Tag Archives: Dream

“Catch your dream – Utopia is possible.”

 

The Spanish Town Where People Come Before Profit

By Liam Barrington-Bush and Jen Wilton

In the south of Spain, the street is the collective living room. Vibrant sidewalk cafes are interspersed between configurations of two to five lawn chairs where neighbours come together to chat over the day’s events late into the night. In mid-June the weather peaks well over 40 degrees Celsius and the smells of fresh seafood waft from kitchens and restaurants as the seasonably-late dining hour begins to approach. The scene is archetypally Spanish, particularly for the Andalusian region to the country’s south, where life is lived more in public than in private, when given half a chance.

Specifically, this imagery above describes Marinaleda. Initially indistinguishable from several of its local counterparts in the Sierra Sur southern mountain range, were it not for a few tell-tale signs. Maybe it’s the street names (Ernesto Che Guevara, Solidarity and Salvador Allende Plaza, to name a few); maybe it’s the graffiti (hand drawn hammers-and-sickles sit happily alongside encircled A’s, oblivious to the differences the two ideologies have shared, even in the country’s recent past); maybe it’s the two-storey Che head which emblazons the outer wall of the local sports stadium.

Marinaleda has been called Spain’s ‘communist utopia,’ though the local variation bears little resemblance to the Soviet model most associate with the phrase. Classifications aside, this is a town whose social fabric has been woven from very different economic threads to the rest of the country since the fall of the Franco dictatorship in the mid 1970s. A cooperatively-owned olive oil factory, houses built by and for the community, and a famous looting of a large-scale supermarket, led by the town’s charismatic mayor, in which proceeds were donated to food banks, are amongst the steps that have helped position Marinaleda as a beacon of hope.

As the Spanish economy continues its post-2008 nosedive, unemployment sits at 26 percent nationally, while over half of young people can’t find work. Meanwhile, Marinaleda boasts a modest but steady local employment picture in which most people have at least some work and those that don’t have a strong safety net to fall back on.

But more than its cash economy, Marinaleda has a currency rarely found beyond small-scale activist groups or indigenous communities fighting destructive development projects: the currency of direct action. Rather than rely exclusively on cash to get things done, Marinaleños have put their collective blood, sweat and tears into creating a range of alternative systems in their corner of the world.

When money hasn’t been readily available – probably the only consistent feature since the community set out on this path – Marinaleños have turned to one another to do what needs doing. At times that has meant collectively occupying land owned by the Andalusian aristocracy and putting it to work for the town, at others it has simply meant sharing the burden of litter collection.

While still operating with some degree of central authority, the local council has devolved power into the hands of those it serves. General assemblies are convened on a regular basis so that townspeople can be involved in decisions that affect their lives. The assemblies also create spaces where people can come together to organise what the community needs through collective action.

“The best thing they have here in Marinaleda, and you can’t find this in other places, is the [general] assembly,” says long-term civil servant for the Marinaleda council, Manuel Gutierrez Daneri. He continues, “Assembly is a place for people to discuss problems and to find the solutions,” pointing out that even minor crimes are collectively addressed via the assembly, as the town has no police or judicial system since the last local cop retired.

In his time as mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo has managed to leverage considerable financial support from the state government, a feat which Gutierrez Daneri attributes to the town’s collective track record for direct action. “If you go ahead with all of the people behind you, that is very powerful,” he says.

As a result, the small town boasts extensive sports facilities and a beautifully-maintained botanical garden, as well as a range of more basic necessities. “For a little village like this, with no more than 2,700 people, we have a lot of facilities,” says Gutierrez Daneri.

British ex-pat Chris Burke has lived in Marinaleda for several years, and he explains that access to the public swimming pool only costs €3 for the entire summer. Burke recounts Mayor Sánchez Gordillo saying to him, “The whole idea of the place being somewhere good to live is that anyone can afford to enjoy themselves.” Burke adds pragmatically, “You can’t have a utopia without some loss-making facilities.”

From Occupation to Cooperation

In 1979, Sánchez Gordillo was first elected as the town’s mayor. He led an extensive campaign to change Marinaleda’s course, which began with hunger strikes and occupying underutilised land.

Read more » Truth-out
http://truth-out.org/news/item/24982-the-spanish-town-where-people-come-before-profit

VEERU KOHLI: FROM BONDED LABOURER TO ELECTION HOPEFUL

By Hasan Mansoor

Veeru managed to engineer a dramatic escape from her landlord, and is now, astonishingly, running for provincial assembly seat PS-50 in Hyderabad, Sindh.

HYDERABAD: Veeru Kohli was born to a landless Hari. From birth to now, her journey has been a tumultuous one – Veeru was married off to a family bonded to their landlord, managed to engineer a dramatic escape along with her relatives, and is now, astonishingly, running for provincial assembly seat PS-50 in Hyderabad, Sindh.

On the top of her election agenda is to end bonded slavery everywhere – a cause close to her heart considering her past. Veeru lived in a small hut in the Hoosri neighbourhood of Hyderabad, along with her family of agricultural workers. Wearing a traditional ghaghra and an armful of bangles like every other Kohli woman, the 47-year-old has come a long way, she explains.

The activist, who now works tirelessly to get prisoners freed from private jails, was born to a landless Hari, a member of the scheduled Hindu caste, in Allahdino Shah village in the tiny town of Jhudo. At the age of 16, she was married into a family bound to a landlord because of a loan that was never settled.

Veeru was unable to understand why their loan continued to increase despite the fact that the family’s earnings were constantly adjusted with the landlord. Yet, she says, her ‘benefactor’ was far better than some others.

After 17 years, the family took a loan from relatives better off than themselves, and they moved on. They got a job with another landowner in Umerkot. The family had migrated with big dreams, but the man turned out to be a tyrant, and their dream turned into a nightmare.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/04/10/veeru-kohli-from-bonded-labourer-to-election-hopeful/

Pakistan – Death of democracy

By: Manzur Ejaz

It is usually worse to mutilate someone’s spirit than to kill them: the spiritless half-dead body keeps dragging itself waiting for the end game. This is exactly what the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has done to democracy in Pakistan. A long list of charges levelled against the PPP government led by President Asif Ali Zardari – an anomaly in a parliamentarian democracy – is not as serious as the way he has crushed the essence of democracy. It is reminiscent of the revered Naxalite Punjabi poet, Pash, murdered by extremist Khalistani extremists:

Robbing of one’s wages is not the most dangerous

Thrashing by police is bad but not the most dangerous as well

To be victim of treachery and greed is not the most dangerous either

The most dangerous is to be filled by dead tranquillity

Death of our dreams is the most dangerous

The PPP-led government has not only fatally injured the dream of democracy but has filled the entire ruling class with this dead tranquillity. Most political analysts are dazed by the tenacity that President Zardari has shown in hanging on to his office and keeping his party in power. But few have acknowledged how he has achieved such an ‘otherwise admirable’ goal by maintaining unholy alliances with parties that have opposing agendas, resulting in a hard-to-fix proliferating anarchy. He also achieved his goal by not honouring publicly announced agreements with his opponents: his agreements with Mian Nawaz Sharif were the preface to what was going to follow. By saying that fulfilling political promises is not a religious dictate, Mr Zardari committed a cardinal sin because democracy means upholding socio-political contracts – written or otherwise.

Continue reading Pakistan – Death of democracy

The many meanings of March 23

By: Haider Nizamani

AS always, March 23 will be celebrated by official ceremonies at home and abroad. Iqbal’s dream will get due mention as will the political acumen of those who passed the Lahore Resolution in 1940 calling for a separate country.

Rarely, though, do we hear about the actual contents of the historic resolution. The annual celebrations are routine, but voices calling attention to the contents drown in the din of fervent patriotism. Why is that the case?

The operative section of the resolution says: “no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the north-western and eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent States’ in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”

Present-day nationalists in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh, embrace the contents of the resolution. Sindhi nationalists argue that the contents of the 1940 resolution constitute key elements of the pledge on which Muslim-majority regions opted for Pakistan.

