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.    

February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail