Joining my cousins for a bath

Joining my cousins for a bath
happy or sad, at least the bath seems pleasant




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Occasional comments on politics also see: for occasional comments on all the arts, especially in Seattle; and and and and ten sub sites if you want to be excessively well informed about the Austrian author Peter Handke

Tuesday, April 12, 2016



In the mid-1970s, editor at Continuum Books/ Seabury Press I was fortunate to publish DRUGS AND MINORITY OPPRESSION by John Helmer (1975) (See the Kirkus Review @
 which found that suppressing the newly liberated slaves was linked with the criminalization of drug use. Meanwhile, more than a century later, with African-American ghettos in most major and smaller American cities, both the suppression of drug use – for pleasure & to suppress pain of all kinds - and the incarceration of African-American continues while simultaneously there has developed a black criminal underclass, sort of like the Japanese Yakuza, that is in and out of jail. (The number of incarcerated African-Americans actually exceeds the number of slaves at emancipation.) The underclass that is in and out of jail did not exist at the time when slavery ended, did not come into existence until large numbers of African-Americans started to live in ghettos in the cities, were the poorest paid and first laid off. Thus these gangs have a history and have reservoirs that replenish them generation after generation; that is their college, post-graduate education in criminality.
    As editor of Rober Kalich’s THE HANDICAPPER
and one day I happened to be taken along to meet the head of the Jewish Mafia, Abe Margolis, and who would happen to be there but the head of the black mafia in New York,  all that was missing at this fine Fifth Avenue venue with Louis IV furniture, was the Italian equivalent ( whom I then met at “Abe’s Place” on Third Avenue); Abe's brother Robbie was known as Frank Costello's best friend. I forget the name of the black fellow, the year is 1978 or thereabouts, he was arrested of course, and so was Abe. The Jewish mob gambled on college basketball, Robert Kalich their handicapper, novelist! Editing the book meant $ 40 K for Urizen Books. The lives of editors take adventurous turns, don't they? It is/was for the black mobsters that the black kids sell drugs. So the current discussion/ controversy, as far as I am concerned, is what? Meretricious? Out to lunch?    
President Clinton’s accommodation to Reaganism, his crime bill of the 90s, to put masses of “predators into jail,” a law that meanwhile has been used and not only by Black Lives Matter to attack his spouse's presidential campaign, was the usual kind of superficial stop-gap American response to a problem that can only be solved or ameliorated over the course of several generations of assured living wages for all impoverished Americans.
 Michael Roloff


Helmer begins by questioning both the popular wisdom and psychological theories about addiction, but this is not a wide open polemic like Szasz' Ceremonial Chemistry. Instead this sociological analysis focuses on Helmer's contention that narcotics use has for the most part been concentrated among the working class, and that the war on drugs is and always has been a form of class warfare. The second half of this argument is the most convincing. Tracing the rise of public concern over Chinese opium indulging, Mexican-American marijuana smoking, and Black cocaine and heroin addiction, Helmet levels a barrage of statistics to demonstrate a connection between campaigns to stamp out the drug menace and downturns in the business cycle and/or minority group inroads on a limited job market. Helmet isn't as clear about why narcotics should be a primarily working class phenomenon. There are hypotheses--such as the frustration of unemployment and the flooding of the market by drug speculators (Chinese businessmen paid wages in opium during the mid 19th century), but the lack of information on hidden narcotics habits among the upper and middle classes makes the argument problematic. While he is an apparently prodigious researcher, the author doesn't always define the exact scope of his argument and he extrapolates rather freely from his data. Obviously he is on to something, but his model of the dynamic interaction among economic conditions, drug use and law enforcement policy remains fuzzy.


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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website