'Repression' Tag Archive

Jun 29 2010
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A Spade is a Spade, Repression is Repression


From the Court, spring 2010 Ólafur Páll Sigurdsson

Environmental network Saving Iceland declares full solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine defendants (RVK9), who face between one and sixteen years in prison for exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest against a disgraced parliament, on 8 December 2008.

These nine people have been picked out of the thousands whose protests brought down the previous government, whose corruption and ineptitude was responsible for the historical crisis Icelandic society is still being torn up by. This same government has now been confirmed by the Special Investigation Committee report (SIC – an apt acronym) as instrumental in the abuse that lead to the complete crash of the Icelandic economy; and as a major force in the severe corruption, democracy deficit and ethical crisis which have since emerged as the underlying reasons for the total failure of Icelandic democracy.

Criminalizing political opponents, even those who use non-violent civil disobedience, is an old diversion tactic used by states worldwide. This act of political repression is in glaring contradiction to the sanctimonious declarations of ‘shouldering responsibility’ and ‘taking heed of lessons’ paid by the parties responsible for the crisis. Icelanders should take seriously the systematic abuse of power which has been uncovered in the Icelandic establishment. Read More

Jan 15 2010

Green is the New Spectacle


Society of the Spectacle By Jason Slade
Originally published in the Nor easter

The Spectacle

Environmental issues can oftentimes be very complex. Some issues directly relate to climate change, and some do not. However, it is very important to connect the dots between issues because almost all environmental problems are caused, at their base, by capitalist expansion, commodification and privatization. Corporations have used the climate crisis and growing public concern about environmental issues to their advantage. They have learned to use the rhetoric of environmentalism to justify extremely oppressive projects whose sole purpose is to increase their power and to continue the cycle of production and consumption. Incredibly destructive projects, such as hydrofracture natural gas extraction in Upstate New York, are marketed as clean. This absurd spectacle must be stopped.

In Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, he writes, “The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification … The spectacle grasped in its totality is both the result and the project of the existing mode of production. It is not a supplement to the real world, an additional decoration. It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life … It is the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the world and bathes endlessly in its own glory.” And now the light of that sun is green. The green spectacle is confronting the climate crisis with hollow solutions presented to us in a pleasant, prefabricated package that can be bought if we can afford them and allow us to pollute in good conscience. In an absurd twist, these corporate false solutions cause the poor, and those who resist these schemes, to be blamed for destroying the planet. “It is not the oil companies who are to blame for climate change, but the poor who do not buy carbon offsets when they travel.” Thus, the climate crisis becomes another way to make money and increase corporate power. Read More

Aug 08 2009

The Police Roughs Up a Protester – The Media Helps Sustaining the Smear


Police Brutality Yesterday, Friday August 7th, Saving Iceland protested by the Ministry of Industry. At the same time inside the building, a financial contract was signed between the government and Norðurál/Century Aluminum, concerning the latter’s smelter in Helguvík. When the protest was about to end, the police showed up, arrested 5 individuals and aggressively roughed up one of them. Most of the media has spoken about the event but not mentioned the police brutality at all. Instead, the media has unsparingly published the police’s smear about us: that a policeman was kicked in the head and that we threatened the police with iron sticks, without any evidence showing that anything like this ever took place. Saving Iceland rejects these accusations and renounces the media’s one-sided reports.

The contract that was signed today includes state support for the aluminium smelters in the form of a tax discount that amounts to 16,2 million US dollars – two billion Icelandic krónur – and gives Norðurál/Century exemptions from paying industry fees, market fees and electricity safety fees. Special rules will also apply concerning stamp duty and planning fees, and about new taxes. The emission permits that are now valid permit a 150 thousand ton smelter in Helguvík; the Environmental Impact Assessment permits 250 thousand tons, but Century/Norðurál plans to build a 360 thousand ton smelter and today’s contract gives the company the right to do so. (1) The energy for the smelter has not been found and Svandís Svarvarsdóttir, the minister of environment has officially said that enough energy to run the smelter does not exist in the Reykjanes peninsula. (2) At the same time, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, the minister of industry, has agreed with ideas about Landsvirkjun selling energy from the planned dams in Þjórsá river to Helguvík. (3) Read More

Jan 30 2009

The Icelandic Government has Collapsed… and then what? – A Letter from Icelandic Anarchists


A fire by the parliament A letter from Icelandic anarchists who have taken part in the revolt against the recently collapsed government. The article originally appeared on Aftaka.org, an Icelandic anarchist website.

The Icelandic Government has collapsed and some people talk about a revolution. In a way it is true. Ordinary people overthrew this neoliberal government by writing articles, holding speeches, noise demonstrations, bonfires, car horns, direct action, civil disobedience and minor sabotage. A nation that before had hardly put up any resistance to abuse of power for a long time, finally stood up and said: “No thanks! No more shit!”

But what will follow? Have we reached the ultimate goal? Is the minority government of the Left Greens (Vinstri Grænir) and the Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) enough? Are we just going to settle for new elections this spring?

