Iceland

Some notes on the present situation in Iceland - an analysis in the wake of general elections to the Althingi

The general elections to the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, took place on 29 October. They were inconlusive in that they did not produce any immediate, obvious majority that could form a government. On the other hand, they were in no way inconclusive as to the fate of the sitting government, which was made up of the two parties Framsóknarflokkurinn and Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn, The Progressive Party (a center party originally based on powerful peasant movements) and The Independence Party (a right wing party).

Iceland´s Revolution

A protest in Reykjavik in 2010. Skarphéðinn Þráinsson / Flickr

The Icelanders put the bankers in jail. The Icelanders crowdsourced a new constitution. The Icelanders refused to bail out the banks. The Icelanders held a national referendum on sovereign debt. Anyone with a mild interest in current events has come across these claims, spread for years by online memes and snappy editorials.

In reality, however, the responses to the 2008–9 Icelandic banking crash were only modestly progressive and failed to bring about any kind of shift to the left. They have also been much more contested locally than most international media accounts reflect.

Attac Iceland is greatly pleased with the results of the EFTA court concerning the Icesave dispute

Attac

Attac Iceland is greatly pleased with the results of the EFTA court concerning the Icesave dispute between Iceland on the one hand, and the European Union, United Kingdom and the Netherlands on the other. Already in 2009, there was widespread resistance in Iceland against the socialization of the losses of private banks. This resistance led to the two Icelandic national referendums on the Icesave agreements, which were both rejected.

EFTA court dismisses ’Icesave’ claims against Iceland and its people

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It is with some satisfaction that CADTM learns of the decision by the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) court to dismiss all the complaints brought by the Netherlands and the UK against Iceland in the Icesave case.

Inspired By Iceland... no, really!

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It is funny how things can turn around. For decades, Iceland languished in neoliberal hell, with signs of opposition few and far between. Meanwhile the opposition to the neoliberal order of things grew all over the world—with massive protests in Seattle, Genoa and elsewhere—and the beginnings of a world-wide anti-globalisation movement represented by the World Social Forum, first held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001. Almost nobody in Iceland did or said anything to support these powerful movements against the neoliberal order, with the exception of the brave Saving Iceland organisation.

An introduction to Einar Már Guðmundsson's new book 'Bankastræti Núll'

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High Streets and Piss Pots

Before the authorities plugged them up in 2006, there used to be underground, public toilets on the corner of Bankastræti and Lækjargata. In his most recent book, Einar Már Guðmundsson recounts how the toilets were once the hub of Reykjavík’s seedy area, where boozers and drug users mingled and where teenagers procured condoms. The area was commonly known as Bankastræti Núll (“Bankastræti Nil”) or simply Núllið (“The Nil”) as it marks the spot where Austurstræti turns into Bankastræti and a new house number count begins.

XI Disciples of Milton Friedman

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It is written somewhere that all cats aregrey in the dark, but here in Iceland, official reports are all black, no matter how bright it is outside. Alþingi’s Investigative Commission’s Report is black. The Central Bank’s Report on the status of household debt is black. And the governmentand International Monetary Fund’s Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies is also black, dark asa coal mine, and sure enough, it was drafted in April, the cruellest month.

Spurningar frá Portúgal

Eftir að hafa horft á myndirnar "Maybe I should have" og "God bless Iceland" vöknuðu ýmsar spurningar meðal portúgalskra áhorfenda sem þeir setja fram í eftirfarandi myndbandi.

Endilega svarið þessum spurningum og sendið okkur svör ykkar á attacis@gmail.com

Situation in Iceland - a report prepared for a meeting of activists and left green parties in Brussels 31. may 2011.

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Introduction

Two years ago, Iceland elected a new parliament or Alþingi, as a result of a people´s revolt. The revolt was a spontaneous democratic popular reaction to the collapse of the banks and the de facto bankruptcy of the country. At the time it seemed destined to be an isolated incident, a rare occurrence in the history of Iceland and a unique upheaval in a developed European welfare society.

Icesave

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Prior to the privatization the Icelandic state owned banks had been under heavy political influence. In fact, the entire financial system was closely regulated. Currency controls were in effect until 1992. However, with Iceland's entry into the European Economic Area (EEA) with the EU in 1994, major changes occurred. The agreement made free flow of capital was possible and Icelandic banks were able to open banks or branches of within the EEA. However, Iceland was not at all capable to deal with these major changes in regulation.

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