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When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: ‘Hope is contagious’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/29/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-met-greta-thunberg-hope-contagious-climate

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Reportages

 

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Who killed the prime minister? The unsolved murder that still haunts Sweden

On the last night of February 1986, the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and his wife, Lisbet, were strolling home through downtown Stockholm. They had taken an impromptu trip to the cinema and decided, as they often did, not to bring bodyguards. Palme made a point of living as much as possible like an ordinary person; he did not want the fact that he was running the country to come between him and his countrymen. “You saw him in the streets all the time,” says the Swedish ethnologist Jonas Engman. “You could speak to him. There was an intimacy to it.”

At 11.21pm, as the couple walked down Sveavägen, one of Stockholm’s busiest streets, a tall man in a dark coat walked up behind them. The man put one hand on Palme’s shoulder, and with his other hand fired a single round from a gun into the prime minister’s back. He grazed Lisbet with a second bullet before fleeing up a flight of 89 steps that links the main street with a parallel road above.

It was a Friday, and Sveavägen was packed with people ambling between bars and restaurants. Bystanders rushed to try to revive Palme, who now lay on the pavement in an expanding pool of blood. Six minutes later, he was taken to the nearest hospital, where, shortly after midnight, he was officially declared dead. It was later determined that the bullet had severed his spinal cord and that he had died before hitting the ground.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/may/16/olof-palme-sweden-prime-minister-unsolved-murder-new-evidence

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2019 in Europe, Reportages

 

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You Don’t Have to Like Julian Assange to Defend Him

You do not have to spend a long time in a room with Julian Assange to realize that he will be difficult. It takes a little longer, though, to realize just how difficult dealing with him can be. This was the lesson I learned in 2010, working first with Assange, and then for him at WikiLeaks, as we published tranche after tranche of bombshell material, leaked by Chelsea Manning.

That was the year Assange—and the whistle-blowing website he runs—came to the world’s attention. First it published the dynamite “Collateral Murder” video, showing an attack on a group of people, including two Reuters journalists, by American military helicopters in Iraq.

Though few knew it at the time, this was the first in a series of ever larger and more dramatic leaks of classified documents, shedding unprecedented light on how the United States conducted its wars, its diplomacy, and its detentions: the Afghan and Iraq War logs, the American diplomatic cables, and the Guantánamo Bay files. These were published in partnership with some of the world’s biggest news outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde. These organizations quickly learned Assange was not the kind of person they were used to dealing with.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/julian-assange-arrested-journalists-defend/586936/

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Europe, North America

 

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Julian Assange’s Legal Trouble, Explained

British police ended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s six-and-a-half-year sojourn in Ecuador’s London embassy by carrying him headfirst out of the building on Thursday after Quito revoked his asylum.

With a long white beard, his shock of white hair tied back, and clutching a Gore Vidal book, Assange was forced out of the embassy from which he has run his transparency organization since taking refuge there in 2012.

Assange was shuttled to a London courtroom, where he was quickly convicted on charges of violating the terms of his bail.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Energy self-sufficiency

Sweden realised how crucial it was to become self-sufficient in energy very early on. The second world war was ‘an energy trauma’, forcing Sweden to import coal from Nazi Germany, according to Teva Meyer, a geographer at the University of Haute Alsace.So over the next years, Sweden diversified its energy sources by building hydroelectric dams on its countless streams and rivers. Then, after discovering key uranium deposits in 1947, the country committed to nuclear energy: its first heat and electric power production facility entered service in 1964 at Ågesta, near Stockholm. Though neutral Sweden renounced nuclear weapons in 1968, it developed an extensive civil programme, leading to the construction of 12 nuclear reactors.

Source: Energy self-sufficiency, by Florence Beaugé (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, August 2017)

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in European Union

 

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Getting Assange: the Untold Story

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden.  “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/getting-assange-the-untold-story/

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in European Union, North America

 

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Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their seven-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

Source: Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth

The Swedish Migration Agency in Malmo, the southern port city on the border with Denmark, occupies a square brick building at the far edge of town. On the day that I was there, Nov. 19, 2015, hundreds of refugees, who had been bused in from the train station, queued up outside in the chill to be registered, or sat inside waiting to be assigned a place for the night. Two rows of white tents had been set up in the parking lot to house those for whom no other shelter could be found. Hundreds of refugees had been put in hotels a short walk down the highway, and still more in an auditorium near the station.

When the refugee crisis began last summer, about 1,500 people were coming to Sweden every week seeking asylum. By August, the number had doubled. In September, it doubled again. In October, it hit 10,000 a week, and stayed there even as the weather grew colder. A nation of 9.5 million, Sweden expected to take as many as 190,000 refugees, or 2 percent of the population — double the per capita figure projected by Germany, which has taken the lead in absorbing the vast tide of people fleeing the wars in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/02/10/the-death-of-the-most-generous-nation-on-earth-sweden-syria-refugee-europe/

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in European Union, Reportages

 

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Sweden Shuts the Door

The increase in nihilistic violence such as school shootings and Friday’s lethal assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic, the frequent executions of poor people of color by police, and the rise of thuggish demagogues such as Donald Trump are symptoms of the collapse of our political and cultural institutions.

These institutions, which once made possible piecemeal and incremental reform, which sought to protect the weak from the tyranny of the majority and give them a voice, acted as a safety valve to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism and address the grievances of the underclass. They did not defy the system of capitalism. They colluded with the structures of privilege and white supremacy. But they provided some restraints on the worst abuse and exploitation. The capturing of major institutions by corporate power and the moral bankruptcy of our elites, especially members of our self-identified liberal class, have shattered this equilibrium.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/11/sweden-democrats-immigration-refugees-lofven-december-agreement/

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in European Union, Reportages

 

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Sweden’s liberal reputation tarnished as race attacks rise

Kyle James, a black New Yorker with a top job in banking, had been warned to expect problems in bars and nightclubs in Stockholm when he visited the city in July. But nothing prepared him for what happened when he entered a well-known bar with two black friends.

After he had bought a drink, bouncers told him to leave; when he asked why, they dragged him outside, pepper-sprayed his eyes and pinned him to the ground. Police then handcuffed him and his friends. James, 32, was made to strip naked and spent the night without clothes in a cell.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/01/swedens-liberal-reputation-tarnished-as-race-attacks-rise

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in European Union

 

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