Posts Tagged ‘election’
Looking through Twitter can often provide an imperfect, but relevant sampling of people’s preoccupations. Scanning through the entries it seems to me that the metropolitan elites are drawn towards voting Yes to AV.
I can’t say that is the case, irrefutably, but that’s the impression I’m getting.
The Right-wing media are for the status quo, and saying No to AV.
As far as I can see much of this Yes to AV sentiment is based on the notion that there is a malaise within the electoral system and that AV will change that, or at least that is the hope.
I can’t quite see the evidence behind it, or how it will galvanise a largely cynical population to vote for mostly useless politicians with their own agendas. I think that the problem of electoral participation in Britain and many other countries is more deeply seated than the choice of voting system. There is a significant disenchantment with bourgeois politics in general, and voting specifically. I suspect the problem of voter participation has more to do with the social hegemony and class nature of a society than the selection and use of any particular voting system.
My sense is that in Britain there will be a low turnout for this referendum, those particularly keen on AV will vote for it and will make the effort to vote. Those disenchanted won’t bother, many others voting against it as the Yes to AV arguments don’t seem to have won people over. My gut feeling is that it will fail.
I would like to think that the political consequence of a defeat of AV could be the eventual disintegration of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, but we’ll see.
The discussion on the Alternative Vote scheme in Britain is stupefying, even for those with an interest in politics.
Whilst I wouldn’t dream of ever telling my UK readers how to vote, I did come across one gem on AV, by Waterloo Sunset.
I will paraphrase:
1. The vote on AV was a concession to the Lib Dems.
2. They have always been keen on voting reform and will swallow many of the unpalatable measures put forward by the Tories, for the sake of voting reform.
3. Should the Lib Dems not achieve voting reform then it increases the likelihood of the coalition breaking up.
4. If the coalition breaks up then probably there will be an election, and the Tories could lose.
5. So voting no to AV is one way of getting rid of the Lib Dem-Tory coalition.
A fine argument in my view.
The JPost has a good article:
“In August, the leading Hungarian weekly Hetek sent reporters to cover a right-wing rally and musical festival in the city of Veroce. The reporters were welcomed at the gate with horse-whips. Organizers spewed lethal threats at the “filthy liberal” journalists, and assigned “escorts” to harass and prevent them from covering the event.
Last year, journalists received similar treatment at the annual ultra-national gathering, and were even forced to wear vests matted with dog feces. Masked men greeted them with mock guns and swords, shouting in German: “Deine papieren, Jude!” (“Your papers, Jew!”).
Hetek’s ordeal reflects the recent dramatic turn in Hungary toward neo- Fascism, dating to a spate of fierce anti-government riots in 2006. There were anti-Semitic and racist manifestations before, such as vandalizing cemeteries. However, since 2006 the neo-Nazi movement has become bolder and more aggressive, carrying out violent and sometimes deadly attacks against Gypsies and Jews, stoning synagogues and homes of rabbis during Passover, and staging paramilitary marches across the country to intimidate the local population.”
According to Henry Kissinger, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
I am not sure if that is true but I am trying to work out why anyone would want to meet President Ahmadinejad?
Unless it is to be close to his power, to be able to say they have actually met a President, even if his election win was fiddled and anti-Ahmadinejad protesters killed as a result.
Why would supposed radicals in North America wish to meet Ahmadinejad after he’s just given a conspiratorial speech on 9/11?
Why would anyone, with any sense, want to meet this certifiable racist?
Apparently, over a hundred people, including some radical political leaders met him recently, Fightback News covers it:
“New York, NY – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met here, September 21, with 100 leaders and representatives of anti-war, labor, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organizations. Among the participants were Sarah Martin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Margaret Sarfehjooy, board member of the Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders from the International Action Center, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.
The meeting was called by the president of Iran with the hope that a frank and honest exchange of views will help activists further the cause of peace between the people of Iran and the U.S.
Specific demands raised include to oppose war, occupation and hostility worldwide; oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support the right to nuclear energy for all, but nuclear weapons for none; and to support dialogue, justice and equality among all countries in the UN.
