After the food shortages of last year, the riots and then the 'pots and pans' or Saucepan Revolution in January, Iceland heads to the polls this weekend. The election is a direct result of citizen protests triggered as the Icelandic economy went into melt-down.
Tomorrow's election (April 25) - is an election which, according to some, has delayed the payments from the IMF promised during the meltdown period last year. Many Icelandic bloggers have been charting, reporting and commenting on the quiet revolution that has been underway, so much so, that a list of bloggers deemed to be 'enemies of the Progressive Party was recently published by the DV newspapers. One longtime blogger, Alda, was saddened to be left off the list - she felt her place should have been assured by this post which provides insight into some of the background to the crisis through the lens of the film, Dreamland, in turn based on the book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation by Andri Snær Magnason. I would heartily recommend you read Alda's post (and her blog generally) as the story of Dreamland is one that I believe has been replicated in many places around the world - and that in the months ahead, we will see similar situations arise in many small nations.
There is daily talk of 'the recession' as if it is an amorphous doom, arriving unannounced and bringing with it these unavoidable consequences. Mainstream media makes it easy for us to believe that 'the recession' is as sudden and out of the blue as a previously unspotted asteroid. But this is not the case. The financial troubles that abound - in Iceland and elsewhere - are primarily the fruits of unethical, profit-driven, greedy sharp practice. Judgements made in the interests of the shareholder, not society. Where companies are making workers redundant, I seriously question the validity of the redundancies blamed on the 'recession', convinced as I am that many are using it as an excuse to cover up previous mismanagement of their organisations (and I would include the public sector in that as well).
I hope that after the election, the people of Iceland can begin a new era with leaders capable of rebuilding the country's economy as well as relationships within the wider global community. I hope that out of this, they are able to redefine business models that meet their needs without putting the security of their citizens at risk in the future. I suspect it will be a long road and my earnest hope is they get the support they will need. And I hope too, that some time soon, the amorphous recession will cease to be blamed by all and sundry and instead, the economic behaviours that brought us to this point in history are investigated, highlighted, outlawed and changed for the better. If not, many more Saucepan Revolutions will begin to bubble and before long they will boil over into streets worldwide.