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Iceland’s Revolution Against Globalist Banksters

In News on March 10, 2013 at 3:53 AM

 

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. 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.

 

Via DailyKos

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  7. Iceland is currently applying for EU Membership but is not in the EU. It doesn’t change the thrust of your argument but a useful point to acknowledge.

  8. Pretty great! And impressive! But not a real revolution. A huge reform, yes: the consensus of a small, virtually classless insular nation (what other country could tax its entire population $130 a month across the board? That’s what Mexican Nissan workers earn in a 60 hour week) with a shared high standard of living, long accustomed to comfort. The spark of entitlement likely lit more lamps of liberty than did the spark of revolution. But entitlement is good in a context like this one: people DO deserve to live well, and this is one culture in which experience affirmed that.
    Also, a real revolution would send organizers to assist Italy, Spain and Portugal. Lets see how it could adapt to real class divisions and real poverty…What would be great, though, is an Iceland actively engaged with the global community, sharing rather than retreating: what COULD it do to help empower Haiti ?

  9. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    This empowering story has been completely ignored by the U.S. corporate media. Apparently, they don’t want us getting any similar ideas.

  10. […] Iceland is a solitary outlier, because in Iceland, they have a true Democracy (via the internet), and they peacefully overthrew their corporate banking overlords in 2011.  I haven’t yet visited Iceland, but based on my research, they’re currently the closest thing we have to a Capitalist economic society. […]

  11. Hello,

    I write you to seek your help and council.
    I need economical and jurisdictional research help. I would also like a representative of Iceland to appeal in court.

    I’ve studied economy for many years. I finished my master with a “mémoire” on the robbery of money mechanics, last summer. But this work is huge.
    Do you know a work groupe I can join?

    I’ve recently contacted my lawyer to attack the Banks in french courts. A contact of mine is already attacking the banks for crime against humanity. His plaint has just been accepted. His case would benefit from your help.
    We are putting together a work group. Would you like to join? They are creating an internet platform to do so.

    Due to insufficient research and data, I will only be attacking the Banks on a limited issue: the interest rate on the national debt.
    With more data we could attack them on the larger issue of money creation.

    To due so I need to clarify and quantify the money creation/destruction proccess. The economists lie by saying the money created is destroyed. We all know the money quantity grows by at least 10%. I need the detail of that figure by component ( salaries, stock market, off-shore escape). In addition I don’t believe the truth of this 10%. I believe the money and stock market make this figure explode ( when assets rise cotation value ).
    I also need to know precisely and by component the quantity of money destruction.
    Finally the costs of money destruction has been transferred to the citizens via the financial market. I need precise figures.

    More questions will come as I look back into my research. I took a year “retirement” to concentrate on my business.

    .I thank Iceland for the hope they give us all.

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