No news from Iceland… why?
How come we hear everything that happens in Egypt but no news about what’s happening in Iceland:
In Iceland, the people has made the government resign, the primary banks have been nationalized, it was decided to not pay the debt that these created with Great Britain and Holland due to their bad financial politics and a public assembly has been created to rewrite the constitution.
And all of this in a peaceful way.
A whole revolution against the powers that have created the current crisis. This is why there hasn’t been any publicity during the last two years: What would happen if the rest of the EU citizens took this as an example? What would happen if the US citizens took this as an example.
This is a summary of the facts:
- 2008, The main bank of the country is nationalized.
- The Krona, the currency of Iceland devaluates and the stock market stops.
- The country is in bankruptcy 2008.
- The citizens protest in front of parliament and manage to get new elections that make the resignation of the prime minister and his whole government.
- The country is in bad economic situation.
- A law proposes paying back the debt to Great Britain and Holland through the payment of 3,500 million euros, which will be paid by the people of Iceland monthly during the next 15 years, with a 5.5% interest.
- 2010, the people go out in the streets and demand a referendum. In January 2010, the president denies the approval and announces a popular meeting.
- In March the referendum and the denial of payment is voted in by 93%.
- Meanwhile the government has initiated an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the crisis, and many high level executives and bankers are arrested. The Interpol dictates an order that make all the implicated parties leave the country.
- In this crisis an assembly is elected to rewrite a new Constitution which can include the lessons learned from this, and which will substitute the current one (a copy of the Danish Constitution).
- 25 citizens are chosen, with no political affiliation, out of the 522 candidates. For candidacy all that was needed was to be an adult and have the support of 30 people. The constitutional assembly starts in February of 2011 to present the ‘carta magna’ from the recommendations given by the different assemblies happening throughout the country. It must be approved by the current Parliament and by the one constituted through the next legislative elections.
So in summary of the Icelandic revolution:
- resignation of the whole government
- nationalization of the bank
- referendum so that the people can decide over the economic decisions
- incarcerating the responsible parties
- rewriting of the constitution by its people
Have we been informed of this through the media?
Has any political program in radio or TV commented on this?
The Icelandic people have been able to show that there is a way to beat the system and has given a democracy lesson to the world.
This looks too good to be true
This actually happened
And all you heard about was a volcano.
Stories of peaceful revolution are dangerous to the powers that be. Riots and violent revolution make for good drama, and let people feel good about “democracy spreading”, without threatening those in power, cause they can reset assured that the people aren’t (yet) sufficiently downtrodden (in the majority) to follow suit.
Iceland has an incredibly small population, making a public assembly more practical and violent revolution less so. If St. Louis was autonomous and most of the population agreed that the mayor, city councilmen, and financial oligarchs all had to go, I’m pretty sure they could make that happen on their own without much violence. Any other community with a more sizeable population and this becomes more difficult.
As for threatening those in power, I’m a bit flummoxed as to how riots do not do that. They effectively eliminate commerce and power relations from a space and allow nothing to go on as usual. It is the voice of the oppressed who have no feasible channel to political power and it most certainly is the last thing any member of the elite wants. And when traditional authority has deteriorated, it puts the power into the hands of the people. They have the power to stop or continue rioting, to appropriate the space they’ve taken for the use of all. Meanwhile the result of the Iceland revolution was a transfer of political power and nationalization of the bank. No critical revolution in the means of production or economic power.
Props to the people of Iceland, but not everyone has the privilege to mimic them. Historical context. The videos of Iceland I saw, cops ain’t beating people down with truncheons for assembling. There is no history of fascism and extreme hatred for the state in Iceland, unlike Greece, Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy, etc. Also, something to keep in mind, especially when it comes to austerity politics: there is no one who needs convincing in Greece, everyone is in revolt. So there goes the “majority won’t riot” argument. They already are.