What’s religion got to do with this?
The mechanics of divide et impera
Behind the man
Examining governance records of selected ten premiere post-WWII governments across the world could throw up some surprises.
Seems like in India, too
- The British Salt Tax. How Damaging? (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Desi Nostalgia For British Raj (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Gold Standard: Forty Years Gone – And Good Riddance (blogs.wsj.com)
- Tendu leaves – How Maoist-Govt Cabal loot Adivasis (quicktake.wordpress.com)
Governments and tobacco
Globally four major companies and government monopolies control a US$400 billion trade in cigarettes. These cigarette monopolies, directly or indirectly controlled by governments, take away US$1 from every US$175 that people earn. China and USA are leaders in this extortion game.
Tobacco – India Govt.’s ‘innovation’
The Indian State also, on a much smaller scale, replicates this same mechanism. Since Indians consume tobacco in a traditional, non-industrial manner, the Indian State changes the method of extortion. Apart from tobacco, the main ingredient of bidis, is tendu leaf. Tendu leaf is used to roll the tobacco in. While tobacco farmers are exempt from income tax, adivasis have to sell all their produce to the State. For which the State pays them wages. A newspaper reports
Over the last two decades, the graph of tendu patta wages has shot up. This year, the Chhattisgarh government raised the wage rate from 70 paise to 80 paise per bundle of 50 leaves. But collectors like Bargu earned higher wages (Rs 1.05 paise) courtesy the Maoists. As the parallel authority in large parts of Bastar, they fix wages and even a system of wage payment.
For instance, officially, the state government’s minor forest produce federation auctions each lot of tendu leaves. Traders or contractors pay a sale price to the federation. A portion is sent to the federation’s field managers, who are supposed to disburse it as wages to the adivasis. But, in reality, the managers simply hand the money back to the contractor, who adds an extra wage amount fixed by the Maoists and sends his own staff to pay off the collectors.
“In our areas, we bargain with the contractor every year, and get a higher price for the adivasis,” says Gudsa Usendi, Maoist spokesperson. ”Last year, it was Re 1. This year it’s between Re 1.05 to Re 1.20. This way, we have stopped the exploitation of adivasis.”
That’s not an empty boast — but it’s only partially true. The Maoists have wrangled higher wages for the adivasis and expanded their support base, but they have also obtained higher levies for themselves. Most traders refused to divulge exact amounts, some reluctantly offered a rough range: 5-10% of the sale price. For one Rs 1 crore, that works out to Rs 5-10 lakh.
“The market of tendu leaves is not less than Rs 2,000 crore,” says K Sadavijaya Kumar, of the Association of Beedi leaf traders. Given that at least a quarter of the tendu growing areas appears to be under Maoist control, the amount of levies could run into crores.
By maintaining a monopoly over the ownership and sale of leaves, the state earns revenue. In 2009, Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Federation made Rs 256 crore from tendu leaves. Rs 189 crore was paid to the collectors, and Rs 66 crore retained by the federation. (via Tendu leaves little hope for tribals – The Times of India).
And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights. From being owners of India’s forests, under भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the adivasis have become wage earners. By this one single action, the State has impoverished crores of adivasis. Such are the reasons for Indian poverty – The Indian State.
- Bamboo is liberated, says Jairam Ramesh (hindu.com)
And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights.
the ruling elite cannot be expected to change things because the majority already has one foot out of the door. Most members of the ruling elite have dual nationality, which means that if the situation deteriorates further they can always leave, along with their capital. This saves them from taking responsibility for improving social conditions and the country’s politics for the benefit of all. http://is.gd/krkPC
Who cares …
On 4th January, 2011, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard. His support for non-Islamic minorities in Pakistan coupled with his support for removal of blasphemy laws from statute books angered extremists. Leading to this killing. Salmaan Taseer’s other bodyguards did nothing against the killer. Many ‘powerful people’, afraid, did not attend Taseer’s funeral.
Like this author points out, the State of Pakistan is in the hands of people who have interests, capital, and a life outside Pakistan. Pakistan needs complete, total commitment.
Another hate crime
On the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, in the advanced world, there was a similar incident. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, during a public event at a Safeway grocery store on the north side of Tucson, was shot.
Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.
Sarah Palin’s political action committee posted a map of the US, showing the locations of the 20 Democratic members of Congress, including Giffords, it was targeting for defeat. Each location was marked by an image of a gun crosshairs.
Palin’s camp dismissed charges that she was encouraging acts of violence, saying she had spoken out against violence. But Giffords herself was one of many who spoke out against the image, telling MSNBC: “When people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.”
