Archive for August, 2011

Sierra Leone: Solar-Power dank Frauen-Power

Dienstag, August 30th, 2011

“The women bringing solar power to Sierra Leone

An Indian college is training 12 Sierra Leonean women to become solar engineers as part of a drive to bring electricity to rural communities

By Meena Bhandari

A group of 12 women from villages in Port Loko district in Sierra Leone is in the frontline of a battle to bring solar-powered electricity to rural communities. No small feat, given that rural Sierra Leone is not connected to power.

The women are assembling 1 500 household solar units at Barefoot College, in Tilonia, Rajasthan, in western India, prior to a new Barefoot College being opened in West Africa. They sit at long wooden tables fitting tiny coloured resisters to circuit boards — heads tilted, deep in concentration, as smoke puffs up from their soldering irons.

The women are all either illiterate or semiliterate — they used to be subsistence farmers, living day-to-day like millions in Sierra Leone. But now they are proud graduates of India’s Barefoot College, having travelled 9 600km to learn — in the women’s words — “how to make light from the sun”.

“The idea of solar was so surprising that I had to be a part of it,” says Mary Dawo from Romakeneh village.

“Snakes, rodents, reptiles and biting insects crept and crawled into our homes with the dark at 7pm. Children couldn’t study, and we couldn’t relax, socialise or plan our lives after a long day’s work,” says Fatmata Koroma from Mambioma village.

The Barefoot College in Sierra Leone, the first in Africa, is set to open next month in Konta Line village, in Port Loko district. It will enrol up to 50 students on four-month residential courses in solar engineering. The Sierra Leone government has invested about $820 000 in the project. Though the college is funded by the government, the women hope they can run it independently, in what they describe as the “Barefoot way”. The solar equipment the college runs on, and the equipment for 10 villages, was provided by the Barefoot College in India, and the initial training was sponsored by the Indian government as part of its south-south cooperation programme.

“In India, the first problem was vegetarian food,” says Koroma. “The desert was too hot and everything was different. But, within months we could assemble circuits and construct systems. Anything was possible after that.”

The graduates now live in the college hostel, where they will stay until they have trained their replacements “for the service to our villages and our country”, says Nancy Kanu. She was in the first female batch of students to train in India, in 2007, the same year that Konta Line village, where she’s from, was declared the first solar village. She is now chief solar engineer. “I teach full-time, but I’m on call — even at night — to fix a fuse, change a bulb or charge a phone,” she says.

‘People socialise more’
People interact differently now in Konta Line, says Aminata Kargbo. “People socialise more — they’re nicer,” she says. The advent of solar energy has saved the village about $1 000 in candles and kerosene so far; money that is being kept for the upkeep of solar equipment.

However, the solar units are expensive [$500 to $800] and far beyond the reach of most rural households. “There’s a 45% import tax … You need electricity to manufacture solar equipment here,” says Idriss Kamara of the Safer Future Youth Development Project. The local NGO tackles the country’s 60% youth unemployment, training people in vocational skills, including solar. But, Kamara says, few solar trainees find work because hardly any households use it. The government says it is looking to reduce the tax so benefits are passed on to customers and access to solar power increases.

However, while Sierra Leone’s government supports the Barefoot College project, people have wider energy needs, says Yvette Stevens of the ministry of energy and water. “We are developing a broader rural energy programme focusing on community, productive and social needs,” she says. Renewables such as solar, biofuels and hydro form the basis of this programme, supported by an upcoming World Bank project. “There’s a lot of donor money for renewables now, given their impact on climate change,” says Stevens. The government envisages local solar systems will provide power for clinics and schools, and for “water pumps, communal television, and computer centres”, she explains. Energy is not set out as a separate MDG, but it’s vital in meeting them, she says.

Sierra Leone is still catching up after the lost years of the decade-long civil war that wiped out the country’s fragile infrastructure. More than 60% of people (about 3.6-million) live rurally. Few can afford generators. Even in urban areas, more than 90% of people go without power.

A recent World Bank report states that electricity is Sierra Leone’s most daunting infrastructure challenge. This, despite the new Bumbuna hydropower plant, which has improved the situation in the capital, Freetown, a little during the rainy season, providing nearly half the city’s demand. Nevertheless, rural areas lag far behind. Sierra Leone records 46 days of power failures a year, which is four times higher than in other low-income African states.

They may be a small part of a bigger strategy, but Sierra Leone’s Barefoot women are thinking about the future. “Once these units are installed, I think we’ll need an investor to manufacture solar units here to make them affordable for everyone,” Barefoot College graduate Kanu says. “There’s nothing we can’t learn now to make our lives better. We have the power to change our villages.” – © Guardian News and Media 2011″


(Quelle: Mail & Guardian online.)

Haiti: Frauen erkämpfen ihre Rechte

Dienstag, August 30th, 2011

“Until the Day I Die: Haitian Women Winning Their Rights

By Gerta Louisama and Beverly Bell


Gerta Louisama. (Photo by Beverly Bell)


Gerta Louisama is a member of the Executive Committee and the National Women’s Committee of Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen, Heads Together Small Producers of Haiti, Haiti’s largest and oldest peasant group.  She is also head of the local Tèt Kole Women’s Committee in her village of Savanette.  Here she speaks about the Tèt Kole’s efforts to win recognition, social equality, and economic rights for rural Haitians, especially women.

I am a peasant women and the daughter of two peasants. I’ve been a victim of this society which ostracizes women.

My father was a member of Tèt Kole and I chose to follow him and join the organization. I’ve gotten all my knowledge through Tèt Kole. I’m illiterate, but thanks to the organization, after women helped me for three months, I could even spell my name and write a little. Even though I’m getting older, I’ll keep going to school.

Tèt Kole started on September 6th, 1986 and the Jean-Rabel massacre was on July 23, 1987. We lost 139 peasants [when the two largest landowner families in the region hired hit men to stop Tèt Kole’s work for land reform]. Then we had a second massacre in Piatte in 1990. The big land owners, the army, and the local police are responsible for those blood baths. It was asking for these necessities that got the peasants slaughtered. They were well-planned massacres to subdue us.

It’s like the peasants have no rights because they don’t have access to clean water, no access to roads, no access to health care, no access to free schooling. And if we protest for those rights we’re entitled to, they will send in the police or MINUSTAH [UN peacekeeping troops] and they’ll spray tear gas, arrest people and beat them up. You don’t even have the right to protest for your rights.

Legally speaking, both men and women have the same rights. In this country, we have plenty of laws. They’re on paper, they’ve just been set aside. Part of our movement is to get these laws respected.

Us Haitian women, we have a lot of challenges, but as peasant women we have even more.
We truly carry the burden of society. We’re the ones who hustle to feed the household and send the sick to the hospital if need be. We women, we work the land, we raise cattle, we transport merchandise like plantains, yams, and black beans to the capital. If we don’t work, there won’t be any flow of goods.

One of the priorities of the women in Tèt Kole is to get things working in our favor. We have to address economic problems and social problems. We need ways to process the foods we produce, we need access to seeds. We need to help women who’ve been victims of domestic violence get support in the courts.

What the women do in Tèt Kole is to group ourselves together in teams of 10 to 15 women. We work in the fields together, we do laundry together. We do personal development training. The chances for peasant women to go to school are small because they don’t have the financial means, so the trainings are designed to remind them that they’re also human and part of the society, even though society has marginalized them. They help peasant women understand their strength in society and understand that as for those services they’re entitled to. The government’s not doing them favors, they’re their rights.

We’re asking the government to do a thorough agrarian reform. Most times, the peasants don’t own the land they are working on. The peasants should have ownership of the land they’re working. Land needs to be taken away from people who aren’t using it, and the state needs to let go of land it holds on to that could be used for farming, and be given to the peasants who are working it, with the other [agricultural] resources they need to farm.

Actually, the women have been tirelessly working the small plots of land they’ve been able to get their hands on, so we should be the ones to own them. We peasant women think the government has to have in its agricultural plan a way to help us hold onto our land in the mountains so we can produce food, and help us get seeds and tools.  We don’t have tools to work with, we don’t have seeds, we don’t have technical support.

The problem is even worse for women because both the family and the society keep us from owning land or other big assets. We’re not entitled. If the land isn’t in the hands of the government or the church, it’s mostly for the sons.

Say my father dies. If he owned three hectares of land and he had two sons and me as a daughter, he’ll never say that I can have one hectare and each son receives one hectare. Me, I’ll only be entitled to 1/4 hectare or at most 1/2 hectare, and the extra will be divided among my brothers.

And if I was living in common-law with a man, if he died, I’d need to race to get myself off the land, even if I didn’t have anywhere else to sleep. I wouldn’t have any right to stay on the premises.

Another priority for the Women’s Committee is all the people who don’t have birth certificates.  The state has no respect for the peasants. People may have a piece of paper but it might not be valid, because the number on it might be the same as on 15 or 20 other certificates; only one person has the actual birth certificate and all the others are just photocopies. This comes out when the children of the peasant women have to go study or take care of something [legal]. Also, they used one birth certificate for people from urban areas and one for those from the countryside [this has since been changed].  I’m 42, and up til this day, I don’t even know if my birth certificate is valid. Maybe if I go to get a passport one day, I’ll find out.

The lack of respect for peasants is also why today cholera is spreading throughout the country. There was no plan from early on, and that’s why it’s killed so many in all the departments [states], especially the poorest who can’t get medical care for themselves. In remote areas, people might need to carry the person with cholera four to five hours on a stretcher to make it to the hospital.  [Cholera can kill within 4 to 6 hours after infection.]  Where I’m from there’s a joke: since [the village of] Savanette has no roads, cholera can’t travel there. Actually, if it were to hit Savanette, no one would survive.

They talked about sending Clorox, but we haven’t gotten any. They’ve told peasants to use soaps to wash their hands but some of them don’t have the money to buy soap, which costs 12 gourdes [33 cents]. Cholera is an even bigger burden on peasant women because they’re the ones that have borne their children and that are responsible for the household.

If there were to be cases of cholera in Savanette, we as an organization would have to get involved. We’d have to go to the local radio stations and tell people to do preventive medicine.

Where we are, we only see outsiders when there are elections and the public officials need votes. Once the officials have been elected, you won’t see the senators again. Let’s not even talk about the president.

The fight to change the conditions of women living in the country is coming from men as well as women of Tèt Kole. This isn’t a movement of women against men, but really against the society which has isolated women. Women and men have to join together to fight. Generally as peasants, whether men or women, young or old, we’re all fighting for our rights, and men have to have that same mindset of aligning themselves with the women in this struggle.

You find there are men who really misunderstand women. They assume that the women are increasing their strength against men. But in Tèt Kole, we’ve made lots of efforts to show that our work is to change the conditions of all peasants.  We’re showing that this isn’t a movement of women against men but rather a movement against the society which has isolated women.

Based on how things are going, we can almost say we’re losing the battle fast. We are slowly but surely going backwards. But as long as we are breathing, we can’t get discouraged. We are responsible for changing the conditions of our country so we’ll continue to fight.

But so far, we haven’t seen any real positive outcome. That’s why we say we’ll continue to fight, even though we won’t see the changes; our kids will see them.

I have one daughter and I have given all my energy to the organization.  I have given back what the organization has done for me as a peasant woman who struggles against a society that excludes us.  If it wasn’t for Tèt Kole, I wouldn’t have any value in this society. I never have thoughts of life after I leave Tèt Kole, because I see myself being involved until the day I die.

Many thanks to Patricia Bingué And Bill Davis for translation, and Deepa Panchang for help editing.

Beverly Bell has worked with Haitian social movements for over 30 years. She is also author of the book Walking on Fire: Haitian Women’s Stories of Survival and Resistance and is working on the forthcoming book, Fault Lines: Views across Haiti’s New Divide. She coordinates Other Worlds,, which promotes social and economic alternatives. She is also associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. You can access all of her past articles regarding post-earthquake Haiti at

Copyleft Beverly Bell. You may reprint this article in whole or in part. Please credit any text or original research you use to Beverly Bell, Other Worlds.”


(Quelle: Towards Freedom.)

Ägypten: Wie man eine Revolution niederschlägt

Dienstag, August 30th, 2011

„How to put an end to the Revolution…“

Vor zwei Wochen veröffentlichte der ägyptische Schriftsteller Alaa Al-Aswany diese satirischen Text über die aktuelle politische Situation – eine der besten Analysen was gerade geschieht die in letzter Zeit veröffentlicht wurde. Lest… wir sind, vermutlich, zwischen Punkt 4 und 5…

Wie man in sechs Schritten eine Revolution niederschlägt

Von Alaa Al-Aswany

Lieber General, wenn die Revolution dich überrascht hat – bloß keine Panik. Kein Grund zu erschrecken angesichts Millionen wütender Demonstranten. Beruhig dich. Atme einmal tief durch und reiß dich zusammen. Erinner‘ dich, dass Revolutionen Ausnahme sind, seltene Momente in denen die Menschen mutig handeln und bereit sind, ihr Leben zu geben für ihre Freiheit und ihre Würde. Revolutionen sind die Ausnahme, die Regel ist dass die Menschen Ungerechtigkeit akzeptieren, sei es aus Furcht vor Unterdrückung oder für kleine Gewinne. Der Beweis dafür ist, dass es nur wenige Revolutionen in der Geschichte der Menschheit gab. Die Umstände haben dich nun in den Nachwehen einer Revolution an die Spitze der Macht gebracht, also mach dir keine Gedanken über das Brüllen der wütenden Massen in den Straßen. Die dort unten sind wie Tiere, stark und wild aber irrational. Du bist der begabte Dompteur, dem es mit wohlbedachtem Knallen der Peitsche gelingen wird, sie zu kontrollieren und zurück in ihre Käfige zu bringen. Dafür solltest du in sechs Schritten vorgehen:

Erstens: Feier die Revolution und schimpfe auf den abgesägten Diktator. Du musst erklären, dass du die abgeschlossene Ära ganz und gar verurteilst. Natürlich hast du in Wirklichkeit noch immer Sympathien für den ehemaligen Diktator der jahrzentelang dein Freund und Kollege war, dennoch hast in die Öffentlichkeit zu treten und lauthals zu schreien: „Lang lebe die Revolution!“ Die Menschen werden dir spontan glauben. Niemand wird sich daran erinnern dass 40 Jahre lang an der Seite des alten Diktators standest ohne irgendetwas gegen die Verbrechen, die er begangen hat, zu sagen. Die Menschen werden dir glauben weil sie sich wünschen, dass du auf Seiten der Revolution stehst, und Menschen sind sehr anfällig dafür, dass zu glauben, was sie sich wünschen. Verfluch den Diktator allerdings nicht zu sehr, für den Fall, dass du doch Misstrauen erregst. Verfluch ihn nur einmal, zweimal, ja am besten zweimal, das wichtigste ist dass du unablässig die Revolution hochleben lässt. Die Menschen müssen aufwachen und ins Bett gehen zum Lobgesang der Revolution, erstens weil sie dann glauben die Revolution hätte gewonnen (auch wenn sie in Wirklichkeit keines ihrer Ziele erreicht hat), und zweitens weil so alles was in diesem Land danach passiert einzig und allein mit der Revolution in Verbindung gebracht wird.

Zweitens: Erhalte das alte Regime voll und ganz. Stell sicher dass du dich nicht den Forderungen der Revolutionäre beugst und irgendeinen Aspekt des alten Regimes änderst. Das wäre ein großer Fehler. Am Anfang werden sie großen Druck machen, etwas zu verändern. Warte bis der öffentliche Druck am größten ist und mach dann eine kleine formelle Änderung die das Fundament des alten Regimes nicht berührt. Was macht der Kapitän wenn das Schiff zu sinken droht? Richtig, er wirft Ballast über Bord bis es sich stabilisiert. Das ist, was du zu tun hast. Such dir einige unbeliebte Politiker, verhafte sie und stell sie vor Gericht. Ihre Verfahren müssen lang und kompliziert sein mit vielfachem Prozedere so dass die Menschen am Ende vergessen, was ihr eigentliches Ziel war. Triff diese unbeliebten Politiker und erklär ihnen, dass du sie nie im Stich lassen wirst. Sag ihnen dass niemand ihnen etwas tun wird und dass die Verfahren nur eine politische Maßnahme sind um die Menschen zu besänftigen, nicht mehr und nicht weniger. Stell sicher dass sie ein angenehmes Leben im Gefängnis haben so als würden sie noch immer in ihren Palästen residieren. Stell Sicher dass dir die Mitglieder des alten Regimes nicht abhanden kommen! Das sind deine loyalen Soldaten. Wenn du sie verstößt wirst du keinen Ersatz findest und stehst allein einem wütenden Volk gegenüber. Der korrupte Richter dem du Urteile per Telefon diktieren kannst, der Staatsanwalt auf deine Anweisung die Beweise fälscht, die berühmte Radiosprecherin, die Anweisungen von den Sicherheitskräften erhält bevor sie wie jeden Tag auf Sendung geht, der brutale Polizist der Dutzende Menschen foltert und tötet um das Regime zu verteidigen – sie alle sind wertvolle Posten die du nicht verlieren solltest. Triff sie im Geheimen und versicher ihnen dass das alte Regime überleben und sich nicht ändern wird. Dann sei großzügig zu ihnen so dass sie dich von Herzen verteidigen werden.

Drittens: Lass das Land verlottern und verfallen. Du musst verstehen, warum es überhaupt zur Revolution gekommen ist. Die Gesellschaft war in drei Camps geteilt: die die vom Regime profitiert haben, die Revolutionäre und die normalen Leute. Die Revolutionäre waren wenige und hatten kaum Einfluss weil das Regime sie permanent unterdrückte, während der größte Teil der Gesellschaft schlicht zu den normalen Leuten gehörte die unter dem Regime viel verloren aber nicht den Mut hatten zu widersprechen. Die Revolution begann als es den Revolutionären gelang, die normalen Leute dazu zu bringen, sich ihnen anzuschließen. Das ist der wunde Punkt der Revolution, diesen musst du angreifen. Du musst Druck auf die normalen Leute auswirken, damit sie sich zurückziehen und wieder zu Zuschauern werden. Die Krise muss überall verschärft werden. Den Bauern musst du die Bewässerung kappen und die Zufuhr an Düngemitteln, so dass die Ernte verfällt und das Land brachliegt. Die Arbeiter müssen auf die Straße gesetzt werden, weil die Fabriken aufhören zu arbeiten. Die Angestellten müssen ihr Gehalt so spät wie möglich erhalten und Versprechen, es zu erhöhen müssen zurückgenommen werden. Die Polizei muss ganz aus den Straßen verschwinden, während Überfälle, Diebstahl und Verbrechen zunehmen. Zivilpolizisten müssen unter die Demonstranten geschleust werden um öffentliche Gebäude zu beschädigen und Eisenbahnschienen zu blockieren. Zur gleichen Zeit müssen deine Vertreter in den Medien eine organisierte Kampagne starten um den Menschen Angst zu machen. Sie müssen die Auswirkungen der Krise vergrößern und alle Probleme mit der Revolution in Verbindung bringen so dass im Denken der Menschen der Gedanke immer tiefer Wurzeln schlägt dass das Land am Rande von Hungersnot und Chaos steht, wegen der Revolution, und wegen der Revolution allein.

Viertens: Greife den Zusammenhalt der Revolutionsbewegung an, zersplittere sie. Vergiss nie, dass die Revolutionäre deine wirklichen Feinde sind. Sie trauen dir nicht und sie werden deine Verschwörungen vom ersten Moment an durchschauen. Du musst sie zerschlagen. Nutze Berichte und politische Studien um ihre Ideologie und ihre politischen Einstellungen zu verstehen. Du wirst sehen, dass sie sich in ihren politischen Meinungen unterscheiden, sich aber in der Revolutino vereinten, um das Regime zu verändern. Denk dir irgendeine Angelegenheit aus und mach eine Wahl oder ein Referendum darüber so dass die Bewegung in zwei Teile zerbricht. Danach musst du dich insgeheim mit einer der Gruppen gegen die andere verbünden. Es ist immer besser dich auf die Seite der religiösen Faschisten zu stellen als auf die der demokratischen Kräfte. Die Faschisten sind hervorragende Verbündete weil sie nicht an Demokratie glauben, sondern sie nur benutzen um an die Macht zu kommen. Sie denken, dass sie einzig allein die Wahrheit besitzen, verachten alle Andersdenkenden und gestehen ihnen keine Rechte zu. Die Faschisten gleichen einer disziplinierten Armee die sich voll und ganz dir zur Verfügung stellt. Sie werden jeden zermalmen der nicht deiner Meinung ist und alles unterstützen was du sagst oder tust solange du ihnen Macht versprichst. Diese Faschisten die im Namen der Religion sprechen und streng darauf achten, pünktlich ihre Gebete zu verrichten, werden dich überraschen mit ihrer Fähigkeit zu lügen und zu täuschen. Sie werden ihre Versprechen brechen und die Revolution mit der Leichtigkeit verraten mit der du dir eine Zigarette anzündest. Beauftrage die Faschisten Massendemonstrationen als Zeichen ihrer Stärke zu organisieren, und wenn die Menschen ihre militärische Struktur und den grimmigen Ausdruck auf ihren Gesichtern sehen, ihre aggressiven Slogans hören, werden sie Angst bekommen und viele werden sich fragen, ob die Revolution die den Diktator stürzte eine gute Idee war. In diesem Moment müssen verschiedene Demonstrationen aus dem Boden schießen – von den Sicherheitskräften vorbereitet wurden, vom alten Regime finanziert und von den Medien verbreitet. Diese neuen Demonstrationen werden die Lobgesänge auf den abgesägten Diktator anstimmen, ihn einen großen Helden nennen und vor laufender Kamera schluchzen, wenn sie die Erniedrigungen beweinen, die er erleiden muss. So wird die Revolution nur eine Sichtweise unter mehreren werden, der andere entgegenstehen. Wenn du diese Schritte sorgfältig befolgt hast, werden die Revolutionäre nun von allen Seiten unter Druck stehen. Die Faschisten werden sie bedrohen und angreifen, normale Leute werden denken, die Demonstrationen die sie organisiert haben sind schuld an Wirtschaftskrise und Mangel an Sicherheit. An diesem Punkt wird die Zahl der Revolutionäre abnehmen. Sie werden wieder zu dem was sie vor der Revolution waren – eine Minderheit von Aktivisten für die Menschen wenig Sympathie hegen.

Fünftens: Halt die Revolutionäre in Schach und diskreditiere sie. Wenn die normalen Menschen die Revolution verlassen haen und die Faschichten sich gegen sie gestellt haben, ist es Zeit eine großangelegte Kampagne zu starten um die Revolutionäre zu diskreditieren. Nichts leichter als das, da du enge Vertraute in den Medien, der Polizei und dem Justizwesen hast. Es ist leicht, Dokumente und Bilder zu fabrizieren die zeigen dass diese Revolutionäre Verräter und die Agenten ausländischer Mächte sind die sie dazu brachten an der Revolution teilzunehmen. Du musst Dutzende Fernsehsendungen produzieren und Dutzende Seminare halten um diese ernste Angelegenheit zu diskutieren. Ging diese Revolution wirklich von Bürgern des Landes aus, oder war sie in Wirklichkeit bei Elementen aus dem Ausland geplant? Wollten sich die imperialistischen Mächte am gestürzten Diktator rächen weil er immer die Unabhängigkeit des Landes verteidigte? (Du weißt natürlich, dass der Diktator in Wirklichkeit ein Verräter war und für mehrere ausländische Geheimdienste arbeitete, aber Notwendigkeit hat ihre eigenen Logik). Im richtigen Moment wird dein Sprecher verkündigen, dass du eine Untersuchung angekündigt hast darüber, welche Rolle andere Staaten in der Planung der Revolution spielten. Wer waren diese Ausländer die während der Revolution bestimmten Menschen Anweisungen erteilten? Die Faschisten werden dich aufs stärkste unterstützen und Lügen über die Revolutionären verbreiten weil sie die Macht allein für sich wollen. Die normalen Menschen werde verwirrt sein und viele werden dir glauben, dass die Revolutionäre nur Verräter und Lakaien der Imperialisten sind. Du wirst Grund zu lachen haben wenn du siehst, wie die jungen Revolutionäre, die noch wenige Wochen zuvor als nationale Helden gefeiert wurden, nun abschätzige Blicke abbekommen und dem Vorwurf des Verrats ausgesetzt sind.

Sechstens: Hol aus zum entscheidenden Schlag. Warte bis die Wirtschaft und die Sicherheitslage sich wirklich verschlechtert haben. Dann wird die Moral der normalen Menschen eingebrochen sein und sie werden begonnen haben, die Revolution wirklich zu hassen. Dann sag den Menschen dass die Krise schwerwiegend ist und schlimmer werden wird. Bitte die Menschen mit Demonstrationen und Besetzungen aufzuhören, damit die Dinge sich beruhigen können und die Produktion wieder anlaufen kann. Natürlich werden die Revolutionäre nicht aufhören zu demonstrieren. Sie werden denken, du hast sie hintergangen und ihnen die Revolution gestohlen. Sie wissen wohl, dass du vorgabst, die Revolution zu schützen sie aber in Wirklichkeit eingedämmt hast und verhindert dass sie ihre Ziele erreicht. Die Revolutionäre werden in kleiner Zahl wieder auf die Straße gehen und für deinen Rücktritt protestieren. Das wird ihr Ende sein. Die Faschisten werden sie heftig angreifen, besessen vom Willen zu regieren, während die normalen Leute, alleingelassen und frustriert, über sie herfallen werden, die Revolution verfluchend. Die Revolutionäre werden versuchen ihren Punkt deutlich zu machen, aber keine Chance. Niemand will ihnen mehr zuhören. Die Faschisten werfen ihren Verrat vor und dass sie für ausländische Kräfte arbeiten würden, und die normalen Leute machen sie für ihre Armut verantwortlich, für Arbeitslosigkeit und Anarchie. Schick jemanden der Bilder macht davon, was auf den öffentlichen Plätzen passiert, und wenn du siehst, wie normale Leute, einst bereit für die Revolution zu sterben, auf die Revolutionäre eindreschen und sie von den Plätzen jagen, nur dann hast du deine Aufgabe erfolgreich erfüllt. Gönn dir eine wohlverdienten Urlaub. Feier und sei stolz was du geschafft hast. Du hast dein Ziel erreicht und der Revolution ein Ende bereitet.

PS: Die Idee zu diesem Artikel kam mir während ich die Geschichte der Revolution auf den Kormoren gelesen habe, und der Artikel hat natürlich überhaupt nichts damit zu tun, was in Ägypten gerade geschieht.



(Quelle: Egyptian Spring – News about the revolution.)

USA / Kanada: Indigene im zivilen Ungehorsam gegen Öl-Pipeline-Bau

Dienstag, August 30th, 2011

“Native American and Canadian First Nations To Take Part In Largest Act of Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

Washington DC: The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a national environmental justice and indigenous rights organization taking part in the largest act of civil disobedience in decades happening in front of the White House in Washington D.C. from August 20 to September 3, 2011.

The purpose of these actions is to send a direct message to President Obama to deny approval of the 1,702 mile Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would be transporting pollution from the tar sands (also known as oilsands) of Canada to the United States by carrying 900,000 barrels per day of thick, corrosive, toxic, synthetic crude oil for refining in Texas and the Gulf States. If approved, the Keystone XL would lock the US into a dependency of energy intensive, hard-to-extract dirty oil and create a massive expansion of the world’s dirtiest and most environmentally destructive form of oil development currently taking place in northern Alberta Canada. These operations are already producing 1.5 million barrels per day and having horrendous environmental justice and human rights impacts on the way of life and health of the local Native communities of Cree, Dene and Métis.

The proposed pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and grasslands with increased emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast. The Keystone XL would cross Indian Country; States of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas encompassing Indian-US treaty territories crossing water aquifers and rivers, grasslands, cultural sites and ecological sensitive areas. Leaks and spills are common occurrences from such pipelines that could result in disproportionate impact to Native Nations and thousands of tribal members. A spill from the Keystone XL poses an even greater threat, given that the pipeline would run directly through the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies one-third of our nation’s ground water used for irrigation, and drinking water to 2 million citizens.

The Indigenous Environmental Network is bringing tribal governmental and grassroots leaders from US and Canada, directly impacted by the proposed pipeline and the tar sands oil operations, to say “NO KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE” to President Obama. This Indigenous Day of Action on September 2, 2011, at the gates of the White House will express the solidarity of Native Nations, standing with concerned citizens, workers, farmers, ranchers, unions, youth and a coalition of environmental groups from across the continent, in peaceful protest to protect Mother Earth and demand Obama respect the treaty rights and survival of Native Nations of the US and Canada.

“Nature is speaking, but Obama is not listening. The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1,700 mile fuse of the world’s largest carbon bomb. The Canadian tar sands, the proposed Keystone XL and all the other current and proposed pipelines are weapons of mass destruction leading the path to triggering the final overheating of Mother Earth”, says Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “President Obama made promises to Native Nations and here is an opportunity for him to honor those promises and be a man of conscious by standing up to corporate power and say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline.”

A barrel of tar sands oil emits up to three times as much climate-disrupting gas as conventional oil. Building Keystone XL would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of adding roughly 6.5 million passenger vehicles to the road, or constructing 12 new coal-fired power plants

“IEN is putting out a national call for ACTION and Solidarity on September 2nd. Even if your homes won’t be crossed by this pipeline, we are raising the consciousness of America to reevaluate its relationship to Mother Earth that would be ruined by the intensity of environmental devastation and of greenhouse gases created by the enormous tar sands oil infrastructure crossing North America. It’s like a giant spider web crossing our Turtle Island”, added Goldtooth

National Native organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest Native organization representing Native Nations are calling for a moratorium and better management practices on expanded tar sands development and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. NCAI requests the U.S. government to take aggressive measures to work towards sustainable energy solutions that include clean alternative energy and improving energy efficiency.

The IEN delegation will arrive in DC on August 30th and be participating in the August 31st Canadian Day of Action and staying until the Indigenous Day of Action on September 2nd.

For more information, please contact:

Marty Cobenais IEN Pipeline Campaigner
Cell: (218) 760 0284

Clayton Thomas-Muller IEN Tar Sands Campaigner
Cell: (613) 297 7515

Tom Goldtooth IEN Executive Director
Cell: (218) 760 0442

Kandi Mosset IEN Tribal Climate Campaigner
Cell: (701) 214 1389

Or visit or


(Quelle: Indigenous Enviromental Network.)

Global: Das Böse ist immer und überall…

Montag, August 29th, 2011

Den Kopf entlasten?

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USA: Im Abwärtstrend?

Montag, August 29th, 2011

“American Decline: Causes and Consequences

By: Noam Chomsky

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of Political Science, we read that it is “a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal – is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay.” It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests that a number of qualifications are in order. To begin with, the decline has in fact been proceeding since the high point of US power shortly after World War II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the several years of triumphalism in the 1990s was mostly self-delusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary – that power will shift to China and India – is highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite America’s decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power.

To review briefly some of the relevant history: During World War II, US planners recognized that the US would emerge from the war in a position of overwhelming power. It is quite clear from the documentary record that “President Roosevelt was aiming at United States hegemony in the postwar world,” to quote the assessment of diplomatic historian Geoffrey Warner. Plans were developed to control what was called a Grand Area, a region encompassing the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire – including the crucial Middle East oil reserves – and as much of Eurasia as possible, or at the very least its core industrial regions in Western Europe and the southern European states. The latter were regarded as essential for ensuring control of Middle East energy resources. Within these expansive domains, the US was to maintain “unquestioned power” with “military and economic supremacy,” while ensuring the “limitation of any exercise of sovereignty” by states that might interfere with its global designs. The doctrines still prevail, though their reach has declined.

Wartime plans, soon to be carefully implemented, were not unrealistic. The US had long been by far the richest country in the world. The war ended the Depression and US industrial capacity almost quadrupled, while rivals were decimated. At the war’s end, the US had half the world’s wealth and unmatched security. Each region of the Grand Area was assigned its ‘function’ within the global system. The ensuing ‘Cold War’ consisted largely of efforts by the two superpowers to enforce order on their own domains: for the USSR, Eastern Europe; for the US, most of the world.

By 1949, the Grand Area was already seriously eroding with “the loss of China,” as it is routinely called. The phrase is interesting: one can only ‘lose’ what one possesses. Shortly after, Southeast Asia began to fall out of control, leading to Washington’s horrendous Indochina wars and the huge massacres in Indonesia in 1965 as US dominance was restored. Meanwhile, subversion and massive violence continued elsewhere in the effort to maintain what is called ‘stability,’ meaning conformity to US demands.

But decline was inevitable, as the industrial world reconstructed and decolonization pursued its agonizing course. By 1970, US share of world wealth had declined to about 25%, still colossal but sharply reduced. The industrial world was becoming ‘tripolar,’ with major centers in the US, Europe, and Asia – then Japan-centered – already becoming the most dynamic region.

Twenty years later the USSR collapsed. Washington’s reaction teaches us a good deal about the reality of the Cold War. The Bush I administration, then in office, immediately declared that policies would remain pretty much unchanged, but under different pretexts. The huge military establishment would be maintained, but not for defense against the Russians; rather, to confront the “technological sophistication” of third world powers. Similarly, they reasoned, it would be necessary to maintain “the defense industrial base,” a euphemism for advanced industry, highly reliant on government subsidy and initiative. Intervention forces still had to be aimed at the Middle East, where the serious problems “could not be laid at the Kremlin’s door,” contrary to half a century of deceit. It was quietly conceded that the problems had always been “radical nationalism,” that is, attempts by countries to pursue an independent course in violation of Grand Area principles. These policy fundamentals were not modified. The Clinton administration declared that the US has the right to use military force unilaterally to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.” It also declared that military forces must be “forward deployed” in Europe and Asia “in order to shape people’s opinions about us,” not by gentle persuasion, and “to shape events that will affect our livelihood and our security.” Instead of being reduced or eliminated, as propaganda would have led one to expect, NATO was expanded to the East. This was in violation of verbal pledges to Mikhail Gorbachev when he agreed to allow a unified Germany to join NATO.

Today, NATO has become a global intervention force under US command, with the official task of controlling the international energy system, sea lanes, pipelines, and whatever else the hegemonic power determines.

There was indeed a period of euphoria after the collapse of the superpower enemy, with excited tales about “the end of history” and awed acclaim for Clinton’s foreign policy. Prominent intellectuals declared the onset of a “noble phase” with a “saintly glow,” as for the first time in history a nation was guided by “altruism” and dedicated to “principles and values;” and nothing stood in the way of the “idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity,” which could at last carry forward unhindered the emerging international norm of humanitarian intervention.

Not all were so enraptured. The traditional victims, the Global South, bitterly condemned “the so-called ‘right’ of humanitarian intervention,” recognizing it to be just the old “right” of imperial domination. More sober voices at home among the policy elite could perceive that for much of the world, the US was “becoming the rogue superpower,” considered “the single greatest external threat to their societies,” and that “the prime rogue state today is the United States.” After Bush Jr. took over, increasingly hostile world opinion could scarcely be ignored. In the Arab world particularly, Bush’s approval ratings plummeted. Obama has achieved the impressive feat of sinking still lower, down to 5% in Egypt and not much higher elsewhere in the region.

Meanwhile, decline continued. In the past decade, South America has been ‘lost.’ The ‘threat’ of losing South America had loomed decades earlier. As the Nixon administration was planning the destruction of Chilean democracy, and the installation of a US-backed Pinochet dictatorship – the National Security Council warned that if the US could not control Latin America, it could not expect “to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.”

But far more serious would be moves towards independence in the Middle East. Post WWII planning recognized that control of the incomparable energy reserves of the Middle East would yield “substantial control of the world,” in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle.
Correspondingly, that loss of control would threaten the project of global dominance that was clearly articulated during World War II and has been sustained in the face of major changes in world order ever since.

A further danger to US hegemony was the possibility of meaningful moves towards democracy. New York Times executive editor Bill Keller writes movingly of Washington’s “yearning to embrace the aspiring democrats across North Africa and the Middle East.” But recent polls of Arab opinion reveal very clearly that functioning democracy where public opinion influences policy would be disastrous for Washington. Not surprisingly, the first few steps in Egypt’s foreign policy after ousting Mubarak have been strongly opposed by the US and its Israeli client.

While longstanding US policies remain stable, with tactical adjustments, under Obama there have been some significant changes. Military analyst Yochi Dreazen observes in the Atlantic that Bush’s policy was to capture (and torture) suspects, while Obama simply assassinates them, with a rapid increase in terror weapons (drones) and the use of Special Forces, many of them assassination teams. Special Forces are scheduled to operate in 120 countries. Now as large as Canada’s entire military, these forces are, in effect, a private army of the president, a matter discussed in detail by American investigative journalist Nick Turse on the website Tomdispatch. The team that Obama dispatched to assassinate Osama bin Laden had already carried out perhaps a dozen similar missions in Pakistan.

As these and many other developments illustrate, though America’s hegemony has declined, its ambition has not.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country (a large majority think that Congress should just be disbanded) and bewilders the world, has few analogues in the annals of parliamentary democracy. The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office in Congress may choose to bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

The eminent American philosopher John Dewey once described politics as “the shadow cast on society by big business,” warning that “attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.” Since the 1970s, the shadow has become a dark cloud enveloping society and the political system. Corporate power, by now largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

For the public, the primary domestic concern, rightly, is the severe crisis of unemployment. Under current circumstances, that critical problem can be overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one, which barely matched decline in state and local spending, though even that limited initiative did probably save millions of jobs. For financial institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich (72% for, 21% opposed). Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69% Medicaid, 79% Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.

Reporting the results of a study of how the public would eliminate the deficit, its director, Steven Kull, writes that “clearly both the administration and the Republican-led House are out of step with the public’s values and priorities in regard to the budget…The biggest difference in spending is that the public favored deep cuts in defense spending, while the administration and the House propose modest increases…The public also favored more spending on job training, education, and pollution control than did either the administration or the House.”

The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to run as high as $4.4 trillion – a major victory for Osama bin Laden, whose announced goal was to bankrupt America by drawing it into a trap. The 2011 military budget – almost matching that of the rest of the world combined – is higher in real terms than at any time since World War II and is slated to go even higher.