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Nov 22 2008

Pepperspray used at anti-police protest


The now regular Saturday protests in front of the Icelandic parliament in Reykjavik went ahead today as planned, but a follow-up demonstration outside the police headquarters ended in the police using pepperspray. During the busy parliament protests, the famous statue of Jonas Sigurdsson was dressed in women’s clothing to remind people of the role of the female half of the population and how they should take a leading role in rebuilding the Icelandic economy.
After the rally, some 200 to 300 people took part in a different protest at the main police station to demand the release of Haukur Himarsson, who had been arrested last night when police found out he was the person to fly the Bonus supermarket flag from the top of parliament two weeks ago.
After officers in full riot gear used pepper spray to try to disperse the crowds, police eventually released Hilmarsson and the crowd dissipated. It is still not known whether or not the police charged Hilmarsson before his release, however.
Hilmarsson was arrested last night after an educational research trip to the Althingi parliament house. He has a suspended 14 days remaining of an 18-day prison sentence he received in 2005 for protests against the Karahnjukar dam.

Oct 26 2008

Protestor Killed in Guinea Bauxite Mining Protest


CONAKRY, GUINEA – At least one person was killed when police in Guinea cleared protesters from a railway carrying bauxite for Russian aluminium company RUSAL, police and industry sources said on Friday the 10th of October. RUSAL, after it’s merger with Glencore, is the largest owner of Century Aluminum, which owns the Grundartangi smelter in Iceland and has been preparing to construct a new smelter at Helguvik, south of Reykjavik. The trains, which have been blocked for five days, had still not restarted, the sources added. Read More

Oct 24 2008

“Building smelters part of economic crisis,” says Björk


5_0.jpg “They are saying in the paper every day, let’s throw up these aluminium smelters because of the economic crisis. This is a bad idea because in a way building smelters is part of the economic crisis. These huge loans that companies take is too big a chunk for the Icelandic economy to pay. We are on an economic roller coaster ride right now,” said Björk in a recent interview with ITN news. Read More

Oct 13 2008

Capitalism Thrives on Inequality


By Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson, originally published in Morgunblaðið - anarko-tilt

In his article, “Is There Enough Aluminium in the World?” Jakob Björnsson, former director of energy affairs points out that “by far the biggest part of alulminium usage in the world today is in the industrial countries, where 25% of the people of the world live.” He also mentions that when China and India will have gone through proper indutrialization, 62% of humanity will live in industrial countries and the other 38% are also on their way there; that they want to enjoy the indstrialized countries’ living standards, even dream of cars and beer cans. These are very important facts.

Two things make Jakob’s article very interesting. Firstly, he says that it is a realistic oppurtunity that all human beings on the planet can reach the “qualities of life” and lifestyle that Occidentals now live with. Secondly, he states that human equalitiy is possible inside the system we live in. Read More

Aug 30 2008

Letter about Crazy Horse to Saving Iceland


Reverend Billy at SI Conference From Reverend Billy

A year ago we were with you in Iceland, the land of fire and ice and spirits and charms! This year we get news and images on the computers. Congratulations on the Century Aluminum Smelter blockade. You slowed down the output from that day, July 21, 2008. You’re saving lives! Every hour that an F-16 is not yet in the air…

Wandering your website, I remember my sermon last year. I tried to conjure the memory of Crazy Horse and bring his spirit to your struggle for Iceland. Savitri remembers the recurring phrase, “The land is innocent and powerful.” I don’t remember much of the specifics of my talk that afternoon, which was itself an on-the-spot remembering. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the river valley in our windows and simultaneously my boyhood love of the stories of Crazy Horse, from when my family lived in the Dakotas.

And so if you will read this letter, and help us bring back that day in the hotel conference room in Olfus… Writing is an act of memory and by writing this letter to you today — maybe some of your year-ago campaign, and our sermon within it, will resurface in these pages. Read More

Jul 25 2008
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Saving Iceland Invades Landsvirkjun for Alcoa’s Severe Human Rights Abuses


Við hús Friðriks Sophussonar PROTESTS AGAINST LANDSVIRKJUN’S PLANNED DAMS IN ÞJÓRSÁ RIVER AND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN LANDSVIRKJUN AND ALCOA

REYKJAVÍK  – Today 30 activists from the international campaign Saving Iceland have invaded the Landsvirkjun (national power company) building (Háaleitisbraut 68) to disrupt work. Earlier this morning Saving Iceland activists dammed the house of Landsvirkjun director Friðrik Sophusson and nailed an eviction notice to his door.

“We oppose Landsvirkjun’s intentions to build the four Þjórsá and Tungnaá dams for Rio Tinto at Straumsvik (1,2), despite the referendum. They are also negotiating to dam Skjálfandafljót and Jökuslá á Fjöllum for ALCOA’s planned Bakki smelter (3,4). This is on top of the mess they are making of Þeistareykir (5) and the deep drilling into Mount Krafla, right next to the tourist attraction. LV are doing this for a company that is a self-admitted arms dealer (6) and has been in the news again and again for it’s gross abuse of human rights. (7) This company should not be welcomed by Landsvirkjun,” says Jaap Krater from Saving Iceland.

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