How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’

By George Lakey

While many of us are working to ensure that the Occupy movement will have a lasting impact, it’s worthwhile to consider other countries where masses of people succeeded in nonviolently bringing about a high degree of democracy and economic justice. Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle. They “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and created the basis for something different.

Both countries had a history of horrendous poverty. When the 1 percent was in charge, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to avoid starvation. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment. Unlike the Norwegians, the Swedes didn’t find oil, but that didn’t stop them from building what the latest CIA World Factbook calls “an enviable standard of living.”

Neither country is a utopia, as readers of the crime novels by Stieg Larsson, Kurt Wallender and Jo Nesbro will know. Critical left-wing authors such as these try to push Sweden and Norway to continue on the path toward more fully just societies. However, as an American activist who first encountered Norway as a student in 1959 and learned some of its language and culture, the achievements I found amazed me. I remember, for example, bicycling for hours through a small industrial city, looking in vain for substandard housing. Sometimes resisting the evidence of my eyes, I made up stories that “accounted for” the differences I saw: “small country,” “homogeneous,” “a value consensus.” I finally gave up imposing my frameworks on these countries and learned the real reason: their own histories.

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Genesis of the failure of Islamist militancy

Failure of militancy

by Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt;

…. Political Islam’s consequent failure to produce the desired results that its intellectuals had promised, and also its doctrinal involvement in the armed “jihad” in Afghanistan, generated the creation of modern-day Islamic militancy.

This militancy too faced the same problems in trying to triumph with a singular concept of Islam and the sharia in the face of the social and religious complications that run across Muslim countries.

So much so that by the late 1990s, Political Islam had devolved into what we now call “Islamic fundamentalism,” and/or stripped clean off its intellectual moorings and reduced to being an ideology of pure terror and having a myopic and narrow understanding of Islam and of the West. Entities like the al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban and the many militant outfits that were active in Kashmir (Harakat ul-Mujahedeen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba), are clear examples.

So it was heartening to hear Kashmir leaders like Bhatt and Yasin distancing themselves from those aspects of the movement that have caused nothing more than bloodshed, pain and chaos, more at the cost of the Kashmiris’ rather than their ‘occupiers.’

Read more » DAWN.COM

Louie Gohmert Afghan Strategy: Carve Out Balochistan From Ally Pakistan To Beat Taliban

By Michael McAuliff

WASHINGTON — President Obama is losing the war in Afghanistan to the Taliban, argued Rep. Louie Gohmert after listening to Tuesday’s State of the Union address. So he proposed one way to win: create a new, friendly state within the borders of neighboring Pakistan.

The Texas Republican took issue with Obama’s assertion that “the Taliban’s momentum has been broken.” He said he had just visited Afghanistan and came away with a very different sense from talking to members of the Northern Alliance, a multiethnic confederation of warlords and other forces who led the U.S.-backed ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

Gohmert argued that, far from being broken, the Taliban are feeling powerful enough to demand that members of the Northern Alliance apologize before the United States leaves in 2013. “If you look at the objective facts … they’re not on the run,” Gohmert said.

His solution was first to supply more arms to the Northern Alliance. But then, he said, the Afghan border with Pakistan needs to be shored up.

“Let’s talk about creating a Balochistan in the southern part of Pakistan,” Gohmert told The Huffington Post, referring to a region of Pakistan that constitutes nearly half that vital if troublesome ally.

“They love us. They’ll stop the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and all the weaponry coming into Afghanistan, and we got a shot to win over there,” said Gohmert, who accused Obama’s national security advisers of giving the president bad intel on Afghanistan.

“His strategy of working from ignorance and thinking we have them on the run is no way to go through life, son,” Gohmert said. “I’m about to borrow from an ‘Animal House’ line, but anyway, that’s no way to go through life when you’re that ignorant of what’s really going on.”

The White House did not answer a request for comment, and Gohmert’s office did not elaborate on how the United States could even discuss carving off Balochistan from a country that is both an ally and a nuclear power.

The United States recently has been talking about a truce with the Taliban. Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, characterized such efforts as begging, backed by an offer to “let all these Taliban murderers” go free.

Courtesy: Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/louie-gohmert-afghan-strategy-balochistan-pakistan-taliban_n_1232250.html

Pasha likely to get extension

 

By Abdul Hafeez

Karachi: As Pakistan’s civilian government and military establishment are mending ties which strained after memogate controversy, ISI chief is likely to be given extension by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

However, sources said the spymaster who was given extension twice after reaching the age of retirement in 2010 and 2011, is reluctant to continue his job.

A Pakistani newspaper claimed that civilian and military leaders had decided to lower temperature in the ‘national interest’ and it was evident from General Kayani’s visit alongside Let Gen Pasha to Prime Minister House on Tuesday.

Sources said that Pasha during corps commanders meeting had offered his resignation and was unwilling to continue. However, Gen Kayani has desire that Pasha should get extension for another term.

In case, Pasha refused to get extension, the prime minister after consultation with the army chief would appoint new ISI head in March that might be Let Gen Zaheerul Islam, currently working as corps commander Karachi, or Major Gen Naushad Kayani, now working as Director Gen Military Operations.

However, sources told The News Tribe that Major General Sahibzada Asfandyar Pataudi, a paternal uncle of Indian film star Saif Ali Khan might be appointed ISI chief.

Indian media, shortly after the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, had published reports, speculating that Saif Ali Khan’s uncle might be a new ISI chief if Pasha resigned from the post.

Interestingly, Saif Ali Khan is going to release his new movie Agent Vinod, in which he played RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) Agent and Kareena Kapoor, a leading bollywood heroin would be playing ISI agent role. One could imagine how Saif would deal with the ISI spy.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/01/26/pasha-likely-to-get-extension/#.TyFfVIHZXTp