about Mexico let’s talk about the development of the parties, the revolutions, the setbacks, the attempts to regain some traction in that regard but it’s an ongoing battle for constitutional rights, isn’t it?

James D. Cockcroft: Well, yes it is. The revolution starts even before 1910 with the Mexican Liberal Party lead by Ricardo Flores Magon, who was an anarchical communist and set the path for many strikes and armed revolts between 1905 and 1910.

His ideas basically appear in the constitution of 1917, what I call the “Paper Triumph” of the Mexican Revolution because the workers and peasants whose unity he defended found the state unified and their division in 1915, in a close vote of the Worker’s House of the World, being in Mexico City, by one vote the Workers House of the World of 50,000 members decided to side with the so-called constitutionalists against Poncho Villa and Emiliano Zapata and, of course, the PLM.

So, as a result, both of the very radical experiments of taking the means of production and handing goods over to the people according to human need, the Mecanismos took in the Baja California in 1911 and influenced the Zapatistas to do with the most modern sugar mills of the world at the time.

The Morelos and community of Morelos, in 1914, these experiments for crushed militarily with the help of red brigades, so-called or red battalions, launched by the House of the World Worker when it switched sides, so to speak.

But the 1917 Constitution continued with its ups and downs to the present – dead letter today, even if the constitution of 1857 was a dead letter, when the Mecanismos launched a revolution in 1905 and 1906.

Dean Becker: The one thing I did learn is that I don’t know much about Mexico, to be honest with you. There is so much detail in this book and so many names and timeframes that I was just unaware of but the fabric of it all is kind of highs and lows but kind of a continual diminishing, if you will or re-diminishing, if there is such a word, of the rights of the Mexican people, that it has lofty goals but it just doesn’t quite get there, right?

James D. Cockcroft: Well, it only gets there when the workers again unite with the peasants, as in the 1930’s under Cárdenas were they forced the President who somewhat reluctantly, The very decent person that he was, the last decent one that the Mexican’s have had, to nationalize the oil and the mineral resources of the nation, which of course the constitution says does belong to the nation. That was the big step forward.

He also consolidated the longest lasting ruling political party in the world, the seventy year reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI in Mexico and the civilian peaceful protests of the 1990s for democracy changed the system so that another party could be elected in 2000. Now that was the Conservative Party, the National Action Party that still rules today. It’s basically carrying out the same neo-liberal pro-capitalist policies that the PRI, the three governments following after Cárdenas regarding this.

So, again the Mexicans gained something and then lost it again and first was Cárdenas and later with the Democracy of 2000 that has become a very fraudulent one with more stolen elections. The first was back in 1988 the last time was 19– or 2006, just five years ago, four and a half years ago and the Mexicans again came out on the streets to protest electoral fraud and demand democracy.

So, the struggle goes on and unfortunately under the current government the forces of Fascism has crushed many labor unions and killed over 35,000 civilians in a phony war against narco trafficking and sponsored, by the way, by the United States.

The United States has been intervening over a century and a half all over the map of Mexico, ever since it took over half of Mexico’s territory a century and a half ago.

Dean Becker: Yeah. Well, once again friends, were speaking with Mister James D. Cockcroft, author of Mexico’s revolution: Then and Now. James, in that this program, we tend to deal more specifically with the Drug War, I’m going jump right into chapter two: Styled Imperialist Failed States and New Wars Resistance. I want to read a couple of your quotes in here.

“Death and pain for so many victims and the length an breadth of the country, meaningless deaths for no reason unpunished deaths, deaths and also again the whip of forced disappearances. That’s by Rosario Ibarra, and a second one:

“So that drugs will not get to your children, we are killing them,” News of the government censored cartoon after Mexican soldiers kill two children last year.

The deaths are not slowing down it is runaway train, isn’t it?

James D. Cockcroft: It is at this point. There is, of course, a human rights and a peace movement in Mexico but the leader s of this movement also are assassinated in this dirty war. The government is using the phony war against drugs that has been phony since the get go, over thirty years ago Reagan – Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Schultz said that it was phony war and should be dropped all together at one point.

In any case, it continued and the Mexican government because a narco state in the 1990s, under the PRI, then the PM – the PAM comes in in 2000 and they have their favorite narcos.

So, they are backing Shorty Guzmán of the Sinaloa Cartel. They’re not hardly arresting anyone from the Sinaloa cartel, while they back it and then they fight in the North against Gulf Cartel and the Juarez Cartels. So, prior to the PAM government, several of these cartels were integrated with the PRI. Indeed, the outgoing president Miguel de la Madrid, said in 1988 – or said after 1988, after he left office that his successor, who won by the way with an electoral fraud, Salinas had integrated several cartels into the government. So, that was back in the nineties and there’s a lot of proof of that moreover and the US by the way is the biggest criminals in all this, if you’ll allow me one more minute.

