Last week, two board members of Accoun had the pleasure to participate in Gothenburg Democracy Day 2020, which was held online. One topic we brought up was transparency, because we have seen how the Swedish transparency principle is about to erode – on central level as well as local level (link to content in Swedish) – and believe transparency is important to prevent crime and abuse of power.
During the day, Ten Priorities for the Future of Democracy were identified:
1) Education, starting as early was possible, about democracy to
avoid complacency and allow new generations and immigrants
to create their own interest and varieties of democracy
2) Linking modern Direct Democracy with education by providing
political workshops in schools/for adults
3) Develop a Global Charter for Truth Mentoring Program
4) We need Dialogue, we need Time, we need Curiosity – that
5) Everyone must realize how Serious the Situation is, and do
whatever one can – at local level or wherever one can – to
safeguard democracy against its enemies.
6) Include as many people in democratic process as possible: the
young and the foreigners by giving them the right to vote, or at
least let them bring up issues to the local parliament, and
everybody by introducing a city card giving access to all city
7) To involve young people and to narrow the gap to the power
8) Participation on equal footing!
9) UN 2.0 – time to revamp!
10) Transparency and having access to all information on
It has been known for years that Julian Assange was given a special treatment, in a negative sense, in Sweden. However, there is a collective silence in Sweden, especially in government and parliament, regarding the abuses done to Assange. Hardly anyone there will stand up for the rights of Assange. An exception is Amineh Kakabaveh, who has asked a critical question about Assange (all links in this post are to content in Swedish).
The famous journalist Günter Walraff says about the Swedish culture of silence:
– The treatment of Assange can be seen as a yardstick, a litmus test for the future global boundaries of journalism and freedom of speech. It’s a scary perspective. Nils Melzer calls the ongoing treatment of Assange in Belmarsh Prison a deliberate form of psychological torture. Normal prisoners, including those convicted of murder, may receive children and relatives. They may hold confidential talks with their lawyers. Assange is denied all this. You consciously create difficulties in his daily life. You want to make him desperate through a conscious form of disorientation. The strength of the abuse is constantly increasing. Assange is barred from attending the trial on normal terms. In the courtroom, he is placed behind a glass wall, much like an animal to be observed and at the same time kept separate from humans. He can be isolated eleven hours a day. He is not even allowed to hug his own children. And he was denied contact with his lawyers for several months.
– All this is about depriving him of his dignity, of breaking him down as a human being.
The biggest revelation of Assange and WikiLeaks is perhaps the treatment of Assange himself, which shows that our freedom of speech, and thus our democracy, failed this “litmus test”. It also reminds of how Swedish authority cooperated with Gestapo.
Read the interview by Arne Ruth with Günter Walraff .
After many years of hard work by ICAN and others, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been ratified by 50 nations and will enter into legal force on 22 January 2021. It is not surprising that other nations with nuclear weapons don’t participate in this process. However, even many nations that have officially been against nuclear weapons are now opposed to TPNW, sometimes despite the opinion of an overwhelming majority of their people. It makes one question, if democracy is really workning in some of these countries. Also some countries that have suffered from nuclear weapons, including the testing of weapons, are now opposed to TPNW, for example in the Pacific. And authorities have tried to cover up contamination. This highlights the state of an opressed world. But at least 50 nations were nevertheless able to ratify TPNW. Congratulations to them!