Iceland: a different vision (Bill Kerr)

In a world where the internet and governments are becoming less free the Icelandic visionaries see an opportunity to promote freedom as a nation building exercise

Never waste a good crisis (advice to those in other countries)

countries need to update their outdated constitutions

be clear about what you need to do and how to do it

catch the spirit of the nation by listening to the people

radical change only happens during crisis, at other times people become too complacent

* * * *

Thanks to Bill Kerr for permission to republish this post:

Iceland: a different vision

After hearing that the Pirate Party has become the most popular political party in Iceland (one source) I’ve been searching for information which explains how this happened.

What accounts for the difference in the way Iceland is developing politically?

The video at the top of this page, “From the Hell of the Crisis to the Paradise of Journalism” (1 hour 13 minutes) provides a dramatic and informative introduction to what has been happening in Iceland since the economic crisis of 2008 to the near present.

Alternatively, the paper on this page, Beyond WikiLeaks: The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and the Creation of Free Speech Havens (pdf 24 pp), provides a written down version of similar information.

SUMMARY OF THE VIDEO:

“We were not separated from the majority of men by a boundary, but simply by another mode of vision. Our task was to represent an island in the world, a prototype perhaps, or at least a prospect of a different way of life”
– Herman Hesse. “Demian”

A particularly severe Banking crisis in 2008

Icelandic citizens in response held a weekly kitchen revolution outside parliament with clear demands (the Government, the Bankers and Monetary authorities should resign). These goals were achieved. Unlike other countries those responsible were punished.

A new government constitution was developed initially through crowd sourcing of 1000 citizens randomly (direct democracy) to develop it

The media was held complicit in not spotting the weakness of the Banks

Wikileaks helped by publishing information about corruption in those same Banks at that time

The Bank involved took legal steps to suppress that information – but this resulted in making things worse for them

In response the opportunity was taken by visionary leadership to launch a freedom of information revolution

One aim is transparent government, to move from secrecy by default to transparency by default

A large section of the video goes into detail of the FOI legislation, under nine subheadings. Also see Progress Report for detail

In a world where the internet and governments are becoming less free the Icelandic visionaries see an opportunity to promote freedom as a nation building exercise

Never waste a good crisis (advice to those in other countries)

countries need to update their outdated constitutions

be clear about what you need to do and how to do it

catch the spirit of the nation by listening to the people

radical change only happens during crisis, at other times people become too complacent

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