Hard Drugs and the Movement

Title: Hard Drugs and the Movement
Author: Joe Axton
Publisher: Do It Now Foundation
Publication Date: 1970


What Boris is to Rocky, Cassius
was to Caesar, and Wellington was to Napoleon, junk and downers
are quickly getting to be to movement people all over the country.
There never was a more subtle, nor more effective way, of crippling
any movement that depended on a mass of people for its existence.
Hard dope makes such a fantastic anti-movement weapon, everyone
is certain it must be wielded by THE ENEMY. Black Panthers are
certain their people are being strung out by supremist WASP entrepreneurs.
Brown Berets are certain their people are being duped into it
by the C.I.A. Anglo movement people are certain it’s the F.B.I.,
the Mafia, or just “them.” U.S. military experts in
Southeast Asia think it’s Red China. Straights have a vague idea
that it might be the Commies, underworld manipulators, student
protesters, and some or all of the above.

Whether they’re all right or
all wrong, or some right and some wrong makes little difference.
Maybe it’s just the idea of being opposed by such a super-weapon
and not being able to swallow the idea that we might be using
it on ourselves. Even that makes little difference. Junk and
downers are not weapons like guns or grenades that can be pointed
at you and used, leaving you no say in the matter. Junkies are
junkies because they decided to be junkies. Somewhere along the
line they decided they didn’t have whatever it takes to live
in the same world the rest of us live in. They moved to junk-world
where the only thing they have to worry about or fight for is
getting more junk. Heroin consolidates all your problems into
one big one. No more worrying about aggression, repression, poverty,
futility and frustration — just heroin, and how to get ahold
of it.

Once that decision has been made
you cease to be a positive force. From there you progress to
being a negative force. First, you should find an old lady or
an old man (depending on your preference, if you have a preference
left) masochistic enough to want to take care of you because
suddenly you’ve lost the drive to take care of yourself. That’s
two we’ve lost to you. Sooner or later you’ll get them into junk,
too. There’s no place aggression, repression, poverty, futility,
and frustration are more worthy than when living with a junkie.

Now that you’ve got someone to
hold your hand and help you stand up you can start branching
out into your community. Your neighbors will learn how to lock
their doors and park their cars where they can see and hear what’s
happening to them at night. Maybe when you have an especially
good night you’ll turn enough to invest the leftover cash in
a little milk sugar and some extra smack and you can turn on
the same people in the daytime that you’ve ripped off at night.
Maybe you can deal to your people and support your habit the
same way the junkie dealing to you is supporting his. Maybe you
can get your whole neighborhood strung out and become a big man
in the community instead of just the junkie on the corner. There’s
no one bigger in a junkie community than a dealer. People will
be waiting for you with money in their hands wherever you go.
People will want you around.

Being a dealer is being safe.
You don’t have the constant worry one of your friends is going
to bust you for informer money because he couldn’t get up enough
cash to pay for his hit this morning. Who’d want to bust the
man that supplied them with what they wanted the money for in
the first place? Being a dealer you wouldn’t have to worry about
the friend who was busted by the other friend for hit money busting
you to stay out of jail. You ‘re the supplier….what’s the use
of staying out of jail if he can’t get stoned? He’ll go get some
other friend busted and be back to you with a fist full of money
by late afternoon. A dealer is the height of junkiedom-you infect
your friends and yet are still safe and steadily supplied.

One junkie can be more effective
for counter- movement action than a whole army of CIAs, FBIs,
Mafias and WASPs. Keep them loaded and they won’t move, no matter
what. Hit him, stomp on him, kick him….he’ll sit there and
wait for someone to come along and take care of him. And he’s

Barbiturates are even more subtle.
Downers are just as addictive as junk, but they’re cheaper. There’s
more barb freaks, but they don’t have to be crawling out of their
holes for periodic rip-off jaunts so often. Some of them are
just weekenders, the rest have gotten to the point that they
have to be constantly eating barbs just to maintain. People take
barbiturates to get away, but unless they manage to overdose
themselves they have to come back eventually. For awhile after
they come back down things are even more abrasive than when they
left. Downers take you away, then bring you back and push your
face into it. You either have to put up with it or drop more
downers to get you back to where you can handle it. It’s easier
to drop more downers.

