Jul 23, 2011

Whack-a-mole Drug War: Lessons from Mexico's drug wars

Ah, the global world. Here, from a South African newspaper, a report of a Mexican psychoanalyst's presentation, at a conference in Greece, of the the psychodynamics of capitalism that keep the drug market going between the United States and Mexico.

Thought Leader » Bert Olivier » Lessons from Mexico's drug wars: "It defies comprehension that a society can be so at war with itself that human life appears to have literally lost ALL value — even when a superficial take seems to explain it, simply, in terms of the colossal profits on the part of the druglords — until one turns to psychoanalysis for some understanding. At the recent International Society for Theoretical Psychology conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, David Cuéllar of the University of Michoacan San Nicolás in Mexico offered his audience just such a psychoanalytic interpretation of this utterly reprehensible socio-economic phenomenon.

Cuéllar spoke of Freud’s claim, that discontent is inherent in culture, no less so capitalist culture than any other, given the renunciation of the (life) drives that is required for work (and culture) to be accomplished. Reciprocally, culture — or language as the bearer of culture, which alienates humans from nature as the “real” — creates a “desire” on the part of humans that cannot, in principle, be satisfied, because humans have lost the unreflective fusion with being that their forebears (and they, as infants) presumably once had.

On the other hand, the “needs” that exist in culture may seem to be subject to satisfaction through food, sex and commodities, he further reminded his audience, but the latter are not satisfying in any enduring manner....

Within capitalist culture, with its peculiar kinds of discontent, Cuéllar pointed out, drug-use occupies a special position as part of a drug sub-culture, given the impression, created by the availability of drugs, that they can appease the need to overcome the discontent inseparable from capitalist society. “This new discontent”, he intimated, [can be] “… analysed in the context of the subculture that has developed, in Mexico, in order to satisfy the need of drugs in the United States … this need of drugs can only be understood in the context of the capitalist culture and in relation to the subculture of drug dealing and trafficking. ...

There is a deep and close connection between the violent devices of the capitalist system in Mexico and the reflexive need of escaping from this system in the United States.

If I understood him correctly, what Cuéllar was getting at was that the interlocking, systematically connected “desire” for profit, on the part of competing Mexican drug cartels (and on the part of American crime-syndicates who supply these gangs with most of the weapons they need, like assault rifles), on the one hand, and the demonstrably colossal “need” for drugs in the US, on the other — is a strictly capitalist phenomenon. And from a psychoanalytic perspective, both — desire as well as need — can never be fulfilled, despite the necessarily constructed illusion that they can."

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