Ben Smith – The Rise And Fall Of Narcopopulism Notes
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Ben Smith - The Rise and Fall of Narcopopulism: Drugs, Politics, and Society in Sinaloa, 1930-1980
We have to understand politics and the drug trade in Mexico as inextricably linked; messy, multivalent o The idea of separate spheres denies moral ambiguity, but is a false representation, relying on unconvincing models of the state and the Mexican trade
The model for studying the trade is often that of Colombia, where drugs and politics are mostly separate
The Mexican state is often understood as static, unified and corporatist, with clear lines of command from the president and party through local governors, down to peasant commissars
Traffickers are often viewed as powerful, independent criminals: heaving armed, profitmaximizing rational actors To understand the trade and the Mexican state, we need to abandon these reified, self-contained models and explore their interrelations o The Mexican state was never all powerful: rather, stability arose from the government's day-to-day engagements with grassroots society
The success of these particular bargains was highly specific to the political culture of the region concerned
Govt control rested not on centralized power but on a series of decentred, interlinking, constantly renegotiated pacts among federal authorities, regional politicians, and various local interest groups
These arrangements included land, cash crops and state policy, but also illegal activities like the drug trade o In Sinaloa the opium trade played a crucial role in maintaining social equilibrium, appeasing both left and right
But this system began to fall apart in the 1960s, and the pact between radicals and reactionaries was redrawn
The drug trade now became an agent of repression, with both the war on drugs and drug traffickers used to persecute student and peasant insurgents o Evidence of ongoing pact between federal govt and drug industry in suppressing dissidents
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