So, while I was writing my first diary on how to undo the damage caused by Reagan, you can read it here, I was looking up references to add for the outside-the-box thinking employed by other countries and realized I could find no mention on Daily Kos for this. I then went through all the mainstream media sites and again, I could find no mention of this extraordinary event! Surely, there must be something wrong here. Then, I began to read deeper into the story and found out what was wrong with it. Let's explore the story of the peaceful revolution of Iceland. Around 2008 is when the banks were suffering their financial turmoil and how banks all over the world were getting massive bailouts from governments. As we saw in America, the banks got propped up, the people took to the streets in protest over what the banks had done and they got bailed out. However, no one got arrested, no one was forced to resign, and no government leaders certainly resigned or stepped down. Instead, what we got was a "Well, everyone was equally to blame for this." As of 2010, the US had lent, spent, or guaranteed $12.8 trillion so our society would not collapse. Yes, that's trillion with a T. You can find the source here. Yet, we still see banks being "too big to fail" and CEOs still getting ridiculously large bonuses. How did Iceland do it different? Look below the orange squiggle.
In 2008, Iceland's main bank is nationalized and as a result, the currency of Iceland goes belly-up and their stock market crashes. The entire country becomes bankrupt. So, the citizens did what we did and took to the streets in protest. They were strong enough that their Prime Minister and their entire government resigned and they were able to force new elections. Well, once the new elections are held, one of the acts of their Parliament is to pass an act to pay back 3,500 million Euros, borrowed from Holland and Great Britain, paid back by the people of Iceland monthly over the next 15 years, with an interest rate of5.5%. When that happened here and President Obama announced we had to bail out the banks, we said okay and did it. Not Iceland. In 2010, they took to the streets again. They demanded a referendum on this matter. The President of Iceland refuses and allows a popular vote on the matter, by the people. In March, the referendum and denial of payment on the debt is approved by the people with a vote of 93%. After that, government official launch investigations into those who were responsible for the crisis. Soon after that, bankers and high-level executives begin to get arrested all over Iceland. There are now over 200 people arrested for their part in the financial recession in Iceland. They begin to work on a new constitution to avoid being entrapped by debt-based currency foreign loans ever again. They begin to write the first ever anti-corruption laws into the constitution to prevent this from ever happening again. The only qualifications to help write the constitution are that you must be an adult, no political affiliation, and the support of 30 people. The reason this wasn't shown on the news or discussed anywhere in the United States?
It all happened peacefully.
Can you imagine if people here started getting ideas? Imagine if a million people just camped out in front of the Reflecting Pool or the White House or Congress and just protested until they were forced to resign! It was all peaceful too, so there was no way they could use force. They brought out the police and they started singing and locked arms, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. Think of the ways we could use that force for good. Corporation-owned mainstream media doesn't want the people to get ideas about their own government, so they simply decided to not mention it. At all. That's a scary thought, right? Food for thought.
Now, as mentioned by johnny wurster, there have been several diaries on this that I apparently missed. I promise, I looked through the tags but found nothing, so I don't know what happened, so I will add the correct information and you can take it as it is. Credit goes to Rei for the information on the Iceland situation.
Going from her diary in 2011, The Icelandic Banking Crisis Was Not How You Portray It, she states that contrary to the media belief, the situation in Iceland was that they were not protesting against the banks being bailed out but against the government being complicit in the crisis, as well as insufficient punishment to those responsible for creating the crisis. Iceland did allow their banks to fail, but only partially. They contributed large amounts of money so the collapse wouldn't be as hard on their citizens.
Now, she did update the situation in September of this year with a new diary on the state of Icelandic affairs, A Message From The Last Prime Minister Of Iceland, in which she details what has happened since then. Sadly, the progress made by the Constitutional Committee was stifled by the Icelandic Supreme Court and interest groups and fishing magnates prevented the changes promised by the new ruling party. So, what happened? Same thing that happens in America. That party was blamed for everything and a new party was ushered in whose primary goals seem to be imposing austerity on the backs of the welfare class while relieving 20 billion in Kronur of taxes from the wealthy. So, sadly, the lesson appears to be, the more things change, the more things stay the same. There is still hope, though. If they don't relieve the household debt of Iceland's families, they are finished. Somehow, I don't see them relieving debt by screwing over the poor. It's a lesson the world still hasn't learned. You can't enforce austerity. It does not work. My apologies to Rei for stealing her thunder and my thanks to johnny wurster for his education.
6:16 PM PT: Now, I did want to add an update here for those who messaged me, asking how this differed from Rei's diary. Her diary was a report on the situation and mine was a lesson on what we could take from the situation and hope to take those ideas and maybe give someone the courage to apply that to our own country here in America. While the results may not have been all that she wanted, the beginning was a lesson in true democracy for all countries and people who aspire to it. They can see that it can be done with peace and needs no violence to be accomplished. This is a lofty and laudable goal that should be posted across 1,000 diaries.