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SACSIS.org.za » News » The World » Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

SACSIS.org.za » News » The World » Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not
Picture credit: may15internationalorganization.blogspot An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion. As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here's why: Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution.

Islande : la “sagesse des foules” au secours de la Constitution Gudrun Petursdottir, présidente du Comité constitutionnel d’Islande, est venue sur la scène de Lift France nous présenter le projet assez étonnant de révision de la Constitution en cours en Islande. Comme tout le monde le sait, l’Islande a subi de plein fouet la crise économique de 2008. L’une des conséquences de ce séisme économique a été une profonde remise en cause du système politique traditionnel et le lancement d’un vaste processus de réécriture participative de la Constitution, qui attend aujourd’hui sa ratification par le Parlement. Image : Gudrun Petursdottir sur la scène de Lift, photographiée par Loup Cellard pour la Fing. L’Islande, nous a rappelé Gudrun Petursdottir dans sa présentation, est une république assez jeune. Elle a longtemps été sous la coupe de la couronne du Danemark avant de devenir indépendante en 1944. « Pour arriver à un changement, il fallait donc impliquer le public. » Le processus avait donc deux phases. Image : L’assemblée populaire islandaise par Agora.

Iceland's bizarre Icesave referendum | Alda Sigmundsdóttir This past weekend, the people of Iceland went to the polls in a referendum to vote on whether a deal should be passed to repay the British and Dutch governments for deposits lost in the Icesave online savings accounts when Iceland's Landsbanki collapsed. As the international media flocked to Iceland in the lead-up to the referendum, the phrase "theatre of the absurd" occurred. There seemed to be a popular misconception that the referendum was about far more serious things than it actually was – such as whether Iceland planned to repay the Icesave debt at all. In fact, Icelandic authorities had already committed to repaying the minimum deposit amount for each Icesave online account – the deal being voted on in the referendum merely concerned the terms of the repayment. However, what made the referendum – the first in the history of the Republic of Iceland – particularly bizarre was that there was already a deal on the table that was marginally better than the one being voted on.

Bill would encourage foreigners to buy U.S. homes Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles — American consumers and the federal government haven't been able to bail out the sinking U.S. real estate market. Now wealthy Chinese, Canadians and other foreign buyers could get their chance. Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States. The plan could be a boon to California, which has become a popular real estate market for foreigners, particularly those from China. Nationwide, residential sales to foreigners and recent immigrants totaled $82 billion in the 12-month period ended March 31, up from $66 billion the previous year, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. "Overall, Los Angeles is the perfect place for investors," said YanYan Zhang, an agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, who travels to China several times a year to meet potential clients. The program would come with several restrictions.

Sans nouvelles d’Islande : pourquoi ? Si quelqu’un croit qu’il n’y a pas de censure actuellement, qu’il nous dise pourquoi on a tout su au sujet de ce qui se passe en Egypte, en Syrie ou en Libye, et pourquoi les journaux n’ont absolument rien dit sur ce qui se passe en Islande ? En Islande, - le peuple a fait démissionner un gouvernement au complet, - les principales banques ont été nationalisées et il a été décidé de ne pas payer la dette contractée par ces dernières auprès de banques de Grande Bretagne et de Hollande, dette générée par leur mauvaise politique financière ; - une assemblée populaire vient d’être créée pour réécrire la Constitution. Que se passerait-il si les citoyens européens en prenaient exemple ? La situation économique désastreuse du pays persiste. - 2010 : le peuple descend à nouveau dans la rue et demande que la loi soit soumise à référendum. En janvier 2010, le Président refuse de ratifier cette loi et annonce qu’il y aura une consultation populaire. - Démission en bloc de tout un gouvernement Like this:

Eirikur Bergmann: Iceland's government is on the point of collapse as angry protesters stake out the parliament in Reykjavik Protesters gather in Reykjavik as members of parliament gathered for their first session of the new year. Photograph: Halldor Kolbeins/AFP While Barack Obama was being sworn in to office on Capitol Hill yesterday, the people of Iceland were starting the first revolution in the history of the republic. Four months after the collapse of Iceland's entire financial system, no one has accepted any responsibility. The governor of the central bank blames the risk-seeking bankers, the bankers blame the government and the prime minister attributes the whole crisis to the international credit crunch. It started in October with peaceful demonstrations. Initially the government tried to dismiss the protesters as frustrated wannabe politicians and disillusioned youngsters who did not understand the complexity of the situation. Yesterday parliament resumed for the first time after Christmas.