In their assessment, the 1940 resolution envisaged a country where the constituent units would be autonomous and sovereign. The All India Muslim League was able to secure the support of Muslim-majority regions by opposing the centralist platform of the Congress.

Some who had been supporters of the Muslim League at the time of the Lahore Resolution, such as G.M. Syed, later turned against the party and eventually against the country. Why did they switch from being pro-Pakistan to anti-Pakistan?

The official Pakistani reply accuses people such as G.M. Syed of working on the instructions of India to weaken Pakistan. In reality, the opposition concerned the handing down of a product that was markedly different from the one promised in the 1940 resolution.

Instead of autonomous units forming the union, what transpired was a highly centralised state that trampled on the rights of the provinces.

Continue reading The many meanings of March 23

God’s Soldiers

By Omar Ali

This is 6 months old, but I just happened to see it.  Praveen Sami is right as far as it goes, but I would add that there are many confused and self-contradictory elements within this God’s soldier world. Pakistan’s army high command is indeed heavily influenced by this Jihadist and Islamist ideology (more than friendly observers like Anatol Lieven or Indian liberals may realize), but some of the SAME people are also crooks, compromisers, confused liberals, “modernisers” and so on. The net effect is a persistent Jihadist initiative mixed with real clashes with hardcore jihadis, alliance with the CIA, and extensive mercenary, trade and cultural exchanges with infidels, including INDIAN infidels. Some people in the Pakistani elite do have an almost psychotic reaction to anything “Hindu” (the best analogy would be the psychotic ravings of some Bajran Dal and VHP types when Muslims are mentioned) but even the Jihad is not monolithic and clear-headed. And neither is the control of the state by the army. And neither is the politics of the civilian population. In that, there are opportunities as well as threats.
Yeh tehzeeb aap apney khanjar sey khudkashi karey gi.. (this civilization will kill itself with its own dagger).. the verse  is from Allama Iqbal Jihadi and refers to Western civilization, but applies with greater force to his own confused “dream of an Islamic state”. To regard them as incorrigibly and completely Jihadist would be to do the same sort of thing Arundhati Roy does when she thinks of American policymakers.  In the real world, there are opportunities as well as threats. Some people may be interested in what can be done…

See also: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/05/pakistan-the-narratives-come-home-to-roost-by-omar-ali-.html

Courtesy:» Brown Pundits

Impact of OWS

– Finally, Higher Taxes for the 1% — Is Occupy Behind Governors’ Moves to Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share?

By Sarah Jaffe

Is the narrative around taxes finally shifting? Thanks to heavy public pressure, Governors Cuomo and Brown propose taxing their states’ ultrarich. …

Read more » AlterNet

The Shocking Truth – Statement Issued from Zuccotti Park by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street

– As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice we must not lose sight of what brought us together.

We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members.

That our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors.

That a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people, and the Earth, and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

We come to you at a time when corporations – which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality – run our governments.

We have peaceably assembled here as is our right to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in workplaces based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is, itself, a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut worker’s health care and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams, but look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products, endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives, or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully kept people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners, even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

To the people of the world, We, the New York City general assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard.

VIDEO

Courtesy: http://www.twf.org/News/Y2011/1005-Occupy.html

The dream of a new start in Pakistan

By Omar Ali

The rise of Imran Khan and memogate have enthused those who dream of a “reformed” democracy under the guiding hand of the army.

A few days ago, I was planning to write about Imran Khan. Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain and philanthropist had been trying to add “successful politician” to his resume since 1996, but after many years in the political wilderness he finally seemed to make a breakthrough with his large public meeting in Lahore. Pakistan’s educated youth, in particular, appeared to be very excited about a politician for the first time in their young lives. But they were not alone; even the ageing British Marxist, Tariq Ali, threw caution to the winds and announced that Mr. Khan’s gathering was a sign that the “Arab Spring” had finally made it to Pakistan and was even larger than the huge rallies of Benazir Bhutto and her father in days gone by. Comrade Tariq seemed to have forgotten that the Arab Spring had come to Pakistan many decades before it belatedly reached the Arab world and never mind the size of the rally, which bore no comparison to Benazir’s historic 1986 rally. But, Tariq Ali’s flights of fancy notwithstanding, the rally was clearly large and the arrival of Mr. Khan as a politician with crowd support was a major event.

But then President Asif Ali Zardari called his U.S. ambassador Hussain Haqqani to return to Pakistan to explain his role in “memogate,” the still mysterious affair in which he apparently gave international fixer Mansoor Ijaz a memo that was passed on to Admiral Mullen. It is not yet clear who was behind the memo and what he hoped to accomplish; did the Zardari regime really fear a coup at a time when the army was on the back-foot and faced real public humiliation in Pakistan in May 2011? And if it did, why pick this circuitous route to look for American help? And how would a regime that is unable to control the army and fears a coup be able to turn around and completely defang the same army with U.S. help a few days later? Is there more to the story? We don’t know, and may never know, but the story is not over yet.

Both stories may even be related; there are suggestions that Mr. Khan’s sudden rise is not just spontaneous combustion but involves some help from “the agencies.” Circumstantial evidence in favour of this suspicion includes the obvious sympathy he is receiving from pro-military websites and the fact that his extremely “liberal” and reasonable interview with Karan Thapar has not ignited any firestorm of protest in the “Paknationalist” community — a community generally quick to jump on anyone who talks of improved relations with India or admits that we do have militants and that they do need to be eliminated. Memogate is even more obviously a story about the civilian-military divide in Pakistan and it is no secret that it is the army that is asking for his removal. Is this then the proverbial perfect storm that will sweep away the current civilian dispensation and replace it with that old favourite of the army and the middle class: a “caretaker government” that will rid us of “corrupt politicians” and “unpatriotic elements” and make Pakistan the China of South Asia?

I have no way of knowing if the time is nigh, but the dream of a new start is not a figment of my imagination. The military and its favourite intellectuals (and large sections of the middle class) seem to be in a permanent state of anticipation of the day when the military will sweep away this sorry scheme of things and then we will have order and progress. If pressed about the nature of the system that will replace the current system, the naïve foot soldiers may think of the late lamented (and mostly imaginary) caliphate if they are on the Islamist side of the fence; or of “reformed” and real democracy, the kind that does not elect Altaf Hussains and Asif Zardaris, if they are on the smaller westernised liberal side of the fence. But the army’s own house intellectuals are more likely to point to China. That the history of China and the ruling communist party has no resemblance to GHQ’s own history of inept and retrograde interference in Pakistani politics is something that is never brought up; apparently this time, the GHQ will start where the Chinese are today, having conveniently skipped an intervening century of mass movements, civil wars and revolutions, not to speak of 4000 years of civilisation and culture.

Of course, the system as it exists is unnatural. Either the army has to be brought to heel under an elected civilian regime or civilians have to be pushed aside for a more efficient form of military rule (even if it is in the garb of a civilian “caretaker regime”). The current “neither fish nor fowl” system will have to evolve in one direction or the other, or crises like memogate will continue to erupt. Since most people think the army has the upper hand, the second outcome appears more likely to them. It could be that Mr. Khan offers them the chance to have their cake and eat it too; he is genuinely popular and if his party wins the elections and comes to power, the army may have the regime it wants in a more legitimate manner. But this middle-class dream outcome also seems unlikely. It is hard to see how the PTI can win a majority in a genuine election. And with no plan beyond simplistic patriotic slogans, any such regime will soon face the same problems as the one it replaces.

That brings us to the second prediction: the current atmosphere of crisis will continue unabated no matter what arrangements are made by the army. The really critical problem in Pakistan is not “corrupt politicians.” In that respect, we are little different from India, Indonesia or many other countries not thought to be in terminal existential crisis. The real problem is that an overpopulated third world postcolonial state has not yet settled even the most fundamental issues about the nature of the state and its institutions. The “hard” version of the two-nation theory and its associated Islamism have helped to create a constituency for millenarian Islamist fantasies. And 20 years of training militants for “asymmetric warfare” against India has created an armed force and a safe haven for that force. These two streams have mingled to the point where the state faces civil war against its own creations. It is also a war for which the deep state lacks an adequate narrative, having spent decades nurturing a virulent anti-Indian and Islamist ideology that glorifies the very people they are now forced to fight. But fight them it must because its own interests lie with globalised capitalism, not militants. They may imagine they can again direct the war outwards to Afghanistan and Kashmir, but the militants have other ideas, and will not go quietly into the night. Even if they did, the legitimacy of the 1973 constitution and its institutions within the elite remains low and so the crisis of governance would continue.

So, after this doom and gloom, a faint “positive” prediction: There are better than even chances that eventually the deep state will be compelled to claw its way past all these problems to defeat the militants, make peace with India and establish a straightforward near-secular democratic system to run the country. All of that may look less than the paradise many Pakistanis are waiting for, but it’s what the world has to offer at this point in history and it is unlikely that the intellectual resources of GHQ will somehow produce an alternative that the rest of the world has not yet found. It will not be pretty, but it will be done.

Or they will fail, with unpredictable dire consequences for their own people and the region. Either way, India would do well to help positive trends and resist negative ones without losing sight of the big picture. I think Manmohan Singh realises that, I hope others do too.

Continue reading The dream of a new start in Pakistan

A massive demonstration of Occupy Toronto and all its supporters will take place Saturday at 2 pm, starting from St. James Park (Jarvis and King)

We are asking everyone to come out and demonstrate Saturday, to bring friends, relatives, workmates, and everyone who cares about democracy and the objectives of the Occupy Movement, which is to oppose the gross wealth being accumulated by the rich and powerful 1% at the expense of the 99% – the rest of the population whose wages and incomes have fallen dramatically, many of whom are unemployed and under-employed, many of whom are poor and very poor, and many more who are youth and whose lives and futures have been dramatically altered by the insatiable greed of the most powerful corporations and the richest people in the world.

Join the rally at the corner of Jarvis and King at 1:30 pm, Saturday, to march & distribute People’s Voice, and our statement in support of the Occupy movement.

Please RSVP to erowley@live.ca to help, or for more info.

Comradely and in Solidarity!

Liz Rowley

The U.S.A we admire – Former Philadelphia Police Captain Joins Occupy Protesters, Gets Arrested

Former Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis joined Occupy Wall Street protesters on Tuesday.

He was seen holding a sign reading “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries.”

In a video interview with Livestreamers, he railed against the excessive power of corporate America and the wrongful eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park. He said if the occupations “continue to grow, you’re going to see a lot more of the FBI.”

Rea more » Common Dreams

Hasan Nasir: ‘We, who were murdered in the darkest lanes’ (Ham jo tareek rahon mey maarey gay)

Comrade Hasan Nasir Shaheed

Excerpt;

November 13, marks the death anniversary of Hasan Nasir Shaheed who was succumbed to death in infamous Lahore Fort’s chamber of horrors in 1960 by Pakistani state. Scion of an aristocratic family of Hyderabad, Deccan, Hasan Nasir was a student at the Cambridge University in England, when he came under the influence of the communist party, which had a vibrant presence in the academia of UK during the post WW II period. …

… The Lahore Fort was a symbol of terror in Pakistan at that time. This symbol of Mughal majesty had been turned into a draconian detention and investigation center during the period of British colonialism. The ‘criminals’ of the independence movement were often detained in the Fort for questioning through questionable means. After 1947, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took over the command of the Lahore Fort. After the ban on the Communist Party along with its sister organizations, and the military coup of 1958, the Lahore Fort was often used to interrogate leftist political activists.

After Hasan Nasir’s murder his mangled body was hastily buried by the police…..

