An unusual crowd was gathered tonight in solidarity, people from all over the world in the most unprecedented way, in one place to watch with great hope the Icelandic election of 2013 . That place was the Internet. We were gathered as one community to watch a small yet powerful new political party make history - the Pirate Party of Iceland.
Never has an international community been so interested, so vested for so many reasons in an Icelandic election. In true Pirate Party style, this group of Americans, Germans, Spaniards, British, Icelanders, Danes and others, were all gathered on various sites, glued to Twitter and Facebook, listening to RUV, the Icelandic Public Broadcast of the live election results, with Icelanders bonding with these foreigners in a communal excitement, translating for those who could not understand Icelandic, making new friends. Early on, the election began with controversy, either fact or rumor. It has been alleged that one group already complained that one of the ballot boxes was locked but not sealed, and were calling to sue the election.
Birgitta Jonsdottir has been the best ambassador that Iceland has ever had. Birgitta came into Parliament when Iceland was deeply wounded and her people suffering from the third largest economic crash in modern history. She was instrumental in not only helping to empower a new crowd sourced constitution, using the internet as it has never been used before to include the voices of ordinary citizens, the "you and me" of Iceland, who wanted to be heard in the reforming of their failed government; but was also instrumental in trailblazing a new set of laws via the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative to guarantee true transparency of government and online laws for safe freedom of expression, among many other forward thinking solutions.
Birgitta Jonsdottir did not just create revolutionary new avenues to direct democracy to begin a path of healing for this damaged Republic. Birgitta, filled with an artist's sensitivity and compassion along with a strong sense of social and political justice, blazed on the international scene by co-producing the now infamous Wikileaks footage with Julian Assange called Collateral murder, sharing much needed exposure of America's crimes against humanity in a time of war, to an American and world population that had a right to know.
We watched this social activist face the US ever increasing crackdown on truth tellers and whistleblowers, come to New York a month ago in support of the American political prisoners, Bradley Manning and Jeremy Hammond, knowing there was a possibility that she too, might be arrested. The US FBI had already invaded Iceland,in what the US itself would consider to be a terroristic attack, and stole all of her professional and personal data from her online connection with her constituents; all of her private online information which now is forever stored on the US FBI database in a gross violation that can only be categorized as a cyber invasion of Iceland by the US government. The US FBI was also caught trying to illegally sneak into Iceland for goodness knows what illegal purpose, and was summarily caught and deported before they could cause the kind of terroristic harm they seem to accuse other nationalities of, by the same actions.
This is of course, during a climate where the US government is not only waging wars all over the middle east, Africa and some places in the south pacific, slaughtering a grotesque number of innocent people and violating human rights by anyone's standards;. It is also waging a devastating war on the American people, who have completely (so far) lost control of a government that has been slowly turning a once free and prosperous nation into a third world country, by definition - a population forced, among other things, to live in fear from their own government for speaking out, fear of protesting what they feel is wrong and fear of writing anything that criticizes the American war machine for fear of life imprisonment. College students and middle class housewives alike have been named terrorists by the US FBI for daring to take part in peaceful protests with the rise of the Occupy Movement, destroyed by a collective campaign of organized violence by the US government against the people for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of assembly. Birgitta is also part of a lawsuit brought against the Barack Obama and the NDAA law he passed with congress, which for the first time in the history of our nation, allows military law to supersede civil law over the American people.
This group of internationals of all ages gathered on Facebook pages and informed via twitter about the ongoing election count. Early on, the far right parties were the predicted winners. These are the same far right conservatives that were in power, and responsible for the years leading up to the devastating collapse of the economy of Iceland, as we have witnessed all over Europe and the US. Crooked banksters, and either crooked or incompetent politicians, were to blame.
Icelanders have had to personally absorb a huge amount of debt. Their salaries have been cut in half. Their krona is all but worthless, and inflation is high. There have been drastic cuts to social services for the elderly and disabled, and families are saddled with huge mortgages which is debt that is not wiped out in a bankruptcy, and will be passed on to their children and their children's children, until it is payed.
Hours after the polls closed, we were all gathered collectively, riveted to our computers, shooting each other via networking, the latest updates as they were translated by Icelandic friends. Icelanders seemed so enthused to have such international interest in their important election. The closest analogy I could draw, is the atmosphere was like a world cup soccer match at a sports bar, where your favorite teams were playing for the world cup, giving the play by plays - it was that exciting.
The night began with the Pirate Party coming in at a strong 8.3% in Birgitta's district, which would have meant that not only Birgitta Jonsdottir won her seat, but there would have been three other Pirate Party members of Parliament with those numbers; possibilities like Jon Thor Olafsson, Bjorn Levi, Smari McCarthy and Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson. We were elated.
The idea of having a principled person in office during this world climate of corruption in all manner of politics, was giving all citizens of the world hope. Even if Birgitta was not running for US politics, knowing that a person of her caliber was in politics in any country, was giving Americans great hope for the possibility, that we too could somehow wrench our government out of the hands of the United Corporations of America, and put it back into the hands of We the People. Birgitta gives the world a glimmer of hope that shone through all of the lies and propaganda in our own countries, as our governments rob us blind and walk away unpunished from committing the most atrocious crimes that have literally driven a record number people into poverty and homelessness, all twisted in a nest of lies.
But results changed quickly. While the far right wing Progressive Party, in alliance with the Independence Party won a clear majority victory as expected, we watched with such disappointment, that precious 8.3 % of the Pirate Party success slowly go down to 4.8%, not enough for even Birgitta Jonsdottir to win her seat back in Parliament, much less seats for any of the other Pirates.
In this way the US and Iceland are not so different after all. We have the memory of a goldfish, and vote out of fear against our own self interests. Sounds familiar. Fear politics is a common ploy that is very successful in a population that has been economically harmed. It is part of the calculated effort by the Banksters, in collusion with either a corrupt or incapable government, to fleece a country. We live with this in the US, and we are seeing it all over Europe. We were hoping the Icelanders in the end would vote for their best interest, the party sure to ratify their own crowd sourced constitution that they themselves have written. The Pirate Party has such a great platform, and has such a great plan for that economy; ways to bring in international business, a new influx of foreign money to strengthen the krona; and give safe haven for cyber businesses, whistleblowers and data centers. What a great thing, to offer safe haven for freedom of information and expression, in a world where information and transparency are seen as a threat, and to speak the truth is a crime. Without the Pirate Party, and with the conservative right back in power, it seems that the people's constitution might not ever be ratified.
The Pirate Party had the ability to drag Iceland into the 21st century, and bring in an influx of new online corporations; in essence becoming the Silicon Valley in the North Atlantic Sea. They offered to decriminalize drug abuse, and treat it like a medical condition as opposed to a criminal offense, after carefully studying the Portuguese method that decreased all crime in Portugal, from violent crime to petty crime, down 50%.