ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

The Turkish cover up for shooting down a Russian bomber? A report by David L. Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights

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10505328_10154729840000012_6173827095010968907_n Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the…

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A prize for Edward Snowden

But will he be able to travel to Norway?

by Thomas Hylland Eriksen

A few months ago, it was as if everybody wanted to be Charlie (Hebdo). This gesture was laudable enough (if not always credible), but who wants to be Edward Snowden? After two years, the world’s most important whistleblower is still in Moscow. His chances of returning to a normal life remain slim, in spite of the recent ruling, in the US court of appeals, that the NSA’s storage of telephone metadata is indeed illegal.

Edward Snowden revealed how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security.  An honorable act.

Edward Snowden revealed how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security. An honorable act.

Western politicians confronted with the Snowden affair typically respond in a vague and equivocal way. If pressed, they might say that their country does not condone mass surveillance, perhaps adding that it is not in their mandate to engage directly with Snowden’s situation. However, they are wrong on both counts. Just as they criticise rights violations in other countries, they can and should support Snowden, especially now that even a high legal authority in the US has indirectly confirmed that he was right to blow the whistle. Moreover, objectionable forms of surveillance do take place, if not on the same scale as in the US, in European countries as well.

The arguments in favour of mass surveillance are surprisingly weak. As Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s lawyers, recently pointed out, both the Boston bombing and the Charlie Hebdo massacre provide excellent arguments against surveillance. The authorities were unable to prevent either of these events, although they had repeatedly been warned about the perpetrators – not because of advanced surveillance methods, but through human intelligence. ‘When you keep all and sundry under surveillance, you become lazy,’ she says. ‘You stop doing the detective work and trust the algorithms to do the job.’

Recently, a Norwegian cultural academy decided to award its annual prize to Edward Snowden. The Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Academy is named after a significant Norwegian writer, playwright and public intellectual. Bjørnson (1832–1910) was not only in favour of Norwegian independence (achieved in 1905) and democratic values, but he also emphasised the importance of the freedom of thought and speech, the value of disagreement and the need for civil society to be independent of state powers. He was, among many other things, a strong supporter of Alfred Dreyfus.

The famous norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was a strong advocate for freedom of speech and the right to be anonymous. Public domain / the National Library of Norway. Ca 1903

The famous norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was a strong advocate for freedom of speech and the right to be anonymous. Public domain / the National Library of Norway. Ca 1903

The Bjørnson Academy, of which I am a board member, awards its annual prize to a person whom we see as a strong representative of the values for which Bjørnson became famous and controversial in his time. This year, the board was unanimous in deciding that surveillance should be the topic of its annual seminar, and that Edward Snowden should be offered the prize.

In the press release sent to the Norwegian media, we explained that Snowden’s interventions did not just concern personal integrity and illegitimate state power, but were also directly relevant for the freedom of expression. If everything that is written or spoken can potentially be traced and stored by the political authorities, the free exchange of ideas will suffer owing to possible sanctions from the state. Threats to the freedom of expression may have been more visible in Bjørnson’s day, but they were less insidious and ubiquitous than today.

There is only one minor problem with the Bjørnson prize. Snowden was happy to receive it, and we duly invited him to come to Molde, Norway on 5 September for the award ceremony. However, since he is still considered a criminal by the US, his security would have to be guaranteed by the Norwegian government. We therefore wrote a letter to Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservative Party) and Minister of Justice Anders Anundsen (Progress Party) asking them to ensure free passage for Snowden to Norway. Several lawyers have considered the case and concluded that it would be legally possible for Norway to allow Snowden to enter the country without being extradited to the USA.