After listening intently to the statements of 22 of the participants, President Ahmadinejad said, “We have a treasure chest full of views. I agree with everything you have said and therefore you have spoken from my heart also. Now I will speak in my own way.”
He said that the source of war, capitalism, must be identified and pointed out. “Violent capitalism is based on superiority, hegemony and violation of rights.” He went on to say that one reason capitalists start wars is to fill up their pockets. They must empty their arsenals so they can build more weapons. As he said at a U.N. meeting earlier in the day, “Capitalism has come to an end. It has reached a deadlock. Its historical moment has ended and efforts to restore it won’t go very far.”
Ahmadinejad spoke of the U.S. wars in Iraq and deaths of over 1 million people for oil . He pointed out that in an Afghan village over 100 innocent people were killed just to get a few terrorists. He expressed anger that even with the floods in Pakistan, the U.S continues to bomb Pakistani villages. He said it is hard to sleep at night after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza with no medicines, no clean water and not enough food. He expressed solidarity with the activists’ goals of struggling for peace and justice at home and abroad and he pledged that Iran will stand strong to the end.
“Speaking with Mrs. Ahmadinejad and hearing the president reinforced the importance of struggling against the U.S. campaign to isolate and demonize Iran,” said Sarah Martin. Margaret Sarfehjooy reported, “I think the meeting was important because we had the opportunity to meet with so many dedicated grassroots activists from all over the country and share our hopes for peace and justice with the Iranian people through their president and his wife.” “
I wonder if President Ahmadinejad’s old friend, David Duke, will be joining them at the next meeting?
(H/T: Contested Terrain)
In their latest affront they have taken to attacking Mansour Osanloo’s family:
“According to reports received by “Human Rights and Democracy activists of Iran Roya Samadi, daughter-in-law of Mansour Osanloo, president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was kidnapped and savagely tortured by three agents of Intelligence Ministry.
On Wednesday 2nd of Tir (June 23, 2010) Ms. Samadi, while going home from work around 5:30PM, was attacked by three men as soon as she got off the metro train in Karaj. The agents grabbed her by hair and while pulling her by her hair were kicking and punching her. All of this in broad day light in front of all other shocked commuters. Ms. Samadi while crying for help kept repeating that she’s Mr. Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. The agents put a tape over her mouth as to silence her pleas, and kidnapped her to an undisclosed location.
At the undisclosed location she was put inside a cell, cuffed at hands and feet, with her eyes also covered, and was savagely tortured for a long while. The blows were concentrated on her face and head. Her head was repeatedly hit against the wall. Scars from the beating are evident all over her body. Her gums are torn, teeth broken, swelling of head, wound on her arms and the right foot, and bruises all over her body.
While being tortured the agents kept shouting at: “You have to promise to us if Osanloo is freed from jail, he can’t stay here, and should not do a thing.”
After hours of savage torture, beating and abuse around 9:45 PM, the agents left her shocked body under Sayed Khandan Bridge, and left her. They also emphasized to her that she shouldn’t complain about this to anyone, and if she does she’ll face the consequences.
Although almost 24 hours has passed Ms. Zoya Samadi is still in shock and has not recovered.
For some months now she has been intimated by phone calls from Intelligence Ministry interrogators, she was once even ordered to show up at the 14th District “Islamic Revolutionary” ( read reactionary) Court. When the family showed up in the court they were told that such orders had never been issued. She was also beaten up last year and they attempted to kidnap her back then.”
Update 1: Entdinglichung has more:
“Zoya Samadi also suffered a miscarriage after the attack: http://iranlaborreport.com/?p=967 … and their are reports, that Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab jalalian is in danger of execution: http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2010/06/28/un-must-interfere-to-save-zeynabs-life/“
I had want to do more on the recent election in Hungary but can’t, so in the interim:
“Jobbik’s performance in Sunday’s first election round was a success, though it can be judged as a failure on Jobbik’s own terms of having the backing of “two thirds of the country”, the analysts told MTI.
Four years ago, Jobbik garnered 119,000 votes, last year 427,000 and 855,000 at Sunday’s ballot.“
Meanwhile over in Hungary the up-and-coming election might have dire results, as the Irish Times reports:
“HUNGARY’S centre-right Fidesz opposition party is expected to win a landslide victory in tomorrow’s general election, but the headlines could be stolen by nationalists who stand to make startling gains.
