Iceland Off the Map?

Iceland Off the Map?


This is old news. Revolution is in the air and America is just catching wind. One can’t help but feel embarrassed. Since 2008, Iceland has been raising the bar for people’s sovereignty and progressive revolution. While the entire world seems to have known about this incredible story since it began, most Americans would probably have trouble placing Iceland on a map. Maybe it’s because corporate media feels that Iceland might be a bad influence on the United States of America. It couldn’t be because it’s not a juicy story. Nor could it be because it’s not relevant. For those who do not wish to grind through the tedium of politics or bureaucratic bank-talk, the story is not that complicated.

At one time Iceland enjoyed one of the most fruitful economies based on a neo-liberal system of privatized banks. Over time, in the interest of foreign investors, the banks began to behave more and more whimsically and as a result the whole country was bankrupt by 2008. The Icelandic government proposed the innocent citizens of Iceland bail out the banks over a 15 year tax plan. Does any of this sound familiar? Perhaps this story sounds suspiciously similar to the US mortgage crisis in 2007. In Iceland’s case however, there is a twist.
Icelandic citizens didn’t see why they should have to pay for the banks’ irresponsible decisions and so they protested, rioted, overthrew the government, and elected a new government. By 2012, through social media systems on the internet, the citizens of Iceland worked together to write an entirely new constitution. It was democracy at its best.

Much of this revolution had been covered by news sources internationally. America was left in the dark. This reeks of a blatant purposeful omission of international information. U.S. citizens should have been exposed to this historical information as clearly as any other world news was exposed. The Icelandic Revolution is the revolution that should have been on Wall Street when the iron was hot. Instead Americans were systematically pacified or distracted by other trends in media and foreign affairs; a disgraceful pattern for a nation founded on one of the most important revolutions in history. Maybe if the Icelandic Revolution were headlining news articles in the U.S. Americans wouldn’t have been so quick to settle.

In these times, the very idea of revolution in America seems absurd. The government is the government and the people are the people. There was a time not too long ago when the people were the government and the government was the people. It’s called a democracy. As the world turns, and the one percent grows smaller and smaller, it begins to feel more like an aristocracy.

Keep in mind that in 2010, 93 percent of Icelandic citizens voted against the repayment of the banks’ debts. The IMF denied compensation. The people of Iceland stood their ground and are in a better place because of it. Maybe Americans have bigger fish to fry at present, but just for the record, it is food for thought.

By Harry Harrison


Image courtesy of siggi mus Flickr License