Both government parties have for years (not least in recent debates concerning Muslims and Islam) been staunch defenders of the freedom of expression. The populist Progress Party has also always been critical of the state’s tendency to interfere unduly with the lives of citizens. Unfortunately, only politicians from the Socialist Left (SV) have so far supported our demand. The government has not yet responded to our letter, but it was sent only on 1 June. We are optimistic for now, hoping that the Norwegian government will confirm loud and clear that it is uncompromising in its support of the freedom of expression and citizens’ personal integrity, and that it will not let its relationship with other countries stand in the way of the fundamental principles of democracy.

From Eriksen’s blog
First published, with a slightly different title, on Open Democracy.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. His fields of research include identity, nationalism, globalisation and identity politics. Eriksen finished his dr. polit.-degree in 1991, and was made professor in 1995, at the age of 33. He is a former editor of the journal Samtiden and in the editorial board of Gateavisa, a Norwegian newspaper-like magazine with roots in anarchism and a liberal culture that rebelled against the authorities.

Black against black in South Africa

The Xenophobia turmoil in South Africa in recent weeks has cost at least 7 people their lives, as well as one child. There are black immigrants from other African countries which are under attack, harassed, discarded, beaten and killed. Homes of immigrants and immigrant shops have been vandalized and robbed. In Umlazi south-west of Durban, the biggest township in KwaZulu-Natal and the second biggest in South Africa after Soweto, a shop was petrol bombed with two Ethiopians inside on April 10. One of them died shortly after arriving in hospital.


Photographs of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole being attacked while pleading for his life were published in the Sunday Times on April 20, and sparked a nationwide reaction. The man stabbing Sithole is among those arrested.

More than 300 people have been detained by police. Domestic and Asians have so far not been targeted, with an exception of one episode on Friday where two South Africans tried to break into a Pakistani owned shop in Soweto. The two culprits were rescued by the police after they were apprehended by local residents. They had already been doused with petrol when they were rescued, according to the South African Times Live. Another brutally murder took place early Sunday morning. A man from Mozambique were harassed and stabbed in broad daylight with witnesses around, including a photographer from the Sunday Times. Three have been arrested and will be taken to court already on Tuesday 21. The police is chasing a fourth culprit.

The worst unrest have been in Isiphingo, a suburb just south of Durban, where now about 7,000 immigrants have sought refuge in official and police controlled areas. The turmoil has spread further to Soweto and Johannesburg. Durban, Johannesburg and Soweto is respectively 2nd, 3rd and 4th largest city in South Africa, after Cape Town. Durban is a popular tourist city on South Africa’s west coast by the Indian Ocean and is traditionally KwaZulu-Natal area.

More than thousand African immigrants have fled their homes in black townships around the eastern port city of Durban since xenophobic attacks and looting erupted.

In a bid to try to quell the anti-immigrant violence, soldiers were Tuesday 21th deployed to volatile areas in Johannesburg and in KwaZulu-Natal.

This is the largest anti-immigration turmoil in South Africa since 2008, when 62 people were killed and hundreds injured during the little more than two weeks unrest. One person from Mozambique were also burned alive. The case was dismissed in 2010, although a witness has been able to point out two of the perpetrators for the Times Live. The witness says that police never came back to the crime scene for questioning and investigation. One of the designated still stays in the same area. The investigation is summarized on one page only.

The riots started after KwaZulu-Natal King Goodwill Zwelithini on March 23 held a very controversial speech that has been reported to the South African National Defence Union as a violation of the rights to dignity, security, life, movement and residence, which are grounded in the Bill of Rights. The South African Human Rights Commission is now probing the Zulu kings utterances as hate speech.

After an introduction where the king explains that he can not wait for politicians to speak out for their concerns about votes, he took strong advocate against illegal immigrants.

“(…) we talk about people who do not want to listen, who do not want to work,  who are thieves, child rapists and housebreakers. People who are lazy and do not want to plough the fields. When people look at them, they will say let us exploit the nation of idiots. As I speak, you find their unsightly goods hanging all over our shops, they dirty our streets. We can not even recognize which shop is which, there are foreigners everywhere. (…) We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and go back to their countries.”

President Jacob Zuma shares a light moment with King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is South Africa’s richest tribal leader. (

President Jacob Zuma shares a light moment with King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is South Africa’s richest tribal leader. (

At first the Zulu king tried to refute allegations that he had spoken critically about immigration until his speech was published and transcribed by media. After much pressure he held a new speech on the famous Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Monday 20 April. The stadium is named after the politician and former secretary general of the South African Communist Party and is a landmark in Durban. In this speech, he referred to the violence as vile and defended himself against accusations of his previous comments had led to these actions. “We need to make sure no more foreigners are attacked. We must stop these vile acts” said Zwelithini in his speech to thousands of supporters. Nevertheless hostile parts of the audience sang songs calling for immigrants to leave the country and the booed an earlier speaker who said foreigners had the right to live in South Africa.

Last week 5,000 people rallied in Durban to protest against xenophobia. Among the slogans were “Down with Xenophobia” and “A united Africa“, whilst there were confrontations between police and Xenophobe’s elsewhere in the city. There have also been several confrontations between police and Xenophobe’s  elsewhere in the country, not at least in Johannesburg. Police have used water cannons, shock grenades and rubber bullets to scatter the mob.

The controversy around the Cecil Rhodes statue in Cape Town is also considered to have fueled the riots. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had his first official visit to South Africa in twenty years on the 8th of April where he held a 45 minutes long non-scripted speech, not the planned 10 minutes which was allotted to him and South African President Jacob Zuma. Besides accusing the West of having killed Libyan Muammar Ghadaffi and Iraq Saddam Hussein solely to gain access to more oil, he referred duly to the Cecil Rhodes statue in Cape Town. The bronze statue was torn down the day after the speech, after a month of protests by city students. Opposition Party EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) has taken the blame for several of the vandalizing of the Rhodes sculptures in both Cape Town and Pretoria.

Mugabe was elected as chairman of the African Union (AU) January this year, where he immediately focused on climate change, Ebola and improved infrastructure, beside clearly saying that African wealth belongs to Africa and not “imperialists and colonialists.” He has in crass terms condemned these “anti-African” tendencies after the riots spread in South Africa, with reference to how Zimbabwe was an important supporter of South Africans during the apartheid era.

President Zuma condemned the unrest in the country in a speech in Parliament last Thursday. Some would say he spent a long time to make such a condemnation, especially since his eldest son Edward immediately (in March) gave his full support to the Zulu king’s initiative in an interview with News24. “We need to be aware that as a country we are sitting on a ticking time bomb that them [foreigners] taking over the country.”

The reason why I am saying that is because some of the foreigners are working for private security companies where they have been employed for cheap labour. These companies are running away from complying with South African labour laws,” Edward continued. “Foreigners need to leave the country.” He also accused foreigners fuelling South Africas drug problems and that foreigners bring with them weapons. Unlike King Goodwill Zwelithini, he included also white and Asians.

President Jacob Zuma is Zulu himself and the ANC’s close connection and support from the always leopard cladded Zulu king is no secret and is often noted.
Although extreme poverty ($ 1.25 pr. Day) is now down to just over 20%, it constitutes around 12 million people of the populous South Africa . Relative poverty constitutes approximately 45%. Unemployment is at 24%. Immigrants are estimate to be 2 million says official figures, while other estimates says 5 million. It is also estimated that nearly 1 million of these are economic and political refugees from Zimbabwe. Only 4% of workers in South Africa are foreigners and in most cases they contribute to the economy with the rental of premises, adding taxes and employment of local South Africans. Foreigners who operates businesses employ more South Africans than South African businesses, according to a study of Migrating for Work Research Consortium based on data from Statistics South Africa.

Although much of the anger among many black South Africans still are directed against whites and their control over great wealth and lands, are remarks and reflections corresponding to Edward Zuma’s not entirely uncommon in South Africa today, although condemnations of last week violence has been massive, not at least on social media.

