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Episode 75: Copaganda — The Favorite Tool of Drug Warriors with Alec Karakatsanis

No matter what the problem is, whether it’s fentanyl overdoses or mass shootings, the solution to all of our problems is always more money and bigger budgets for police, prosecutors and prisons. Funny how that works, right? If crime goes up we need police, if crime goes down it’s because of the police, so we still need more police. They can’t lose!

One of the main ways public support for police is so insidious has to do with police propaganda (e.g. copaganda) but it can be hard to detect, let alone debunk, these powerful tools of controlling public opinion. Understanding how this works is crucial to any aspect of drug policy reform and holding accountable the journalists who perpetuate copaganda is an important step in undoing the harms of police states.

On this episode of Narcotica, co-hosts Zachary Siegel and Troy Farah talk with Alec Karakatsanis, the founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the United States’ legal system–a system that is built on white supremacy and economic inequality. Alec has helped challenge the money bail system in California and is the author of the book Usual Cruelty. He is passionate about ending human caging, surveillance, police, the death penalty, immigration laws, war, and inequality, and he has made debunking copaganda into an artform.

Follow Alec on Twitter at: @equalityAlec and read his newsletter here: https://equalityalec.substack.com/

If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:
Episode 58: How Racism Fuels The Drug War with Kassandra Frederique
Episode 47: Can Harm Reduction and Cops Coexist?
Episode 62: Policing Pleasure — The Intersection of Sex Work and Drug Use with Tamika Spellman and Caty Simon

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1
Intro voice: Jenny Schaye
Image: The Noun Project edit: Troy Farah