Friday, March 16, 2007

Danish Cabinet Minister in new Attack on Journalists

The former CEO of the public broadcaster DR TV Christian Nissen has written a book in which he describes how the Danish government put pressure on the institution. The minister of culture Brian Mikkelsen wrote an e-mail to the politically appointed chairman of the board of Trustees, Jorgen Kleener (member of the ruling party Venstre), saying:

Dear Jorgen,
Just for your information: The DR coverage of the government, and particularly the coverage of the Iraq war, was taken up at the meeting of ministers this morning, at first during breakfast by a large number of ministers, and then later during the informal meeting. There's a lot of dissatisfaction with DR's coverage of the war, which is very biased - ministers are particularly angry with a couple of female anchors and Ole Sippel (whom by many was considered extreme in his criticism of the Coalition). The Minister of Foreign Affairs even suggested that we should not privatise the semi-public TV2, which is fair in its coverage of the war, but rather the public broadcaster DR. .... March 25th 2003. Source: TV2

This is a new example of the cultural and value policies of the liberal conservative Danish government. This government was already in 2003, when the e-mail was written, becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to cut the Danish welfare state down to size. Instead it attempts a "liberal revolution" of Danish society by intimidating "leftist reporters" and other cultural personalities to get in line behind the conservative leaders.

Opposition parties are now demanding the dismissal or Brian Mikkelsen. But this is hardly what is going to happen. Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen would not dismiss a conservative minister at this point when the Conservatives are angry because of the limited influence they have in the government compared to the xenophobic national-chauvinistic Danish People's party, which is not even in government.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

IWD Came and Went - and Women are still Paid less than Men

At a Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen1910, in the house of the People, an International Women's Day was proposed to honour the women's rights movement and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. They got the suffrage, but they did not get equality!!

On the Internation women's Day Common Dreams calls attention to this roll call of shame:

  • Two-thirds of the world's 800 million illiterate adults are women as girls are not seen as worth the investment, or are busy collecting water or firewood or doing other domestic chores.

  • Two million girls aged from five to 15 join the commercial sex market every year.

  • Domestic violence kills and injures more people in the developing world than war, cancer or traffic accidents.

  • Seventy per cent of the world's poorest people are women.

  • Violence against women causes more deaths and disabilities among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

  • Women produce half the world's food, but own less than two per cent of the land.

  • Of the more than one billion people living in extreme poverty, 70 per cent are women.

  • Almost a third of the world's women are homeless or live in inadequate housing.

  • Half of all murdered women are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.

  • Every minute a woman dies as a result of pregnancy complications.

  • Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, yet earn only a tenth of its income.
    One woman in three will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime

There was not much activity in Denmark on March 8th, but many places in the poor countries women workers staged protests. The women in the poor countries are the worst hit by inequality, discrimination and abuse. But even in Denmark there are still many problems of unequal treatment of women. Domestic violence is still widespread. Equal pay is something women can read about in government and trade union reports. Particularly in the private sector, admittance to the men's room where deals are made, cigars smoked, and whiskies downed, is not for women.

So, why didn't Danish women march in demonstrations in much larger numbers?


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Long Arm of the Law got even longer

The Danish terror legislation got its debut at the eviction of the Youth house. Mass arrests, preventive arrests, arbitrary control and body searches. There have been searches without warrants, for instance described at the website of the organisation Roed Ungdom, where the police smashed doors and searched the place without making an appointment with people at the place. In the Copenhagen City Court people have been remanded in bunches without proof of individual wrongdoing. The judges have rubberstamped police claims for custody on remand of several of the arrested.

More than 700 people have been arrested, among them 58 are under 18 years, 189 remanded. Freedom of speech is being violated through the arbitrary arrest of a spokesperson for the Youth House, who happened to be on the spot, after the events, when young people gathered at the place to cry and console each other at the witnessing of the demolition of the house.
The house itself was raided by an anti-terror unit, to prepare the ground for the very efficient businesswoman from the Father house Ruth Evensen. They bought the house for less than half a million $ - not in order to use the house, but to tear it down. The site will be worth millions of $, and after building a modern building there, worth a lot more!


