"Empires of Pain: A Story of Racism, Opioids and Revenge" is a new, short web-based comic co-authored by Lakehead Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Dr. Max Haiven.
It explores the longer history of the ongoing opioid crisis, which has to date killed over half a million people in the US alone and has ruined the lives of many more.
With tragic deaths from overdoses rising in Thunder Bay and across Canada during the lockdown, this comic contributes to demanding that society take a hard look at how we got here.
The comic, based on a chapter of Haiven's recently published book Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts (Pluto 2020) focuses on the longer history of drugs, empires and racism, tracing the roots of today's crisis to the 19th century Opium Wars.
It explores the links between the drug crisis and the tide of far-right political revenge that has recently swept the United States and other countries.
The comic can be read for free at http://empiresofpain.com where visitors can also find essays and audio.