Dean Becker: Sure, go.

James D. Cockcroft: Because all the way back in the eighties during the Cultural War, so-called, the Contras fighting the democratically elected revolutionary government of Nicaragua were sending back drugs for profit to the United States and indeed Oliver North was coordinating that operation from the White House basement and this proved to be a way of evading congressional laws prohibiting aid to the Contras. There’s the Iran Contra scandal that also involved drugs.

There’s a lot of evidence in my book, Mexico’s Hope, 1998, Monthly Review Press for the interested listener. There’s six pages on it, documenting by name, date and so on all the characters involved.

The point being though, for your listening audience is that the United States is a criminal government, then and now, because they it has actually been guiding these phony narco wars for thirty years. Of course, we saw what happened in Columbia when they did it and now we are applying the same practices in spades, on steroids if you will, in Mexico.

Dean Becker: Alright, James, if you’ll bear with me. We’ve got about a minute thirty seconds here. A Texas congressman had something to say about the shootings last week of the two customs agents. Let’s listen to that and I want to get your comments when we come back.


Dean Becker: The following segment comes to us courtesy of the Houston Chronicle and features the voice of US Representative from Texas, Michael McCaul, regarding the recent road side attack on two US special agents in Mexico.

Congressman Michael McCaul: I think that the most significant take away from this is that it that clearly that the assumption has always been that they will target US law enforcement in Mexico or in the United States.

This according to ICE officials is a gamer changer, given the fact that they knew that the ICE agents were Americans. They knew that they were diplomats and they still chose to kill them.

This is the first time we have seen this. So, it is a game changer and we do have a lot of US law enforcement down in Mexico and working with the Mexican government to – in this war against the drug cartels.

I believe that we can continue with this commitment, though, to win the war against these drug cartels and I guess the questions as to whether this was a more rogue, out of control operation on the behalf of the Zetas or whether there’s now a concerted effort by the drug cartels to start taking out our guys, our US law enforcement down in Mexico.

If it’s the later, I think that is a grave concern that now they have changed the rules of the game to start targeting US law enforcement. I think the response needs to be heavy handed by the United States. This is an attack on the United States and I think we need to respond in a very forceful way. My heart goes out to the – to both agents and their families.


Dean Becker: Alright, James Cockcroft, were you able to hear that, sir?

James D. Cockcroft: Yes, sir. I was.

Dean Becker: Your response, please?

James D. Cockcroft: Well, first of all my heart goes out to the families of those two agents, as well as all the families of the United States military and DEA and FBI and CIA serving all around the world. I think they’re serving in a bad cause.

I think the entire operation of US troops in 175 countries, practically every country in the world is a repressive operation. It is an interventionist operation. It is an imperialist intervention, clearly in the interest of the big banks and the transnational corporations in getting their hands – and the oil companies – getting their hands on Mexico’s resources, particularly oil but also the cheap labor power in Mexico, 1/5 of which resides in the United States.

All of this immigrant bashing and all of this Mexico bashing is actually an opening chapter, if you will, for a US armed intervention, a direct military intervention in Mexico. It could come any day or any year now and this is just the last thing that the peoples of the United State or Mexico or the world wants to see in this situation in Mexico.

So, I said earlier, the US is intervening all over the map and Mexico and if we didn’t have those troops there and those agents there they wouldn’t be shot at but we do have them there and it’s now public knowledge.

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano has declared that there are US military personal operating in Mexico, in “intelligence” but that intelligence, as you know, is related to the Mexican military’s campaign against the civilian population and certain cartels that it doesn’t want to see win. It’s also true that the call for troops – more troops in Mexico is very much in the air in both countries now, by conservatives.

There’s a proposal before the Mexican congress by conservatives to make it legal to have US troops “stationed” in Mexico which is a code word for US military bases. So far, there are no official military bases of the United States in Mexico. There are seven new ones in Columbia, five new ones in Panama, one new one in Honduras and so on. So, this militarization of the region is revving up for direct US military armed actions.

Drones of the United States fly regularly over Mexican territory. Meanwhile, US ICE officials have opened fire on Mexicans. So, it’s a two way street when nationals of either country get killed by nationals of the other country.

