Metropolis verslaggevers over crisis & woede

Redactie Tegenlicht ,

We schreven onder andere een verslaggeefster uit het crisis-land bij uitstek, IJsland (zie hier voor de Tegenlicht uitzending 'De IJsland ervaring' over de gevolgen van de crisis). Halla Kristín Einarsdóttir vertelt in haar mail over de ingrijpende reacteis en veranderingen sinds de crisis: de woede en het verzet, de wisseling van de regering en de zoektocht naar alternatieven. Zoals het interessante verschijnsel van de 'Þjóðfundur'; een nationale vergadering over de toekomst van IJsland die naar aanleiding van de crisis is georganiseerd. Van onderop, door verschillende 'grassroots' organisaties.

Foto: Páll Hilmarsson, via flickr.

"The collapse of the banks in Iceland in October 2008 evoked fury among the nation that actively protested for weeks and actually managed to overthrow the government responsible. After that the protests diminished even though the beating of pots and pans resurfaces every now and then when the people do not agree with the steps the new government is taking to patch things up. No need to say the blogs on the internet have also been heated. IMF is also a hated institution right now as well as the rich creators of the collapse seem to be getting off lightly.

Still the same pillars of power and the so called neo-liberal system seem to remain albeit a little shaken and the people want more changes. The new left government is not enviable. And the burden on the families is getting heavier week by week.

As I said we already had a kind of street revolution and the government was overthrown. What is happening now is that other forms of government and living are being discussed.

Tomorrow there is planned a big national meeting called ' Þjóðfundur'.

1500 people have been randomly selected from the register and invited to come and discuss the future of Iceland. This is supposed to be a cross-section of the nation, for the nation. Some representatives from the government and grassroots movements will also be there. People will be divided into work groups to discuss the ground values and form strategies as to how to build the society "we" want. It got some government funding but comes from the people themselves. It has gotten a lot of attention abroad and Reykjavik simmers in anticipation of what will come of it. The government will be expected to take notice.

But, it is tomorrow so you would have to tell me to jump in with the camera tonight, if interested, to get some shots. The rest of the story and the outcome would be possible to film later. :D The aftermath is planned the next 52 weeks and this is taken very seriously and people seem hopeful that other kinds of connections and solutions can be made within the society.

The Þjóðfundur of course is an attempt to develop an alternative to the current system and getting all kinds of people more involved. In a more peaceful and systematic way.

There is also a movement of people that have organized mortgage payment strikes in the way that one waits two weeks to pay the mortgage. That´ll show them banks!

After the "Pots and pans revolution" a new political party was formed from a group of very verbal protestants and actually called The Citizen Movement (Borgarahreyfingin). This spring they got 4 candidates elected into the Althingi. Since then the party split in two or three parts and this has not been a time of glory for the 4 candidates leaving many people disappointed as they thought they were going to be the voice of the people and change Icelandic politics. The old habits seem hard to beat.

There has also been talk of electing a kind of constituent assembly soon to change the Icelandic constitution. Only yesterday I saw  a news article about Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, our former much loved president, wanting this A.S.A.P. but our new PM says it has to wait a bit. This would be a huge thing since historically new democracies arise from new constitutions and could result in greater changes than one might think.

Good luck.

Halla"