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Taras Bulba
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006, 10:37 PM
I can't say how much and how long I've been an admirer of the Swiss example: with decentralized system of government, fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity; which allows individual regions and localities significant room for self-government and self-expression. And not to mention the Swiss military is built completely upon folkish principles: without the either the professional mercenary armies or brutal conscription; which only serve to increase the power and scope of the government. Not to mention the Swiss army just kicks ass in general!

Switzerland, although not perfect, certainly gives a good example of how a truely folkish state should look like. :thumbup

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4123


The Home of the Free: Switzerland
By J.P. Zmirak
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 14, 2002


LIBERTY IS NOT the natural condition of man: tyranny is. Free institutions grew up in the West as a result of hundreds of particular historical events, under the influence of classical philosophy, Judaeo-Christian theology, and Teutonic rebelliousness against authority. That is why it not easy—sometimes it is not possible—to build free societies from the ground up, however much we’d like to replace the bloody-handed regimes we see around the world with liberal democracies. This is especially true when we’re talking about countries riven by ethnic and religious differences. But when liberty grows organically, from the existing institutions of small communities, it can endure even in a potentially fragmented society—for instance, in Switzerland. In fact, I would propose Switzerland as the test case for societies seeking democratic liberty amidst diversity. From Afghanistan to South Africa, nations emerging from tyrannical regimes could find no better model.

Appenzell über alles?

In the Swiss half-canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, a tiny republic of dairy farms, creameries, small-sized industry and rustic churches, each year’s spring yields a sea of tiny mountain flowers, along the steep roads and in the window boxes of farmhouses, on the tables of well-swept hostels and on the faded wooden altars to the Virgin and St. Meinrad. The plants are sturdy, inured to thin air and bitter winters, and defiantly diverse in color and shape—one sharp and purple, another roundly red, and then a yellow starburst. You’ll see no fields of identical blooms, like the vast sunflower farms that flank the Autobahn in Bavaria, or the luxuriant purple iris stands of the Louisiana bayous. You’d be hard-pressed to gather a uniform bouquet from these Swiss gardens, made up of dozens of hardy species, growing together in genial competition as they have for millennia.

Just so, you’d make a poor showing if you tried to make a ideology out of Appenzell. History records no Appenzell-supremacist movements; no mass rallies of uniformed youths in identical haircuts shouting slogans, beneath enormous banners proclaiming “Appenzell über alles,” no secretive terrorist movements for independence, no campaigns to preserve the “purity” of the local “Kultur.”

Nor is there room for Marx at these inns; the local farmers would rather drive their cows up nearly vertical fields than entail their hard-won property to state or superstate. The one bitter source of conflict in Appenzell’s history has been religion, wars over which devastated some European countries over centuries. It did not shatter Appenzell; after some serious quarrel over creed, the Protestant and Catholic halves of the canton agreed simply to split. At some places where an agreement could not be reached, the canton lines were drawn (and up to the nineteenth-century incessantly redrawn) according to the faith of each family home. When a Catholic obtained a house that had once belonged to Protestants, that little piece of Appenzell Innerrhoden was transferred to Ausserrhoden, and contrarywise if a Protestant gained a formerly Catholic home. The faiths, like breeds of Alpine flowers, still thrive as cordial, rivalrous neighbors.

Their coexistence is not guaranteed by abstract human rights formulas or transnational institutions—indeed, the wars of religion fought in Switzerland were largely provoked by interfering outside forces with international agendas (such as Louis XIV’s France). The finely balanced tolerance and diversity in Appenzell—in Switzerland—does not descend from above, but grows organically from the facts on the ground, the local institutions which arose to resolve conflict in ordered liberty among neighbors thrown together by history and geography.

Each spring, the outburst of mountain blooms meets a hardy perennial—the Landsgemeinde, or communal vote. In what is perhaps the most ancient form of democracy, each year, the adult citizens of Appenzell Innerrhoden are invited to gather in the town square to vote by show of hands on new laws, taxes, and terms of office for their local government.

Not all appear, of course. But those who do exercise in person a privilege their ancestors held since the thirteenth-century—when most of Europe’s country folk still labored as serfs: a “sovereign vote.” No amendment to the Constitution may be made in Switzerland without a referendum; any law may be annulled by popular vote; additions to the Constitution typically start with popular initiatives, sparked by ordinary citizens’ petitions and ratified by their vote. The federal government and many cantons must submit each proposed new tax to direct vote of the people. In a century where authority has been almost everywhere usurped at one time or another by ideological mass movements, managerial elites and murderous factions, the peaceful, quarrelsome Swiss have stuck like a bone in the throat of theorists. Each trend which commentators have described as unstoppable has failed to sway these mountainfolk—or their citified cousins in Zürich and Bern. Nationalism, socialism, national socialism, welfare statism; and most recently, globalism—each has left its high-water mark at the borders of the stubborn, diverse, democratic Swiss, and receded.

For economist and social philosopher Wilhelm Röpke, Switzerland constituted living proof that the market economy and liberal society were still viable in contemporary Europe. With her traditions of decentralized government, freedom of thought, participatory democracy, middle-class virtue, and economic self-reliance, Switzerland had managed to avoid most of the ethnic polarization and class hatred, mass impoverishment, and harsh financial inequality which had torn apart other nations in the wake of World War I.

One of 400,000 ethnic and political refugees from Hitler sheltered by Switzerland throughout the war, Röpke wrote sophisticated critiques of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism which he smuggled into Germany—helping to nurture a fledgling movement of humanistic conservatives, including Ludwig Erhard and Konrad Adenauer, who would lead that country after the war. After the war ended, Röpke was one of the economists who pioneered West Germany’s resurrection, by engineering the creation of a stable currency, the Deutschmark, and a free economy.

In all his efforts, Röpke held up Switzerland as the model to be emulated by liberals and democrats the world round, much as American founders John Adams and Benjamin Franklin pointed to “the Helvetic Republic” as the best model then available of limited government and liberty. Instead of the grand, rhetorical figures of the French Revolution, the philosophes who prepared it, and the ideologues who led it into blood and ruin, Röpke urged the friends of liberty to consider the nameless or legendary burghers of the Swiss cantons who resisted the encroachments of vastly larger enemies for centuries, holding off alike kings and emperors, and falling only once—to Napoleon.

During that catastrophe, a small band of Swiss radicals collaborated with the French Emperor to attempt a stern centralization of their country’s complex, variegated government. But after a few years of futile attempts to tame the Swiss localists, the French Emperor himself enacted a new constitution which restored many aspects of the ancien régime. After Napoleon’s fall and the retreat of French troops, the Swiss managed to obtain at Vienna in 1815 guarantees of their permanent neutrality. The following years, especially after 1830, were a quarrelsome search for the right balance of power between the center and the members of the Swiss union. This culminated in a secessionist civil war in 1848. After this relatively bloodless, 30-day war, a new federal constitution was worked out—using as a model the American document. The result was a system that is still more successfully decentralized than any on earth.

Think Locally, Act Parochially

When I met him in July 2000, Carlo Schmid, then president of the upper house of the Swiss Parliament (equivalent to the U.S. Senate), explained his country’s system this way:

Sovereignty, according to the Swiss Constitution, resides in two places: with the individual canton, and with the Swiss people. This is not just a slogan; it is a practical reality. The vast majority of decisions affecting an individual’s life are taken at the cantonal level—or even at the local level, that of the town or “commune.” Each canton determines its own level of taxation, administers its own funds for health, construction, infrastructure, education and most police. The constitutional assumption is that the canton has competence to govern on any matter, unless the Federal Parliament passes an article expressly promoting an issue to the Federal level. Of course, any such decision must be ratified by both houses—the lower, which is proportionate to population, and the upper, in which each canton receives an equal voice, regardless of size. Then that result must be ratified by a national vote of the people—the other locus of sovereignty in Switzerland.

The Swiss cantons hold onto their central role in the Swiss system by the purse-strings, Schmid pointed out; the largest part of any citizen’s taxes generally goes to his canton, the next part to his local government, with the smallest portion accruing to the Swiss Confederation. Virtually every change in taxation must be submitted to a referendum of the citizens—whether at the federal, cantonal, or local level.

The complex interaction of decentralized institutions and democratic voting fosters ideological compromise, gradual political change, and financial responsibility among administrators, Schmid asserted. “The nearer you are to a political decision, the more responsibility you take. Everyone knows what he’s paying his taxes for.”

Because Schmid also served as Landamman (Governing Chairman) of Appenzell Innerrhoden (pop. 15,000), he presided over one of the oldest democratic institutions in the world: the famous Landsgemeinde, an assembly open to all the adult citizens from across Appenzell Innerrhoden, where public officials are elected, laws are passed, and taxes approved by a majority show of hands. Established in its present form in the late Middle Ages, the Landsgemeinde made a deep impression on Röpke, who had fled the centralizing, pseudo-democratic, illiberal policies of the Third Reich.

Because of logistics, only two half-cantons still preserve the Landsgemeinde. But its very existence—and the tradition of direct democracy by referenda in all the cantons—vividly reminds each politician that authority in Switzerland does not descend from above, as the monarchs of Europe used to assert. Rather, it rises from the people. Direct democracy is itself a standing rebuke to those politicians who would transfer key decisions about the lives of citizens to unelected, supranational bureaucracies.

The United States once had a strong tradition of localism—which is one reason why our Constitution appealed to the Swiss in 1848. The U.S. Constitution also contains provisions reserving power to states, localities and the people—only allowing to the federal government such power as was specifically granted it by the states. Over the course of time, successive decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, and innumerable laws passed in their wake, have turned the Ninth and Tenth Amendments into virtual dead letters. (The Rehnquist court has reversed some of this process, and revived the term “states’ rights” in American Constitutional law.)