Concerning crime and foreigners, it is myths that are spread. According to Statistics South Africa’s National Victims of Crime Survey’s study released in 2014, immigrants are only responsible for 5% of crime.

South Africa is the richest country in Africa, only beaten by Nigeria (Nigeria has approximately 152 million inhabitants while South Africa with is 20% bigger land, host 54 million people.) South Africa is strongly affected by corruption. At least ZAR 700 billion (equivalent to $58 billions) has gone to corruption over the past 20 years, according to figures published April 15th this year by the Institute of Internal Auditors (ZAR = South African Rand). In addition there are repeatedly huge economical scandals. Zuma is the world’s 4th highest paid president and his cabinet costs annually ZAR 1.6 billion ($132 millions).

The various welfare schemes has increased from around ZAR 4 million in 1994 to 16.3 million in 2014, though discussed as unsustainable, even by President Zuma. Less than  three million people receive any social security in South Africa which include 1.1 million pensioners, with the exception of child support received by 11.5 million. This stands in stark contrast to the president’s resident Nklandas upgrade in 2010 that was stipulated to cost ZAR 145 million, but ended up with a price tag of 100 million more.

The riots are directed against immigrants, but it is reasonable to assume that the overall economic situation is the real causative factor. Criminologist Johan Burger from the renowned think tank Institute for Security Studies (frequently used among others by the EU and Norwegian foreign department) also believe that the spread of the unrest suggest that it is not just spontaneous. “The attacks being sustained and spreading into more urbanised areas creates a suspicion that it is being organised.

— Ole A. Seifert

Where was South Africa when Mandela died?

Mountain ranger

I know were I was. I spent that week in a suburban area of Pretoria called Mountain View. The day Madiba died, I was climbing the hills to get an overview of Pretoria.

The day started with some pool workers coming by to fix the last tiles of the pool. Three men, two black and one white. Then the plumbers came, one black, one white. The white boss left almost straight away to pick up something by another friend or customer. He asked me to wait an hour so that I could let him in the gate. After one hour I let the keys to the hard working black guy. Very fortunate, since the white boss didn’t turn up until almost 4 hours later…. And very strange for me that the assistant wasn’t recognized as thrustworthy.

I walked for several hours in the mountains, getting a little perspective over Pretoria. It was a sunny and hot day. I walked in a steady pace, wearing knee long shorts, my bush hat and a red and colourful sarong (a huge scarf like clothing) over my upper body, revealing little as I didn’t want to get sun burned. I also carried a small, red rucksack and a solid walking rod. I had a laugh when I was returning. In the distance were the path lead up to the mountain, I could see three persons coming up the hill. My thoughts were this was a family: A father with his kids. Approaching but still at distance, I recognized it was three white guys who couldn’t decide which peak to climb. I noticed they were looking in my direction. Yes, I can admit I might have looked a little strange form distance, but would not think a lonely walker would look frightening in the mountains. The guys started walking in my direction, but suddenly turned around and started to run away as I was getting closer. Yes, they actually ran down the hill, which I thought was either very reckless or part of some training.

My girlfriend told me later that my outfit might have looked quite strange. Guess my skin colour wasn’t really visible either, the way I was dressed and with the sun from behind.

Back home. Hot and sweaty. Grabbing a bear and sat down on the stairs into the backyard when the white plumber boss arrived. We spoke a little and he seemed pleased about me mentioning South Africa as a very beautiful country, though very badly governed by this government. Which is my sincere opinion. In this amazingly beautiful country with a lot of resources, sun as maybe the biggest, unexploited one, I always feel heartbroken knowing about the poverty still dividing the county’s population. All the talk about poverty, while the elite try to justify it’s corruption and benefits while a vast amount of people struggle every day, 365 days a year.

The white plumber wasn’t too interested in following up our conversation. He more or less jumped out in the middle of a sentence to have a talk with the other boss who I hadn’t notice was sitting in the shade in the garden, watching the two young guys lying tiles in the baking sun, on their knees without padding, which for me seemed a little reckless, having had problems with me knees for many years. The plumbers’ helper was working hard in the bathroom. White guys chitchatting in the shade. A setting that any were else in the world would have looked strange as it besides of class differences, also pointed out some racial differences, to put it out mildly.

My girlfriend came home from work a little later. She laughed about my mountain story and my hiking outfit and I reckoned I might have looked like a voodoo ranger steaming ahead to the mountain intruders. One scary monster freaking out those three pale guys.

We decided to try another place out for dinner in this sleepy little suburb. On our way, we passed the pizza place, noticing that not even one table was interracial. But we had already eaten there the day before, so we went on. It wasn’t really any other restaurants in this area, but some small pubs, some serving food as well. We chose the third one. Only white guys inside. Some of them actually said Hello to me, though not my girlfriend. Others just looked at us from the corner of their eyes, as we are so used to as an interracial couple. The bartender didn’t care too much about serving us in a polite way. Guess he wasn’t into getting new customers… His look at the black cook, especially when a friend came by, wasn’t really soothing. Where I come from, it would have been considered unprofessional, even rude, again to put it mildly.

Later that night, we got a notice about Nelson Mandela. We were not sure what to believe, as we couldn’t get any confirmation at that time and we both had seen several announcements of Mandela’s death during the last year.

Next morning Mandela’s death was confirmed and on the radio on every station. Heading to the office through Pretoria in the rush hour next morning, we noticed something strange. The traffic was heavy, but everyone seemed to let us through and we never had a smoother drive through heavy traffic in Pretoria ever. Some people even waved a little extra to us. For the first time ever, we benefitted of being a mixed, interracial couple in South Africa.

So where is this story heading? No, it is not really about what I was doing on the 5th or 6th of December 2013. Hardly even new observations either as it was not my first time in SA. Yes, I am a foreigner in SA, though I consider myself as a global citizen and a free and cosmic spirit. Were I grew up, the vast majority of the citizens are white, still we don’t see interracial couples as odd. I rather guess most people actually think it is beautiful. I am white with blond hair; still I kind of get more acceptance in black communities and parties than among whites in South Africa. Is it really that strange to have a girlfriend or a beautiful stepdaughter with a different skin colour than my own? In 2013 or 2014? Sometimes I wonder if people, especially the white population of SA, have forgotten it is a world outside SA. A world where most people get along, despite different political or religious views, sexual orientation or skin colour. Mandela’s death might awaken those sleepy, unconscious minds, as his death and the memorial period obviously

mountain ranger, cuthad the world’s attention as he was highly appreciated  and loved world-wide for his struggle and not to forget his forgiveness towards his former suppressors. Wake up South Africa and join the world! Long live the spirit of Mandela.


— Ole A. Seifert

Cosmic Consciousness

by Ole A. Seifert
To choose art as a way of life is sometimes a harsh way of meeting the world which often receives you with a lot of raised eyebrows. Still, it is a rich world; a world where you harvest richly from experiences, free of forced barriers and boundaries .

In a cosmic consciousness, I see enlightened truth, love and peace. Or should I say empowered with love and peace as a guidance, the truth becomes noble and full of light, something to reach out to. The universal power tries to reach us and lead us to a common consciousness: —a substainable way for ourselves, our next and the entire cosmos. Some put this into tight frames with profane leaders and call it religion. And,well yes, it is religion. But, like most religions, it is your personal relation to God and the divine that matters, not all others limitations.

The value of wisdom is forgotten in our time. Nowadays, it is intelligence that counts. We disect the world into tiny fragments. We become allmighty and preoccupied with the atoms and ions and forget the whole picture.

When we’re children, the adults impose us to practice politeness. But, they do not necessarily practice it themselves. How many of us are polite enough to wait for everyone to get off the tram, bus or boat before we try to enter? As if it were the last journey? It is quite the same with knowledge that isn ́t integrated into daily life. It never becomes deep or wise. Knowledge must be mixed with feelings and empathy , otherwise it just becomes skin deep.

When material wealth is the only kind of wealth that counts, life gets pretty poor. How rich can you really be if you aren’t capable of sharing?

In the universal context, our world is barely a small dot. Are we not related to our fellow human beings? How can my own life be rich and meaningful if I collect an immense amount of things and exclude other people from participating? Can I really be happy while my sisters and brothers are suffering? Maybe, if I cling to my blissful ignorance and create intellectual barriers to avoid getting emotionally engaged? If I ignore the consequences that my material and spiritual pollution has on others and forthcomming generations, I can collect as much earthly possesions as I can for myself and my children, while future generations will choke on oxygen poor air, empty and polluted oceans and be affected by the impoverished soil. It makes me think about euthanasia and slow, tormented, collective suicide. How do I really want my life and our time to affect future generations?

One of our dear Christian commandments, tells us not to envy our neighbour. If I crave for the same things that my neighbour has; e.g. fancy cars, a big house and cottage, does this not contradict this commandment?! In Norway, we adhere to a similar set of rules that apply to venturing in the mountains. One of them states; ”There is no shame in turning back earlier than late” In other words, it is never to late to alter one’s ways.

Hope is one of the major things we have as humans. And the last thing to die. The belief that each and everyone of us can make a difference is important to keep alive. Then, the hardest part remains, – to make conscious choices!


Ole A. Seifert

Vision without action is merely a dream.

Action without vision just passes time.

Vision with action can change the world.

— Joel Baker.



Written in norwegian in 2001 and published on my art calendar of 2002. Translated English version (this) published on my art calendar of 2008. Same text used on my art calendar published and distributed in China, 2007. © Ole A. Seifert — Feel free to share in non-commercial settings. Sharing is caring, but be kind and let me know.

José Mujica – the president who set himself down on the minimum wage

by Ole A. Seifert, first published September 4, 2012 at 5:57pm


Who has not seen the posters with “Put politicians on a minimum wage, and watch how fast things change” around the web? In Uruguay, President Mujica even put himself on a minimum wage. He donates 90% of his monthly salary of $ 12,500 to welfare purposes. When will this trend reach Zuma, Sarkozy, Merkel, Stoltenberg and the rest of the world leaders?


The presidential manor Suarez & Reyes House is located in the Prado area of Montevideo. The president now wants this put on the list of state housing for homeless compiled by the Ministry of Welfare. If other help centres will be filled up elsewhere, homeless can get to be familiar with this exclusive three-floor shelter.


José Mujica has been president since 2010. Not only is he  driving around in his old Volkswagen Beetle from 1987, his only official asset of  value, but he still lives in his old house in the outskirts of the capital Montevideo with his wife who own the place, Senator Lucia Topolansky, as he promised he would before the election. Also his wife donate part of her salary to welfare purposes. Before becoming president, Mujica  drove a Vespa scooter to the Senate. As a perspective, the Vice President Danilo Astori’s stated capital is $ 275,000 including a house and a car about ten times the value of Mujica bubble that is valued at $ 1,300.


State run marijuana monopoly

The president has now proposed the legalization of cannabis, not only for Uruguay, but the whole of South America. Marijuana should be sold at a reasonable low price, to take profits away from the criminals. Several other Latin American countries have also sought support for deregulation and legalization of a variety of drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Uruguay wants only to legalize cannabis. Not unlike the Norwegian liquor stores, Mujica wants to introduce a state run monopoly of hashish sales.


Urugay was also among the first to recognize a separate Palestinian state.


Free and open, green and peaceful

On the list of corruption by Transparency International,  Uruguay is the second least corrupt state in South America. Uruguay is also listed as number one in South America and number four in the world among the 25 full democracies (Economist Intelligence Unit). Uruguay is also regarded as one of the freest countries politically and with good working conditions. Also in the rankings in terms of peace, stability, ecological footprint and the most livable green country, they are best in class in America and Latin America.