They killed a fifteen year old, named Gonzalez, in the border area just a few months ago it was very tragic indeed and unnecessary and the American that shot that youth has not been arrested or brought to justice. So, there’s a double standard going on here. We better avoid it because it is going to lead to more bloodshed on both sides of the border.

Dean Becker: Again, we’re speaking with James D. Cockcroft. I’m reading again for your book, sir, talking about the situation:

“The Drug War has brought endless failure but they enrich mainly bankers – as you said – though secret agreements to launder drug money while recycling phenomenal amounts of dirty money into many sectors of the legitimate economy. They also keep up huge profits in the international drug market for their exporting countries and their governments, a large part of which is recycled into the international arms market fpr the benefit of the arms manufactures.”

Pot calling the kettle black, you know. They talk about the United States shouldn’t be providing the weapons that go into Mexico and Mexico shouldn’t be providing the drugs that come here. But the fact of the matter is, is that our current efforts the prohibition, thus far, has failed to stemmed the flow or even do anything about is whatsoever, has it?

James D. Cockcroft: Well it takes you back to the prohibition of alcohol days, doesn’t it?

Dean Becker: Yes.

James D. Cockcroft: It’s not working. It won’t work. The best solution would be to end prohibition, obviously and then all of the criminal activity associated with the narco trafficking would come to a screeching halt. The profit would be taken out of it for them. It would be above ground and a lot of this problem would disappear rather swiftly.

Obviously, no one speaks to that any more than anyone funds – from the US government for example, better care for drug addicts who are sometimes driven to shoot people to buy the drugs in the United States.

We have this terrible open season on poor people going on in the ghettos of the United States whether African American, Latinos or otherwise or poor Whites. So, it’s a difficult situation and easily solved if people were to simply approach it in a non-militaristic, social justice kind of way. Deal with problems of poverty and in this sort of way.

Capitalism, this savage capitalism where it all goes in to the hands of the banks – the bailout of taxpayers to the banks of the United States is somewhat dwarfed by the annual income of the laundered money that these big six banks get. And it is the big banks that are getting 80% of the money that’s being laundered in the narco trafficking.

I read somewhere – well, now it’s over 10% of world trade is basically in narco trafficking. Another huge percent, some say even more than sex trafficking and that of course would be the armaments trade that would make the United States the biggest arms seller in the world.

More arms sold by the United States than those sold by all the other countries of the world combined. So, this is very big business. Follow the dollar and you’ll see that it’s ending up in the hands of arms manufactures in the United States and in the hands of the big banks.

Dean Becker: Again, speaking with James D. Cockcroft, author of Mexico’s Revolution: Then and Now. James, it reminds me of following World War II. they changed the name of the War Department to the Defense Department. It’s an ongoing bit of sleight of hand in so many different ways, what we’ve got going these days.

Hey, I hope you’ve been hearing the news of late up in Wisconsin that they are trying to quash the labor unions. They are trying to take away their rights and so forth. This harkens back to, I know I’ve heard these stories coming out of Columbia where the trade unionists are found and shot, they’re families are terrorized etcetera and the same goes on in Mexico where those union officials are single out many times.

James D. Cockcroft: And assassinated.

Dean Becker: And assassinated and we have this hysteria, this frenzy going on here in the US. They’re not shooting them, I guess, the head of AFLCIO yet but they are trying to diminish their power. They’re trying to take away their legitimacy and I think you’re—

James D. Cockcroft: It’s union busting pure and simple and you should know or your audience should know two things. First, that Madison apparently has been attracting more than 70,000 demonstrators by now and they’re not going away. So, it is sort of an echo of Egypt’s liberation Square in Cairo, only now it is in Madison, Wisconsin.

The reason they are not going away is because people on the United States are fed up. They’re fed up with the low wages they’re getting and the freezes on their wages and the layoffs and the bailout of the big banks.

And what were they getting in exchange? Nothing.

Dean Becker: Yeah.

James D. Cockcroft: The unions in Mexico had solidarized with the unions in Canada and the United States. It was a tri-alliance of solidarity. We just had five days of continued protest in thirty four nations or more including Mexico, the United States and Canada against the repressive Mexican government’s acts of terrorism against the independent labor unions and the union busting that they’re carrying out in Mexico.

There’s a huge union busting going on in both the United States and Mexico and it’s further developed in Mexico at this point than the United States. However, if these alliances of solidarity across border don’t continue to build each government or each state government in the case of the United States but I understand that close to all of the state governments are trying to bust the unions now, each country will suffer union busting until all of the rights that workers and employs fought for over a century, in both countries, will go down the tubes and that includes the eight hour day. by the way and that included child labor. by the way.

Dean Becker: And weekends.

