State / Politics

World Agenda: riots in Iceland, Latvia and Bulgaria are a sign of things to come

But probably not in Australia, which has one of the most docile publics of any Western society.*


Joseph K has some interesting thoughts on the subject of ‘Beyond good and evil: the Gaza massacre’. “The left’s response to Israeli atrocities in Gaza provides a case study in ressentiment. If we want to stop such slaughters rather than participate in the spectacle of them, we need to stop fetishising distant victims and start trying to exercise power over our own lives so that meaningful solidarity becomes possible…”

Anarchists: kind, polite, and considerate

Greek anarchists pay for senior’s torched kiosk
Agence France-Presse
January 20, 2009

THESSALONIKI, Greece – Two months after her kiosk was torched in local riots an elderly woman from Thessaloniki has received an unlikely cash gift from anarchists to rebuild her life, a press report said on Tuesday. “As anarchists, we felt we should support a fellow human victimized by blind violence,” an organization calling itself Anarchist Initiative said in a statement sent to Eleftherotypia daily. The anarchists set up a special bank account to support 74-year-old Harikleia Ananiadou and collected 13,000 euros ($18,000 US) for the cause. “We gave what we could, even beyond our means, because we know that it would be difficult for her to make a new start at her age,” Initiative member Panagiotis Papadopoulos told Angelioforos daily. “It was an act of solidarity to a woman who could be our mother,” he added. Ananiadou’s kiosk burned down in November during clashes between youths and police on the sidelines of a street demonstration. The government recently announced compensation packages for business owners who suffered damage in the wave of violence that swept the country in December following the fatal shooting of a teenage boy. But Ananiadou says she missed out because her kiosk was gutted a month earlier. “I received only empty promises (from the state) … I feel very fortunate that these boys came along to help,” she said.


Wow. Things have really been kicking off in the land of ice. The former Danish colony is at present in the midst of a serious economic crisis, one triggered by the global financial meltdown of last year. In October 2008, its banking system and currency collapsed, the country’s three biggest banks were nationalised, and as a result many have lost their jobs as well as their savings. Thus: “In total are 12.134 persons registered as unemployed at the employment office. There … are 7654 men and 4480 women. In the capital area are 7656 registered as unemployed. In total were 7020 registered unemployed in December which was a 45% increase from November.” NB. As of January 1, 2007, Iceland has a total population of 307.672.

On the sunny side, my Aunty reckons the International Mother Fuckers think that things have been going swimmingly for the country since December (Iceland recovering well, says IMF, BBC, December 18, 2008).

Icelandic News in English is a great new resource which has been documenting some of the people’s struggles in that part of the world. According to one report: “The protests are now the longest and most virulent that have been at Austurvollur [a square in old town Reykjavik surrounded by the Parliament Building] since the membership of Iceland in NATO was protested there in 1949, or 60 years ago.”

There’s anarchists in Iceland too. Or at least one. Here’s a blog. Unfortunately, it’s in Icelandic: maybe it could be translated by the nice people at Icelandic News?

Actions to commemorate Stas and Nastya around Russia

Anastasia “Skat” Baburova murdered : “Our friend and comrade Skat [30.11.1983 – 19.01.2009] was murdered [Monday] in Moscow, shot to head by an assassin. She was studying in evening line of journalist faculty of Moscow State University. She worked a while in “Izvestiya”, but left and worked as a freelancer. She joined Autonomous Action a day before she got murdered. Inside the movement, Nastya got well along with everyone…”

Skat was killed alongside of lawyer Stanislav Markelov.


More wow. An Aussie, Harry Nicolaides, 41, has been sentenced to jail for insulting the Thai monarchy. Harry:

…originally received a six-year sentence, which the court said it reduced because he had pleaded guilty. The book, Verisimilitude [PDF], was published in 2005 and reportedly sold fewer than a dozen copies. The case was brought under the country’s strict lese majeste laws, which call for a jail term of up to 15 years for anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent.” The presiding judge said Monday that parts of the book “suggested that there was abuse of royal power.”

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Australians should abide by the rules of the countries they visit.

Also in trouble is fellow academic Giles Ji Ungpakorn:

He said the charge involves a book he wrote about the military coup in September 2006 that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. At a news conference last week, he said the law “restricts freedom of speech and expression and does not allow for public accountability and transparency of the institution of the monarchy.” In November, a prominent social critic and Buddhist intellectual, Sulak Sivaraksa, was charged with lese majeste for questioning the need for lavish celebrations of the king’s reign. Last April, an activist named Chotisak Onsoong, was summoned by the police after refusing to stand up during the playing of the Royal Anthem before a movie. And a former government minister under Thaksin, Chakrapob Penkir, has been charged in connection with remarks he made at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand…

Giles writes on his blog that “…it is clear that this lese majeste charge is really about preventing any discussion about the relationship between the military junta and the Monarchy. This is in order to protect the military’s sole claim to legitimacy: that it acted in the interests of the Monarchy.”

Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Ji.ungpakorn[at]gmail[dot]com


In the land of Eddy, some songs.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to State / Politics

  1. milgram says:

    There’s some English-language coverage of Iceland on that site:

    Latest from the BBC is that “there have been protests. Some politicians say it’s time for Iceland to join the Euro”. My Icelandic isn’t great, but haven’t seen that as a slogan on anyone’s banner…

  2. @ndy says:

    Ah! Thanks milgram — I completely overlooked that.

    As for the sloganeering — yeah. Some bloggers say it’s lucky we have alternatives to the BBC.

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