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These Descendants of Vikings, Innovating Democracy and the Internet

By       Message Marianne Hoynes     Permalink
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(Article changed on April 18, 2013 at 10:41)

The American spirit is alive and well. It is no longer living in the USA; it decided to emigrate due to political persecution, and seek safe haven in Iceland. It is not often in our current world that we see the little guy winning against big Banksters and governmental corruption, but there is a battle for independence waging now, and it is happening with these descendants of Vikings- the Icelanders!

In 2008, Iceland had the third largest banking and economic crash in recorded history. They responded by using the internet to create a new constitution, written by the people and for the people, reinventing the definition of self governance. All of this happened under a cloak of media secrecy in this part of the world. We would not want to give Americans any ideas, after all, about fighting for freedom from tyranny and taxation without representation.

Now Iceland is in a real fight for freedom. Although they are considered a European recovery success story, all is not well. This story is like a socio political fairy tale, with villains and true heroes, with the biggest heroes being the Icelandic general population. But first, a bit of history.

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Iceland is a small European country that used to be part of Denmark; an island in the north Atlantic, somewhere between Europe and the Americas. It has a population of about 320,000 people, most of them living around the capital city of Reykjavik. They speak Icelandic, but also English, German and other Nordic languages.

Like the rest of the world, financial deregulation and bad banking practices led to the collapse of the stock market and the largest banks in Iceland. People's savings and pensions were completely wiped out, and worst of all, they had no idea it was coming.

We have been watching countries all over the world in financial free fall. In the US, the taxpayers bailed out the banks. Some Americans protested with an uprising of the Occupy Movement which was quickly squashed with organized governmental brutality, and all of the protesters were declared terrorists by the US FBI.

The Greek economy has collapsed and there is rioting, as those beautiful azure skies this past winter were filled with smoke at night, from people having to burn their own furniture in order to keep warm.

Spain is in trouble with 60% unemployment among Spanish youth; with a moratorium on evictions because the suicide rate jumped to an alarming statistic, as people were getting booted from their homes for not being able to pay the rent and then killing themselves.

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In October of 2008 the Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde had to explain to his people that the entire economy had collapsed. The people were in total shock, as Iceland had been enjoying years of prosperity.

As Ian Welsh from Firedoglake reports, "Iceland went down in a particularly ugly fashion. Gordon Brown, the UK's fantastically unpopular Prime Minister, said that Icelandic banks had threatened to not honor obligations to British account holders, so he declared Iceland a terrorist country and seized the banks assets. This caused the banks to go under and the Icelandic economy to implode to the extent that if Russia hadn't sent them billions of dollars, they would have literally starved, since they need to import food." With Iceland being declared a terrorist state, many companies that Iceland relied upon for sustainability, were legally no longer able to do business with them.

The Prime Minister gave an emotional speech during this time, saying, "It is at such times that the Icelandic nation will show what stuff it is made of -- its fortitude and prudence in the face of these disasters inspires admiration everywhere. We may for a time be bloodied, but we are unbowed. The problem which faced the Icelandic Government when this chain of events was unleashed was more serious than the problem facing other governments, because of how large the Icelandic banking system was in proportion to the economy. It was, therefore, clear that it was neither sensible nor feasible for the Icelandic state to shoulder the burdens of the entire banking system."

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