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DIRECT ACTION TO END THE WAR ON DRUGS


Only through common struggle based on self-organized direct action can people bring about their own liberation. In contrast, indirect action is allowing/ encouraging/ tolerating other people to do something on your behalf or in your name. Appealing to third parties to solve your problems doesn’t work. Especially if they are the people who created the problems in the first place, doubly so if they stand to profit from the concequences of these problems.

Direct action is a means of keeping struggle for a better future under our own direct democratic control. It is a more effective form of highlighting issues that directly affect us than lobbying. Direct action is the powerful means by which people become aware of their oppression and the means to counter it..

Not only is direct action empowering and solidarity building, it is cultural form in itself. Anyone who has done it will never forget the buzz!!! By putting our ideas into practice, taking control of our lives and learning to trust and be trusted in the heat of the moment, direct action is a now-thing that can help us build a new society in the shell of the old. Direct action is central to confidence, which is essential to creating a culture of resistance, the core of the new movement we are building totally independent t o the existing order. Solidarity, the idea that only through cooperation in society can human beings be liberated and free, is given practical meaning in direct action. It means giving something to yourself and to others- it is doing something useful.

Confidence, self-education and solidarity are the basis of both change and ability to create further change toward liberation. Through every direct action, people demonstrate to themselves they are not merely a dispensible commodity. People gain self-confidencce in their abilities and gain a sence of self worth, in doing so becoming more acutely aware of their own oppression and the urgent need for an alternative to our collective circumstances.

In attempting to build a new society within the old, the self-organizing, self-education and self-confidence around direct action is an ongoing ignitor for fresh change. Once it gets going, it feeds itself. Aims, principals, whats, hows, whys are emerging (or re-emerging) internationally, giving real strength to direct action. There is a greater realization that using direct action and self-organizing instead of negotiation and beurocratic leadership is paramount to success. This struggle must be based on solidarity- there are no short cuts. "Unity is strength" is central to every

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The 1st International conference on Direct Action to end the War on Drugs

The 1st International conference on Direct Action to end the War on Drugs will be held in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia from Monday 22 September to Monday 29 September 2003 to coincide with the 2nd annual Darwin International Syringe Festival.

The aim of this conference is to bring together activists and drug users from around the world to discuss new strategies in campaigning for drug law reform and an end to the unmittigated oppression and human rights violations indicative of the war on drugs. We recognize the war on drugs is not aimed at irradicating drug use, rather it is a war on the rights and civil liberties of drug users, the 3rd world, a race war and a class war. There can be no serious discussion about drug law reform, harm reduction or drug user organizing without taking this into account.

Although we acknowledge the tremendous efforts by many people in challenging drug policy, conference organizers feel that the results of many approaches such as government lobbying or service provision have not gone far enough in changing drug laws or community attitudes toward drug use. We believe its time for drug users to demand change on our own terms and for the drug user movement to re-examine it’s tactics, hence the focus on direct action.

We believe it is integral that this conference is organized for and by drug users, not hijacked by "professionals", who claim to understand from the devestating concequences prohibition has on our lifestyles. We encourage people with 1st hand campaigning experience and strategies to present workshops, abstracts or chair forums on any subject relating to challenging zero tolerence policing, prohibition and the war on drugs. However, anyone with ideas or experience in direct action campaigning for other human rights/ community issues which may be relevant, is welcome to participate. We feel it is important to have contact and exchange support with other civil liberties and civil disobedience group s, community groups and pressure groups in order that we expand our networks and glean inspiration from each other.

This conference is in the initial stages of planning and we are seeking volunteers and participants to be involved in local, national and international levels. We have a small committee made up of activists from Australia and overseas who are coordinating promotion and reviewing abstract submissions. The committee welcomes imput.

The Network Against Prohibition will everything in our power to ensure the comfort of our guests during their stay in Darwin. We can arrange accommodation to suit all budgets, including billeting, camping, hostels, guest-houses and luxury hotels. If you have any specific requirements or needs, please contact us ASAP prior to the conference. Low cost vego and carnivore meals will be available at all events throughout the week by Chops not Cops.- Network Against Prohibition

This conference was initiated by the Network Against Prohibition (NAP), a Darwin based non-funded, autonomous group of drug users and civil rights activists.

Since forming in March 2002, NAP has sustained a direct action campaign against draconian Labor Government introduced legislation affecting drug users in the N.T. This includes "drug house" legislation, youth curfew legislation, increased police "discretionary" powers, discrimination against s8 (schedule 8 medications ie/morphine) dependant people and "community policing" of "itinerants".

NAP actions have included; responding to tip-offs and picketing outside drug raids whilst in progress; occupation of the Chief Minister and Chief Health Officer’s offices; disrupting the Legaslative Assembly whilst it was in session; presenting the (now sacked) Police Minister with a silver platter containing pigs heads at the annual NT Police Association meeting; collaborating with the Longgrass Association to occupy the Darwin City Council chambers; demonstrations outside the Justice Department and Parliament House and hold ing information stalls outside the Magistrates Court whilst people inside were facing prosecution under "drug house" legislation.

NAP has successfully highlighted and engaged the community in the urgent need for drug law reform through monthly Smoke-Ins for Human Rights, dance parties with safe injecting spaces, information stalls at markets and university, relentless flyer and poster distribution and conducting interviews with local,national and international media. In 2002 NAP collected over 700 signatures on a petition against "drug house" and "anti-social conduct" legislation as well as lodging numerous complaints with the Ombudsman about the conduct of the NT Police and the Medical Board.- Direct Action

Only through common struggle based on self-organized direct action can people bring about their own liberation. In contrast, indirect action is allowing/ encouraging/ tolerating other people to do something on your behalf or in your name. Appealing to third parties to solve your problems doesn’t work. Especially if they are the people who created the problems in the first place, doubly so if they stand to profit from the concequences of these problems.

Direct action is a means of keeping struggle for a better future under our own direct democratic control. It is a more effective form of highlighting issues that directly affect us than lobbying. Direct action is the powerful means by which people become aware of their oppression and the means to counter it..

Not only is direct action empowering and solidarity building, it is cultural form in itself. Anyone who has done it will never forget the buzz!!! By putting our ideas into practice, taking control of our lives and learning to trust and be trusted in the heat of the moment, direct action is a now-thing that can help us build a new society in the shell of the old. Direct action is central to confidence, which is essential to creating a culture of resistance, the core of the new movement we are building totally independent t o the existing order. Solidarity, the idea that only through cooperation in society can human beings be liberated and free, is given practical meaning in direct action. It means giving something to yourself and to others- it is doing something useful.

Confidence, self-education and solidarity are the basis of both change and ability to create further change toward liberation. Through every direct action, people demonstrate to themselves they are not merely a dispensible commodity. People gain self-confidencce in their abilities and gain a sence of self worth, in doing so becoming more acutely aware of their own oppression and the urgent need for an alternative to our collective circumstances.

In attempting to build a new society within the old, the self-organizing, self-education and self-confidence around direct action is an ongoing ignitor for fresh change. Once it gets going, it feeds itself. Aims, principals, whats, hows, whys are emerging (or re-emerging) internationally, giving real strength to direct action. There is a greater realization that using direct action and self-organizing instead of negotiation and beurocratic leadership is paramount to success. This struggle must be based on solidarity- there are no short cuts. "Unity is strength" is central to every struggle and every action, and only through this can we really expect to progress.- 2nd Darwin International Syringe Festival

Darwin Syringe Festival needs artists, performance artists, filmmakers, skaters, jugglers/ circus performers, djs, bands etc etc to perform and contribute to events throughout the week. We want to create a diverse environment that’s stimulating, comfortable and unforgettable. We hope conference participants will use this festival to debrief on the conference and form solid friendships and networks. Some of the most inspiring ideas occur in spontanious environments.

This is YOUR festival, so get involved to make it an amazing event. At this stage NAP is working to a "skeleton script", we ha ve plans to hold a film night, syinge art exhibition, dance party, dinner party, smoke-in, syringe olympics, the annual crowning of the needle queen and a guided Darwin tour of injustice.

Send us your suggestions or contributions for the festival. We especially want films/ art/ music/ performance artists with a political or drug user theme from outside Australia.

Syringe Festival
Info: napnt@bigpond.net.au



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