Stay Out of the European Union

The Swiss system avoids such an agglomeration of power, Schmid noted, in part because the constitutional jurisdiction of its own highest court is very limited. More than simply allowing ordinary Swiss to veto legislation supported by elites, that country’s unique democratic system alters the very process of law-making, as Jonathan Steinberg argues in his study, Why Switzerland?:

The referendum and initiative exercise an influence even if the voters never get to the polls at all. Every piece of legislation in a Cantonal or federal parliament undergoes subtle alterations because a referendum might be the consequence of a given clause… The elaborate process which the civil service goes through before drafts of bills even get to parliament is also overshadowed by the moods of the ‘sovereign.’ (p. 106).

Schmid argued that the two anchors of sovereignty in Switzerland—the canton, and the body of the people voting—reinforce each other, preventing the Confederation from fragmenting into a passel of squabbling microstates, or coalescing into a majoritarian mass democracy, ruled by plebiscite through manipulable public opinion. “When you see that you have the power to decide your own fate, as Swiss voters do, you’re very reluctant to see that taken away, promoted up to some bureaucrat in Bern or Brussels,” he said.

The complex—seemingly intractable and inefficient—Swiss system has prevented the national government from attempting many of the ambitious social welfare policies and economic initiatives popular in neighboring Germany, France, Italy and Austria; there simply is not enough tax revenue or sufficient authority. And in those low taxes lies the secret to postwar Swiss prosperity, according to Schmid: “Because of our system, large corporations found it advantageous to locate here.” Thanks to Switzerland’s ‘parochial’ localism, this country of just over seven million souls hosts “seven or eight of the largest multinational corporations in the world. They prosper here, and we prosper with them.” It is no accident that the Swiss enjoy the highest standard of living, per capita, in the world; it is the concrete fruit of localism, liberalism and direct democracy.

The tenacity with which the Swiss voter clings to his ‘sovereign’ vote probably dooms to futility the plans of some Swiss to dissolve that sovereignty into the greater mass of the European Union, Schmid believes. Steinberg agrees:

Switzerland, as it now is, cannot accept … the command economy from Brussels or rule by higher civil servants, because the very essence of Swiss identity lies in self-determination from the bottom up. A top-down government confronts a bottom-up one and they are simply incompatible. The logic of the two approaches to government dictates that the Swiss either give up their national identity or stay out of the European Union. (p. 110).

The Birth of Democracy

The German poet Schiller presented William Tell to Napoleon’s war-torn, tyrannized Europe as a model of resistance to injustice—in a play that Hitler would banish from the German stage. So Röpke cited the Swiss experience as the rebuff to the pretensions of world empires and ideologies.

The beginnings of Swiss democracy are marked by the cooperatives of the valleys and the communities of the Alpine peasants, and American democracy commences with the town meetings which eventually grew into the Union. (The Social Crisis of Our Time, p. 45).

Röpke saw in the Swiss market economy—with its vast numbers of small businesses, independent farmers, and craftsmen—an alternative model to the grim struggle for power between vast corporations and socialist (or fascist) collectivist states. At a time when only centralism, “mobilization,” and economic nationalism seemed capable of reversing the Great Depression, Röpke was sufficiently independent-minded to reject the terms of the debate, and re-state the question himself: The enemy, as he saw it, was not the wrong ideology and the wrong kind of centralized control, but the very movement towards concentration of money and power in the hands of the few—whether they be plutocrats or bureaucrats didn’t matter very much, in the end.

Röpke saw the Swiss, with their peculiarly multi-ethnic society and finely balanced division of power, their scientific sophistication and their vital peasant class, as a model which the larger nations of Europe ought to emulate. Basing their politics on class resentment, Communist ideologues looked for salvation to the restive industrial worker hungry for justice; radical nationalists appealed to the anxious army veteran afraid of the masses. In answer, Röpke pointed to the thrifty Swiss bourgeois of the cities, and the self-sufficient Swiss farmer of the mountains, as proof that the modern economy need not dissolve all traditional social arrangements and divide the nation against itself. While the far Left proposed to resolve international conflict through worldwide revolution, the far Right embraced international conflict as inevitable, embracing trade war as preparation for the real thing.

Röpke answered both extremes by pointing to the impressive fact of Switzerland’s survival—for all her limited resources and mountainous terrain—achieved through relatively free trade, a friendly, armed neutrality and the civic virtues of its citizens. In an era of mounting class strife and international conflict, he urged his readers to remember that another way existed, which he came to call a “Third Way,” which avoided the extremes of collectivism (Communism and Fascism) on the one hand, and laissez-faire capitalism on the other. For proof that a more balanced society could exist, he would point again and again to the place where it did exist—in the Swiss Confederation.

Certainly, Röpke needed some moral support for his position; it was distinctly unfashionable in his day. Barely forty years old when he moved to Geneva, Röpke had already gained the reputation of an intellectual dinosaur. For this was the age of ideology, when fascist and communist powers were on the march, and the only “respectable” opposition to their advance seemed to lay with democratic socialism. If there was one thing on which men at every point of the political spectrum on the Continent could agree in 1937, it was that individualism, liberalism and the market economy were outdated relics of the nineteenth- century, destined for the ash-heap of history.

Europe was littered with democracies that had collapsed or were on the verge, and major powers engaged in appeasing Hitler or courting Stalin. Radical nationalists and Communists clashed in the newspapers and on the streets of a dozen European capitals. Ideologies sprang up like mushrooms in the rain: Syndicalism, Falangism, Fascism, Popular Front socialism, each with its intellectuals scribbling pompous manifestoes, its street thugs fighting with police. Nothing could have seemed more obsolete than “middle class capitalism.” That economic system, and the political liberties that made it possible, were precisely the aspects of Western civilization which Wilhelm Röpke considered most precious, which he was determined to preserve. In Switzerland, he saw this heritage still alive and thriving, and a people sternly determined to cling to their traditional rights, in the face of increasingly hopeless odds:

We can hold Switzerland up to a world striving for guidance, as one of the most shining examples in history of spiritual greatness within physical smallness and as the most vital and convincing refutation of the assertion that the fundamental problems of mass civilization, of democracy and of the moral crisis of the West are insoluble. ([i]The Social Crisis of Our Time, p. 25).

Kurtz
Saturday, September 8th, 2007, 05:27 PM
Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness?

Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations. Proposals for draconian new laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. A poster campaign, the work of its leading political party, is decried as xenophobic. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness? By Paul Vallely
Published: 07 September 2007

At first sight, the poster looks like an innocent children's cartoon. Three white sheep stand beside a black sheep. The drawing makes it looks as though the animals are smiling. But then you notice that the three white beasts are standing on the Swiss flag. One of the white sheep is kicking the black one off the flag, with a crafty flick of its back legs.

The poster is, according to the United Nations, the sinister symbol of the rise of a new racism and xenophobia in the heart of one of the world's oldest independent democracies.

A worrying new extremism is on the rise. For the poster – which bears the slogan "For More Security" – is not the work of a fringe neo-Nazi group. It has been conceived – and plastered on to billboards, into newspapers and posted to every home in a direct mailshot – by the Swiss People's Party (the Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP) which has the largest number of seats in the Swiss parliament and is a member of the country's coalition government.

With a general election due next month, it has launched a twofold campaign which has caused the UN's special rapporteur on racism to ask for an official explanation from the government. The party has launched a campaign to raise the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a referendum to reintroduce into the penal code a measure to allow judges to deport foreigners who commit serious crimes once they have served their jail sentence.

But far more dramatically, it has announced its intention to lay before parliament a law allowing the entire family of a criminal under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as sentence is passed.

It will be the first such law in Europe since the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft – kin liability – whereby relatives of criminals were held responsible for their crimes and punished equally.

The proposal will be a test case not just for Switzerland but for the whole of Europe, where a division between liberal multiculturalism and a conservative isolationism is opening up in political discourse in many countries, the UK included.

SWISS TRAINS being the acme of punctuality, the appointment was very precise. I was to meet Dr Ulrich Schlüer – one of the men behind the draconian proposal – in the restaurant at the main railway station in Zürich at 7.10pm. As I made my way through the concourse, I wondered what Dr Schlüer made of this station of hyper-efficiency and cleanliness that has a smiling Somali girl selling pickled herring sandwiches, a north African man sweeping the floor, and a black nanny speaking in broken English to her young Swiss charge. The Swiss People's Party's attitude to foreigners is, shall we say, ambivalent.

A quarter of Switzerland's workers – one in four, like the black sheep in the poster – are now foreign immigrants to this peaceful, prosperous and stable economy with low unemployment and a per capita GDP larger than that of other Western economies. Zürich has, for the past two years, been named as the city with the best quality of life in the world.

What did the nanny think of the sheep poster, I asked her. "I'm a guest in this country," she replied. "It's best I don't say."

Dr Schlüer is a small affable man. But if he speaks softly he wields a big stick. The statistics are clear, he said, foreigners are four times more likely to commit crimes than Swiss nationals. "In a suburb of Zürich, a group of youths between 14 and 18 recently raped a 13-year-old girl," he said. "It turned out that all of them were already under investigation for some previous offence. They were all foreigners from the Balkans or Turkey. Their parents said these boys are out of control. We say: 'That's not acceptable. It's your job to control them and if you can't do that you'll have to leave'. It's a punishment everyone understands."

It is far from the party's only controversial idea. Dr Schlüer has launched a campaign for a referendum to ban the building of Muslim minarets. In 2004, the party successfully campaigned for tighter immigration laws using the image of black hands reaching into a pot filled with Swiss passports. And its leading figure, the Justice Minister, Christoph Blocher, has said he wants to soften anti-racism laws because they prevent freedom of speech.

Political opponents say it is all posturing ahead of next month's general election. Though deportation has been dropped from the penal code, it is still in force in administrative law, says Daniel Jositsch, professor of penal law at Zurich University. "At the end of the day, nothing has changed, the criminal is still at the airport and on the plane."

With astute tactics, the SVP referendum restricts itself to symbolic restitution. Its plan to deport entire families has been put forward in parliament where it has little chance of being passed. Still the publicity dividend is the same. And it is all so worrying to human rights campaigners that the UN special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, warned earlier this year that a "racist and xenophobic dynamic" which used to be the province of the far right is now becoming a regular part of the democratic system in Switzerland.

