Heroes & Villains: Early Elections - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Heroes & Villains: Early Elections

Heroes & Villains: Early Elections

Published August 26, 2016

Photos by
DV/Sigtryggur Ari

Our new hero is election season. This year we have been blessed with early elections, tentatively to be held on October 29, months ahead of the previously scheduled date in May 2017. This means that those of us who organised, demonstrated, and demanded new elections have been heard—sorta. We might not have gotten everything we wanted, but public pressure did at least get us this far. Plus, for those of us in the reporting business, we no longer have to suffer through the dreaded “cucumber season,” when news stories all but disappear for the summer, because parties are already having their primaries and have started campaigning. As such, the circus has begun, and should prove endlessly entertaining. A democratic mandate achieved, and the gap in the news filled—what a perfect candidate for our new hero.

Our new villain is also election season. Every time there’s an election, you’ll find the same group of people scolding everyone else about how this is “your one chance every four years to make a difference,” which is both condescending and untrue. First, because organised demonstrations calling for early elections shortened that waiting period, and second, because as Emma Goldman once said, “If elections changed anything they’d make them illegal.” Your “chance to make a difference” happens every single day, with opportunities for democratic participation that have little to do with casting your ballot for which personalities you want to see maintain the status quo. Elections are a sham, a distraction from actual democratic participation, serving no one but the power-hungry, and it’s for this reason that election season is our new villain.

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