Partisan #29 • October 26, 2012
There are some leftist activists who regularly talk about a “revolution” that supposedly occurred some three years ago in Iceland. The Partisan apologizes for not popularizing this great event sooner. To our defense, we are not alone to have missed it —it seems that the people from Iceland missed it themselves... So what was it then?
It is rumored that after huge demonstrations, the Icelandic banks were nationalized and the government forced to resign. We also hear that a “people’s council” has been elected to rewrite the constitution and that the country stopped paying its debt to its creditors.
We would be happy to call it a “revolution” if this were true. Speaking of “mass demonstrations,” it seems that the strongest event that happened gathered some 6,000 people, that is 2% of the whole population of the country. Only 36% of the population took part in the election of this famous Constitutional Council that is supposed to rewrite the constitution. This election was subsequently declared invalid by the courts, which have suspended the process until further notice.
After Iceland renegotiated the terms of its debt repayment (the interest rate decreased from 5% to 3%), the newly elected parliament voted to resume paying the debt. Banks have been nationalized when they were facing bankruptcy, but they were subsequently re-privatized after their debts were cleared. The only remaining aspect of the “Icelandic Revolution” is the election of a coalition of environmentalists and social democrats at the head of the government.
From a country whose population accounts for less than half that of Hamilton, the “Icelandic Revolution” is upheld by some as a model on which Greece, Spain, Egypt, and even Canada should or ought to emulate. It seems that some take their dreams for reality.
In fact, what happened in Iceland shows that a vague and spontaneous “consensus” can not lead to the overthrow of the bourgeois system. Those who swear by the “Icelandic Model” should better get out of the “Hidden World of Elves” mythology and recognize that revolutions without a revolution can’t happen.