In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

The European Revolution Begins.

Posted by seumasach on February 5, 2009

Cailean Bochanan

Glasgow, Scotland

5th February, 2009

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.”

The Tempest- William Shakespeare

A flurry of protest has broken out as the depth of the crisis becomes clear for all to see. And it can only get worse as the temple of neo-liberalism, the whole structure of the empire of fraud, begins to crumble returning to the shifting sands on which it was constructed. This is no transient economic crisis, rather it is the collapse of an illusory world of prosperity, a delusional bubble whose expansion is inversely proportional to real wealth creation. The UK , amongst the European powers, is the one which most typifies this parasitic nirvana, a nation which only a short while ago seriously thought it could count its wealth on the basis of the price of its real estate, the exploits of its city financiers and, incredibly, the strength of Sterling. But it is more widely, a ”Western” phenomena, a malaise of the peoples of Europe who have not yet, for all their culture, been able to cast off that assumption of privilege and primacy, consistent with our status as the  world’s great imperialists, and have been lured by the promise of eternal well-being, of  living life as a dream, as of by right.

This is a rude awakening, but a timely one, for we we’re sleepwalking to disaster. Suddenly, a mountain of difficulties looms before us, but they are still susceptible of solution. Politics, viewed of late as so utterly passe, such an unpardonable diversion from “getting a life’, such an insult to those who had got one and saw ahead a smooth path to fulfillment and pleasure untroubled by reality, is back with a vengeance. It has returned in its most primal form: movement on the streets. It’s basis in terms of programme or ideology is seemingly nebulous. It includes violent protest in states, like Lithuania, which until recently were still resting on the laurels of victory in the Cold War, as well as spontaneous outbreaks in the traditionally more volatile Mediteranean states like Greece. France, of course, has not disappointed with a traditional mass mobilization of public sector workers and youth. Britain has seen the return of the time-honoured unofficial strike, with, almost inevitably,  something of a wiff of anti-European chauvinism thrown in. One thing is clear: these protests are born of fear, desperation and necessity; equally, now they have begun they will not end any time soon.   A revolutionary process, rather than a single revolutionary event, has been set in motion. It will not come to a halt until epochal issues have been resolved.

The characterisation of these events as revolutionary  may seem over-dramatic to some, but if we look to what has happened in Iceland we can see that it is justified. If not much has appeared on our media about those events there is good reason: the people of Iceland have taken to the streets and forced the ruling party from power and the calling of elections. This is not an example the elite wish to see emulated elsewhere. Around five thousand people decided to occupy the square outside the Icelandic parliament on a permanent basis until those demands were met thus settling, once and for all, the debate, widespread in Britain during the campaign against the Iraq War, about whether there was any point in protesting in the streets: three times a year, probably not, but every day until you succeed, definitely. I always found this argument strange, anyway, like newly weds deciding to sleep in separate beds because the bride didn’t become pregnant- sometimes you just have to keep on trying. But  a body of brave Icelanders kept on trying and they have provided a lesson to us all, one which is certainly worth emulating far and wide. They have successfully given birth to an astonishing movement which is making history.

But where is this movement taking us? It is leading us to the refoundation of Europe. Its economic, constitutional , legal basis and its role in the world must be transformed or redefined in a constructive and legal revolutionary process. Let us look to Iceland as the paradigm of this process. What is it doing?

Firstly, it is reaffirming its sovereignty, through a democratic process: it is making its institutions truly its own and modifying them where necessary. The Icelanders are representing themselves as a people, not as some agglomeration of  economic atoms, as consumers in the globalist’s fantasy world. Those moving songs, these voices of the people, entoned in parliament square tell of a deep cultural, dare I say patriotic, element. They are not about to become a Dubai of the north and they will resist as they must resist tutelage to the IMF, to global finance. They will resist colonisation and slavery.

Secondly, it is re-examining the economic basis of the lives of its people. The link between the things people need and their origins in productive  and creative labour has been lost. In rediscovering this link, we begin a return to a real economy rather than a fictional one. It is the real economy that must be saved and built on, not the fictional, paper one.

Thirdly, the people have become aware of the existence of a treacherous and criminal element in the elite who have hijacked the country and brought it to its knees. Quite naturally and quite properly they wish to bring these people to account: they wish to reaffirm the rule of law.

Forthly, they must define where Iceland stands viv-avis the rest of the world: they must locate themselves within a world itself in transformation. Do they wish to continue within NATO, or break away from an alliance which is itself a permanent threat, a clear and present danger, to world peace? Or will they become a fully-fledged European power, and, crucially, one which plays a key role in redefining  Europe itself as an independent force for peace and global cooperation.

These, I believe, are the fundamental issues facing Iceland and we see them in Iceland under a peculiarly intense focus. Iceland’s problems are our problems, the problems of the Icelandic revolution are also those of the European revolution. Great days lie ahead, days which will call on all our reserves of courage and endurance, days which will not end until we have layed the foundations of a new epoch of world peace and prosperity.

One Response to “The European Revolution Begins.”

  1. […] The European Revolution Begins […]

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