Iceland

Organizing Against the Debt - Iceland's Message to Portugal

This week has witnessed two very different reactions to European debt. At one end of Europe, Iceland's voters decided once again not to accept the payment terms of their 'creditors', the British and Dutch governments, following the collapse of Icelandic banks in 2008. At the other, Portugal is being pushed down the path of shock therapy by the European Union, with the people of that country cut out of a process which will change their lives dramatically.

Why Iceland Voted ‘No” to the Diktats of the Creditor Banks

About 75% of Iceland’s voters turned out on Saturday to reject the Social Democratic-Green government’s proposal to pay $5.2 billion to the British and Dutch bank insurance agencies for the Landsbanki-Icesave collapse. Every one of Iceland’s six electoral districts voted in the “No” column – by a national margin of 60% (down from 93% in January 2010).

Icelanders Vote on Predatory Bailout: Nyet

In his April 8 article headlined, "The Economic Crisis in Iceland: 'IMF Medicine' is not the Solution," Michael Hudson asked:

"Will Iceland Vote 'No' on April 9, or commit financial suicide," their choice being:

Reject debt bondage or "subject their economy to decades of poverty, bankruptcy and emigration of their work force."

Will Iceland Vote "No" on April 9, or commit financial suicide?

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A year ago, in March 2010, Iceland's economy was so small that it did not warrant much attention when 93% of its voters rejected the Social Democratic-Green government's surrender to Gordon Brown and the Dutch, the European Union (EU) bureaucracy and IMF demands that it impose austerity as penance for believing the neoliberal fairy tales about how bank deregulation and "free markets" would make it the richest, happiest country in the world. Indeed it seemed to be, according to United Nations data.

Iceland, fight this injustice

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Saturday's referendum is a chance for Icelanders to strike at the conspiracy that leaves us all bailing out financiers

On Saturday the Icelandic people vote in a referendum on whether the Icelandic state and thus the citizens should guarantee the so-called Icesave claim. Icesave was a bank deposit account that promised market-leading interest rates. When the bank failed, the question arose if the Icelandic depositors' guarantee fund - a private institution financed by the banks - should have taxpayer backing. Instead of letting depositors lose their money or even wait for compensation from the bankruptcy estate, the governments of the UK and Netherlands (where the Icesave products where marketed) decided to reimburse depositors from their own countries. The reimbursement included the full principal, while the recklessly high-interest profits of the risk-seeking depositors were thrown in as a bonus.

Letter from Iceland on IceSave

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In yet another turn of the IceSave saga, the people of Iceland are to vote on Saturday in yet another referendum on whether to accept collective responsibility for the debts of the failed Icelandic bank IceSave. We have received a following letter from a group of Icelanders which we republish here with our comments.

Letter to Dominique Strauss-Kahn and José Manuel Barroso ahead of Iceland national referendum

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Thanks to Helga Thordardottir for sending a copy of a letter sent to Dominique Strauss-Kahn and José Manuel Barroso ahead of the national referendum in Iceland on April 9th.

Questions for the ECB ahead of the Icelandic Icesave Referendum

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A copy of the following letter has been sent by a small Icelandic group campaigning in advance of theforthcoming referendum on the terms of the Icesave deal with Britain and the Netherlands to several officials within the EU and EFTA as well as to the ministeries of Britain, Holland and Iceland to whom this case belongs. The letter has also been sent to several European newsmedia.

Reykjavik 18.03.2011

Mr Herman Van Rompuy
President of the European Council
European Council
Rue de la Loi 175
B-1048 Brussels
Belgium

Dear Mr Van Rompuy

DEBT RESTRUCTURING AND CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY IN ICELAND

The debt restructuring is the foremost issue in Iceland, with the so-called Icesave issue on the top of the agenda right now. The government has made a deal with Great Britain and Holland, called Icesave III, in which Icelandic taxpayers are supposed to pay for the irresponsible behavior of the international financial oligarchy regarding the Icesave accounts. This is a very unpopular deal and a national referendum is being called for. We hope the president answer the loud calls for this, but the parliament has already passed the deal.

Iceland can refuse debt servitude

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland's president, has created uproar with his decision to block legislation that would have repaid €3.9bn ($5.6bn) lost by British and Dutch savers in a failed Icelandic bank, triggering a referendum that the government is expected to lose. The initial response by credit rating agencies was to downgrade Icelandic bonds, as if Iceland were repudiating its debts, Argentina-style. But opponents of the bill have no intention of reneging on their legal obligations.

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