In June, the campaign of Giffords’ Republican opponent in this year’s midterms, Jesse Kelly, placed an ad that read: “Get on target for victory in November/ Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office/ Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”
The website for Kelly, a former US Marine, depicted him with holding an automatic weapon.
Today, Kelly said in a tweet: “We are all deeply saddened by this morning’s shooting. Gabrielle Giffords, the other victims, and their families are in our prayers.”
It is unclear why Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Was is it because she ‘approached the immigration debate in a nuanced fashion, mixing requests for more Border Patrol agents with calls to increase the number of work visas granted to foreigners.’ Or was because she was the first Jewish woman to be elected Congresswoman from Arizona.
Desert Bloc parallels
Gabrielle Gifford and Salman Taseer were ‘marked’ for supporting ‘Others’. Christian intolerance, Islamic extremism. Any difference. Sympathy for ‘kaffirs‘ killed Salman Taseer; supporting ‘aliens’ hurt Gabrielle Gifford. USA & Pakistan-Siamese twins?
Pakistan is evading the blasphemy issue. USA will ‘investigate’ if xenophobia behind Gabrielle Gifford attack. Christian intolerance + Islamic extremism = Desert Bloc behavior. Proof – Attacks on Gabrielle Gifford & Salman Taseer.Last train out
- Family of slain Pakistani politician feels for Giffords (cnn.com)
- Political violence in the US and Pakistan (blogs.ft.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords a Champion of Green Causes (treehugger.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords, update on her brain injury (actionforbetterhealthcare.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords shot in Arizona – Sarah Palin ‘has blood on her hands’ (archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com)
- Bhutto pledges to defend minorities in Pakistan (reuters.com)
- Salman Taseer assassination – BBC News (news.google.com)
- Global worry: Tucson attack augur more violent US? (foxnews.com)
- Pope Asks Pakistan To Repeal Blasphemy Law (video) (nowpublic.com)
- Taseer Murder Reveals Depth of Pakistan’s Extremist Drift (time.com)
- Pakistan slaying divides nation – Washington Post (news.google.com)
EU trade policy has long been hijacked by European business, which wants raw materials at cheap prices. EU priorities are a mirror image of positions adopted by corporate lobby groups. The commission frankly states: “We will rely on EU business to provide much of the information on the barriers which affect their trade or investment with third countries.”
There is a serious risk that Europe’s budget and unemployment crisis will put policymakers even more in hock to the demands of big business.
Opposition from Africa
It is hardly surprising that European policy faces mounting opposition from most African countries, which have long opposed signing investment agreements with the EU. The Raw Materials Initiative should be opposed by Europe’s citizens, too, because it distracts from the need to reduce their own consumption. Europeans already consume four times as much as the average African. (read more via The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : The European Union’s ugly resource grab).
Idea of ‘exploiting’ resources on the cheap
To take away rights from people ‘who do not know the value’ of such resources (Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Africans) and transfer property rights to the ‘discoverer’ of these resources is an old idea which strangely finds legitimacy, even after 400 years of bad experience. Ranging from Spain to Belgium, with the Dutch and the English, all joined in this ‘resource’ grab. And this saga continues.
Bankruptcy of ideology – ism, cracy and archy
In some case, modern nation-States based on various ‘isms’ (Capitalism, Communism, Socialism) combine with various ‘archy’ (monarchy, oligarchy) and ‘cracy’ (democracy, plutocracy, bureaucracy) continue to ensure that power and wealth remains in the hands of very few. The Rest of Us have to be happy with illusion of being equal, of having power over leaders, etc. And no.
This power does NOT flow from the barrel of the gun – but from limiting access to ज़र, zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). Instead of various ‘isms’, ‘archies’ and ‘cracies’, what the world needs is a system that will guarantee the four essential freedoms – काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty) and धर्मं dharma (justice)
- Corporo-cracy? No… (ask.metafilter.com)
- 2010: Church begins mobilisation (vanguardngr.com)
- Europe and Africa: a partnership of equals? | Claire Provost and Aaron Akinyemi (guardian.co.uk)
- Africa, EU on summit collision course over economic deals – AFP (news.google.com)
- Africa lashes Europe on trade at summit eve (calgaryherald.com)
- Q+A: Troubled trade ties between EU and Africa (reuters.com)
- Biofuels will up Euro greenhouse emissions (newscientist.com)
- Africa, EU reach out for economic tie-up in troubled times – AFP (news.google.com)