Iceland’s Quiet Revolution

Iceland votes no to debt

Another media black-out exposed. The powers-that-be don’t want you to know that this is happening for fear that it might set a precedent – a situation that could bring down the global financial elite. Iceland is refusing to play ball…

From The South African Civil Society Information Service:

“Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros.  This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum…”

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Capitalism: A Hate Crime

Michael Moore

Despite being released in 2009, we’ve only just got around to watching Moore’s latest polemic (Capitalism, A Love Story), which is perhaps his most overtly political film yet. Moore is routinely criticised for over-simplifying issues, not backing up all his points with rigorous research, narcissism and plain old-fashioned partisan politics. While many of these criticisms are often true of his work, that is not why he is routinely criticised. It is because he is a genuine threat to those in power. He speaks emotionally in plain English about important issues and encourages people to stand up for themselves. This is why he receives so much flack. His latest film is hard to criticise on these grounds as it is much more thoroughly researched than previous outings and goes straight for the jugular. Capitalism itself.

There is often something rather jarring about Moore’s documentaries. Unlike much mass-media produced treatise on the structures we call society, Moore’s offerings are ribboned with emotion and dramatic protest that can sometimes seem circus-like, theatrical. ‘Capitalism, A love story’, is in some ways no exception, with Moore playing at performing a citizen’s arrest and draping police tape around major banks. But there is also a simple and hard-hitting breakdown of the facts around global financial crisis, accompanied by archive footage, and a rather predictable yet occasionally effective soundtrack. The call-to-arms here seems a lot more tangible. The disgust you are lead to feel in the plight of families evicted from their homes, at children jailed by a for-profit prison system, is counteracted by pure elation at the footage of strike action at Republic Windows and Doors, and at a community whose peaceful action supported an evicted family squatting their own home.

While I agree that Moore can be a little crass, the accusations of manipulation by the right are utterly laughable. What Moore does (and what the right fears) is to simplify and explain the means by which the super-rich are managing to routinely rob the 95% of the population with little economic power. A good analogy for the way in which the public are usually systematically obfuscated by the financial elite is the formula shown in the documentary for ‘derivatives’. The muddier the explanation for financial catastrophe, the easier it is for those in power to capitalise and exploit the rest of us for their own profit. Moore clears the waters for us, and what strikes me time and time again is how blatant the robbery of the working class has become. This so-called recession amounts to the biggest heist of public money in recorded history, and so far the thieves have gotten away with it.

One point the film makes very well is that we do not live in a democracy, and cannot while the world is still run from Wall Street. Moore talks with Democrat senators who feel that what took place was a “financial coup d’etat”, where power was irrevocably shifted from elected representatives to the CEOs of banks and other financial institutions, by the back door. This is backed up by good evidence. When our governments’ now talk about budget deficits they neglect to mention how much of OUR money they “gave” to the banks. They suggest that these current times of austerity are somehow OUR responsibility, and we must take these CUTS to our vital front line services on the chin, like good loyal citizens to the church of capitalism, and sit by and watch as our most precious institutions are dismantled in the name of efficiency, while private companies rake in the profits.

Yet again we sit in the aftermath of another depressing expose of the system that robs us of our wealth and opportunity. We write in the wake of yet more cuts to services, including proposed cuts to legal aid, a 30% cut for NHS cancer scans, 25% youth unemployment… the list is endless. It is very difficult not to get despondent in the face of all this, difficult not to either block our disgust with distraction- or even give up completely and attempt to suck at the sour teat of the system as if there is no choice or escape. But not so. A point which drove these almost invariably united authors to heated debate was the idea that there is nothing left to do in the face of all this save violent revolution, a forced seizure of what rightly belongs to the people of this planet for the benefit of all. Yet look again… all of the successful protest portrayed within this documentary was peaceful, and a good reminder of the most powerful weapon we have- the right to withhold labour. Without our continued co-operation, this parasitic system can, and WILL fail. Let us not be complacent. We have a responsibility to each other, and the more of us care to remember that, the less powerful that top 1% can be.

Micolagist & Floatfly

Who are the real thieves?

Enjoy Capitalism

The uniform condemnation of these rampages through the Shopping Malls insisted that the youth involved were criminals. But why did it happen now?

For to ignore this last essential part of the question changes what is meant into a general characterisation of those involved to being always appropriate. “They are always bad!” You can’t do that! The current situation must have precipitated it, and caused some to go and get what they seemingly couldn’t have, and would never have!

For the Youth are an unusual section of Society to be dispossessed, but that’s what they are today. And even more than that, they are also excluded from access to such things even later, for they are also being deprived of a future too! They have taken away their access to skills that was always their right, and even the chance of an education by the Higher Education fees going through the roof. And even those who have managed to get through to what they thought would be an assured future, now find themselves unemployed. And all this while the boys at Eton can still go exploring in Arctic Svalbard, while others can holiday in the Canadian Rockies, and call for tax cuts for the rich.

When you cut off all possible progress, the ideas of the lumpen proletariat (the thieves and bullies) seem the only way out.

And remember, the legal thieves who normally get away with “taking away”, do it on a vastly more massive scale. Why has no-one called the PPI scheme (Payment Protection Insurance) exactly what it was – thieving – “You pay us to protect you when in financial difficulties (and then in the fine print) and we wont do it!”

Some of the Big Banks not only caused the catastrophe of 2008, and were bailed out by US, but within a couple of years they were pulling this new scam to get something for nothing – and one particular bank had to pay 1 billion pounds back in a single year.

Meanwhile large numbers of MPs were stealing by fiddling their parliamentary expenses. And at the same time the pensioner who had saved all his life to get an income from the interest on his savings was getting 0.5%, while inflation was romping along at 4.5 %. He was getting poorer by the day and the interest would not even cover his gas bills. And if he (as he is constantly urged) were to switch his savings to shares, in the present climate, he risks losing the LOT!

Come on! Don’t let these people tell YOU how to behave!

For those who run things steal, one way or another, as their modus operandi. When you are at work and make things – who thereafter owns them, sells them and makes a profit from them? Is it YOU – the maker? You know the answer!

Just listen to the politicians talking about the riots. Ed Milliband says the same as David Cameron, who says the same as the Police Chiefs. And while these kids are rampaging (yes, KIDS!), the elderly wealthy are pressing for water cannon and rubber bullets and even the bringing of the military onto the streets.

Come on! Turn the clock back to when we fought back: when Scargill has a hero.

Remember those who run the show are all TORIES – whatever they call themselves! They were in power in the 50s, the 70s and the 80s, and precipitated riots then too.

Do you subscribe to the Big Society, where you do things for nothing, and they continue to sit on top?

Do you remember Socialism? Or have they removed your politics too?