Here’s elegy of Faiz Sahab written in 1961 for Hasan Nasir:

Naagahaan aaj merey taar-e-nazar se kat kar

tukrey-tukrey huey aafaaq pe khursheed-o-qamar

ab kisee samt andheraa na ujaalaa hogaa

bujh gayee dil ki tarah raah-e-wafaa mere baad

dosto! qaafla-e-dard ka ab kyaa hogaa

ab koi aur karey parwarish-e-gulshan-e-gham

dosto khatm hui deeda-e-tar ki shabnam

tham gayaa shor-e-junoon khatm hui baarish-e-sang

khaak-e-rah aaj liye hai lab-e-dildaar ka rang

koo-e-jaanaan men khulaa mere lahoo ka parcham

dekhiye detey hain kis-kis ko sadaa merey baad

kaun hota hai hareef-e-mai mard afgan-e-ishq

hai mukarrar lab-e-saaqee pe jilaa merey baad

Read more » LUBP
S
ee more » http://criticalppp.com/archives/62554

Noam Chomsky Speaks to Occupy

Noam Chomsky Speaks to Occupy: If We Want a Chance at a Decent Future, the Movement Here and Around the World Must Grow

By Noam Chomsky

In a speech to Occupy Boston, the linguist and icon hailed the “unprecedented” first weeks of OWS. He cautioned protesters to build and educate first, strike later.

November 1, 2011, It’s a little hard to give a Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture at an Occupy meeting. There are mixed feelings that go along with it. First of all, regret that Howard is not here to take part and invigorate it in his particular way, something that would have been the dream of his life, and secondly, excitement that the dream is actually being fulfilled. It’s a dream for which he laid a lot of the groundwork. It would have been the fulfillment of a dream for him to be here with you.

The Occupy movement really is an exciting development. In fact, it’s spectacular. It’s unprecedented; there’s never been anything like it that I can think of. If the bonds and associations that are being established at these remarkable events can be sustained through a long, hard period ahead — because victories don’t come quickly– this could turn out to be a very significant moment in American history. ….

Read more » AlterNet

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Occupy Islamabad!

For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!

It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.

Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.

The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.

At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’

But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!

Courtesy» The Express Tribune

Real-Life Iron Man Suit Is Stronger, Faster Than Ever

U.S. military tech firm Raytheon is living the dream — as long as that dream involves donning a mechanical suit, smashing through thick pine boards and pressing a hundred kilos just for fun.

Meet the » XOS 2.

Read more: → http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/scitech/2010/09/28/iron-man-suit-exoskeleton-raytheon/#slide=10#ixzz1bFE0UqoY

 

 

The season of revolts – By:Arif Ansar

Excerpt;

But the winter of discontent is still far off

The Arab Spring is now well underway and appears to have spread to other continents as well. Early signs of a European Spring are visible in UK and Greece, and there is an American version in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Meanwhile, Anna Hazare provided a glimpse of how an Indian Spring may look like. The underpinnings of these protests may be different but at a broader level they signify the widening gulf between governments and their citizenry. In other words, hidden in these protests is a modern crisis of the nation-state system.

What triggered these public uprisings is hotly debated. However, in the context of the Arab world and Pakistan, the WikiLeaks disclosures may have played a major role. These secrets revealed how governments are playing a duplicitous role, especially about their dealings with the US. ….

…. Like many other outcomes of the linked and globalised world, these public revolts are also transnational in nature. There appears to be two contradictory forces at work: on the one hand the technological advancements and social media are making the borders increasingly irrelevant, and on the other, worsening economics is causing nationalism to resurge. The future of nation-sate structure is dependent on how it reconciles the pulls and tugs that emanate from within, with those that act upon it from outside.

To read complete article » Pakistan Today

Thousands of protesters fill New York Times Square

– Thousands of protesters fill NYC’s Times Square

by Associated Press

NEW YORK — Thousands of demonstrators protesting corporate greed filled Times Square on Saturday night, mixing with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.

“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” protesters chanted from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away. ….

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

Occupy the world

– by DAWN.COM

Inspired by the Wall Street rallies that began on September 17, protestors worldwide have joined in the movement against financiers and politicians they accuse of ruining global economies.

Dozens of cities across the world, including London, Frankfurt, Washington Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong, are holding demonstrations today in a show of solidarity with “Occupy Wall Street”, which is being coined as the “people powered movement for democracy.”