Dr Schlüer shrugged. "He's from Senegal where they have a lot of problems of their own which need to be solved. I don't know why he comes here instead of getting on with that."

Such remarks only confirm the opinions of his opponents. Mario Fehr is a Social Democrat MP for the Zürich area. He says: "Deporting people who have committed no crime is not just unjust and inhumane, it's stupid. Three quarters of the Swiss people think that foreigners who work here are helping the economy. We have a lot of qualified workers – IT specialists, doctors, dentists." To get rid of foreigners, which opponents suspect is the SVP's real agenda, "would be an economic disaster".

Dr Schlüer insists the SVP is not against all foreigners. "Until war broke out in the Balkans, we had some good workers who came from Yugoslavia. But after the fighting there was huge influx of people we had a lot of problems with. The abuse of social security is a key problem. It's estimated to cost £750m a year. More than 50 per cent of it is by foreigners."

There is no disguising his suspicion of Islam. He has alarmed many of Switzerland's Muslims (some 4.3 per cent of the 7.5 million population) with his campaign to ban the minaret. "We're not against mosques but the minaret is not mentioned in the Koran or other important Islamic texts. It just symbolises a place where Islamic law is established." And Islamic law, he says, is incompatible with Switzerland's legal system.

To date there are only two mosques in the country with minarets but planners are turning down applications for more, after opinion polls showed almost half the population favours a ban. What is at stake here in Switzerland is not merely a dislike of foreigners or a distrust of Islam but something far more fundamental. It is a clash that goes to the heart of an identity crisis which is there throughout Europe and the US. It is about how we live in a world that has changed radically since the end of the Cold War with the growth of a globalised economy, increased immigration flows, the rise of Islam as an international force and the terrorism of 9/11. Switzerland only illustrates it more graphically than elsewhere.

Switzerland is so stark an example because of the complex web of influences that find their expression in Ulrich Schlüer and his party colleagues.

He is fiercely proud of his nation's independence, which can be traced back to a defensive alliance of cantons in 1291. He is a staunch defender of its policy of armed neutrality, under which Switzerland has no standing army but all young men are trained and on standby; they call it the porcupine approach – with millions of individuals ready to stiffen like spines if the nation is threatened.

Linked to that is its system of direct democracy where many key decisions on tax, education, health and other key areas are taken at local level.

"How direct democracy functions is a very sensitive issue in Switzerland," he says, explaining why he has long opposed joining the EU. "To the average German, the transfer of power from Berlin to Brussels didn't really affect their daily lives. The transfer of power from the commune to Brussels would seriously change things for the ordinary Swiss citizen."

Switzerland has the toughest naturalisation rules in Europe. To apply, you must live in the country legally for at least 12 years, pay taxes, and have no criminal record. The application can still be turned down by your local commune which meets to ask "Can you speak German? Do you work? Are you integrated with Swiss people?"

It can also ask, as one commune did of 23-year-old Fatma Karademir – who was born in Switzerland but who under Swiss law is Turkish like her parents – if she knew the words of the Swiss national anthem, if she could imagine marrying a Swiss boy and who she would support if the Swiss football team played Turkey. "Those kinds of questions are outside the law," says Mario Fehr. "But in some more remote villages you have a problem if you're from ex-Yugoslavia."

The federal government in Berne wants to take the decision out of the hands of local communities, one of which only gave the vote to women as recently as 1990. But the government's proposals have twice been defeated in referendums.

The big unspoken fact here is how a citizen is to be defined. "When a Swiss woman who has emigrated to Canada has a baby, that child automatically gets citizenship," Dr Schlüer says. But in what sense is a boy born in Canada, who may be brought up with an entirely different world view and set of values, more Swiss than someone like Fatma Karademir who has never lived anywhere but Switzerland?

The truth is that at the heart of the Swiss People's Party's vision is a visceral notion of kinship, breeding and blood that liberals would like to think sits very much at odds with the received wisdom of most of the Western world. It is what lies behind the SVP's fear of even moderate Islam. It has warned that because of their higher birth rates Muslims would eventually become a majority in Switzerland if the citizenship rules were eased. It is what lies behind his fierce support for the militia system.

To those who say that Germany, France, Italy and Austria are nowadays unlikely to invade, he invokes again the shadow of militant Islam. "The character of war is changing. There could be riots or eruptions in a town anywhere in Switzerland. There could be terrorism in a financial centre."

The race issue goes wider than politics in a tiny nation. "I'm broadly optimistic that the tide is moving in our direction both here and in other countries across Europe, said Dr Schlüer. "I feel more supported than criticised from outside."

The drama which is being played out in such direct politically incorrect language in Switzerland is one which has repercussions all across Europe, and wider.

Neutrality and nationality

* Switzerland has four national languages – German, Italian, French and Romansh. Most Swiss residents speak German as their first language.

* Switzerland's population has grown from 1.7 million in 1815 to 7.5 million in 2006. The population has risen by 750,000 since 1990.

* Swiss nationality law demands that candidates for Swiss naturalisation spend a minimum of years of permanent, legal residence in Switzerland, and gain fluency in one of the national languages.

* More than 20 per cent of the Swiss population, and 25 per cent of its workforce, is non-naturalised.

* At the end of 2006, 5,888 people were interned in Swiss prisons. 31 per cent were Swiss citizens – 69 per cent were foreigners or asylum-seekers.

* The number of unauthorised migrant workers currently employed is estimated at 100,000.

Source (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2938940.ece)

Heart of reason? Common sense? Vision? Responsability? All of these!

Ælfhere
Saturday, September 8th, 2007, 07:14 PM
Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations.

I wouldn't call restricting immigration "extremist". If the Swiss people have decided they no longer want large amounts of immigrants in their country, then what business has the UN or anyone else to tell them they're wrong? After all, isn't democracy and the will of the people is what Western civilization is all about?

Extreme is when government ignores the will of the majority of its citizens by refusing to control it's borders and deport illegal aliens. As with the United States.

ChaosLord
Monday, September 10th, 2007, 10:37 PM
Let Switzerland decide who they wish to accept in or not. Calling Switzerland "racist" and "intolerant" is just cheap shots from the multi-culturalists.

SineNomine
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 12:12 AM
The Swiss are wise in how they administer their political decisions, and this is no exception. Perhaps this is why, even though Switzerland has a substantial foreign population, it is primarily European (90%), unlike the rest of Europe which is drowning in hordes of Muslims. What troubles me is how adamantly the EU is pressuring Switzerland to conform to its meretricious policies, from its economics to its social policies. Hopefully the small country shall resist.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 08:05 AM
No problem, the Swiss should simply wall the immigrant workers off from the general population, set up check points, send in troops to quell unrest and tax them but forbid them from voting or citizenship--following the Israeli model. From this article one might think that the Swiss invaded Switzerland and subjected, displaced and exploited the native population. Why isn't the author of this article concerned with human rights violations in Israel?

Hrodwulf
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 08:22 AM
No problem, the Swiss should simply wall the immigrant workers off from the general population, set up check points, send in troops to quell unrest and tax them but forbid them from voting or citizenship--following the Israeli model. From this article one might think that the Swiss invaded Switzerland and subjected, displaced and exploited the native population. Why isn't the author of this article concerned with human rights violations in Israel?

I don't think that's good enough.

They should deport 100% of them who are not on legal visas by their own laws.

If you just 'let them stay', then they bring every one, and their cousin, and their cousins' cousin, and then you get the Southwest United States (or some big chunks of Germany and France).

And, that's not even getting to the problem that occurs after that, when they outbreed the native population and are simultaneously (usually by choice) segregated from the population. By doing that, you get a huge body of people who are NEVER integrated with the local customs, who will destroy them in favor of their old ones (which is all they know).

Nope, I think laws should be simply enforced. These ads sound like something purported by people who want the laws NOT to be enforced, since they know the PC police will come right after them (and ironically, not a place like Palestine, but I digress) and use it as a way to dismantle their immigration laws.

I applaud everything Switzerland is doing, but they've got to be more shrewd about this.

Simply disallow and deport all people who break your immigration laws.

Don't answer any questions other than the fact that they're breaking the laws that have been on the books for ages and if they want to be part of the nation, they've got to do what everyone else has done, and get in line.

There's no arguing such logic.

Drakkar
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 08:47 AM
I wouldn't call restricting immigration "extremist". If the Swiss people have decided they no longer want large amounts of immigrants in their country, then what business has the UN or anyone else to tell them they're wrong? After all, isn't democracy and the will of the people is what Western civilization is all about?

Extreme is when government ignores the will of the majority of its citizens by refusing to control it's borders and deport illegal aliens. As with the United States.
The UN only looks for violations of the rights of minorities (via ECHR), and in order for the country to get any flak for their policies, they must do something along the lines of forcefully placing groups of people into ghettos or executing them. Simply voting more conservatively concerning the status of immigrants is something they can't touch because it's first and foremost a domestic matter. I wouldn't worry about the UN that much, because all they do is look at a problem, sit back, and think about doing something sometime within the same decade. I have no idea what the reporter is meaning by saying this is extremism.. it is not by any means that. Funny how similar trends in the East do not get as much coverage. Japan has just reshuffled their cabinet and there are only 2 females of 22, for instance. It has to be the stereotype of Switzerland being the ne'er-do-wrong peacemaker. This brings to mind the historically low voting record that the country is famous for. Has it been increasing in order for the People's Party to stay in power?

Weisthor
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 11:37 AM
And it is all so worrying to human rights campaigners that the UN special rapporteur on racism

I don't think they even fathom how appropriate this word "rapporteur" is given the situation. It means "a snitch" in French :D

Dagna
Thursday, July 17th, 2008, 10:32 PM
More babies born in Switzerland

The number of babies being born in Switzerland continues to increase, and more and more older women are giving birth.

Figures issued by the Federal Statistics Office on Thursday for 2007 show that 74,500 children were born in Switzerland, up 1.5 per cent on the previous year, and the highest figure since 2001.

