Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Support Afghan women’s demand for a just peace guaranteeing the rights of all people

JOIN THE 1200 human rights and women’s rights defenders and civil society activists who have signed this petition.

Text of petition below. Link to sign the petition.

Women of Afghanistan demand a just peace that guarantees the rights of all people.

We, the true friends of Afghanistan and signatories of this open letter, declare our support for Afghan women’s demands expressed below, and join them to call on the United Nations, the government of Afghanistan and national and international actors to fulfill their obligations and undertake responsible measures that would lead to a just peace that protects the interests and rights of all the people of the country.

The women of Afghanistan have suffered through ruinous wars for more than 40 years. Their lives have been impacted by a war in which they have played no role, and which has resulted in in the loss of their human dignity, as well as their innocent sisters and mothers, spouses, children and young people, during a cycle of endless violence, sexual apartheid, kidnapping, rape, slavery, absolute poverty and injustice. Their houses have been destroyed, their children have become orphans and several generations of our people have been displaced in their own land, as well as in the regional states and the world-over.

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The End or Future of Capitalism and Ending Obama’s War

Last night I heard a public conversation between the Marxist Geographer David Harvey and Alexander Cockburn the editor of CounterPunch and columnist with The Nation.  The conversation titled, ‘The End or Future of Capitalism’ was hosted by The Center for Place, Culture & Politics.  Cockburn opened the conversation by speaking about the lack of vision in the Left.  Harvey argued that the capitalist system was facing tremendous stress and that a different path of economic development had to be envisioned.  Harvey continued on the end of capitalism as one needing analysis in terms of how this crisis arose with the problem of accumulation and realization of surplus, and poses the question of what is to be done?  Central to Harvey’s argument is that the mounting stress seen at the centre of the capitalist system in the last three decades is the culmination of the inability to sustain the two and a half percent compounded accumulation that has been a characteristic of global capital over the last couple hundred years.  That the capitalist system is unable to find productive investments for the two and a half percent accumulation rate leading to repetitious and aggravating crises in the unproductive bubbles in financial assets.

I stood in line when the floor was open, but much to my disappointment the moderator had brought the conversation to an end before I could ask my question, and so I am going to ask it here.  Both Harvey and Cockburn talked about the urgency of the moment and the need for provocative questions from the Left.  But what is the more urgent question to ask at this moment?  Is it the end or future of capitalism? Or is it the end or future of the American Empire?  The two may well be related and even two sides of the same coin, but the question for me is influenced by the urgency of the situation in our region; the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The relatedness of the two questions also leads me to ask what would be the consequence of the tremendous stress at the centre of the capitalist system on the wars fought at the periphery of Empire?  And in turn, what is the impact of the tremendous stress of the wars on the periphery for the hegemonic centre of the capitalist system?

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Reading Land and Reform in Pakistan

A number of activists from the South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI) in New York have initiated a reading group on South Asia.  The notes below are the first in a series of commentaries following reading discussions that some members of the reading group hope to post on Kafila.  This is an attempt to broaden the discussions and in the process make it a productive dialogue to understand developments in the region and deepen our solidarity.

Reading Land and Reform in Pakistan

— Svati Shah, Prachi Patankar and Ahilan Kadirgamar

“…any strategy to stem the tide of Taliban-Al Qaida led militancy cannot ignore the issue of land rights…. Any reforms that revalue and formally recognize the local management of common property resources, therefore, will elevate the authority of tribal leaders over religious clerics or TAQ militants.”
Haris Gazdar, ‘The Fourth Round, And Why They Fight On: An Essay on the History of Land and Reform in Pakistan’

Given the escalation of a multifaceted war in Pakistan, and given our own commitment to a peace with justice in South Asia, we have started reading and discussing issues of importance in Pakistan and South Asia more broadly.  This inquiry is informed by the alarming and rapidly changing situation in Pakistan, and by an interest in interrogating the category ‘South Asia’ itself.  While all are agreed that the term ‘South Asia’ is indispensable, we wonder how ‘South Asia’ could be used to describe more than a region or a set of places outlined by shared borders. We wonder how we can move beyond the limitations of finding historical unity in South Asia primarily through the lens of British colonialism?  We wonder how we could describe the political unities and potential solidarities of ‘South Asia’ in this moment?  We find it particularly helpful to approach these questions by seeing common issues in the region relating to labour, land and the role of the state in societies in South Asia.  At the same time, we want to move away from the received notions of South Asia, whether they be the statist conceptions of SAARC, South Asia as seen by the US State Department or, for that matter, as a region defined by area studies.

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Looking Kabul, talking Rawalpindi?

Strategically speaking, that is. It is important to think this question through.

For one, there’s hardly anybody disputing that the Lashkar-e-Tayebba was behind the attack. Pakistan wants evidence, but doesn’t deny the LeT could be it. 

Parvez Hoodbhoy says in an interview:

LeT, one of the largest militant groups in Pakistan, was established over 15 years ago. It was supported by the Pakistani military and the ISI because it focussed upon fighting Indian rule in Muslim Kashmir. Today it is one of the very few extremist groups left that do not attack the military and the ISI; Continue reading Looking Kabul, talking Rawalpindi?