March 7, 2010

New Icelandic Sagas


It’s a good moment in Iceland, as voters overwhelmingly rejected the bailout assault their rogue government is trying to impose upon them.

Another implication is that an IMF-led loan is now in limbo, demonstrating that the international bailout watchdog is truly powerless when the people of the bailout recipient nation want to have nothing to do with the international rescue circuit.

The corporate NYT seems to be in some denial about this, judging by its headline “Voters in Iceland Appear to Reject Repayment Plan”. Yes, 93% against is quite an appearance.
And of course, this is no proposed “repayment” but rather a demand that Iceland’s people be stripped naked in the Icelandic wind to pay off British and Dutch governments who already bailed out their own speculators at least at par. But the NYT piece seems confused about this, and confused about itself as well. It thinks it’s an op-ed piece, evidently.

How to repay the debt, which represents more than 40 percent of Iceland’s gross domestic product, has consumed this small, isolated nation for the last year and a half, since its banks failed, its stock market crashed and its currency collapsed.

Shouldn’t that be, whether to pay off this debt, and is “the” debt their debt at all? The banksters’ debt is definitely not their debt at all.

But the vote has been overtaken by events, the government said: the deal at issue in the referendum is no longer the deal that is currently on the table in international negotiations.

Each day of delay increases Iceland’s financial burden. The second installment of a much-needed loan from the International Monetary Fund and a coalition of Nordic countries has been put off pending resolution of the dispute.

Britain has warned Iceland that it risks being an international pariah if it does not pay the money back and has threatened to stall the country’s efforts to join the European Union.

The Icesave matter has put increasing pressure on the year-old Icelandic government, a fragile coalition led by Johanna Sigurdardottir of the Social Democratic Party. On the one hand, it needs to show that it acknowledges the public’s deep bitterness; on the other, it needs to negotiate a deal quickly in order to move economic recovery along.

“We need to keep going,” Ms. Sigurdardottir said in a television interview. “We have to get an agreement.”

“It needs to negotiate a deal quickly in order to move economic recovery along.” That’s some reportage. We know that’s what the government says Iceland “needs” to do. (And “quickly” – that’s how you know you’re dealing with disaster capitalist vultures: everything always has to be so fast, always a stampede. Why does it have to be done “quickly”? I thought about it, and I can’t think of the reason. The fact is, as always they want to cut of the thought process, because anybody who thinks much about this realizes that none of these bailouts should be done at all. That they’re all great capital crimes.)
The government hastened to make clear its anti-democratic intent:

But the referendum was more symbolic than substantive, and the Icelandic government hastened to make clear that Iceland would still pay back the money, albeit on different terms from the ones rejected.

“We want to be perfectly clear that a ‘no’ vote does not mean we are refusing to pay,” Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said. “We will honor our obligations. To maintain anything else is highly dangerous for the economy of this country.”

Evidently you are wrong. You don’t seem to speak for the people, in spite of your lies to the contrary. But then, what can we expect from someone whose entire vocabulary is a compendium of criminal lies about “obligations” and what’s “highly dangerous” to the economy. What’s dangerous to the economy is to allow a criminal cabal to run it. Iceland did that for too long, and now they’re paying the price. They’ve taken some small steps to take back their country, but as these “negotiations” make clear, they still have a long way to go. They’re still saddled with the same criminals.
The banksters themselves earlier fled the country. As well they should have, given how direct some of the rage has been, with even some physical vandalism of their houses. And where are these banksters today? Conferring with their counterparts on how to ram this bailout down the Icelandic people’s throats. How to “take back” the country for themselves. They’re exactly like the monarchist conspirators against France during the early part of the Revolution. They are in fact traitors.
That’s why the French cut off the King’s head – for treason.
And that’s what the people of Iceland need to do. They should indict the gangsters for the whole litany of their crimes, starting with treason. Demand extradition. Meanwhile they should speak directly to the people of Britain and the Netherlands. They should say: “Don’t let them direct your anger against us. As we speak, our gangsters and your gangsters are conspiring against all of us. Direct your anger and your action against them. We’re taking back our country. How about you?”
(But it’s true, if you’re still brainwashed and still a slave to consumerism, then there’s no way off the debt treadmill. In that case, after this tantrum the people of Iceland will indeed have to bow and crawl and grovel in the end. The NYT and the Iceland gang will be proven right.)
But if they’re willing to grow up, to get serious, to take their lives and freedom back into their hands, perhaps the means are at hand. If Iceland rejects its debt immolation and faces consequent economic hardship, then its most pressing need will be food.
From things I’ve read over the years (during the boom), Iceland’s geothermal energy is so abundant they have a vast infrastructure of spas and heated pools. If they have enough energy for such luxury, they must have enough for necessities.
So I’d say shut down Nero’s bathhouses, take all the energy that frees up, and use it to heat greenhouses to grow crops.
I haven’t looked at the numbers, so I don’t know for sure if they could become self-sufficient in food that way, but they could take a huge step toward it, which would be a huge step toward economic self-sufficiency in general.
If they’re serious about their human freedom and their human dignity, that’s what they’d do. What could be more pressing than food security for the people? And who other than an antisocial criminal could oppose it? Any such obstruction rules himself out of the community, rules himself an outlaw.
The same food lesson of course applies far beyond Iceland. This post isn’t really even about Iceland. 


  1. I’m very interested to see how this will go down. Iceland has much more flexibility vis a vis, say, Greece.

    Were I Grand Dictator of the country I’d be happy to pay off the UK and Dutch… but only in Krona. If they don’t want Krona, fuck ’em. And I’d run the printing presses (oh wait, the politically correct term is “QE”) at full blast.

    That competitive devaluations haven’t occurred yet is shocking. I would guess within the next two or three years we’ll see more of it.

    Comment by jimmy james — March 7, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    • “Their” government, at least, is still euro-dreaming. I haven’t seen recent polls about whether the people still want to join the EU.

      But that’s why Greece hasn’t been able to devalue, because it no longer has its own currency. The same problem confronts the other PIGS.

      It sure would be funny for the people of Iceland to first bolster themselves with some new mode of exchange, and then fire up the krona presses to pay off these “debts”.

      Comment by Russ — March 7, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  2. No one needs further convincing that the New York Times stinks, or that Iceland’s government doesn’t adequately represent the people even now.

    Iceland is small, and there has already been a pots and pans revolution there, and it will continue I imagine.

    You are right that iceland has wonderful geothermal resources and already knows how to grow food in greenhouses. It’s just a matter of scaling up.

    Comment by completer — March 7, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  3. […] rather than a managerialist debate, about the direction of developed economies.   (Actually, the last I heard Iceland’s Leaders still wanted to go along with the neoliberal game plan, but the people were […]

    Pingback by Freedom, Responsibility, and Material Equality « Volatility — August 13, 2011 @ 3:25 am

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