These babies can hope to live for longer than ever before. Men now have a life expectancy of 79.4 years, where boys born in 2006 could hope to reach the age of 79.1. For women the figure was up from 84 to 84.2.

The number of births to women aged over 35 had increased by 31 per cent in comparison with the 2001 figure, in contrast to the figure for women under 30, who are having fewer and fewer children.

Despite this trend, the figures show that overall women are having more children than they did six years ago. Nevertheless, at 1.46 per woman it is still insufficient to maintain the population at its current level. For this a rate of 2.1 would be needed.

While non-Swiss women continue to have more children than the Swiss, the number of births among them has remained more or less stable since 2001.

Switzerland is still well below the European average for the number of children born to unmarried couples, although the proportion has nearly doubled since 1998, and now stands at 16.2 per cent. In the European Union, a third of children are born outside marriage.

Nevertheless, marriage appears to becoming more popular in Switzerland. The number of weddings rose by 1.3 per cent in 2007 in comparison with 2006, while the number of divorces fell by 5.2 per cent.

http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/news_digest/More_babies_born_in_Switzerland.html?sit eSect=104&sid=9342614&cKey=1216305695000&ty=st

Dagna
Thursday, August 14th, 2008, 01:26 AM
Family men still win the bread

Uneven income distribution between men and women remains a major challenge in balancing work and life within Swiss families, a study has revealed.

The survey released on Thursday by the Swiss Association of Commercial Employees says that in typical families, men are overwhelmingly the breadwinners.

In only four per cent of families do both partners work part-time.

According to the Federal Statistics Office, 76 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women worked in 2007. However, while 11 per cent of men held part-time jobs, the figure was over 50 per cent for women.

The association said that families suffer when men, who usually earn higher wages, opt for part-time employment; the lower-paid woman worker usually has to work more to compensate, or the family is forced to cut the budget.

Finding childcare is a difficulty for families in which both partners want to work full-time. The association says it is tricky to find in many companies, and has encouraged employees to incorporate childcare into wage negotiations.

Part-time employees are also at a pension disadvantage, the association said.

http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/news/business/Family_men_still_win_the_bread.html?site Sect=164&sid=9404336&cKey=1217511320000&ty=nd

Psychonaut
Thursday, August 14th, 2008, 02:02 AM
I've been the sold bread winner for my family ever since my wife gave birth to our son three years ago, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I think that it's the duty of the mother to stay home with the child until he or she is of school age at least. That necessarily follows that the father must step up and be able to provide for everyone. This was actually the primary factor in my enlistment with the Army. It's a shame that this type of traditional household is a dying species in many areas of the US.

MamaMacK
Friday, August 22nd, 2008, 02:03 PM
I think that it's the duty of the mother to stay home with the child until he or she is of school age at least.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. It saddens me that so many children go into childcare not because their mother chooses to work outside their home but because the family is unable to survive on one income.

I would step up that figure and say that children need a mother's full time support until they are out of middle school at least.

Mrs. Lyfing
Friday, August 22nd, 2008, 02:47 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with you. It saddens me that so many children go into childcare not because their mother chooses to work outside their home but because the family is unable to survive on one income.

I agree. I must say too, it is so hard these days for any family to survive on one income since gas prices, groceries and just the whole thing of America falling to crap and making everything much harder. I have stayed home with my children through and through, and it has been wonderful.

Some mothers have absolutely no choice but to work. Even with a working husband, maybe they are the ones with the humongous homes, bran new cars and want to involve their children in every activity known to man. Other mothers I assume just live a middle class or low income life and work their *sses off to insure their child has everything they need and a little extra.

I also think children spending time away from their parents is a good thing too, such as head start/ mother's day out programs.

I guess every family has their own routine, and whatever works, works. :)

Dagna
Monday, November 17th, 2008, 10:25 PM
Family-friendly cantons end birth rate decline

A handful of Swiss cantons has slowed trends in declining birth rates by improving child care facilities and offering higher family allowances, a study has found.

Giuliano Bonoli, of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Public Administration in Lausanne, reviewed changes in the birth rate in 26 cantons between 1980 to 2000, in a study published in the Journal of European Social Policy.

The cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Basel City and Zurich managed to maintain the number of births at 1980 levels or even increase fertility rates. All are among the cantons offering more day care for children and awarding comparatively higher family allowances.

"People living in those cantons where it is relatively easier or more acceptable to be both a mother and a worker tend to have more children," Bonoli told swissinfo.

"My interpretation of these results is not so much that women or parents decide to have a child once they have found that they have a day care centre.

"I don't think that such irrational calculations are behind decisions to have children, but I think these indicators of family policy are also indicators of a more favourable climate for the reconciliation of work and family.".....

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front/Family_friendly_cantons_end_birth_rate_d ecline.html?siteSect=105&sid=9980368&cKey=1226937318000&ty=st

Soten
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 03:38 AM
"My interpretation of these results is not so much that women or parents decide to have a child once they have found that they have a day care centre.

"I don't think that such irrational calculations are behind decisions to have children, but I think these indicators of family policy are also indicators of a more favourable climate for the reconciliation of work and family."....

I doubt people have their initial child because they have found out there is a day care center, but I bet it does play into the couple's decision of whether or not to have more children. If there is a day care center there then it would make it easier to have more children. If there was not a day care center maybe the couple would say they have their hands full already.

Dagna
Friday, November 28th, 2008, 05:11 AM
Mothers still spend most time at home

Parents with young children and professional careers work as much as 75 hours a week, with mothers spending most of the time at home, a study has found.

The Federal Statistics Office on Thursday released a report that studied nearly one million Swiss families with children to learn how parents divide their time between household chores and paid employment.

It found that the breakdown depends largely on the age of the youngest child, the gender of the parent and whether the mother and father live together.

Mothers assume most of the household chores in 80 per cent of homes. With a child younger than four years old, a mother will spend more than 60 hours a week on family chores and 11 hours a week at a job. Single mothers log the same amount of time at home, but spend 18 hours a week at work.

Fathers tend to spend more time on professional duties than household tasks. With a child less than four years old, a father can expect to work 41 hours a week professionally and then spend another 33 hours a week on family tasks.

Once the youngest child is ten years old, parents spend about a third less time on household chores as mothers return to work.

The study also looked at the costs of childrearing. Depending on the family, the direct monthly costs range between SFr500 and SFr1,100 ($417 and $918), although total expenditures are closer to SFr7,800 a month for all households with children.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news_digest/Mothers_still_spend_most_time_at_home.ht ml?siteSect=104&sid=10021543&cKey=1227788518000&ty=nd

CordeliaforLear
Sunday, December 14th, 2008, 03:58 AM
Fantastic news! Only in a homogenous nation will such social-engineering policies still have a chance of working.

In Multicultural societies, non-discriminatory incentive policies for births could quicken our own decline.

Nachtengel
Sunday, December 20th, 2009, 02:39 AM
The Swiss people recently ratified a referendum that forbids the construction of Muslim mosques with minarets attached, and now Swiss People’s Party proposed the organizing of a new referendum that will deport from Switzerland all immigrants who committed a crime.

This new referendum could enter in a conflict with the 1951 Geneva Convention about immigrants status. The convention says that no immigrant should be deported if he faces inhuman treatment, racial, political or religious discrimination in his own country of origin.

However the Geneva Convention was clearly made to protect fellow Europeans from Communist tyranny but today the convention is highly outdated as no one really faces such discriminations anywhere on the planet. The convention has also been misinterpreted many times and used for wrong purposes. Today it serves as a gateway for Muslims and other Third World criminals to enter freely into Switzerland.

The legal situation in Switzerland seems set to change following the vigorous campaign for a referendum on deportation of foreign criminals launched by the anti-immigration SVP, which is a key element in the ruling coalition. It was in the run-up to the 2007 general election that the SVP launched its campaign to raise the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a referendum in order to introduce into the penal code measures that would allow for the deportation of the entire family of a convicted criminal under the age of eighteen. There was consternation in parliament, as critics pointed out that if the law was passed, it would be the first such law in Europe since the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft.

By February 2009, the SVP had already collected 210,000 signatures, more than double compared to what the law requires, and in response to the pressure from the SVP a new Aliens Bill was introduced into parliament that aims to establish precise criteria as to when a residence permit could be withdrawn from a foreign offender. Under the proposed legislation, foreigners sentenced to two years imprisonment or more, or having accumulated the equivalent prison sentences over a period of ten years, would have their residence permit rescinded and therefore be liable for deportation and they will also be banned from entering Switzerland from 5 to 15 years. In less serious cases, the draft Bill allows the authorities to judge for themselves whether to withdraw the residence permit of the person concerned.

This referendum is only a soft version of the original project that was supposed to deport all immigrants who asked for asylum in Switzerland.

The State Council, (superior chamber of the Swiss parliament), decided on December 10, 2009 to resend the proposal of SVP to the special commissions who will have to decide at the beginning of 2010 if the new referendum is compatible with the Geneva Convention and with the Swiss Constitution.

http://www.eutimes.net/2009/12/new-swiss-referendum-to-deport-all-criminal-immigrants/

Old Winter
Sunday, December 20th, 2009, 02:59 AM
Can someone tell me how many immigrants will be kicked out ? ;)

Huginn ok Muninn
Sunday, December 20th, 2009, 03:37 AM
I hope this doesn't just mean German immigrants with speeding tickets.

SpearBrave
Sunday, December 20th, 2009, 03:50 AM
Well it is cup of water out of the ocean, but it is a start. Let hope other nations will follow.

Berrocscir
Monday, December 21st, 2009, 02:47 PM
The Swiss are an example to us all :thumbup

Sigurd
Monday, December 21st, 2009, 02:57 PM
The Swiss are an example to us all :thumbup

At least so long as the NWO doesn't "accidentally" drop nuclear weaponry over Swiss soil or something like that. ;)

GroeneWolf
Monday, December 21st, 2009, 05:07 PM
They seem to moving fast there in Switzerland. Relatively spoken of course. Would be interesting to see what will be the outcome of this referendum. Highly doubtful that certain groups will like the outcome.

Dagna
Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 06:33 PM
Swiss immigrants face instant expulsion if they commit ANY crime under proposed get-tough law (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.odin istpressservice.com%2F2010%2F11%2F03%2Fs wiss-immigrants-face-instant-expulsion-if-they-commit-any-crime-under-proposed-get-tough-law%2F)

Posted on 03 November 2010

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/60/Spp-poster.jpg/300px-Spp-poster.jpg (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikip edia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3ASpp-poster.jpg)

Image via Wikipedia (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikip edia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3ASpp-poster.jpg)

Switzerland is poised to vote on a controversial law that will allow for all immigrants – EU citizens included – to be automatically expelled from the country if they commit a crime.

Even benefit fraudsters and burglars are targeted by the proposed law, a project of the Swiss People’s Party which has the backing of a majority of the population and will probably be passed in a referendum scheduled for November 28.

The controversial campaign for the initiative involves posters featuring a black sheep being kicked out of the country by several white sheep. The vote comes almost exactly a year after a previous plebiscite banning minarets on mosques in the country was passed.

Mail Online (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dail ymail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fworldnews%2Farticle-1325961%2FSwiss-immigrants-face-expulsion-commit-ANY-crime-proposed-tough-law.html%23ixzz14AgxuFm8)

flâneur
Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 07:10 PM
I have been visiting Switzerland on and off for the last twenty years as i have relatives there and one thing i always noticed were the number of people who were stopped in the street by plain clothes police/immigration officers on a day to day basis.
Im talking about Geneva here but you would be walking down the street and someone who had a bit of the "tar brush" in them would be sidled over to the side of the pavement and asked for his/her documents.....if the person in question didnt have them i imagined they were taken to some holding centre where a third party would have to produce them....if they didnt have any at all they would be taken to the airport and put on a plane home.

I remember in the mid nineties a lot of Portugese people were there doing kitchen work etc and if they didnt have the right documentation they would be gone in a couple of days.
I know this because my uncle has a resteraunt there and if you employed someone cash in hand and were caught you would get an enormous fine.

Ive always liked the Swiss.;)....they dont fuck around.

InvaderNat
Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 11:57 PM
Good work SVP! :thumbup The same laws need to be passed in every country.

Wulfram
Friday, November 5th, 2010, 03:31 AM
This is just another attempt to clean up the muslim image to make them more palatable.
Now that they are faced with expulsion they will be on their best behavior, helping to further integrate them.
I would rather that they keep on being criminals since the Swiss need to be constantly reminded why immigration is bad for their country.
Maybe they will be the first country where its citizens reach a breaking point and rise up to kick the invaders out.
But if the invaders are now on their best behavior then the Swiss will become more reluctant than ever to effect a change.

The Aesthete
Friday, November 5th, 2010, 07:34 AM
Great policy :thumbup:thumbup

flâneur
Friday, November 5th, 2010, 08:10 AM
This is just another attempt to clean up the muslim image to make them more palatable.
Now that they are faced with expulsion they will be on their best behavior, helping to further integrate them.
I would rather that they keep on being criminals since the Swiss need to be constantly reminded why immigration is bad for their country.
Maybe they will be the first country where its citizens reach a breaking point and rise up to kick the invaders out.
But if the invaders are now on their best behavior then the Swiss will become more reluctant than ever to effect a change.

Well i think in Switzerland that its not only muslim immigrants who are treated in this way.
If a foreign worker who is in Switzerland on a temporary working visa is out of work and there is a slump and no work on the horizon the Swiss actually order these immigrant laborours out of the country.
Also to get a permanent resident visa is really hard,and having a marriage of convinience isnt a ticket to getting one either.....as they wont allow you to stay just because you have a Swiss wife.
If you do make an application for citizenship after a good five or six years working there your name is published in the local town hall for anyone to put a black mark agaisnt,if you get two or three bad comments you wont be granted citizenship......i would say Switzerland is probably the hardest country to get into in the world.
Most foreign workers actually live in France and work in Switzerland or live in northern Italy and cross over the border every day to work.
This way the Swiss can block anybodys entry when and how they want.

Todesritter
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 04:46 AM
SOURCE --> PHYSORG http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-group-boundaries-key-ethnic-violence.html (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-group-boundaries-key-ethnic-violence.html)


Research group finds creating boundaries key to reducing ethnic violence
October 13, 2011 by Bob Yirka


http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/2011/rtyfgj.jpg
Maps of Switzerland showing the 2000 census proportion of (A) linguistic groups, (B) Catholic and Protestant (Mercator projection). Image: arXiv:1110.1409v1

(PhysOrg.com) -- History is filled with examples of ethnic violence, the type that erupts when people with differing cultures attempt to live side by side. The Middle East comes to mind, as does Northern Ireland or Yugoslavia. What’s not so common are studies done that show what sorts of things actually work to prevent problems when people of dissimilar backgrounds live next door to one another. Thus, a new study done by Yaneer Bar-Yam and his team at the New England Complex Systems Institute, appears to be particularly relevant. He and his colleagues, describe in their paper on the preprint server arXiv, how a study they’ve done of the ethnically diverse country of Switzerland, shows that political and geographical boundaries have served to keep the peace between the different groups.


Switzerland, the very modern symbol of a peaceful country, might have gone another direction the team finds, were it not for the way the differing groups (French, German and Italian) and religions (Catholic and Protestant) have been physical grouped within the borders of the small country.

Those of German descent make up the largest group, taking up most of the north, central and eastern parts of the country while those with Italian backgrounds live predominately in the south; those of French descent have settled mainly in the west. Not surprisingly, those of the Catholic faith live predominately in the southern and middle parts of the country, due to the influx of those of Italian descent, while those of the Protestant faith live mainly in the rest of the country.

To find out how all these differing groups found a way to get along, the team looked at the geography of the country (mainly mountains and lakes) and how its regions are subdivided. In Switzerland, areas of the country are partitioned into what are known as cantons, which are similar to states in other countries except that each has much more autonomy than is usual. After careful study, the team found that the main reason the groups all manage to get along, is because they are separated from one another. Each canton is comprised of almost all the same types of people, essentially ruling themselves, thus, there is very little overlap. Other areas are separated by lakes or mountains. The end result is that people of differing cultures very seldom run into one another (except in the larger cites of course) and thus friction is averted. The one exception appears to be a little area north of Bern, where violence did erupt in the 1970’s. That problem was apparently fixed by simply redistricting the cantons in that area.
One problem with the study of course is that it doesn’t take into account the history of the land itself. The problems with India and Pakistan, for example, or with Israel and the rest of the Middle East aren’t likely to be solved by building better borders. But, nonetheless, the study does shed a rather bright light on the idea that simple separation can sometimes lead to peace. Not unlike how a schoolteacher might solve a problem between two quarreling youngsters.

We consider the conditions of peace and violence among ethnic groups, testing a theory designed to predict the locations of violence and interventions that can promote peace. Characterizing the model's success in predicting peace requires examples where peace prevails despite diversity. Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This is surprising because of its linguistic and religious diversity that in other parts of the world lead to conflict and violence. Here we analyze how peaceful stability is maintained. Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. Where such boundaries do not appear to be sufficient, we find that specific aspects of the population distribution either guarantee sufficient separation or sufficient mixing to inhibit intergroup violence according to the quantitative theory of conflict. In exactly one region, a porous mountain range does not adequately separate linguistic groups and violent conflict has led to the recent creation of the canton of Jura. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that violence between groups can be inhibited by physical and political boundaries. A similar analysis of the area of the former Yugoslavia shows that during widespread ethnic violence existing political boundaries did not coincide with the boundaries of distinct groups, but peace prevailed in specific areas where they did coincide. The success of peace in Switzerland may serve as a model to resolve conflict in other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.

GroeneWolf
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 04:58 AM
It is good to see research confirming what we already know. Namely that different ethnic groups living together will lead to problems. Would be good to save this article for reference purposes in debates with those who think that multiculturalism is something to desire.

Todesritter
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 05:24 AM
Maybe all the peace lovers will reexamine their assumed inhumanity of apartheid-like solutions for folk-sovereignty & separatism if they see it is the most peaceful method of preserving peace for all ... aside perhaps from eliminating all but one ethnicity, which I think they would like less.

Sigyn
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 05:34 AM
Switzerland is a really good example of a multicultural country that avoided ethnic civil wars, because the cultures live in their own communities. The reality that the French, Italians and Germans live in separate cantons of their own, along with the whole tradition of non-aggression, makes it a very peaceful country.

I've known a few Swiss French people, and I didn't get the impression that there's any "ethnic tension" at all in the country, apart from mutual jokes and a mock rivalry. Sort of like us Scandinavians in-between.

Of course, there is tension in Switzerland...because the Muslim immigrants are turning Geneva and Zurich into multicultural hells.


Maybe all the peace lovers will reexamine their assumed inhumanity of apartheid-like solutions for folk-sovereignty & separatism if they see it is the most peaceful method of preserving peace for all ...
But the situation in Switzerland has nothing to do with segregation or apartheid. It's more like different communities that came together into one country. Switzerland doesn't have a history of one group dominating the others.

Although I think Switzerland is a peaceful country (well, apart from their Muslim immigrants) because of how the Swiss cultures are. It's nothing like the Balkans or the Middle East. I mean, if you split up Israel into "ethnic cantons", I'm fairly sure the Jews and Arabs would find another way to start a fight.

Todesritter
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 06:34 AM
...

But the situation in Switzerland has nothing to do with segregation or apartheid. It's more like different communities that came together into one country. Switzerland doesn't have a history of one group dominating the others.

...

The distinction you highlight is true, neither the literal case of the study nor its central thrust advocate directly in the direction I suggested, but by implication and inference, the logic could be used to support cantonization or other movements advocating separation along ethnic lines, for people who want that.

Sigyn
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 05:24 PM
the logic could be used to support cantonization or other movements advocating separation along ethnic lines, for people who want that.
Indeed. There should be a "home area" for every ethnic group, if they live in a multi-ethnic country. If they're forced together, it will always end with trouble. The French, Germans and Italians have their own cantons, but it's the Muslim immigrants who cause massive problems because they're a hostile and parasitic group.

