Yoga star Swami Ramdev
We live in fascinating times; the "Arab Spring" sweeps across North Africa and the Middle East challenging dictatorships. In Europe, huge protests against austerity measures threaten to topple governments that have mis-invested public funds led by corrupt money managers in London and on Wall Street.
And now in India, a popular television Guru has suggested he will build a militia to tackle government corruption. From "AFP":
"NEW DELHI (AFP) – A television yoga guru who has led protests against corruption in India threatened to form a militia on Thursday as a new demonstration against the government drew thousands in New Delhi.
Yoga star Swami Ramdev, who was evicted from the capital along with thousands of followers at the weekend in a police crackdown, warned of violence if he was targeted again.
The activist, an eccentric figure watched by millions of Indians daily on a religious television channel, called for men and women to join his "army".
"They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice," he said from his base in northern India in remarks reported by the NDTV news channel. "They will be given arms training. We will build an army of 11,000 men and women."
His spokesman told AFP that the force would have weapons but would act only in self-defence. He said that Ramdev, who has been fasting since Monday, was determined to stand up to police if they again attacked him or his supporters."
""In a democracy, everyone has a right to stand up for a cause and no government can stop us from doing so."
Anger about corruption is mounting in India after a series of scandals, notably a telecom licence scam that might have cost the country up to $39 billion.
Some observers predicted the government's heavy-handed treatment of Ramdev, a strict social conservative with radical views on how to tackle corruption, could lead to further protests.
But the guru's call for an army and the threat of violence is likely to alienate many Indians who had previously sympathised with his cause."
(D.R.): All around the world, and partly thanks to Wikileaks and social media, common people are challenging corrupt governments and saying "enough is enough".
Even in the United States, the misguided "Tea Party", a supposedly populist movement that was taken over by the Republican establishment, had it's moment and appears to have run out of steam.
In Wisconsin, thousands and thousands of people have protested the right-wing attempt to break up Unions that bind teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees together.
Let's be clear here; all around the world people understand that elite money managers have robbed them blind. The wealth of nations has been siphoned upward through banking and investment scandals. The wealth did not just disappear, it moved from the hands of the people into the hands of the money managers. The richest corporations in the world pay no taxes while the elite deny the middle class housing and health care.
We need a new "New Deal".
Yesterday on the radio, I heard a guy say that he had been called on the phone by someone from "The Pew Research Center", a polling organization.
After a few initial questions, the pollster asked the man if he had heard of "The Arab Spring".
The man said, yes he had and that he knew about the popular uprisings.
The pollster asked if he thought if similar protests might occur in the United States soon.
The man said "Yes".
I'd like to know who commissioned that poll...