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Todesritter
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 09:27 AM
SOURCE --> THE SOUTH AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY INFORMATION SERVICE http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1 (http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1)


Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not
By Deena Stryker

An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. *The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here's why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. *But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. *In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. *The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. *At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. *But only after much pain.

Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures. *The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros. *This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country. *As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF. *The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North. *But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. *The IMF immediately froze its loan. *But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. *Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn't stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money. *(The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)
To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution. *And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

That’s why it is not in the news anymore.

Huginn ok Muninn
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 08:11 PM
This is REAL freedom, made possible only because of a nation's homogeneous identity and not having the Jew buying every politician.

Lew Skannon
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 08:19 PM
This is REAL freedom, made possible only because of a nation's homogeneous identity and not having the Jew buying every politician.

It won't be possible in the long run. They have just put a moratorium on news from Iceland until they figure out how to destroy them. Iceland will pay dearly for their disobedience.

Wait and see..

Sigurd
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 10:54 PM
Though someone should perhaps tell Ms. Stryker that Iceland is not part of the EU, and hence has the freedom to have any type of sovereignty, especially in financial matters. Were they part of the EU, they'd probably have to ship what's left of their budget to Greece right now. ;)

Lew Skannon
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Though someone should perhaps tell Ms. Stryker that Iceland is not part of the EU, and hence has the freedom to have any type of sovereignty, especially in financial matters. Were they part of the EU, they'd probably have to ship what's left of their budget to Greece right now. ;)

Yes, yes.. But do you really believe all that? I mean sovereignty and freedom and such?
Do you even believe the Bundesrepublik is a country?

The Horned God
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 11:28 PM
Great find Todesritter. I must admit I'd almost forgotten about our Nordic neighbour in the North Atlantic (hows that for alliteration?).

I'll certainly be watching the developments in Iceland with mounting interest from now on.

Sigurd
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 11:35 PM
Yes, yes.. But do you really believe all that? I mean sovereignty and freedom and such?

I do believe in the sovereignty of Germanic peoples, whether in communion or by their own right; and furthermore in sovereignty and freedom of Germanics over their own life where such is not detrimental to the greater good of the nation and thus seems prudent.

I have more of a Platonic than a Machiavellian approach to leadership and nationhood, as you can see per my postbit. So yes, I mean sovereignty and freedom when I say it. Perhaps not 100% what you may understand by the term, but still I subscribe to the idea that Germanics shall feel sovereign and free once more. :)

This applies doubly in regards to the fetters in which we are bound at this point in time. These shackles need to be removed.


Do you even believe the Bundesrepublik is a country?

That has nothing to do with the topic at hand, and will thus not be commented upon.

Mvix
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 11:51 PM
Refusing to pay other peoples debts is the right thing to do but people here aren't happy with the government though. The government has decided to tax our way out of the recession.
Unemployment ratings are low here but that's on one hand because many people have fled the country to seek employment in Norway and Denmark and on the other hand because Iceland had an independent currency that dropped in value.

People aren't happy with the government but they don't want elections because the only thing that can come instead is the old government. The politics are on a low level here. The government and the opposition can't agree on anything they're just against what the other party says just because they said it.

And we're not in the European union.

The Horned God
Thursday, October 20th, 2011, 11:56 PM
Mvix, what's the day to day situation like in Iceland atm, has their been any increase in economic hardship?

Have food and fuel prices been affected? What about the exchange rate? Are foreign goods more expensive now?

OnePercent
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 03:15 AM
In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. *The IMF immediately froze its loan. *But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. *Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

This is exactly how the US should have reacted back in 2008 when the housing bubble finally burst. They should have let the banks fail and taken the bankers into custody for defrauding the investors. There may have been some immediate pain, but in the long run the country would have come out better in the end. The idea that the public should be forced to pay for the criminal activities of the banking elite is absurd, all it does is prolong the agony.

Huginn ok Muninn
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 05:30 AM
This is exactly how the US should have reacted back in 2008 when the housing bubble finally burst. They should have let the banks fail and taken the bankers into custody for defrauding the investors. There may have been some immediate pain, but in the long run the country would have come out better in the end. The idea that the public should be forced to pay for the criminal activities of the banking elite is absurd, all it does is prolong the agony.

The difference is.. WE WERE NOT ASKED! People did the only thing they could do and called their representatives with such an angry furor that many in congress didn't dare vote for the bail out, despite veiled threats from the "elite." The senate had no qualms about ignoring the public, though. They voted for the bailout 75-25 and the house was eventually forced to go along. Why? You figure it out..

v4kZd4Roies

The legislature doesn't work for you.. it works for the Rothschilds and their banks, and they voted to enslave all Americans in the name of those "elites."

velvet
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 12:47 PM
The difference is.. WE WERE NOT ASKED!

Icelanders were not asked either, they protested the plans to make them pay though and put pressure on the politicians so long until they had no other choice than to follow the will of the people. This really is the difference.

OF COURSE "the elites" wont ask anyone, but obviously, it is possible to say no and stop nonetheless. This is the lesson we should learn. We need to learn to say stop to what is done to us by our politicians and elites and threaten them physically if needed to serve us and not the banks.

Southern Europe will learn that lesson sooner than we do. They are already on the streets, while we still discuss whether that fits with our self-proclaimed law-abiding attitude, whether that comes from the "right" people (instead of simply using the dynamics presented to us on a silver plate) and what not. There's no point in whining over that we're not asked. It's especially funny from Americans who insist on their right to bear weapons to defend themselves against an oppressive government. We in Europe dont have that right, yet Iceland defended itself nonetheless and the Greek will defend themselves and Portugal and Spain will too. While we whine about that we've not been asked? This is the excuse?



It won't be possible in the long run. They have just put a moratorium on news from Iceland until they figure out how to destroy them. Iceland will pay dearly for their disobedience.

Wait and see..

When the banks win, Iceland will indeed pay dearly. The question is, why do we feel so powerless (Iceland stood against serious threats by Britain and Netherlands) that we cannot support them? By going onto the streets and forcing our countries out of the international banking terror, doing the same in every of our countries too? We are missing that chance that is dubbed the Euro-crisis right now and the already large scale taking place protests against the banks' power, I think. Why are we not on the streets and take over that movement?

Iceland is proof that it can work, even today, and when we manage a halfway concerted effort into the same direction in many countries, there is nothing the banks, NATO or anyone can do about it. Leaving Iceland alone and wait and see what will happen to them when we dont stand up to support them (and our own nation's souvereignity) is just another defeat of ourselves by letting pass chances unused.



There's no mistake that there would be a time of pain and hardship resulting from an opt-out and the crash of the system on which the world runs for decades. But it is the only way out of it and into freedom and souvereignity again, and this is worth the troubles!

Sigyn
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 01:33 PM
I agree with velvet here.

The difference between Iceland and Greece/Ireland/Spain/Italy is that the former country was never in the EU, and were more "free" to act radically and give the middle finger to the banks. The latter countries are all stuck in the Eurozone, and have the option of asking for more bail-outs and maintaining their own corrupt systems that should have collapsed long ago.

And it's unlikely that the EU will even let these countries go, since the EU is run by those same rich bankers. They don't care if the German taxpayers are forced to pay for the collapsing economies in other debt-enslaved nations. So, as you said, the only way out is if the people riot and protest enough to force the governments to listen.


When the banks win, Iceland will indeed pay dearly. The question is, why do we feel so powerless (Iceland stood against serious threats by Britain and Netherlands) that we cannot support them? By going onto the streets and forcing our countries out of the international banking terror, doing the same in every of our countries too?
I wish we could do this. Unfortunately, it looks right now as if Iceland is on their own. But I totally have sympathy for the Icelandic people and what they're doing.

Patrioten
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 02:47 PM
Refusing to pay other peoples debts is the right thing to do but people here aren't happy with the government though. The government has decided to tax our way out of the recession.
Unemployment ratings are low here but that's on one hand because many people have fled the country to seek employment in Norway and Denmark and on the other hand because Iceland had an independent currency that dropped in value.

People aren't happy with the government but they don't want elections because the only thing that can come instead is the old government. The politics are on a low level here. The government and the opposition can't agree on anything they're just against what the other party says just because they said it.

And we're not in the European union.That's a major problem in these times of crisis, even if the alternative would have been much worse, the chosen option still comes with a great deal of pain and uncertainty. Achieving a common understanding about the need to endure these hardships is a difficult task. Politics is usually about promosing improvements, but this is crisis management mode where the goal is simply to handle an inevitable downturn and ride out the storm as best as possible.