There's this famous poster by the Swiss anti-immigrant party. The three white sheep represent the Swiss groups, while the black sheep represents the immigrants.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gwEvp95dIvg/SxRqpD4cJnI/AAAAAAAAAbA/fciWdQ92Pdc/s400/svp_01a.jpg

Schooneveld
Sunday, October 16th, 2011, 05:52 PM
The Dutch Republic was very much like this. One of the main reasons i advocate this model is because it gives the individual provinces like Frisia more autonomy to preserve their identities and languages more. Another reason is that the Flemish could join up more easy because they don't have to fear their uniqueness and independence they have now, which they will loose under the Dutch unitary government we have now.

Sigyn
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 11:05 AM
Increased information sharing between social services and immigration authorities in Swiss cantons is leading to a massive increase in deportations of foreigners, even in cases where no crime has been committed.

Cantons in the northwest of Switzerland have implemented cross-checks in their immigration services to catch any foreigners on long-term social benefits and deport them, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.

In the canton of Sankt Gallen, there are more than 90 expulsions per year. Other cantons, like Zurich, do not keep statistics on the individual reasons for deportation and cannot offer any numbers. However, in both Zurich and in Geneva, the Immigration Office has recruited lots of additional staff in recent months specifically to deal with these cases.

Since the Immigration Act was passed in 2008, social services are obliged to share with immigration authorities the names of all non-Swiss who are receiving welfare benefits.

Immigration law expert Marc Spescha cited a tougher political climate as a primary cause for the massive spike in deportations: “Many cantons practice a zero tolerance policy, and sometimes they lose their sense of proportion,” he told Tages Anzeiger.

The Zurich-based newspaper reported on the case of a young Turkish woman who moved to Switzerland in 2006 when she married a Turkish man already staying in the country. The woman was beaten by her husband for several years and left him after the birth of their daughter in 2010. After their divorce came through, immigration authorities in Zurich decided to deport both woman and child back to Turkey, since they were living on welfare benefits.

But not all the cantons are taking such a hardline approach, Tages Anzeiger reported. In Basel city, only immigrants who have a criminal record or who refuse to cooperate with social authorities are deported. In the canton of Bern, immigrants rarely risk losing their temporary residence permits renewed even if they are living on welfare benefits.

“In most cases, there are also additional reasons for deporting them, such as crime,” Markus Aeschlimann, head of the Immigration Office, told the paper.

Switzerland's information sharing between social services and immigration authorities only started last autumn. Social services now notify the cantonal immigration authority once the amount of benefits received by a foreigner reaches a certain level: 25,000 francs for temporary residents, and 40,000 francs for permanent residents.



http://www.creativeroots.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/610x.jpg


http://www.thelocal.ch/1629/20111101/

Ingvaeonic
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 11:23 AM
That's the way to deal with the foreign parasitic vermin. If they did that here in Australia, all the do-gooders would be up in arms about being so "hardline". We can't hurt the foreign scum.

The Aesthete
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 11:32 AM
Good work Switzerland!

I don’t expect to go to their countries and live on their welfare

Bo
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 01:18 PM
Switzerland is on the right track. They need to be persistent with this and not cave into pressure from extremist humanitarians. Sooner or later this kind of crackdown will spread to other Western nations and as it does the support for it will rise to the point where it will have a 'snowball' effect.

Hersir
Thursday, January 5th, 2012, 02:57 AM
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/files/2011/10/swiss.jpg

In Bar-Yam’s model, areas where different language groups overlap have a high likelihood of ethnic violence (E). Once administrative boundaries are included, the risk of violence drops–except for a northwestern region, where ethnic violence has in fact occurred (F).

Ethnic violence is one of the bloodiest and most virulent kinds of conflict. Pinpointing areas where it’s likely to erupt and sussing out why some areas have avoided it are intensely interesting issues to geographers, and Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute made headlines four years ago with a model indicating that how messy the borders are between ethnic groups may be a good predictor of violence. Now, after using it to predict where violence was likely to occur in India and the former Yugoslavia, both areas known for their ethnic turbulence, he’s posted a paper on the ArXiv that applies his analysis to Switzerland, a enviably peaceful country that nevertheless has four national languages and large, devout populations of both Protestants and Catholics. How do the Swiss do it, he asks?

His team’s answer, basically, is geographic and administrative isolation. Switzerland is divided up into cantons—states that each run almost autonomously—that are fairly homogenous in terms of language and religion, and the country’s mountains and lakes provide geographic barriers between regions that might clash. Looking at data from the 2000 census, they found that the one area where the model predicted a reasonable possibility of violence, based on the mixing pattern of languages and religions, was the region northwest of Bern where in fact there was significant violence in the 1970s. The Jura separatist movement—a group dedicated to creating a French-speaking canton from part of the predominantly German-speaking canton of Bern—resorted to arson around that time, and in 1979, Jura was recognized as its own canton. (But the borders were drawn along the lines of religion, rather than language, and the violence did not completely subside; at the moment, the government is considering lumping the French Protestants of Bern in with the French Catholics of Jura to alleviate the problem.) Trying to get everyone in area to feel brotherly to one another may not be an effective way to manage violence, Bar-Yam and colleagues write. For assimilation to work, no group should be so large as to have an independent identity or public spaces that they identify with, they say, and in the absence of that, partition may be a better option.

While this work is certainly food for thought, it raises a number of questions. Partition along religious lines did not work well at all for India and Pakistan. Bar-Yam and colleagues do not address what specific characteristics—in terms of previous conflict, general climate, and political response—are required for new borders to quench violence. One might make the argument that the long and bloody conflict prior to Partition could be in play in the India-Pakistan example, but it’s clearly more complicated than that: Before the establishment of the modern cantons, Switzerland, that bucolic icon of peace, had 200 years of intermittent religious conflict.

Source http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2011/10/12/scientists-who-model-ethnic-violence-find-that-in-switzerland-separation-is-key-to-peace/



Countries who use this model find separation is easier than dealing head on with the issues of diversity. This type of solution has no future and will not contribute to a lasting peace.

Frostbite
Thursday, January 5th, 2012, 10:30 AM
French, German and Italian Swiss have much more in common with each other than a Muslim or African have with them.

They might have different languages, but the cultures aren't radically different and they are all ethnic Europeans. While an African or whoever comes from the third world and most likely will commit crime and be on welfare.

Nachtengel
Sunday, January 8th, 2012, 11:19 AM
Via the Local:

Increased information sharing between social services and immigration authorities in some Swiss cantons is leading to an increase in deportations, even in cases where no crime has been committed.

Cantons like Sankt Gallen, in the northwest of Switzerland, and Schwyz, in the centre of the country, have implemented cross-checks in their immigration services to catch foreigners on long-term social benefits and deport them, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.

In Sankt Gallen, there are around 90 such cases per year. Other cantons, like Zurich, do not keep statistics on the individual reasons for deportation and cannot offer any numbers. However, in both Zurich and in Schwyz, the Immigration Office has recruited additional staff in recent months specifically to deal with cases of this kind.

http://islamineurope.blogspot.com/2011/11/switzerland-cantons-deporting.html

DonarVanHolland
Sunday, January 8th, 2012, 12:52 PM
It sounds too good to be true! Switzerland seems definitely on a better track than the rest of Western Europe!

Nachtengel
Saturday, March 17th, 2012, 03:00 PM
Voters in Solothurn, north-western Switzerland, voted on Sunday for an amendment to the law requiring police and judicial officers to record the nationalities of offenders and suspects.

The people of Solothurn voted yes to the controversial initiative with some 46,869 votes to 19,852, representing an overwhelming acceptance to the proposal by a little over 70 percent of the electorate, news agency SDA reported.

The vote means that amendments will need to be made to cantonal police laws, the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure and the Swiss youth crime code.

In future, not only the age and gender of a suspect or perpetrator will be given in police press releases, but also the nationality of the individual.

This represents a victory for the far-right Swiss People’s Party, whose members proposed the initiative.

Member of the Legal Commission and Swiss People’s Party member Oskar Freysinger pointed to the fact that some three quarters of Switzerland’s prison population are foreigners, online news website Basler Zeitung reported in February.

Freysinger said he no longer wants the fact that rich Switzerland is seen as an attractive place for foreigners to be swept under the carpet. Instead, Freysinger called for transparency.

Prior to Sunday’s vote, St. Gallen was the only other canton with such a regime.

http://www.thelocal.ch/2802/20120312/

Nachtengel
Sunday, April 15th, 2012, 08:49 PM
A philanthropic movement wants to create a Swiss Utopia by ensuring that every citizen receives an “unconditional base income” of 2,500 francs ($2,729).

Supporters are currently trying to raise 100,000 signatures to trigger a referendum. The ideais backed by artists, therapists, filmmakers and socialist politicians, such as former Vice-Chancellor Oswald Sigg,and National Councillor for Basel, Sylvia Schenker, online news site Le Matin reported.

The initiative is also supported by a Geneva-based organisation, BIEN, which stands for Basic Income Earth Network. The group was formed in 2001 by like-minded individuals, who strongly believe in the benefits of providing a base income for all.

“The beauty of the idea is obvious: for the first time in the history of mankind, a sovereign and independent living is within reach of everyone, not only those who have the benefit of great fortunes,” Albert Jörimann, president of BIEN told Le Matin.

The idea for unconditional base income derives originally from Thomas More’s Utopia. It has been placed before the Chambers on previous occasions but never succeeded.

http://www.thelocal.ch/3074/20120412/

Nachtengel
Sunday, April 15th, 2012, 08:51 PM
Foreign-born offenders in Geneva will in future be offered 4,000 francs ($4,634) to leave the country, as part of a plan to reduce the burden on Switzerland's prisons.

Frustrated by seeing the same North African offenders going through the courts time and again, Geneva has responded by launching a new plan which offers offenders a chance to return to their home countries rather than languish in a Swiss prison.

The move is also aimed at reducing the significant prison bill, which amounts to approximately 450 francs ($491) a day per inmate, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported. Instead of serving a prison sentence, small crime offenders will be able to choose to return instead to their homelands.

“This is better than punishment,” Emilie Flaman, President of the Green Party, told Tages Anzeiger.

Each participating offender is allocated 4,000 francs ($4,634): 1,000 francs ($1,091) of which are to be used for the return flight and the remaining 3,000 francs ($3,272) are to be paid out upon arrival by a local NGO for an apprenticeship or training course.

“We save money, not only for prison places, but also for the special deportation flights, which cost from about 100,000 ($109,095) francs per individual,” said project co-developer Pierre Weiss, a councillor for the liberal Free Democratic Party.

In return, the offenders must provide full details on their identities including a set of fingerprints. The men will not be allowed ever to return to Switzerland.

http://www.thelocal.ch/3065/20120411/

Sybren
Sunday, April 15th, 2012, 09:04 PM
You might save money, but what kind of an example do you set? The example of a coward, that first willingly takes in its enemy, nurtures it, and when it turns against you, you'll reward them for it. It's sick and degenerative behaviour of a society which does not respect itself anymore.

It maddens me so much when i see what has become of our countries, becoming such push-overs and ass kissers, unbelievable...

Tom Schnadelbach
Sunday, April 15th, 2012, 09:31 PM
They have to agree to never come back to Switzerland. But what happens when they do? Britain has tried this and that is exactly what has happened.

Nachtengel
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012, 11:23 PM
European leaders expressed consternation on Wednesday as Switzerland re-introduced quotas for immigrants from eight Central and Eastern European countries.

The decision was taken by the Swiss government on Wednesday to activate a safeguard clause in its bilateral agreement witrh the EU, which will restrict the number of work permits available to people from Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

“The safeguard clause is not the ultimate solution that will solve the problems alone, but it is one of the instruments at our disposal and that is why we will use it," Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga said on Wednesday, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, opposed the invocation of the clause, which she said infringed the rights of EU citizens to move freely in Switzerland.

"I regret the decision of the Swiss Federal Council", she said on Wednesday.

http://www.thelocal.ch/3133/20120419/

Nachtengel
Sunday, November 20th, 2016, 11:10 PM
Switzerland is not perfect, but as countries go, it is hard to find one that is much better.

The more people know about Switzerland, the higher regard they tend to have for it. By almost any measure of human accomplishment, and particularly in creating a most successful country governance model, the Swiss are clearly No. 1 in the world.

Switzerland is a small, landlocked nation without much in the way of natural resources. It has managed to stay out of wars for two centuries and developed a long-term multilingual and multireligious democracy without strife. There is a rule of law with competent and unbiased judges and strong protections for private property.

Among the countries of the world, Switzerland ranks:

No. 1 in "life satisfaction" (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Better Life Index);
No. 1 in "global competitiveness" (World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index);
No. 2 in "labor -force participation rate" (OECD Labor Force Statistics);
No. 3 in "happiness" (United Nations World Happiness Report);
No. 4 in "economic freedom" (Fraser Institute and Cato Institute Economic Freedom of the World Report);
No. 7 in "per-capita income" on a purchasing-power parity basis (International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook);
No. 2 in "overall prosperity" (Legatum Institute's Prosperity Index); and
No. 1 in "life expectancy at birth" (OECD Better Life Index).
Switzerland also ranks higher than average among the OECD countries (the 35 most-developed economies in the world) in levels of education and student test scores, and has lower levels of air and water pollution.

Civil liberties are strongly protected, including freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and even the right to own guns. It does not get much better than this.

The Swiss have also avoided creating the "cult of personality" around their elected leadership. The elected rulers of Switzerland are not well known by their own countrymen and are almost invisible to the rest of the world. The odds are very high you have never heard of Didier Burkhalter. He's the current Swiss President.

History is replete with leaders who had too much power and visibility. Perhaps the reason the Swiss have made fewer economic and foreign-policy mistakes than other countries is, in part, because they do not have very powerful leaders who can push through bad policies.

Many view the Swiss system of direct democracy as cumbersome, but as a Swiss friend once told me: "It is not that we Swiss are smarter than others, but given our political system, by the time we get around to making a major change, other countries have already proved it to be a bad idea."

The world is an envious place (envy being one of the seven deadly sins), and hence, there is much Swiss-bashing by the jealous and the ignorant. Having been an adviser to senior officials in several different governments over the past few decades, I often encouraged them to look at Switzerland as a model that works.

The Swiss model is particularly relevant for countries with rival religious and ethnic groups, but, alas, too few other countries have adopted it. Back in July 2003, when there was considerable debate about what kind of governance structure Iraq should have, I argued for the Swiss model:

"The Swiss achieved peace and prosperity by allowing each ethnic and religious group to be largely self-governing in their local areas. The same system could work in Iraq.

For instance, the Kurds have been largely and successfully self-governing in their local area for the past dozen years under Western protection. They are unlikely to want to be tightly controlled from a strong central state based in Baghdad.

Using the Swiss model, there would be no need for them to give up substantial local control. Other subgroups in Iraq are likely to find the Swiss model the least objectionable, given the alternatives."



Given what has happened in Iraq, I think about the lost opportunity to follow the Swiss model - and how it could have led to peaceful coexistence among the rival groups and much greater prosperity for all. This leads me to my one real criticism of the Swiss.

They have successfully exported watches, chocolates, pharmaceuticals, precision machinery and many other great products, but they have failed to export their limited and decentralized governance model to the rest of the world - which could be their most important export product.

In part, this happened because the Swiss are too modest. Their failure to sell - or even explain - the Swiss model to the rest of the world has caused the Swiss many problems. Few understand the Swiss financial system and the great benefits to the world of its centuries-old private banking system.

As a result, the Swiss are often portrayed as greedy bad guys by the global press, rather than the good guys who both protect human rights and liberty, and allocate global capital to its highest and best use.

It is fashionable to think that countries are increasingly ungovernable. The Swiss prove this not to be true.
https://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/5149

Nachtengel
Sunday, March 19th, 2017, 02:15 PM
Switzerland has topped the list in the 2017 Best Countries report, a worldwide study that measures how nations are perceived on a global scale.
A joint project by US News & World Report, marketing company Y&R and the Wharton School, a business school at the University of Pennsylvania, the Best Countries report analyzed 80 countries this year, up from 60 in its first edition last year.

Included for the first time, Switzerland shot to the top of the ranking overall, ahead of Canada, the UK, Germany and Japan in the top five.

Sweden, the US, Australia, France and Norway made up the top ten ‘best countries’.

Under the study’s methodology, 65 country attributes were identified that are “relevant to the success of a modern nation”, according to a press release.

These were grouped into nine categories: Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for business, Power and Quality of life.

The attributes were presented in a survey to 21,000 people across the globe “who are broadly representative of the global population”. They were asked to assess how closely they associated an attribute with a nation.

“Switzerland debuts as the world’s 'top' country, in part because of its progressive social systems, protection of human rights and business-friendly environment,” said the ranking authors.

Within the categories, Switzerland ranked third for Citizenship after Norway and Sweden, achieving a score of nine out of ten or above for ‘respects property rights’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘cares about the environment’, religious freedom’ and ‘cares about human rights’.

It came sixth in the Quality of Life category, achieving a perfect ten for ‘safe’ and ‘economically stable’.

It was also perceived as the best country to headquarter a corporation.

In an analysis, US News contributor Christopher F Schuetze said Switzerland presented an idyllic picture from the outside.

“Its top ranking comes from consistently high scores in 'soft power' areas, such as providing an inclusive society and a high quality of life for its people.”

However Schuetze noted that this perception may not take into account issues within the country such as the rise of nationalistic populism, its dependency on trade with the EU and the difficulties foreigners can have finding a job within the country.
https://www.thelocal.ch/20170307/survey-switzerland-viewed-as-best-country-in-the-world

Nachtengel
Thursday, April 6th, 2017, 05:44 PM
Confused about Switzerland's famous direct democracy? Unsure how the Swiss president gets elected? The Local explains all...


1. It’s a Confederation - Switzerland is a federal state comprised of 26 different cantons which have chosen to enter into an alliance. It began when the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden agreed to unite on August 1st 1291 at the Rütli meadow on Lake Lucerne, an event celebrated every year on Swiss National Day.

The Confederation continued to grow throughout the centuries until its current borders were set in 1815. The federal constitution was created in 1848, founding the federal parliament and giving central government certain powers.


2. There are three levels of government - The federal system means power is shared between the federal government, the cantonal governments and the country’s more than 2,000 communes. The federal government tackles policy including defence, national roads, energy and external relations.

The cantons have their own government, laws, courts and constitution but must not contradict the federal constitution. Some of the areas in which they dictate their own policy include education, healthcare and cultural affairs. The communes are mostly run by communal assemblies and have their own responsibilities including local planning, social welfare and schools.


3. There are two houses of the federal parliament - Federal laws are created by parliament, which comprises two chambers whose members are elected by the Swiss public every four years. The lower house, the National Council, represents the Swiss population as a whole and comprises 200 MPs. The upper house, the Council of States or senate, represents the cantons and has 46 senators – each canton has two representatives apart from six ‘half’ cantons that were formerly joined with another, for example Basel-City and Basel-Country, which have one each.

Both chambers have the same powers. Together, they are known as the Federal Assembly, which is the highest publicly-elected authority in the land.


4. The government is elected by parliament, not the people - The government executive, which implements the laws decided by parliament, is called the Federal Council. Each of its seven federal councillors is head of one of the government’s departments or ministries and is elected for a four-year term.

Unlike in many other countries, the members of the Federal Council are not elected by the Swiss people but by the Federal Assembly. Parliament also elects the Federal Chancellor, the Attorney General and the judges of the federal supreme court and courts of first instance.


5. Switzerland’s president isn’t elected by the people - Since parliament elects the government, it also elects the Swiss president from within the seven federal councillors. He or she serves for one year only and doesn’t have any more powers than his or her peers but is considered ‘the first among equals’. The president chairs meetings of the Federal Council and has special duties to represent Switzerland when necessary.


