Birgitta Jónsdòttir’s Dream for a Model Iceland
On 2 October 2013, Birgitta Jónsdòttir addressed the Althingi, Iceland’s parliament, replying to the Prime Minister’s plan for the tiny nation and the ambition to make Iceland a better nation. She lauded his ambition but decried the fact that his vision was not based in reality and lacked the tools necessary to bring his plans to fruition. With an ironic twist, she compared his ideas to a children’s story and admitted to enjoying such poetry and adventure. She also said that his scenario was better suited to The Game of Thrones, whose characters face oblivion while engaging in power struggles, not a country that is dealing with inequality and discrimination, exploitation and corruption.
Not content with pointing out the flaws in the Prime Minister’s plans, she went on to explain her own dream for Iceland: an Iceland that would become a model nation and an example for the world. As a result of the recent crisis, the roots for the new country were planted in the process to rewrite the constitution in a new and democratic way. Those, chosen by lot, to discuss the foundations of the nation and the following Constitutional Council which was open to all who wanted to lend their voices. Many of these people had to show extraordinary courage, swim against the stream of tradition and even suffered indictments and judgements from those in power.
“It is a fact that, to live in the community you dream of living in one needs to participate in creating that dream …. it is a fact that those who have changed the world have been individuals with strong sense of justice.”
She went on to point out that the authorities were deliberately working to hinder the process and that people in positions of power, who are not monitored, will do as they please. She then challenged the new assembly to listen to the will of the people and carry out the program the Pirate Party proposed. Following this, she went into the practicalities.
If Iceland wants to set up green energy data centres, they will not only have to lay new submarine cables but enact the recommendations of the IMMI (Icelandic Modern Media Initiative) relating to digital privacy and access to information.
She also introduced the concept of liquid democracy to the parliament and the Icelandic people. The Pirate Party is already running a discussion platform called Betra Island (Better Iceland) that allows citizens to debate and select topics that they want their Pirate MPs to raise in the Athingi. However, to enable full participation in their government the Icelandic folk would need a new tool, which is being build from scratch by the Pirates (Wasa2il).
Birgitta also went on to say that in the new model Iceland people would not have to queue for food, not have to fear for the right to have a roof over their head or pay for health care.
She finished with a word of advice to the people of Iceland,
“You grant the power to the authorities and if they are incapable of maintaining their promises, it is your job to ensure that promises are honoured.”
Featured image and video: CC BY-SA PPIS