Here is where a foundation of nationalism really comes in handy. If our politicians would look out for the interests of the nation and its people on a regular basis, and work for us and not against us, I think it would be much easier to rally support for staying the course, even if it is painful, during tough economic times. You can't expect this level of coming together if the government normally engages in an all out war against its own people in pursuing ideological projects hostile to the nation, the loyalty must be deserved prior to the times of trouble and prior to the hardships.

Just as a family holds together under pressure, so should a nation operate, but it can't be based on lip service from the politicians, it must be genuine, and it appears as though genuine love of country and folk is uncommon these days amongst the political classes.

Mvix
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 04:01 PM
Mvix, what's the day to day situation like in Iceland atm, has their been any increase in economic hardship?

Have food and fuel prices been affected? What about the exchange rate? Are foreign goods more expensive now?

Well mortgages and loans have gotten bigger and some have even doubled. Food is more expensive and the citizens are heavily taxed.

To combat the lack of revenue because of decreased sales of fuel the government has decided to tax it more heavily (wonder why sales have gone down:D).

One of the largest opposition group against the EU here are our farmers and the agricultural sector. If we join the EU foods will be cheaper but it will probably be a death blow to them.

----------------------------------------------------
The government
The Icelandic government consists of a coalition between two parties VG (vinstri-gręnir) and SF (samflykingin). These parties are the left block. In the last elections SF got 28,9% of the votes and VG 21,7%. VG is an anti-EU party but SF is a pro-EU party. The coalition between the two parties has sometimes been on shaky grounds. One of SF's terms for the coalition is that Iceland will apply for the EU, VG have bowed to these terms to be able to be in power. This has of course displeased many of their voters.

Žoreišar
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 04:21 PM
VG is an anti-EU party but SF is a pro-EU party. The coalition between the two parties has sometimes been on shaky grounds. One of SF's terms for the coalition is that Iceland will apply for the EU, VG have bowed to these terms to be able to be in power. This has of course displeased many of their voters.Isn't a prospective Icelandic application to join the EU dependent on a referendum anyways?

The Horned God
Friday, October 21st, 2011, 04:28 PM
To combat the lack of revenue because of decreased sales of fuel the government has decided to tax it more heavily (wonder why sales have gone down:D).

I wonder indeed. It is of course a basic law of economics that the more something costs the less of it people tend to buy. By taxing fuel more highly the government knows people will be able to afford less of it, but at the same time it also knows that they must buy a certain amount of fuel each winter no matter what it costs, or else freeze themselves half to death. It's a harsh policy.

Feyn
Saturday, October 22nd, 2011, 11:41 PM
I like that they did the new draft for their constitution on the internet. The internet is a big chance to get people more directly involved into politics. We have a new party here called the pirate party. They have a system called liquid democracy. Basically every member of the party can take part in every decision process in the party, deciding the parties politics.
Depending on how much support your idea gets it gets more or less much considered, and in the end people can directly vote on several drafts. Important is also how much expertise you have on the subject, and not only how much you support you got. I don“t know the exact algorithm they use, but its a very good new concept that could have a great future, if used correct. Of course its still in the alpha phase, and the idea itself needs a lot more refinement, but the basic idea is brilliant. They call the system liquid democracy. Of course the politicians aren“t bound by what the base decides (that would be against german law) but if someone decides several times against the parties wishes he will have to explain himself.


As for the rest of the article, its brilliant what they did. I really hope they win that fight, and that other european countries see that as an example.


btw in the whole discussion i have trouble to understand something. Apparently ALL states (with very few exceptions like china) are highly into dept. I allways thought debtors would be the banks, but now we learned in the last 3 years they are also deeply into dept. So who are the debtors ? It cant be your average citizen, they are also deep into dept. Apparently everybody and all institutions are deep in debt, so wtf are the debtors ??? I mean somebody or some institution must be mega rich,m and everybody in indebted to them, but who is it ?

inb4 the jews ^^


@ the horned god :

afaik 98% if the icland population heat their homes through hot water springs, the pump cool water down and it comes warm up again. So they don“t need fuel to heat their homes, just to drive their cars, motor sleighs etc.