According to participants, these non-violent demonstrations are being staged to be initiate global change.

As these protests gain momentum globally, comparisons have been made between the Occupy Wall Street protests and the recent demonstrations in several Arab countries, some of which have seen change as a result.

In your opinion, can these protests actually reform global financial systems and how our countries economies are governed?

Is there really such a thing as people’s power?

Read more » Dawn.com invites its readers to give their views and suggestions.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement

The Guys in the 1% Brought This On

By Barbara Ehrenreich

Excerpt;

…. So the “99% versus the 1%” theme is beginning to look like an acute class analysis after all, and it’s the guys in the 1% who made it so. Over the years, they have systematically hollowed out the space around them: destroying the industrial working class with the outsourcings and plant closures of the ’80s, turning on white collar managers in the downsizing wave of the ’90s, clearing large swathes of the middle class with the credit schemes of the ’00’s—the trick mortgages and till-death-do-we-part student loans.

In the ’60s we dreamed of uniting people of all races and collar colors into “one big working class.” But it took the billionaires to make it happen.

Read more » The Progressive

We are the 99 per cent Occupy Wall Street is a peaceful stand against the big American rip-off. Support it and regain your dignity

– by Mark Ruffalo

I have spent the last two days at the Occupy Wall Street gathering. It was a beautiful display of peaceful action: so much kindness and gentleness in the camp, so much belief in our world and democracy. And so many different kinds of people all looking for a chance at the dream that America had promised them.

When people critique this movement and say spurious things about the protesters’ clothes or their jobs or the general way they look, they are showing how shallow we have become as a nation. They forget that these people have taken time out of their lives to stand up for values that are purely American and in the interest of our democracy. They forget that these people are encamped in an urban park, where they are not allowed to have tents or other normal camping gear. They are living far outside their comfort zone to protect and celebrate liberty, equality and the rule of law.

It is a thing of beauty to see so many people in love with the ideal of democracy, so alive with its promise, so committed to its continuity in the face of crony capitalism and corporate rule. That should be celebrated. It should be respected and admired.

Their message is very clear and simple: get money out of the political process; strive for equality in taxation and equal rights for all regardless of race, gender, social status, sexual preference or age. We must stop poisoning our food, air and water for corporate greed. The people on Wall Street and in the banking industrial complex that destroyed our economy must be investigated and brought to justice under the law for what they have done by stealing people’s homes and savings. ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

Dr. Geet: Yankee doctor, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone of Sindh

– Dr. Geet: Yankee doc, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone

SINDH : KARACHI — Dr. Geet Chainani is the young American dream I hadn’t counted on meeting in Pakistan this summer. She’s a Yank born in India, raised in New York City, trained as a medical doctor in the Caribbean. And for most of a year now she’s been treating families, especially children, in the tent cities of the flood waters of the Indus River, upstream from Karachi. When we met, almost by chance, my first thought was: this is an American vision to be shared — of the trans-nation at its best, at home in the world, our useful hands-on gifts being shared, as if it came naturally.

Geet Chainani grew up on Staten Island with a grandmother who told her “we were Sindhis first.” Meaning: master the Sindhi language early; think of yourself as a child of the world’s first big-city culture, at Mohenjo-daro, from 2600 B.C. Her grandparents were part of the vast Hindu migration out of Sindh to India in 1947, at the partition that created Pakistan. But Sindh was where Geet came looking for her roots a year ago — for the tombs of the Sufi saints and the world’s oldest plumbing. The first big shock was Pakistan’s devastation by immersion. The second, when she pitched herself into the emergency, was discovering, with mothers in distress, that knowing their language was as valuable as her medical training.

All that in a woman who sounds to us, as I said, so New York. “I am very New York!” she laughed. “Being American is the ground for the work I do — the fundamental belief that all men are created equal. In the Preamble, you know… People say to me now: so you picked Sindh, and you’re saving these people. I’m, like: No. It [SINDH] picked me. And they’re saving me.”

Courtesy: → RadioOpenSource

The above news adopted from Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 24, 2011.