The deficit crisis is largely manufactured as a weapon to destroy hated social programs on which a large part of the population relies. Economics correspondent Martin Wolf of the London Financial Times writes that “it is not that tackling the US fiscal position is urgent…. The US is able to borrow on easy terms, with yields on 10-year bonds close to 3 percent, as the few non-hysterics predicted. The fiscal challenge is long term, not immediate.” Very significantly, he adds: “The astonishing feature of the federal fiscal position is that revenues are forecast to be a mere 14.4 percent of GDP in 2011, far below their postwar average of close to 18 percent. Individual income tax is forecast to be a mere 6.3 percent of GDP in 2011. This non-American cannot understand what the fuss is about: in 1988, at the end of Ronald Reagan’s term, receipts were 18.2 percent of GDP. Tax revenue has to rise substantially if the deficit is to close.” Astonishing indeed, but it is the demand of the financial institutions and the super-rich, and in a rapidly declining democracy, that’s what counts.

Though the deficit crisis is manufactured for reasons of savage class war, the long-term debt crisis is serious, and has been ever since Ronald Reagan’s fiscal irresponsibility turned the US from the world’s leading creditor to the world’s leading debtor, tripling national debt and raising threats to the economy that were rapidly escalated by George W. Bush. But for now, it is the crisis of unemployment that is the gravest concern.

The final ‘compromise’ on the crisis – more accurately, a capitulation to the far right – is the opposite of what the public wants throughout, and is almost certain to lead to slower growth and long-term harm to all but the rich and corporations, which are enjoying record profits. Few serious economists would disagree with Harvard economist Lawrence Summers that “America’s current problem is much more a jobs and growth deficit than an excessive budget deficit,” and that the deal reached in Washington in August, though preferable to a highly unlikely default, is likely to cause further harm to a deteriorating economy.

Not even discussed is the fact that the deficit would be eliminated if the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the US were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies, which have half the per person costs and at least comparable health outcomes. The financial institutions and pharmaceutical industry are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile, new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection Agency is unlikely to survive intact. And Congress wields other weapons in its battle against future generations. In the face of Republican opposition to environmental protection, “A major American utility is shelving the nation’s most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming,” the New York Times reports.

The self-inflicted blows, while increasingly powerful, are not a recent innovation. They trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy underwent major transformations, bringing to an end what is commonly called “the Golden Age” of (state) capitalism. Two major elements were financialization and offshoring of production, both related to the decline in rate of profit in manufacturing, and the dismantling of the post-war Bretton Woods system of capital controls and regulated currencies. The ideological triumph of “free market doctrines,” highly selective as always, administered further blows, as they were translated into deregulation, rules of corporate governance linking huge CEO rewards to short-term profit, and other such policy decisions. The resulting concentration of wealth yielded greater political power, accelerating a vicious cycle that has led to extraordinary wealth for a tenth of one percent of the population, mainly CEOs of major corporations, hedge fund managers, and the like, while for the large majority real incomes have virtually stagnated.

In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional leadership positions. Political economist Thomas Ferguson observes that “uniquely among legislatures in the developed world, U.S. congressional parties now post prices for key slots in the lawmaking process.” The legislators who fund the party get the posts, virtually compelling them to become servants of private capital even beyond the norm. The result, Ferguson continues, is that debates “rely heavily on the endless repetition of a handful of slogans that have been battle tested for their appeal to national investor blocs and interest groups that the leadership relies on for resources.

The post-Golden Age economy is enacting a nightmare envisaged by the classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Both recognized that if British merchants and manufacturers invested abroad and relied on imports, they would profit, but England would suffer. Both hoped that these consequences would be averted by home bias, a preference to do business in the home country and see it grow and develop. Ricardo hoped that thanks to home bias, most men of property would “be satisfied with the low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations.

In the past 30 years, the “masters of mankind,” as Smith called them, have abandoned any sentimental concern for the welfare of their own society, concentrating instead on short-term gain and huge bonuses, the country be damned – as long as the powerful nanny state remains intact to serve their interests.

A graphic illustration appeared on the front page of the New York Times on August 4. Two major stories appear side by side. One discusses how Republicans fervently oppose any deal “that involves increased revenues” – a euphemism for taxes on the rich. The other is headlined “Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off Shelves.” The pretext for cutting taxes on the rich and corporations to ridiculous lows is that they will invest in creating jobs – which they cannot do now as their pockets are bulging with record profits.

The developing picture is aptly described in a brochure for investors produced by banking giant Citigroup. The bank’s analysts describe a global society that is dividing into two blocs: the plutonomy and the rest. In such a world, growth is powered by the wealthy few, and largely consumed by them. Then there are the ‘non-rich,’ the vast majority, now sometimes called the global precariat, the workforce living a precarious existence. In the US, they are subject to “growing worker insecurity,” the basis for a healthy economy, as Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan explained to Congress while lauding his performance in economic management. This is the real shift of power in global society.

The Citigroup analysts advise investors to focus on the very rich, where the action is. Their “Plutonomy Stock Basket,” as they call it, far outperformed the world index of developed markets since 1985, when the Reagan-Thatcher economic programs of enriching the very wealthy were really taking off.

Before the 2007 crash for which the new post-Golden Age financial institutions were largely responsible, these institutions had gained startling economic power, more than tripling their share of corporate profits. After the crash, a number of economists began to inquire into their function in purely economic terms. Nobel laureate in economics Robert Solow concludes that their general impact is probably negative: “the successes probably add little or nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer wealth from taxpayers to financiers.”

By shredding the remnants of political democracy, they lay the basis for carrying the lethal process forward – as long as their victims are willing to suffer in silence.

Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.”


(Quelle: Al-Akhbar English.)