The far-right Jobbik party is vying for second place with the ruling Socialists, whose support has been decimated by scandals, corruption and an economic crisis that forced Hungary to seek emergency help from the International Monetary Fund.
Jobbik has enjoyed a boom in popularity thanks to vigorous local campaigning across Hungary, but above all because of its pledge to bring patriotism back into politics and crack down on crime – particular the “gypsy crime” it claims is blighting the nation.
Jobbik’s many critics at home and abroad denounce the party as a group of dangerous extremists who are using demagoguery to turn a frustrated country’s anger against a vulnerable minority, and rights groups report an alarming rise in fatal attacks on Roma in recent years.
“For 500 years, gypsies have not been able to adopt the cultural norms to live in peace with the majority,” Jobbik candidate Andras Kisgergely told a recent rally.
“Nine out of 10 criminals are gypsies . . . We need to end that. We need to improve public safety and create jobs. Make them work. We need to tie welfare to community work.”
Jobbik is also regularly accused of using anti-Semitic rhetoric and is closely linked with the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary group that wears uniforms and uses emblems reminiscent of those associated with Hungary’s wartime fascist regime.”
The Torygraph reports:
“Mohammad-Amin Valian, a 20-year-old Islamic studies student, was arrested on the basis of a photograph taken at a mass demonstration against the rigged presidential election last year. He was among six people convicted of the Islamic crime of moharebeh, or waging war against God.”
This makes horrendous reading:
“According to Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran (HRDAI), the night before the execution of Arash Rahmanipour and Mohamd Reza Ali Zamani, security agents played [a video that aired] their false confessions in an attempt to justify the crime [of executing the two prisoners]. In the video, four other political prisoners under torture were forced to confess.
The four prisoners were arrested late October 2009. Their names are: Mahmoud Dolatabadi, Mehdi Saeedi, Abbas Vali Khani, and Borzu Kamrani.
The prisoners have been kept in solitary confinement cells since late October. They have endured physical and mental torture by security agents who had promised to set the prisoners free after their false confessions and a payment of $30,000 USD.
According to reports, the agents forced the prisoners to practice their false confessions. They were made to concentrate on each word and be conscious of their facial expressions while uttering them. To make the confessions look as natural as possible, the agents applied makeup to the prisoners.
The purpose of the false confessions is to create a reason to accuse political prisoners of Moharebeh (waging war against God) so they can be executed later. The purpose of the executions is to create fear among Iran’s civil society.”
Update 1: The trial of three Bahia’s in Iran.
Would it be possible to create a more inflammatory charge against Iranian protesters?
It’s not much of a step up from the old Soviet “enemy of the people” label, and probably worse.
The intention is to prejudge the alleged crimes of the protesters and ensure that they are dealt with harshly.
That is what the ruling elite in Iran wants, protesters beaten on the streets, given cursory trials and locked away, as the BBC reports:
“Iran has put 16 people on trial after anti-government protests in December, when eight people died in some of the most violent clashes seen in months.
Five of the defendants are charged with “waging war against God” while the others are accused of public order and national security offences.
They were all arrested over protests on 27 December when Shia Muslims gathered for the religious festival of Ashura.
Street protests have recurred in Iran since the disputed election in June.”
The proud anti-imperialist regime of Ahmadinejad and the theocratic ruling classes are bludgeoning Iranians again.
Their crime? Protesting against a brutal regime, their own.
BBC radio news suggested that they were even using cattle prods against the demonstrators. I’m not sure that is true, but it is certainly possible, we know how they act.
They will employ the militia on motorbikes with truncheons, they will run people down in the street. They will occasionally shoot them. All to keep themselves in power.
The current rulers in Iran do not look terribly different from any number of dictatorships, which have come and gone in the world.
Their modus operandi is similar. Ban anti-government protests, send in the security forces, shoot a few people, and batter many others into submission. Make some arrests. Torture people in jail. Murder a few dozen in jail. Tried to break the will of the protesters. Organise show trials. Lock people up on trumped up evidence, and keep the security apparatus on your side with plenty of bribery. Etc., etc.
That is what the anti-imperialist regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does.
Nevertheless, Ahmadinejad is really just a front man for rather unsavoury types within the Revolutionary guard, allied companies, the militia and part of the theocracy. Their role is to keep power, for themselves and they will happily bludgeon, rape, murder and exercise the full power of the State against the Iranian people, when it suits them.
The Observer has more:
”Iran today faces the prospect of a bloody Sunday after opposition supporters clashed violently with security forces yesterday at the start of a key religious ceremony that had been identified beforehand as a dangerous flashpoint.
Government forces were said to have smashed the windows of cars whose drivers honked their horns in support of the protest. Security forces chased protesters into the premises of the student news agency ISNA, off Enghelab Square, and beat them with chains and batons, Rah-e Sabz reported. The Iranian Human Rights Activists news agency said there had been at least 10 arrests.”
Read the account of a member of the Basij militia, horrific, as he discusses the rapes and murders carried out by State operatives in Iran.
More from CODIR, the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.
Update 3: AFP also reported clashes earlier on:
“TEHRAN — Iranian riot police fired teargas in clashes with thousands of opposition supporters who shouted anti-government slogans during a Shiite mourning event on Saturday, witnesses said.
The skirmishes broke out in north Tehran despite authorities having warned of a crackdown on attempts to use processions marking the solemn Ashura rituals to stage more protests against the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Update 5: Previously, I correlated together Links of Iranian Links, many of them, particularly the ones to news sites, may have more up to date information on unfolding events.
Update 6: The FT on these recent events:
“Central Tehran turned into a rare conflict zone on Sunday when security forces clashed with hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters.
The opposition used Ashura, the day that Hossein, the third Imam of Shias and the grandson of prophet Mohammad, was killed in the 7th century.
Demonstrators marched a 10km stretch from Imam Hossein Square in eastern Tehran toward Azadi Square in the western end. They held victory signs and wore green wristbands and scarves, the symbolic colour of the opposition. Streets leading to the main route were also packed, according to eyewitnesses.
Police used tear gas, batons and gun shots in the air to disperse the crowd. Jaras, a reformist news website, claimed three were killed. The report could not be independently confirmed and a senior Iranian police official denied the report.
”So far there have been no reports of killings and no one has been killed up to now,” Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh told the news agency ISNA.
The Sunday rally was the biggest since June 20, the bloodiest day when at least 10 people were killed. After that incident protest numbers shrank from hundreds of thousands to thousands.”
Den of spies, a common slogan in Tehran, but with a different slant nowadays as opponents of the Ahmadinejad’s regime use the occasion to protest, the New York Times reports:
The protests — in Tehran and several other cities — were the opposition’s largest street showing in almost two months, and came on the 30th anniversary of the takeover of the United States Embassy in 1979, a day of great symbolic importance for both Iran and the United States. Although a huge deployment of police beat back and scattered many of them, the protesters took heart at their ability to openly challenge the government despite a stream of stark warnings from all levels of Iran’s conservative establishment.
Protesters openly flouted the day’s official anti-American message, with about a thousand people, many wearing clothing and accessories in the opposition’s signature bright green color, gathering outside the Russian Embassy in Tehran and chanting, “The real den of spies is the Russian embassy.”
The American embassy has been called the “den of spies” in Iran for decades. But many opposition supporters were angered by Russia’s early acceptance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed victory in Iran’s June presidential elections.
It was a day of scattered protests and violence across central Tehran, and even some government authorities seemed to grudgingly concede that the opposition had — for the first time — disrupted the annual anti-American rally. The official IRNA news agency reported in midafternoon that “rioters,” many wearing the opposition’s green symbols, had gathered in front of its offices on Valiasr Street chanting “Death to the Dictator” and other anti-government slogans.”
Whilst I think about things, take a look at Coatesy’s coverage of events in Iran.
Update 1: I will aim to cover this topic in more detail in the future, but it seems that there are continued demonstrations going-on in various Universities in Iran.
On this particular YouTube channel there are at least 5 video clips seemingly from the 3rd Nov. 2009.
Update 2: The blog, Revolutionary Road, has plenty of good material, especially the Bridge Journal.