FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Icelanders in Revolt, Again

by JOSE M. TIRADO

The sign was just one of many but it captured I think, the entire spirit of not only thousands of Icelanders in revolt again, but of many of us in our sad world.  “Hættið að fokka í okkur”, that is, “Stop fucking with us!”

It is entirely possible that a majority of Icelanders just might, at this point, vote against European Union membership if a yes-no vote were held today.  But they are nevertheless furious that the current government unilaterally decided to pull out of talks before a final set of proposals was finished and the results sent to the people in a referendum. Almost 82% of Icelanders according to the most recent poll on the issue have said they want to vote on the proposal rather than have the government decide to pull out of these talks. 40,000 of them, 12.5% of the entire population (the equivalent of over 40 million in the US), have signed a petition demanding such, and these numbers are growing.

In other words, the people of Iceland are once more at the edge of forcing out yet another government because it has shown its contempt for the democratic principles Icelanders still hold dear. And with all else going on in Iceland and the world, we should pause a moment to consider what this could mean.

A sense of democratic entitlement, a sense that we ought to be making decisions about our water, our wars, our future, is the essence of the current situation in Iceland. Recovering that sense in the US is essential if any headway is going to be made on the various crises faced by USAmericans. Unfortunately, this sense of being aggrieved and demanding a redress of those grievances is not limited to a Left interpretation of events:

It fuels the faux-populism of the Tea Party as well as the street-level excitement behind Kshama Sawant´s recent win. It nourishes the mixed bag of national pride and fascist resurgence, as well as the bourgeois drive to limit democracy to the well heeled in Thailand and the Ukraine. It gives courage to the street protests in Mexico and throughout Latin America, as well as providing the opening for movements on all political sides in the Middle East and North Africa. In the US, a frustrated and benumbed public already subject to headlines of constant spying, increasing loss of civil liberties, police brutality, corporate malfeasance and the insane expansion of corporate drilling into the very underground water reservoirs which we all depend upon, appears overwhelmed by the entirety of what they face. But either we conclude with some semblance of unity that we too, will no longer be ignored, and that we will re-engage our democratic responsibilities to dissent and force a dramatic change of course, or we are toast.

Stop F ing with us sign

We are witnessing levels of disgust and sullen disengagement more typically seen in exhausted totalitarian societies. We do not see on the horizon resistance and hope, the promise of a real people´s democracy (a redundancy perhaps but one we need to revive) whereby we refuse to be treated as combatants in a war between the armies of the wealthy and the rest of us. And we have to resist the urge to further divide ourselves by facile definitions of differences and seek the commonalities which, if only we support, will restore a measure of control over the structures which now overwhelmingly permeate every aspect of our lives and universally oppress us: the faceless technocratic global corporate Masters who make no pretense of requiring our consent on anything anymore.

Either we unite and begin the laborious process of disassembling the behemoth of capitalism which infects the very soul of our humanity while destroying the essence of Life itself-the trees, the oceans, the air we breathe-and instead, devise newer, more human friendly scaled enterprises of social comity, or we are lost to the dark forces of selfishness, the love of “power” and “order” and the rule by the rapacious. We must do this together as a people, as one people, “democratically” as “rule of the people” means. Our hearts have been appealed to on such issues before and we have responded. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us many times that the endless path of war glorification instead of peace edification will suck the marrow of the shaky frame of democracy we so fervently declare our love for but too readily surrender our control of. This must end, or we will be lost to the confident and regrouping forces of fascist apologists.

And, while the people in Iceland are yet again growing weary of promise after promise of change, they at least remain on a level of political empowerment which their leaders rightly fear. It is time we made our politicians dread our unity of purpose. It´s time they stopped fucking with us, as well.

José M. Tirado is a Puertorican poet and political writer living in Hafnarfjorður, Iceland, known for its elves, “hidden people” and lava fields. His articles and poetry have been featured in CounterPunch, Cyrano´s Journal, The Galway Review, Dissident Voice, Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers, North Star, Hollywood Progressive and Op-Ed News, among others. He can be reached at jm.tirado@yahoo.com.

 

José M. Tirado is a Puertorican poet, Buddhist priest and political writer living in Hafnarfjorður, Iceland, known for its elves, “hidden people” and lava fields. His articles and poetry have been featured in CounterPunch, Cyrano´s Journal, The Galway Review, Dissident Voice, La Respuesta, Op-Ed News, among others. He can be reached at tirado.jm@gmail.com.    

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail