Apr 25 2009

‘Green’ Deception Flops – A Statement from Saving Iceland Regarding Skyr Splashings of Election Offices

Olafur Pall Sigurdsson

Saving Iceland applauds the symbolic hits that the three pro-heavy industry political parties were dealt in the form of liberal splashes of green skyr (traditional Icelandic dairy product) on Monday.

According to Saving Iceland’s sources, three different groups, not just one, like the corporate media have claimed, did these actions almost simultaneously. Saving Iceland has also been informed that the activists were all Icelandic. It appears that this is a powerful group of activists, fighting the heavy industrialization of Iceland. Saving Iceland declares full support with the group.

The forces that stand behind Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (Conservatives), Framsóknarflokkurinn (Right-wing opportunists) and Samfylkingin (New Labour equivalents), are guilty of what is tantamount to high treason with their heavy industry policy. Judging from their election propaganda, there is no sign that the parties have been willing to learn anything from the economic collapse about the expansion effects on the economy by heavy industry.

At the same time as these parties’ policy of uncontrollable greed has been pursued with the consequences of immense irreversible destruction of the country’s unique nature, this policy has just as much harmed Icelandic society as a whole.

The abuse of power, the gagings of scientists and other repression that was used in the Kárahnjúkar case has already had very serious consequences for Iceland. The same political parties that are behind the Kárahnjúkar Dams are continuing the same campaign of dirty tricks, with the aim to prevent informed democratic decision procedures when it comes to the utilization of the country’s natural resources.

The heavy industry machine is far from having been defeated. Though, Saving Iceland is well aware that our struggle through the years has had a great and permanent impact on Icelandic society. This influence has been very visible in the political reawakening that has taken place in Iceland this winter and the struggle that e.g. toppled the thoroughly corrupt government of Sjálfstæðisflokkur and Samfylking. Without the examples and the experience that Saving Iceland has planted in the Icelandic grassroots it is by no means certain that the nation would have been able to rid itself of the last government. It can be stated without doubt that Saving Iceland has nourished and inspired the grassroots struggle in Iceland.

Although it seems that a part of the Icelandic left has still not perfectly grasped the connection between the campaign against heavy industrialization and the struggle against capitalistic exploitation. Saving Iceland completely rejected environmentalism that is based on nationalism and sentimentality, and has from the beginning of the movement lead the path for the unification of anti-capitalistic struggle and environmentalism. Saving Iceland has identified the manner in which heavy industrialization is a direct attack on the ambitions of Iceland’s working classes for better realization of individual potential and living and working conditions. If some Icelandic leftists do not give up their Stalinist factory fetishism and instead unite in the effort against the heavy industry policy, they will fall into the trap of actually supporting capitalistic globalization and at the same time the neocolonialist policy of Icelandic and foreign capitalists to entangle the Icelandic people in the servitude of low paid primary production.

Saving Iceland has constantly pointed out how the one sided heavy industry policy and its unwholesome expansion effects posed a grave threat to the Icelandic economy. These warnings have turned out to be well reasoned and horribly accurate. Though the heavy industry policy alone did not cause the economical collapse, there is no doubt that it was a major part of its causes.

We always pointed out the considerable democracy deficit in Icelandic society, high corruption in the official sector, the routine professional repression that was tolerated here and how the media has completely failed its duty as a democratic watchdog. During the last years this criticism has been almost like a solitary voice in the desert. But finally after the political awakening that took place after the collapse, all the issues raised by our critique have become self evident and fundamental components in the public debate here in Iceland.

Saving Iceland pointed out the close relations between the aluminium industry and the arms industry: almost one-third of all produced aluminium is used for weapons production. Saving Iceland pointed out the human right crimes which are repeatedly committed by the same aluminium producers that now have settled in Iceland. Also the horrendous environmental and social impacts that follow the mining of bauxite all over the world and have lead to cultural genocides in India, Africa, South America and elsewhere.

Ignoring these facts about the aluminium industry is a sign of grotesquely amoral hypocrisy that is in breach of Iceland’s international obligations as well as the much declared and flaunted ‘human values’ of this society.

Trying to hide the facts about the drastic environmental and economical impacts of the heavy industry policy on the Icelandic environement and society is a ruthless game of deception that only serves to benefit few dubious corporate profiteers.

The heavy industry policy of Sjálfstæðisflokkur, Framsóknarflokkur and Samfylking is bankrupted, economically as well as ethically and intellectually. Its continuation shows these political parties’ utter lack of a sense of responsibility and credibility.

Now the heavy industry parties’ are desperately trying to hang on by their nails with their election propaganda, trying to convince voters that since the economic collapse Icelanders can not afford to protect the country’s natural resources from ruthless exploitation. This exposes their bloody minded calculations not to halt until they have managed to rob the Icelandic people of all their natural resources. This is a clear sign of how heavy industry is not concerned with the interests of either the human population, or the land. Here, only the interests of foreign corporations and their corrupt Icelandic servants are at heart. The International Monetary Fund’s strong influence on affairs in Iceland is a part of this conspiracy of a rat-race for the country’s resources.

The heavy industry parties live in the hope that people have not learned anything from the experience that the so called ‘Kárahnjúkar-problem’, the economic collapse and its repercussions have brought.

Even though Samfylkingin have been in power for the shortest time, the party holds responsibility no less than the other parties. Its so-called environmental policy for the parliamentary elections in 2007 – entitled “Beautiful Iceland” – turned out to be a base deception, hatched out with the only aim to lure the votes of environmentalists. The recent vote in parliament concerning the building of a Century owned aluminium smelter in Helguvík, displays an unbelievable subservience to foreign corporations. It shows why Samfylkingin can never be trusted when it comes to environmental issues.

The green myth about sustainability and renewable energy that the Icelandic government is trying to deceive the outside world with, is a deliberate falsification when the energy is in fact sold to highly polluting heavy industry and entails, in all instances, massive irreversible negative impact on the environment.

Saving Iceland hopes that Icelandic voters will see through these deceptions of the heavy industry parties and realize that the heavy industrialization of the island is one of the fundamental parts of the policy of blind greed that has caused the great crisis that we are experiencing now.

Natural resources retain most of their real value when environmental considerations are not systematically shunned and only paid lip service to, but never observed in deed.