25 Jan 2009
Green Left advance in Iceland
I am going to be meeting up with someone from the Iceland Green Left movement soon to learn a lot more but these are my thoughts for the moment. After free market policies have led to economic collapse, the governing Icelandic Independence Party have lost all credibility.
A bit of gentle and non violent rioting on thursday continues a tradition of oppressed people revolting against neo-liberal government and IMF rule. After the protests outside of parliament this week, the government is standing down and elections will be held in May.
The left green movement is a party committed to ecosocialism, it is made up of members of previous parties who did not wish to unify in the more centre ground Social Democrat Party.
This is the process. The process is now in Europe and while times are likely to be extremely bleak, we have the process which is may be a glimmer.
The process has of course occurred right across Latin America. Free market policies failed, popular grassroots protest (led from the barrios and by the indigenous) propelled new political parties into power, they sometimes fail or fail to go far enough but broadly socialist and ecological policies based on grassroots participation gain strength.
In Cuba of course the failure of a model closer to traditional central planning led with the end of the Soviet Union to a more ecosocialist direction.
Ecology is not a luxury, ecological policies by reducing dependency on fossil fuels and promoting grassroots power create more resilient societies.
Iceland generates electricity 100% via renewables, I guess though creating a diverse economy out of the mess that the merchant bankers have made of it is going to be tough.
Anti-NATO, anti-war, ecosocialist Iceland, will if successful provide a beacon of hope for the rest of us in Europe. Can the process spread from Iceland to Ireland, England and Wales and Scotland? We shall see, the Icelandic Left Green Movement are going to be under heavy political pressure internationally, the normal US response to dissidents who reject the America dream is invasion, economic blockade and propaganda offensive.
Will Obama talk to the Greens or seek to wipe them out? Any how, the Left Greens will need international solidarity.
Great to unify the left and greens into one movement, which at the last election gained 15% and 9 MPs and looks to do better in May.
Some tasty ecosocialist Green Left Movement policies here:
The cornerstones of it´s policy are the following:
1.Conservation of the environment
All natural resources shall be public property and utilized without reducing them and in a careful manner. So-called green economics must be used to estimate the value of untouched nature and green taxes shall be applied to encourage protection of the environment. From our point of view, it is of great importance that Icelanders can produce all the energy they need in the future. We reject further building of power plants for the use of polluting large scale industry and demand conservation of the highland. We emphasize powerful, international co-operation and conventions concerning environmental matters.
2.Equality and social justice
All individuals shall have equal rights and no discrimination can be tolerated. We demand full equality concerning education, all social service, public information and freedom of speech. It is the duty of the Icelandic state to guarantee the welfare of every citizen, especially the elderly and the disabled.
The Left-Green Movement supports the strenghtening of the rural areas of Iceland by means of good social service, education, prosperous culture and various economy. Privatization in public areas is of great danger in these matters, since it usually leads to a more expensive service in rural areas.
It is a project of high priority to guarantee that wages paid for 40 hours' work a week will be sufficient for a normal cost of living.
3. Fair and prosperous economy
The Left-Green Movement is willing to strengthen the position of wage earners to influence the development of our society. The party is willing to support the development of Icelandic economy to a state of more diversity and encourage the use of environment-friendly technology. It is necessary to prevent monopoly and centralization of capital, enable the conventional industries of Iceland to develop themselves and make use of Iceland's special status to create jobs of all kinds for all the inhabitants.
4.Independent foreign policy
The Left-Green Movement fights for an independent, Icelandic foreign policy that maintains the sovereignty of Iceland and supports all means of establishing global peace. The party opposes participation in military organizations such as NATO and WEU. It also rejects participation in the European Union and emphasizes simple, bilateral treaties concerning trade and co-operation.
The English language bit of their website is here.
William Morris was deeply into things Icelandic but that's a posting for another day.
For the time being I suppose we can all chant 'Viva Steingrímur J. Sigfússon'.
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