An other human dream comes true. A robot that flies like a real bird

SmartBird: the beautiful overlap of nature and technology

This robot is truly a thing of beauty.

One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to fly like a bird. Many, from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary research teams, tried to decipher the flight of birds well enough to recreate it. Finally in 2011, the engineers at the German technology company, Festo, developed SmartBird, an avian robot that can take off and fly through the air by simply flapping its wings. In this video, Markus Fischer, Festo’s head of corporate design, shows a live audience what SmartBird can do ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

China’s Port in Pakistan?

China’s dream of Indian Ocean ports — the so-called string of pearls — is heightening geopolitical tensions in a rough neighborhood.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Pakistani officials have announced that the Chinese look favorably on taking over the operation of the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, and perhaps building a naval base for the Pakistanis there as well. The Chinese have apparently contradicted these claims, indicating that they have made no such decisions on these matters.

The fact that Pakistan should want deeper Chinese involvement with this strategically located port, even as the Chinese are hesitant to do just that, should surprise no one. Gwadar is where dreams clash with reality. …

Read more : ForeignPolicy

Southern Sudan Feels Freedom Close at Hand

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

This is a dream,” Mr. Nyuol said, “a dream we always hoped would come true, even if it took one thousand years.”

JUBA, Sudan — Philip Geng Nyuol started fighting for independence with his hands.

He eventually graduated to a machete, then Molotov cocktails, then a gun.

“I crossed rivers full of crocodiles,” he said. “And slept in camps in Congo. And ate wild fruits in the bush.”

That was nearly 50 years ago — Mr. Nyuol was on the ground floor of southern Sudan’s independence struggle, before the rebels even had proper weapons. The memories come flooding back to him, bright but patchy, like sun streaming through the trees.

After decades of war and more than two million lives lost, southern Sudan has arrived at the moment it has been yearning for, a referendum on independence. Polls opened on Sunday just after 8 a.m. local time. All signs point to the people here voting overwhelmingly for secession, and the largest country on the continent will then begin the delicate process of splitting in two. …

Read more : The New York Times

A divided Pakistan buries Salman Taseer and a liberal dream

by Declan Walsh in Lahore

Liberals have long been a minority force in Pakistan, reviled for importing ‘western’ ideas and culture; now they are virtually an endangered species.

There was silence in the ancient city of Lahore yesterday as Salman Taseer, a pugnacious son of the soil who made his name by speaking out, was lowered into an early grave. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

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To read BBC urdu column, click here

Human rights in Pakistan?

by Nizamuddin Nizamani

General Ziaul Haq organically changed the socio-political landscape of the state and turned the country’s mass into a ticking bomb by planting the seeds of religious fundamentalism. To counter the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, he initiated a military operation in Sindh and created sectarian and ethnic militant groups in Karachi and other parts of the country

The world community celebrates Human Rights Day on December 10. The envisaged purpose seems to accept the truth that despite the claims of modern, scientific, human-friendly development and globalisation, still some heinous human rights violations are the order of the day in some regions, while realising the universal truth that all humans without discrimination have equal rights to live and develop.

It seems that the UN and related bodies have bitterly failed to guarantee access to basic amenities for common people globally in general and the global south specifically. Even the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seems a distant dream. …

Read more : Daily Times

Home remains a distant dream for many flood-displaced Pakistanis

KAMBER SHADADKOT DISTRICT, Pakistan, November 18 (UNHCR) – When floods swept through their village in southern Pakistan’s Sindh province earlier this year, Mumtaz Ali and his pregnant wife lost their seven-year-old son. Weeks later, a weakened Zulekha gave birth, but the baby died soon afterwards.

On top of these tragic losses, the floods have destroyed the tenant farmer’s crops, costing him 150,000 Pakistani rupees (US$1,800). “My landlord will ask for money, but the rice crop was destroyed,” he said: “I will bear the brunt.”

And the family’s ordeal shows no sign of easing in the near future because winter is approaching and their village in Sindh’s Kamber Shadadkot district remains underwater. …

Read more : UNHCR