Monday, March 05, 2007

The Terrorist War on Working Class Culture

Photo: M. Knudsen Monsum

So now they've started tearing down the youth house. Good riddance, all the good bourgeois people think.

"What a shameful act", people with some respect for history think.

Rosa Luxemburg has spoken in that house. Lenin has been there. This is not said to make them heroic. But nobody can deny that they're historical figures, nor that the house has historical value.

March 8th, International demonstration day for women's rights, was first proclaimed in that house. It was built for money collected among ordinary workers, to make a cultural centre for the workers' movement. The building was more than a hundred years old. It was unique.

The politicians actually had a chance to stop the demolition of the house, against the property right of the religious sect, the Father House, who owns it. It could have been declared a historical monument and rescued from demolition. But the politicians in the city council, probably because they are afraid of reactionary public opionion, opted for permitting the Father House to tear down the old, historical structure.

The politicians have opted for vandalism. The worst kind of vandalism, public vandalism. Among them are people who have criticised the communist states of the former Eastern Europe of having no sense of history, of having no sense of the aesthetics of ancient monuments. Who are those who have no sense of the aesthetics of old historical monuments? They are destroying working class culture!

The Father house bought the house for less than an ordinary family home in Copenhagen costs, and they don't want to use the building. In Denmark property rights are placed above human needs. The Father house could have been given an empty lot somewhere to build their temple of lovelessness! But no, they had to destroy what they perceive as the symbol of youthless recklessness and indulgence.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wasteful Politicians - Updated

(The good Dane running for bonus pay). The reward is not in heaven but in increasing house equity! Why don't those silly young people understand this profound wisdom!

"The LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground".

Who are the sinners in the issue of the youth house in Copenhagen? Some say the rock throwing youth. Some say the politicians in the townhall. The politicians can help the richest man in Denmark to find a building ground to build an opera for 400 million dollars, and then afterwards pay 100 million crowns a year in expenses. But they cannot afford a little bit of help to young people wanting a place where they can do their piece. What shameful behaviour. Brimstone onto thee?

These politicians are certainly not too bright that they could give this old cultural centre of the workers' movement in Copenhagen to a fanatical sect of born again Christians. But sinners they are not.

The real sin is to tear down this old structure that ought to have been a national and historical treasure. You should not do away with your historical identity in such a crude manner.

The Father house has seen evil in the place: Youngsters smoking pot and listening to mind expanding rock music. That's a sin when the only mind expander is the good Lord. Therefore the youngsters must be evicted. The Father house couldn't stand the sight of young people enjoying life.

The council of Copenhagen sold the house at a price of only half a million dollars, less than the price of a family house in Copenhagen. The building lot is worth 20 or 30 times that amount. Will these wasteful politicians be brought to justice? That is doubtful.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Don't be Naughty. Don't show you're Young

The Danish police right now are hunting Danish youngsters down to the age of 12-13 years around the streets in the interior of Copenhagen. Arrests have been made in the hundreds. Their crime: Staying in a building that the municipality of Copenhagen gave them in the 1990's! The city later regretted the donation and sold the building to a fanatical Christian sects that want to hold prayer meetings and religious raves in this historical place that belonged to the Copenhagen workers' movement. But nothing seems to be "holy" in this city that goes out of its way to evict young people and let new age religion in instead. The sect has even got permission to tear down the old house!

Here is what the young squatters have written:
Ungdomshuset is evicted, we are now setting up infopoints to help activists with practical advice such as how to get around, where to sleep and find communal kitchens. The infopoints can be contacted on the following numbers:(+45) 26 90 75 07 and (+45) 26 90 75 08Folkets Hus (people's house in Stengade 50, Nørrebro) is now open day and night, and is used as a meeting point. link to
House equity Denmark ought to be grateful. The young people have given it top entertainment in prime time TV when people sit sipping coffee in front of their newly purchased broad screen TVs. Congratulations Denmark for your warmth of heart and your tolerance!