James D. Cockcroft: All of these things are going to go down the tubes if the people do not resist.

Dean Becker: Alright James, we have less than a minute left and I want to bring up this one thought. You talk about the fact that Shorty Guzmán, Head of the Sinaloa Cartel, I don’t know how openly he travel but you said something about that the law enforcement is just unable to see him. He just remains invisible. It reminds me of the old Townes van Zandt song about Poncho and Lefty, that the “old gray federales say that they could have got him any day but he just somehow slipped away.”

James D. Cockcroft: Well—

Dean Becker: Your closing thoughts?

James D. Cockcroft: Well, if you look at Forbes Magazine, they say he’s one of the richest men in the world. So, they’re never going to bring him to justice. He’s bought off everyone including the Mexican government

Dean Becker: Yeah, too much money involved.

James D. Cockcroft: Follow the dollar, I keep telling you.

Dean Becker: Well, I’ll tell you what, James, I very much appreciate you book. I hope you’ll come back and visit us soon because there is so much to talk about. Do you have a website that you would like to share?

James D. Cockcroft: Sure do. www.jamescockcroft.com

Dean Becker: Alright James, thank you so much.


(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug By Its Side Effects.

Rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, yellow eyes, swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, dark urine, fainting, fever, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood changes, fever, seizure and death.


Time’s up!

The answer: From the UCB Group, Xyzal, for asthma.


(Sung to: Dream the Impossible Dream)

To dream, the American Dream
To lie still and hope
With both of your eyes closed
To ignore the nightmare that surrounds you
Just to try, try to reach the American Dream…


Terry Nelson: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The United States House passed House Resolution 1540 last week, directing the White House Drug Czar’s office to develop a plan to stop Mexican drug cartels from growing marijuana in US national parks.

The bill points out that law enforcement efforts today have only brought about short lived successes in combating marijuana production on federal lands but offers no suggestions for solutions that would actually would hurt the cartels in the long term.

When will they learn that prohibition has not worked and will not work? They think that by simply passing a law that all will change, kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Meyer reports that legalizing drugs would save an estimated $48.7 billion per year in government expenditures on the enforcement of prohibition.

$33.1 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments and $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately: $13.7 billion in savings resulting from the legalization of marijuana, $22.3 billion from the legalization of cocaine and heroin and $12.8 billion from the legalization of other drugs.

The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenues of $34.3 billion annually assuming drugs are taxed at rates comparable of those of alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $6.4 billion of this revenue would result from the legalization of marijuana, $22.9 billion from the legalization of cocaine and heroin and $4 billion from the legalization of other drugs.

In Portugal, where they basically legalized all drugs in 2001, the Economist Magazine recently reported that Glenn Greenwald said that in contrast to the dire consequences that critics predicted that none of the nightmare scenarios initially painted from rampant increases in drug usage among the young, to transfer of Lisbon into a haven of drug tourists has occurred.

Mister Greenwood claims that the data shows that decriminalization has had NO adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which in numerous categories are now among the lowest in the European Union. This comes after rises in the 1990’s before decriminalization.

The figure reveals little evidence of drug tourism. 95% of those cited for drug misdemeanors since 2001 had been Portuguese. The level of drug trafficking measured by those convicted has also declined and the incident of other drug related problems, including sexually transmitted diseases and deaths from drug overdoses has decreased dramatically.

So, now we have proof that our policy is wrong and that what our government claims will happen, did not happen when the policy was changed in Portugal.

I thank all of you out there that support the efforts of LEAP and other reform organizations. We must get this insane drug policy abolished before it causes even more harm.

Let’s all work together to make this a better country for ourselves and our children. Stay safe. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc, signing off.


(Serene music)

I am the Reverend Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network standing in the river of reform, baptizing Drug Warriors to the Unvarnished Truth.



Dean Becker: Alright, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Cultural Baggage. Our guest, Mister James D. Cockcroft, again his book Mexico’s revolution: Then and Now. I highly recommend it if you want to, in my case, begin to understand the situation in Mexico better and to see the focus he brings, especially, to this Drug War a man of– as I said, he doesn’t mince his words he gets right down to it.

Be sure to check out this week’s Century of Lies show. It’s going to feature Mister Ethan Nadelmann. He’s the Executive Director of the Drug Police Alliance. We’ll also hear a report from Mary Jane Borden.

There’s also a little grab I did from the New York Times talking about the injection centers up there in Canada but you guys are the answer. You need to fortify yourself and get right down to it and, as always, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.


To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

Drug Truth Network programs are stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of www.eigengraupress.com

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.