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
Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

by and

In Reykjavík and beyond, there are some activities that are available only in the winter season. January can be made into a lively month, with a few ideas and a bit of willpower—never before has the frozen city pond looked as inviting, or a glögg by the open fireplace seemed so tempting. The hardest part is often deciding to do something and getting going, so push yourself to get out of the house and you’ll rarely regret it. Instead of dozing the morning away, you can flick on a SAD lamp, down some lýsi, pull on some colourful clothes, and

Mag
Articles
SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

by

When I meet working psychologist and PhD student Erla Björnsdóttir, it’s already dark outside. Reykjavík’s streets are becoming treacherous as compacted snow freezes into sheets of slippery ice, and the streetlights have been lit for a couple of hours already, throughout the late afternoon. People clutch their hot drinks in the coffeehouse, and a barman lights candles on the tables. The atmosphere is tangibly hushed as the winter season hangs over the city. Around 101’s many downtown bars and cafes, sleep issues become a common topic of conversation at this time of year. Whilst some locals carry on as normal,

Mag
Articles
A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

by

Icelanders are obsessed with the weather. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever been here: the weather is no joke. If you don‘t keep a close eye on forecasts and weather-related news, you might miss out on the few good days of summer, end up stuck somewhere in a snowstorm or—on rare occasions—drive right into the latest eruption’s ash cloud. In that spirit, we present some peaks and ebbs of 2014, as it pertained to our friendly in-house meteorological expert. Now, it would be a bit extreme to say that this was a good year for Iceland

Mag
Articles
WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

by

To mark the beginning of a new year, we posed two questions to dozens of Icelanders, old and new. Representatives of every single political party, ministers, mayors and machinists alike (as per usual, the governing parties mostly ignored our queries). We asked them to tell us—in their own unique ways, from their own unique perspectives—what summed up the year 2014, and what they expected of the coming one. We asked them to answer the following: “Where are we now, at the end of 2014. Looking back, how did that journey begin, and where did it leave us?” “Furthermore: Where are

Mag
Articles
Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

by

DARK ICELAND can be a total fucker to deal with, all Northern Lights and magical elves aside. So guess what: our man Ragnar put together a bit of a “listicle” to help y’all cope. Now, go forth and cope! Try the secret menu at Bangkok Ask for the “Thai Style” menu at Thai restaurant Bangkok in Kópavogur. Asian take-out in Iceland can be a pretty dismal affair, but it’s not entirely the fault of the restaurants—as Icelanders can’t seem to see past their love of soggy deep-fried shrimp with sweet-and-sour sauce. But if you know the magic word, they’ll serve

Mag
Articles
Year In News: 2014

Year In News: 2014

by

The year 2014 was chock-full of controversies, blunders, humour, and, of course, cat stories. So brew yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable—we have a lot to go through. JANUARY The year came out of the gate running, with television personality-cum-sports announcer Björn Bragi Arnarson remarking that Iceland’s dominant performance in a handball game against Austria was “like the German Nazis in 1938. We’re slaughtering the Austrians!” All the while, Icelandic brewery Steðji put slaughtered whales to good use, crafting the novel Þorri “Whale Beer,” which contains trace amounts of whalebone meal. And, in an attempt to harness the 40%

Show Me More!