Mag
Articles
Is There a Revolution Brewing

Is There a Revolution Brewing

Published October 11, 2010

I spent part of the weekend with friends in a bar discussing the coming revolution, which now is again beginning to sound like a distinct possibility. At some point, this might have sounded like a boyhood dream. But like all boyhood dreams, the reality is not what one had hoped.
Last time around, January 2009, the demands were quite clear, despite the many groups and agendas involved. We wanted elections, a new government, former PM Davíð Oddsson to resign from the Central Bank and the head of the Financial Supervisory Authority to resign. This all came about, but somehow no one is quite happy with the results. Davíð Oddsson is now editor of Morgunblaðið, instead of subsiding off his considerable pension. And no one seems to like the new government very much. Where did it all go wrong?
COLD WAR POLITICS AGAIN
Part of the government’s problems lie in some of its successes. The first real left wing government in Icelandic history did not go in for radical social change. Instead, they went ahead with the IMF’s demands for severe welfare cuts and have been rebuilding the economy in the direction of its pre-boom/bust level. This has been painful but largely successful. The economy is starting to grow again and the depression has been far less severe than many dreaded. There is little doubt that Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon is very capable, which is a welcome change from the excesses of the Independence Party. All these initiatives should endear them to conservative voters, who supposedly vote with their wallets. However, to those same voters, the Left-Greens will always be a gang of communists, no matter how fiscally responsible they prove themselves to be, and the coalition Alliance Party little better.
WHY IS EVERYONE UNHAPPY?
Meanwhile, the government has managed to alienate most of the left with precisely the lack of social change that many had hoped for. Increasing GNP matters little to those on the left when there is little prospect for social justice. Many of those responsible for the collapse have had their huge debts written off, while common folks with far smaller debt face the prospect of being carried out of their houses. There has been very little restructuring of ownership of breaking up of the monopolies that led to disaster. This is probably one of the reasons why prices keep going up, even though the króna is stronger now than it has been at any time since the collapse. To make matters worse, the Social Democratic Alliance, already tarnished by its place in government along with the IP during the collapse, brazenly protected its own members from indictment by a national tribunal.
THE POINT OF THE PROTESTS
All this leads to the very Weimar-like situation of a Social-Democratic government under siege by both Left and Right. Small wonder, then, that the aim of the protests sometimes seems unclear. But the protesters still have a very good point. As the possibility for any kind of justice seems to be slipping away, the anger is not unfounded. It may even be healthier for society than complete apathy, which is likely the next stage if nothing is done.
Many people, understandably, are afraid of eviction. Others demand new elections (yearly elections were another late-Weimar staple), although it is not certain this would improve matters much. But probably everyone can agree that we really need to see those responsible for this whole mess brought to account. Without, there is really is reason to fear that all hell will break loose.



Mag
Articles
Do Winter & Summer “Freeze Together?” Weather Myth EXPOSED

Do Winter & Summer “Freeze Together?” Weather Myth EXPOSED

by

Each year in Iceland, the first Thursday after the 18th April each year is the official beginning of the summer,

Mag
Articles
Why Doesn’t Anyone Whistle To Me On The Street?

Why Doesn’t Anyone Whistle To Me On The Street?

by

Having grown up in Belgium, where you get catcalled often, I was surprised that no one whistled or looked at

Mag
Articles
A Timeline Of The PMs Offshore Company, Wintris

A Timeline Of The PMs Offshore Company, Wintris

by

The focal point of the current political scandal involving PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is an offshore company located in an

Mag
Articles
The Cold Creeps In

The Cold Creeps In

by

When it finally set in last November, Iceland was seemingly headed for another severe winter in comparison to the years

Mag
Articles
SAFETY UNLEASHED: An Idiot’s Guide To Avoiding Accidents, Mishaps, And Certain Death In Iceland

SAFETY UNLEASHED: An Idiot’s Guide To Avoiding Accidents, Mishaps, And Certain Death In Iceland

by

Iceland may be one of the safest countries in the world, but it is definitely not a safe island. Since

Mag
Articles
Islamophobia Is Here!

Islamophobia Is Here!

by

I had been waiting for it to show up in Iceland for a long time—or, more accurately, dreading the inevitability

Show Me More!