Dockworkers in Sweden pledged on Friday to refuse to offload Tesla (TSLA.O) cars at any of the country's ports as they expanded their industrial action in sympathy with Tesla workers' demands for collective bargaining agreements. Tesla, co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk, does not manufacture in Sweden, but its electric cars are serviced by more than 120 mechanics affiliated with Swedish union IF Metall, which began a strike on Oct. 27. Dockworkers joined the strike by mechanics on Nov. 7, blocking Sweden's four largest ports to Tesla cars. That was expanded to all ports on Friday at 12 a.m. (1100 GMT)
Generally speaking, Swedes really love the US. And I don’t just mean, oh we love the Brad Pitt movies and the whimsical images of Sunset Blvd (which by the way is way less whimsical in real life). No, I mean that Swedes really love the whole propagandized packaged-with-a-bloody-bow-on-top United States. There are more than a few cowboy-themed bars and restaurants in Stockholm. Hell, there’s even a TGI Friday’s. Some stores aim to peddle only American goods, which ultimately means they sell pop-tarts and peanut butter. Younger Swedes will adopt US slang, folding it into their Swedish sentences as awkwardly as one might try to fit a TGI Friday’s into a cobblestone and tree-lined promenade.
The housing-supply crisis in the United States has most impacted low- to moderate-income households. And, while the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program plays a valuable role in increasing housing access for low-income families, there is no similar source for moderate-income households. Lacking a targeted funding scheme, the demand for moderate-income housing grows, yet the supply is negligible. There are loud voices demanding resources for moderate-income households, but there is not as yet an agreed-upon policy or viable funding format to meet that demand. Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives (LEHC) — a cooperative corporation that owns the entire site of the cooperative, including all the apartments and buildings on the site — could be a supplier of much-needed, permanently affordable housing for moderate-income households.
The Arctic had once been a largely peaceful zone, harboring cooperative international scientific research. But today, it is swiftly becoming one of militarized power politics. Heavily armed nations surround the melting Arctic Ocean, with its unstable environment of eroding shorelines, accessible natural resources, and contested maritime passages. This February, the U.S. launched little publicized, month-long military exercises in the Arctic, hosted by Finland and Norway. The Pentagon’s European Command described the exercises – named Arctic Forge 23, Defense Exercise North, and Joint Viking – as a way “to demonstrate readiness by deploying a combat-credible force to enhance power in NATO’s northern flank”.
A new course in Sweden poses the question, “what will a self-sufficient Hällefors Municipality taste like in 2030?” Students on the course act like talent scouts. They search for unrealised food-growing potential across the region – people, unused land, forgotten traditions. An example could be a farmer who’s started to grow heritage wheat, but cannot find customers. Or a school teacher who wants to connect his students with a working farm. A student might spot an abandoned field near her home and and explore new ways to grow food there. Another might develop snacks to sell to a mountain bike business in the forest. At the end of each course, students pitch their ideas to real-world professionals – for example, chefs, farmers, or food production businesses.
The Biden administration’s efforts to put on fast track Sweden’s accession as a NATO member petered out as Turkey balked, exercising its prerogative to withhold approval unless its conditions regarding Stockholm’s past dalliance with Kurdish separatist elements is fully addressed. President Biden was bullish and insisted publicly that Sweden’s NATO membership was a foregone conclusion. He underestimated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tenacity and overlooked the geopolitical ramifications. Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg assumed that all that was needed was a face-saving formula to pander Erdoğan’s vanity — ie., a few Kurdish militants in Sweden would be extradited and Ankara and Stockholm would thereupon kiss and make up.
Sweden’s parliament adopted a major espionage law expansion that will permit the country’s police to investigate journalists, publishers, and whistleblowers if they reveal secret information that “may damage Sweden's relationship with another state or an international organization.” Journalists, publishers, or whistleblowers found guilty of revealing such “damaging” information could be sentenced to up to four years in prison under the new law. The expansion was aimed at ensuring the Swedish government has even more control over what the public learns about the country’s cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, and the United Nations.
