The first Drug War Freedom Ride

The Call to Freedom

Here is the letter that was put out to friends of cannabis law reform 20 May 2000.

The US driven War on Drugs is the pointy end of globalism, the tyranny of the New World Order made manifest.

All over the world nations have been treaty grid-locked into drug prohibition policies which, when it comes to achieving their stated goals – reduction of drug supply, drug abuse and crime - do not work and cannot work.

In fact drug prohibition policies have escalated drug abuse, created a heroin plague, made the use of dangerous drugs more dangerous, corrupted our police services, escalated crime and the fear of crime, and created enormous social dysfunction and paralysing community division.

The more Australian governments have spent on prosecuting prohibition, the more drug deaths we have suffered.

So what has drug prohibition achieved? Social control and an assault on our civil liberties so pernicious, and on such a scale, that our forbears, the founders of democratic liberalism, could not never have imagined.

Drug prohibition has been the excuse for proscribing our civil liberties and arming our (corrupted) police with new powers of search, surveillance and arrest.

Drug prohibition is at heart a war by governments on the private use of some of Nature’s most useful healing herbs. But it is more than that. It is a war by governments on their peoples. And in particular it is a war on youth.

All over the world where US drug prohibition policies have become law, prisoner populations have increased. An estimated 80% of the 7,500 full time prisoners in NSW jails have been convicted on drug related offences.

The incarceration industry, which has been created by the Drug War, comes with its own in-built growth imperative. This is a monster more dangerous than drugs. Let us always bear in mind that the privatisation of jails spells the creation of a new slave class.

If this sounds alarmist it is because it is alarming when our governments start building and opening new jails at a faster rate that they build hospitals or universities. How is it that there is no public money to fund university scholarships, yet our governments will happily pay out about $60,000 a year per person incarcerated?

We who believe in freedom will not rest until we see reform of these bad laws.

We are aware that white settlement of Australia began as the tyranny of an English penal colony. Our forebears (white and black) struggled long and hard for freedom and democratic reform. Now we see those hard won liberties subverted and Australia slide into becoming a penal colony of US foreign policy.

The US alliance is killing (and jailing) our kids again.

The time has come to draw the line. The choice is either we suffer individually and separately a deepening of our oppression, or we stand together in a struggle for freedom.

Let us stand with all those who speak up and speak out for justice. On the path of peaceful social change, there are many footprints to follow – the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and all the freedom rides, protest marches and peace pilgrimages that have gone before.

Let us clean up the mess of prohibition in this generation. Let us speak out for the victims, casualties and prisoners of the Drug War. Let us bear witness to the suffering and injustice created by drug prohibition policies.

Come aboard the Freedom Ride. Let us go to the gates of the jails and count the prisoners of the Drug War."

Graeme Dunstan

Here is the letter sent 25 May 2000 to the NSW Police Commissioner to establish police liaison for the Freedom Ride.

Mr Peter Ryan
NSW Police Commissioner
Avery Building, College Street

Dear Mr Ryan.

Freedom Ride Planning

I write to seek your personal support and guidance for the Freedom Ride that will be on the road visiting NSW regional gaols during July and August and in Sydney prior to the beginning of the Olympic Games in September.

The Freedom Ride will be a colourful caravan of buses, vans and other vehicles bearing citizens concerned about the rising prisoner population and the suffering and other social dysfunctions caused by the War on Drugs.

At heart we are a peace movement and our aim is to bear witness, in the Quaker tradition, to the suffering and injustice created by drug prohibition policies. We propose to go to the gates of all major NSW prisons and, in collaboration with the prisoners inside, and their families outside, very publicly count those imprisoned for drug related offences.

I know you do not need to be convinced of the failure of drug prohibition policies and the corrupting influence of the Drug War. Your appointment followed the Wood Royal Commission and the revelation of deep and far-reaching corruption of the NSW Police Service caused by the illicit drug trade.

Unless the Drug War is ended, it is only a matter of time before corruption will again pervade the NSW Police Service. Our political leadership has shown itself to be incapable of the courage and leadership needed for the change. So task ahead for us is to build a popular movement for reform. Hence the Freedom Ride.

I want to appeal to you, and the best of the NSW Police Service, to help us manage this political protest in the most effective and peaceful manner possible.

Please let us plan the Freedom Ride in close liaison with the police. Since we will be moving through a number of different police area commands, I would be grateful if you appoint an overall liaison officer to help us negotiate our way.

More information about the Freedom Ride is available at I would be happy to meet with you, or any officer you nominate, at the earliest opportunity. My direct contact is 0412 609 373.

For justice and peace,

Graeme Dunstan
Australian Cannabis Law Reform Movement


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