José Mujica (Broad Front) was elected president in 2009. Presidential elections are every five years and run over two rounds if not first candidate receives an absolute majority (50.1%). Mujica got 47.96 in the first round. The following candidates respectively 29.07, 17.02 and 2.49%. In the second round, José Mujica got 52.39% against Luis Alberto’s (National Party) 43.51%.


He was designated by former president Vázqez as the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries in 2005. Of this, he resigned his position as a senator, though returned to his seat in 2008 after the cabinet change in 2008.


José Mujica is a former guerrilla leader who has been both imprisoned and tortured for 14 years. Among others, he was held in the bottom of a well in more than two years. He escaped prison in 1971 but was re-apprehended in 1972 and shot six times by police.

(The article continues below the picture.)


The earthbound President José Mujica outside his home. And yes, he is a vegetarian. Photo: América

The earthbound President José Mujica outside his home. And yes, he is a vegetarian. Photo: América




The Whites

The National Party (Partido Nacional) is also known under the name of the White Party (Partido Blanco) — its previous name until 1872. It is one of the largest and oldest political parties and the major right-wing conservative party in Uruguay . Politics in Uruguay has previously been dominated by the two largest and oldest parties, aforesaid and Colorado. It is only at the last two elections Broad Front have controlled and held President. In return, they had a clear majority.


The front

Broad Front or Frente Amplio, FA, is a coalition between various, mainly but not exclusively left-wing parties and have close links with the trade unions and the cooperative housing movement. The coalition came into play in 1971 and was then composed of more than a dozen different parties and groups. Uruguay struggled with major political unrest in the postwar era and martial law was introduced in 1968. After the coup in 1973, the Broad Front was declared illegal, but became legal again in 1984, involving in the democratic restoration. Today there are 11 parties in the Broad Front.




(A shorter version of this, written in norwegian, was published by the independent magazine Gateavisa.

Anarchism, consumerism and the unconditional basic income guarantee

by Ole A. Seifert, first published May 9, 2012 at 8:43pm
    In my book, anarchist should be open minded, free thinking and inclusive. The unconditional Basic Income is a very old idea, older than the defined anarchism (though anarcistic ideas can be dated to far beyond the definded anarcism). Since the “definition of Anarchism”, human mankind has achieved some opportunities or progress. Just reading this on the net as a good example. Understanding the aspects of work, production and consume in a modern world, another. The doctrine about labour and paid work for all and everyone, is not anarchistic in itself. I am not against labour or anyones choice to choose (paid) work as a path in life, rather open to see other ways as equal right to coose as a way of life. But in a modern society, everybody do not have to work eight hours to provide the necesessaty of life, rather it stimulates a consumers (read capitalistic) world or dream. An unhealthy consumerism consumes and exploits mother earth and its resources.


Anarcism an basic income guarantee has long been tied together. Important in our time is to rethink our view on labour. That´s why I strongly advocate an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee


In 2012 (well, even in 1984 for that sake) it is not longer necessary to keep people enslaved with eight hours work, unless offcourse you want to preserve consumerism. It is rather suitable for communism or other authoritan political -isms or capitalism to keep this doctrine alive. I am neither. I am an anarchist with conserns for mother nature, scarce ressources and freedom. I will not close my eyes for possibilities, technology included, that preserves these mentioned unhealthy “values”. There are many ways of thinking anarchy. Very few are extreme primitivists. Let´s think anarchy from where we are. Right now we are in 2012.


Here is some ways of thinking the funding of the Unconditional Basic Income:

Erasing poverty by Basic Income Guarantee based on Tobin-tax


Unconditional basic income + flat income tax = effectively progressive income tax


Sven Stokkeland, Borgerlønn