On the island of Gotland in Sweden, residents have spent this year letting their green lawns die off in a mass effort to conserve water. Irrigation bans led neighbors to get creative, offering a title to whoever ended up with the ugliest lawn. For this year, Marcus Norström’s lawn took the crown. The jury described the winning lawn humorously as “a really lousy lawn that lives up to all our expectations of Gotland’s ugliest lawn and has good conditions for a more sustainable improvement.” The jury also said the lawn exhibited “meritorious laziness” and “great care for our common groundwater,” as reported by The Guardian. The prize: a visit from Sara Gistedt, one of the lawn judges and a gardener, who will advise Norström on what drought-resistant plants to add to his property.
Here’s what the West is intellectually unable – in the midst of its boundlessly self-righteous, militarist mood to see: NATO’s expansion policy created – and is responsible for – the conflict. Russia created – and is responsible for – the war. There exists no violence which is not rooted in underlying conflicts. Conflict and peace literate people, therefore, talk about both. And if they want peace, they do not increase the symptoms – the war – they address the real cause, the conflict and ask the conflicting parties to tell what they fear and what they want and then move, step-by-step towards a sustainable solution. But neither the mainstream media nor politicians have the civil courage to address the conflict. It’s only about the war and only about Russia/Putin who must be punished, no matter the price to be paid by future generations. If we survive.
This key decision, upon which the world’s future now depends, will be between a continuing erosion of the significance of international law (which laws come from the U.N. and its agencies) and a proportionate increase in what the U.S. Government calls “the rules-based international order,” in which America’s Government increasingly controls (and even sets) those “rules” that will replace international laws; versus a future in which what erodes will instead be the U.S. Government’s international power to control the world in its own (billionaires’) favor, and, so a future that correspondingly benefits the global public (the very people who suffer from the aristocracies’ — especially America’s aristocracy’s — increasing control over the entire world).
While the LO, TCO and Saco top officials suffer from consensus fundamentalism, opposition among the grassroots often suffers from a fixation on strikes. Among the grassroots labor movement in Sweden, a call for big strikes or even a general strike is often heard. Strikes were called in response to the current attack on the Swedish Employment Protection Act, low wages, and attacks on the right to strike. In 2019, an attempt was made to stage a symbolic strike to highlight the climate crisis. As far as we are aware, no workplace was shut down. It should be acknowledged that sometimes we SAC members also have gotten lost in strike fixation and have tried to rush strikes into existence. An example is a strike in defense of the Unemployment Insurance Funds in 2006, which were being attacked by the Swedish government. It ended in a painful defeat.
The elderly have comprised the vast majority of Covid-19 fatalities in Sweden, either dying in care homes or their own residence, often alone. By mid-May 2020, only 13 percent of the care home victims had received treatment at Swedish hospitals. In August 2020, only five percent of the Covid-19 patients admitted for treatment at Swedish hospitals came from care home facilities. Sweden has by far the highest proportion of deaths among confirmed Corona cases in the Nordic countries. Let’s look into the possible reasons.
From Djurgården, I walk along the water on Strandvägen – a rising fall whips in a determined wind across the water, slicing at remnants of summer and carving pathways around centuries-old buildings. Colors like Nordic interior design catalogs look like they’ve been stirred among clouds – a muted vibrance that evokes a calm and stoic resolve. Albeit quieter than a typical early fall day, there’s a bustle. People are out and their faces are bare. Buses and trolleys roll by and not a mask can be seen inside. Scuffed and faded stickers on the street remind people to keep their distance yet they seem like relics from a time long gone when a global pandemic was something people needed to worry about.
Swedish prosecutors announced yesterday that, after almost 10 years, they were finally abandoning a “preliminary investigation” into allegations of “sexual misconduct” against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Sweden’s deputy chief prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, told a press conference that there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed. The ignominious collapse of the investigation—which, over the course of a decade, was dropped three times and never passed beyond the “preliminary” stage—brands it as a state frame-up and dirty tricks operation.
In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement. The European Arrest Warrant must be issued from one country to another by a judicial authority. The original Swedish request for Assange’s extradition was not issued by any court, but simply by the prosecutor. This was particularly strange, as the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm had initially closed the case after deciding there was no case to answer, and then another, highly politically motivated...