Is the Nordic welfare state sustainable?

The Danish Liberal Party, the party of Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has pledged a “zero growth” policy in the public sector until 2020 – in effect a policy of further cutbacks on the welfare state. Danish Minister of Finance, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, is also intent on cutting back public spending. “It is time to tighten the reins”, he said during a governmental economical review on December 13.

Welfare states throughout the world are facing a continuous onslaught by liberal, conservative and social democrat governments alike, especially after the so-called financial crises of 2008. Read more of this post

Lene Espersen er ”stærkt bekymret” for udviklingen i Vestsahara

I et svar på et brev som Afrika Kontakt sendte udenrigsminister Lene Espersen om situationen i Vestsahara, udtaler hun, at hun er ”stærkt bekymret for udviklingen” i landet. Desuden påpeger hun, at Marokkanske sikkerhedsstyrkers angreb på protestlejren i de besatte områder i Vestsahara i november, hvor snesevis blev dræbt og tusindvis såret, ”naturligvis [er] meget beklagelig”, og at hun gerne ser ”at MINURSO i forbindelse med forlængelse af missionens mandat også får mandat til at monitere menneskerettighedssituationen i Vestsahara”.

Desværre virker dette ikke til at have ansporet Lene Espersen og den danske regering til at stille nogle krav til Marokko, hverken om en undersøgelse i forhold til angrebet, eller til mere direkte at kræve den folkeafstemning i forhold til Vestsaharas tilhørsforhold, som international lov kræver det, og som adskillige FN-resolutioner har krævet i årtier. Read more of this post

Conference of the Democratic Left: ‘We are our own liberators’

‘We are our own liberators’ is the slogan that is to be adopted by the new South African left. This is obviously meant to differentiate the new left-wing movement, Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL), from the increasingly un-participatory and top-down led ANC and its tripartite alliance partners, COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Before the formation of the CDL in 2008, there was no left-wing alternative to the tripartite alliance. The CDL seeks to rectify this. In a recent press statement, the CDL called for all “left forces” committed to “an anti-capitalist politics” to participate in the first national congress of the CDL to be held in January 2011. Read more of this post

Swaziland government website closed: Couldn’t pay the bill

The poor handling of the economy in Swaziland, and the subsequent cutbacks, has now also hit the official government website. The website was closed due to non-payment of bills amounting to approximately 100.000 Rand that were owed the host of the website, Real Image. It had probably also annoyed Real Image that the government had sought out a new host for the redesign and hosting of its website.

A source in Swaziland’s government insisted that they would have paid the money if possible, “we wanted to pay Real Image but we don’t have the money.” Government Press Secretary Macanjana Motsa, on the other hand, condemned the closure of the site to Times of Swaziland, claiming that this would frustrate “efforts to market the country locally and internationally.” Read more of this post

Action against political violence against women in Zimbabwe

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a Zimbabwean NGO that campaigns for a democratic and people-driven constitutional process in Zimbabwe, has announced the launch of a regional campaign, “Act Now Against Political Violence”. The campaign will focus on the use of politically motivated violence with impunity against women in Zimbabwe, especially the systematic political use of rape by the Zimbabwean police and military, as well as by ZANU-PF’s youth league, on members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The regional campaign will be launched in Braamfontain on Friday 10 December, a week after the campaign was originally launched in Zimbabwe by the NCA and the trade union and student’s movements. Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA’s Chairperson, will deliver the key note address. Read more of this post

Wikileaks: USA wants ’re-integration’ of Western Sahara

According to unsubstantiated claims in a diplomatic cable from the American Embassy in Morocco last year, posted on the Wikileaks website last Friday, “there is a significant part of the population of the Sahrawi territory [in Western Sahara], in addition to most immigrants, who support Moroccan sovereignty”. The cable refers to the “re-integration” of Western Sahara, but nowhere does it mention “self-determination”, even though both international law and several UN resolutions insist upon a referendum on the status of Western Sahara. The cable also refers to Western Sahara’s legitimate national liberation movement as a “Cuba-like” minority – hardly a term of endearment when coming from an American. Read more of this post

Swazi single mothers must come together

In a presentation to the attendees of the Swaziland Single Mothers Organisation’s (SWASMO) annual Christmas party, the coordinator of the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice,  Sebenzile Nxumalo, spoke about the many problems facing women in Swaziland. Sebenzile, herself a member of SWASMO, specifically blamed Swazi culture as being a prime cause of disparity and misery for Swazi women – a culture where woman are legally seen as minors. She also highlighted the importance of women coming together to tackle their own problems, and spoke encouragingly and appreciatively of the single mothers of SWASMO’s ability to do so. Read more of this post