6. Only Swiss nationals may vote at federal level - Any Swiss citizen over 18 may vote in parliamentary elections and referendums. While men got the right to vote in 1848, women were only granted suffrage at federal level in 1971, with one canton holding out on granting women cantonal voting rights until 1991.

Foreign nationals without Swiss citizenship are not allowed to vote at federal level however long they’ve been in the country, but some cantons and communes allow them to vote on local matters. Swiss citizens abroad may vote in Swiss parliamentary elections.


7. Voting systems vary - MPs are voted into the National Council under nationwide rules that specify proportional representation. However rules for Council of States elections vary between cantons, with most – but not all – favouring the first-past-the-post system. Elections are mostly held by secret ballot, apart from in Appenzell Innerrhoden where the people vote for their Council of States representative by a show of hands in a traditional gathering organized by the so-called Landsgemeinde, or people’s assembly. The major Swiss political parties in parliament are the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), the Social Democrats (PS/SP), the Liberal-Radicals (PLR/FDP) and the Christian Democrats (PDC/CVP).

Currently no single party has a majority in parliament, however in 2015’s parliamentary elections the right-wing, populist SVP won a record 65 out of 200 seats in the lower house, boosting its MPs by 11 and becoming the National Council’s largest party.


8. Lawmaking is a lengthy process - Parliament sits for four three-week sessions a year, in March, June, September and December. Draft laws are debated up to three times by each chamber, with issues batting back and forth between them and compromises having to be made, until they come to an agreement. But even then that doesn’t mean a law can necessarily come into force, and that’s because...


9. It’s a direct democracy - Famously, the Swiss people play a vital role in how the country is run by having their say in a series of federal and cantonal referendums held four times a year. Introduced in 1874, the system requires any amendment to the constitution to be put before the people in a referendum. To pass it requires a double majority – meaning the consent of the majority of the people and a majority of the cantons. The system means the government sometimes has a hard time passing legislation, such as the failure at referendum of a recent major tax reform.


10. Members of the public can launch a referendum - Any Swiss citizen may request an optional referendum to contest a new or revised law. To do so they must gather 50,000 signatures within 100 days. If the referendum goes ahead, the new law is passed or rejected by a simple majority.

Since 1891 citizens may also demand a change to the constitution via referendum by launching a popular initiative. It must be launched by a group of at least seven citizens, and must then be backed by 100,000 signatures within 18 months to push it to a referendum. A double majority of the people and the cantons is required for it to pass.

Examples of popular initiatives that have somewhat controversially succeeded include the 2009 initiative to ban minarets and the 2014 anti-mass immigration initiative.

But statistically they are likely to fail. Between 1891 and 2016 some 209 popular initiatives were voted on but only 22 were accepted.

https://www.thelocal.ch/20170403/ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-swiss-political-system

Nachtengel
Friday, September 29th, 2017, 04:04 PM
The US has overtaken Switzerland as the world’s richest country in terms of wealth per household, according to a study by financial services provider Allianz.

The eighth edition of its Global Wealth Report, released on Wednesday, studied the asset and debt situation of households in more than 50 countries during 2016.

Traditionally top of the global list, Switzerland was bumped into second place by the US in the report’s ranking of net per capita financial assets.

Switzerland’s net per capita financial assets rose by 2.7 percent in 2016 to 175,720 euros, while the US saw growth of 5.8 percent to take it to 177,210 euros.

Allianz acknowledged in a press release that the America’s lead was “razor-thin”, adding that “some of the credit goes to a stronger dollar”.

Japan retained its third position, with Scandinavian and Asian countries dominating the top 20.

The next richest European country after Switzerland was Sweden, on 95,050 euros net per capita

Switzerland did retain top position globally in the list of gross per capita financial assets.

However it also topped the debt table for western Europe with a figure of 93,120 euros per capita, far ahead of the next most indebted European country, Norway, on 69,560 euros per capita.

Worldwide, gross financial assets grew by 7.1 percent to a new record high of 170 trillion euros said Allianz.

Global household debt rose by 5.5 percent in 2016, the highest increase since 2007, though the picture varied widely between regions.

Despite the steep rise in debt, net financial assets (gross assets minus debt) rose to a new high of 128.5 trillion euros globally, a 7.6 percent increase, well above the previous year’s growth.https://www.thelocal.ch/20170927/report-switzerland-is-no-longer-worlds-richest-country

Nachtengel
Saturday, November 11th, 2017, 09:53 PM
Switzerland is in a unique position in Europe. It is landlocked and borders three potential big players in an all-out war. Besides its neutrality, which would by no means guarantee protection from an invasion (e.g., Netherlands in WW2), there are many practical reasons why this small country can offer shelter and safety from an armed conflict even if the country were to be invaded.

It has a small but highly trained military

The Swiss army is made up of 21,000 active personnel and another 150,000 in reserve. National service is mandatory for every able-bodied male citizen, making just about every man in the country having a basic level of combat training and the ability to use a firearm. At age 35 you become part of the reserve and the government issued assault rifle is given to you. The idea behind your assault rifle being so readily accessible is for the scenario where in the event of war each civilian becomes a soldier almost immediately, making mobilisation very fast and efficient.

The Stgw 57. Although no longer in production or used by the army this assault rifle is widely owned privately.

An armed population

Gun ownership is extremely high. Unlike most other countries in Europe, the Swiss government encourages an armed populous and requires active personnel to store their assault rifle at home and, up until 2008, even store live ammunition. Over 600,000 citizens belong to shooting clubs, including children.

The population of Switzerland stands at around 8.2 million, of this 2.7 million are male aged between 15 and 64. With 3.4 million guns this makes for an impressive force for an invading army to face.

However, with globalism and the cancer that it is spreading to all corners of the planet, gun rights are being eroded and limitations are slowly being implemented. In just 20 years, the militia has shrunk from 600,000 to less than 200,000. Every time there is a shooting, the subject resurfaces and there is a knee-jerk reaction of some who want a total gun ban. With guns so deep rooted into Swiss culture, every referendum so far has failed, but small changes have been made. This being said, crime is very low and the high number of guns does not correlate with the number of homicides, as the left loves to claim.

Natural borders

Geography

The entire southern border is made up of the Alpine mountain range, with most of the highest peaks concentrated in this region and forming the natural divide between Switzerland and Italy. An invading army would simply not be able to enter through this formidable obstacle with heavily armed defenders on every cliff edge.

Yes, Napoleon marched his Grand armee up and through the St Bernard pass but there was no opposition to hamper his progress.

The Northwestern border is also protected by mountains, much smaller but still a logistical headache for an invader. Along the North and East, you have the Rhine river and lake Constance, so this leaves very few flat entry points. The only realistic routes are in and around Geneva and Basal, but even these are quite narrow and would bottleneck the invaders. Monumental efforts would be needed to either navigate through mountain passes or cross large rivers and lakes.

Disguised bunkers like this are dotted all across the mountains
Eventually, a well-equipped and determined army would probably breach the border in combination of full frontal attacks in the urban areas mentioned above and amphibious assaults across the Rhine. This would only be the start however as Swiss militia and regulars retreat into their natural defenses, trying to flush them out will be nearly impossible short of dropping nuclear weapons.

This would eventually descend into guerrilla warfare which could last for years. It is unlikely that the occupiers could be pushed out and defeated without some kind of foreign intervention depending on the belligerents involved. For example, Italy and Austria would not stand a chance of even invading in the first place due to the Alps. France and Germany would also have a hard time but would probably be able to invade and hold at least part of the country.

Individual nations invading is very unlikely, though the EU could turn tyrannical and mount an invasion. Russia would be a distant second and I don’t see any other foreign powers capable of reaching Switzerland to invade.

A well-built fallout infrastructure

There are enough nuclear fallout bunkers to shelter the entire population. Regulations since 1963 made it compulsory for every new building to have such shelters

If Switzerland is left alone and the war takes place just outside its borders but involves nuclear weapons, the large mountains will offer good protection from such strikes. Large cities are the primary targets of nuclear attacks, so if we look at which cities are the closest to Switzerland, this can help to work out where the safest place would be.

If we assume the worst case scenario and a 50 megaton warhead is dropped, Paris, Berlin, and London are all far enough away to escape the blast and even the thermal radiation. Therefore the safest places are the towns and villages directly behind mountains deep within the Alpine regions away from the borders, mainly the South and Central parts.


Conclusion

Entering Switzerland now is very easy since it is a part of Schengen and one can literally walk across the border with seldom checks at crossing points that are actually manned. For those who think all-out war is just not going to happen, don’t be surprised when it does, especially with the polarisation we’re currently seeing. At best there will be armed insurrections across Europe, which will be mostly isolated but numerous and could easily escalate. Worst case is of nuclear bombs leveling the entire continent. Either way I predict most survivors will find themselves in Switzerland.http://www.returnofkings.com/135035/switzerland-will-never-be-conquered-in-war

Ahnenerbe
Sunday, November 12th, 2017, 04:08 AM
It sounds all good on paper. In reality no one is less warlike than the Swiss. They value their personal little comfort and safety above everything else, so very few would actually ever use their weapons.

(A few times when I've been trying to access Swiss websites I was blocked because I had a "foreign" IP. Many of their sites literally block IPs that are not Swiss. I was told this was for "security reasons". This is how scared those people are.)

Also obviously the most likely enemy are the Moslems that will fight from inside the country (not trying to "invade" through mountain passes and taking over bunkers).

There will be no formal "declaration of war" with the Moslems, they will simply take over whole areas through colonization and terror, just like in France, all with the complicity of the police and army, who are always willing give up things in order to avoid open conflict. Whites are coward (https://forums.skadi.info/showthread.php?t=11457)s. No one moves a finger unless there is "an order from above" which of course will never come.

Just look how in Bremen and Hannover how a few thousands organized Hajis are literally terrorizing the police, the judges (https://forums.skadi.info/showthread.php?t=153323), etc. This is how it's going to unfold everywhere.