They develop a Seconal attitude,
the kind of chemical attitude a person develops when he does
not want to be where he is. A downer freak never wants to be
anywhere. They have one reaction to anything they speak to, stagger
into, trip over, fall off of, or stumble into — hit it and make
it go away. At first, it looked like these kids might be of some
use. What cause couldn’t use a bunch of people that didn’t mind
getting their heads kicked in, that even went around looking
for the opportunity? In theory, it seems as if these kids could
save people who don’t view a club to the face as one of life’s
more pleasant sensations a lot of pain. In practice it just doesn’t
work that way. Using these kids for movement action is like turning
a bunch of mad dogs loose in a department store. There’s no telling
who they’ll bite. They bring more recriminations than they absorb.
Point them in the right direction and if you’re lucky they’ll
make it two or three steps before they stagger off on a tangent.

Batos locos — young Chicano kids drunk on wine
and stoned on downers all at once — have been showing up for
La Raza demonstrations with depressing regularity. Even Brown
Beret meetings have a good share of red freaks nodding off during
discussions. They get into a demonstration or a rally with only
a hazy image of a shouting, marching crowd in their heads, with
little idea of where they are going or what they are doing there.
They can turn a rally into a riot in minutes. It’s easily seen
whose influence directs the hostilities; the most popular Establishment
targets are usually drug stores. At least the junkies were just
dead weight, these kids are kicking and screaming and doing everything
their cloudy little hostile minds can do to hold their people

Militant blacks in Chicago have
launched a war on dealers pedaling hard dope to blacks. Brown
Berets are getting together some radical anti-hard dope campaigns
of their own. The Black and Chicano movements have been struggling
under the weight of their junkies for years. Black and brown
ghettos and barrios provided heroin dealers with their main income
ever since some enterprising Anglo discovered smack was both
addictive and marketable, especially in areas that a deaf junk
haze was better than the grime, the frustration, the indignity,
and the aching pain that was reality. Junk was fantastic for
those who couldn’t handle living and didn’t quite have it together
enough to commit suicide. Junk was fine for people who had given
up, people who had stopped fighting because they didn’t think
they had a chance of winning. Now things have changed. The people
that didn’t give up have gotten it together for the rest of us.
The junkies and downer freaks are still giving up in droves.
We not only have to fight our own way up, we’ve got to carry
them with us, slung over our shoulders while they’re picking
our back pockets.

Now, more than ever before, it
has become necessary to clean up our own ranks before we can
move any further. It’s time to get on it and move. We haven’t
got the time to be watching out for people too wiped out to watch
out for themselves. America is as open to change as any other
country. We’ve got repression and we’ve got wrongs, but we’ve
also got a lot of working room. We’ve got a lot to do and we’ll
need a lot of people to get it done. We need all the clear-headed,
fast-thinking people we can get. We need people that know what
they’re doing, and believe in their reasons for doing it. We
don’t need people willing to follow blindly after anyone with
a good set of vocal cords. We need people that have got their
heads together enough to think for themselves and act for themselves.
We don’t need people that constantly need someone else telling
them what to do and how to get it done. We don’t need people
who have traded mama’s security for dope and can’t function without
one or the other. We need our people and too many are copping
out on us, pulling themselves into the security of dope-haze
and adding their weight to the mountain we have to move. Unless
we do something drastic and fast junk and downer freaks may succeed
in uniting all our separate movements — into one incredible
bowel movement.

This has been a message in the
public interest. For more information regarding street drugs,
write to: Do It Now Foundation,
Box 27568, Tempe, AZ 85285-7568

dig deeper? Check out other Do It Now Foundation archival publications

This is one in a series of publications
on drugs, behavior, and health by Do It Now Foundation.
Please call or write for a complete list of available titles,
or check us out online at




And if you want to get your personal point across to us, click here or on the button at bottom.
And if you’d like to contact us for any other reason,
you’ll find our mailing address, phone, and fax numbers there, too.