Five Ways the US Can Have an Icelandic Revolution
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
We have to nationalize the banks. We have to get rid of the government. We need to have access to the internet seen as a human right. We need to have a new Constitution," said Birgitta Jonsdottir, founder of the Icelandic Pirate Party. Jonsdottir, a lifelong political activist and recently re-elected member of the Icelandic parliament was describing the four central demands of the new political revolution sweeping Iceland since the financial collapse. "We can create power and be the government and be the media. If Iceland can do it, you can do it."
The struggle in Iceland is ongoing, but the nation's people have achieved monumental results in a relatively short amount of time due to the nature of their movement building. They managed to arrest and jail the bankers who wrecked the economy. When the government privatized public banking institutions to their friends, essentially for free, and made the people pay for their bailouts, the people threw them out of office and refused to give the banks their money. And since Iceland only recently achieved independence from Denmark in 1944, their boilerplate constitution had never been updated. The movement in Iceland successfully used direct democracy to crowdsource a new constitution via Facebook and Twitter, and that crowdsourced constitution was widely supported by the people as the official model for a new constitution.
While Iceland's politicians have since ignored the will of the people, a budding new political force in Iceland is building a movement in parliament to change that. We can learn from Iceland and accomplish similar goals here.
1. Strive For Unity
Even though American and Icelandic cultures are different, the populism recently galvanized by Occupy can achieve the same goals that Iceland achieved if we organize around similar unifying principles. We have to first unite around class lines rather than fake ideological constructs. When we come across divisive issues like guns and abortion, we have to acknowledge that while we may have different opinions, we should instead find ways to agree on more unifying issues.
Example: Strive for unity and solidarity when coming across someone of different ideological leanings. If they say the government spends too much money, agree with them and then add that the U.S. spends way too much on maintaining an imperial military presence, and on an intrusive police and surveillance complex that only serves to violate our civil rights. If they bring up a divisive issue, tell them while you may have disagreeing opinions on that one issue, the other root causes of our problems should be addressed first and foremost. Remind them that it only serves those abusing their positions of power when the people are fighting one another instead of questioning their elected officials.
2. Turn a Few Central Demands into Goals
To achieve unity, we need to center around just a few key goals. In Iceland, the Pirate Party's demands were fourfold: nationalize the banks, take back the government, establish free speech and access to the internet as human rights, and a write new constitution. The demands should be similar here – we should nationalize the Fed, declare a constitutional convention, declare this government illegitimate and elect new representatives, and allow free access to information for everyone. These must be part of a new political platform that can unite the political left and right against the corporate and financial interests that are holding our country hostage.
Example: Keep it basic. For starters, let's agree on a constitutional convention to address the most pressing issues, like corporate special interests and banks owning our government. Let's agree on an end to the police state that has proven it's more concerned with violating civil liberties than preventing terrorism. Let's agree on an end to private banks controlling our money supply and economic policy. And surely we can agree that the big banking institutions should be broken up and banksters jailed for defrauding millions of people out of their homes and savings. Let's start there.