__________________________________________________ Islande - Réformer Aujourd'hui - L'Islande a terminé l’année 2011 avec une croissance économique de 2,1% et devrait, selon les prévisions de la Commission européenne, atteindre le taux de 2,7% en 2013 grâce principalement à la création de nouveaux emplois. L'Islande est le seul pays européen qui a rejeté par référendum de payer les dettes des banques privées, laissant s’effondrer certaines d’entre elles et jugeant de nombreux banquiers pour leurs crimes financiers mais curieusement les médias français et européens n’en parlent pas ou très peu… Il n’y a pas de censure officiellement dans les médias presse, radio ou télé mais les journalistes et experts de tous bords, si prompts à parler de ce qui se passe en Egypte, en Libye ou en Syrie, ne disent absolument rien sur ce qui se passe en Islande. En a-t-on parlé dans les nombreux débats politiques en vue de l’élection présidentielle ? A-t-on vu des images à la TV ? Bien sûr que non car les citoyens européens pourraient avoir la mauvaise idée de s'en inspirer...

Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution | World news The new constitution will include checks and responsibilities for Iceland's parliament (the althing). Photograph: Brynjar Gauti/AP It is not the way the scribes of yore would have done it but Iceland is tearing up the rulebook by drawing up its new constitution through crowdsourcing. As the country recovers from the financial crisis that saw the collapse of its banks and government, it is using social media to get its citizens to share their ideas as to what the new document should contain. "I believe this is the first time a constitution is being drafted basically on the internet," said Thorvaldur Gylfason, member of Iceland's constitutional council. "The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes … This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch." Iceland's existing constitution dates back to when it gained independence from Denmark in 1944.

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination. Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. How exactly has American society subdued young Americans? 1. Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. These are not the only aspects of our culture that are subduing young Americans and crushing their resistance to domination.

La constitution islandaise, c’est pas l’irruption La révision constitutionnelle entamée en Islande avec le concours de la population n'a pas été à la hauteur des attentes les plus enthousiastes. Mobilisation marginale, vices de forme: on est encore loin de la "démocratie de demain". Maniés avec talent, les mots peuvent donner l’illusion d’une réalité. Exploités par des experts, ils sont le moyen de faire prendre les vessies d’une démocratie qui se cherche pour les lanternes d’un processus révolutionnaire sans précédent. Ainsi, décrite comme une « e-révolution citoyenne », la révision constitutionnelle entamée il y a quelques mois en Islande avec le concours de la population de l’île a généré les descriptifs extatiques et les commentaires fébriles de nombreux médias et d’une partie de la blogosphère engagée. Un processus inédit qui pourrait préfigurer la démocratie de demain,Télérama , 23 juin 2011. Evènement peut-être plus considérable que la nuit du 4 août 1789,Parisseveille.info, décembre 2010. Une expérience… à confirmer Photos FlickR

Lessons from Iceland Image from Democracy 2.0: Iceland crowdsources new constitution June 11 2011 | ROAR Magazine In just three years, Iceland went from collapse to revolution and back to growth. Just two or three years after its economy and government collapsed, Iceland is bouncing back with remarkable strength. Now, in an historically unprecedented move, the government has decided to draft a new constitution with the online input of its citizens — essentially crowdsourcing the creation of Iceland’s real democracy. How did Iceland get from there to here? Back in 2009, months after the greatest banking collapse in economic history, the people of Iceland took to the streets en masse to denounce the reckless bankers who had caused the crisis and the clueless politicians who had allowed it to develop. Wade helps us understand what not to do. What Iceland teaches us is that it need not be that way. Further Readings

Club Kids: The Social Life of Artists on Facebook Facebook is the platform on which our generation negotiates its artists’ respective brands and the tenuous connections between them. Facebook is tactically governed by a kind of silent populism– the subtle linking of identities through ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, and brief but favorable commentary. Silence, in this case, is fitting because the formation of social ties is a gradual process on the part of the Facebook viewer, who accumulates an understanding of which artists are in lockstep with whoever else through incremental calculations based on memory, viewership, and discussion. Silent populism’s faintly projected image of communal support is solidified through one’s placement in group exhibitions. The physical display of these artists’ works next to one another is not unlike the photos of parties artists attend, strategically tagging each other and posting those images to Facebook for their online audience to digest. But what is it that we call “work?”

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