The ugly truth about the Icelandic Civic movement

From left: Þráinn Bertelsson (voted yes). Þór Saari (voted no). Margrét Tryggvadóttir (voted no). Birgitta Jónsdóttir (voted no). Image Ómar Óskarsson. Taken from

From left: Þráinn Bertelsson (voted yes). Þór Saari (voted no). Margrét Tryggvadóttir (voted no). Birgitta Jónsdóttir (voted no). Image Ómar Óskarsson. Taken from

The Civic movement.

Their list of election promises and their policy:

  1. Immediate emergeny actions be taken to help the homes and companies
  2. The citizens make their own new constitution
  3. A credible investigation into the economic collapse to begin immediatly under foreign experts, it should be open and transparent. Freeze the assets of wealthy men suspeced of being part of the crime.
  4. Transparent, fair and professional government policy will be put into law
  5. Democratic improvements immediatly
  6. The Civic movement will quit itself when those goals have been reached or it is clear that they will not be reached.

The political party started out of the Icelandic saucepan revolution in January 2009. It was an organisation that started out of dissatisfaction with society and out the anger that was inevitable after the economic collapse. Initially there where many small groups with their own view on society and solutions for the future, but they decided to join forces and push for parliament to overthrow the ruling elite of the established political parties.

It took a while to get together, but eventually a few people had meetings after meetings and decided to name the coalition of dissatisfied people The Civic movement. The website is in Icelandic only.

From the insider

We at Nestor Media where told by a person who wanted to be involved with the movement at the time about some very strange episodes and behaviour of people within the movement. The person in question is well educated in the arts of politics and wanted to add his input to make this a good political party. He as so many others saw hope for a broken nation.

His look of things soon turned from hope to bewilderment. It turns out that the group didn’t want to be a regular political party in the traditional sense. The people in charge, according to our source, where so called opinion bullies, who attacked anyone who dared to question their view of things. Many people where initially involved in the making of this movement, but they got filtered out by opinion bullies that did not give people a chance to put their effort and opinions in. When they did speak, they where told off by the bullies.

It became clear that the people in question who lead the discussion had very strong opinions about matters and had some very strange ideas about what a political party was and how it operates. Many of the people involved where a part of the saucepan revolution, they have left wing opinions and quite a few of them where either registered in the Left Green party and one even running for office for them (he did not succeed). Other people where obviously from other parties as well, but most had in common that they either didn’t like their party or simply had not fitted in there and therefore they gave up on them (drop outs)

When our source suggested the party went away from their desired “grassroots” movement stage, for the simple reason that if one is running for parliament as a united group, it has to be done like a proper political party. With a policy in most matters, an opinion and a direction. To show people why they should be voted for. The answer was a fierce shouting match directed at the person. He described it as “insane behaviour”, “like I pushed a crazy button and people exploded in anger towards me”.

Then he said to the group that if they where running for parliament, a media debate will follow and they need an opinion on the heavy weight issues, such as EU, finance, health care, education and so on. The shouting match continued a bit and then they claimed that they would go with the policy of not having any opinions on such matters, much to the bewilderment of our source.

Then our source said to the group that he believed that the EU was our only way out of the trouble, since the situation could hardly get any worse, but that resulted in verbal profanities and abuse. People literally stood up shouting and claiming they would never join the EU and it was against the grassroots beliefs of the party. Again some serious behavioural issues going on. No debate, not progress, just totalitarian oppression of “the grassroots line” and this would never become a regular political party.

Instead they said they would have a few policy points. Most of them made their way into the the party line policy and election promises, see above. Things even got so bad that the people in charge did not want to use any of the people who wanted to be a part of this, instead they went on a massive search for people to offer top seats on the campaign lists. Þráinn Bertelson is one of those wo was offered a seat. See image above. Our source claims that it was incredible listening to the party elite frantically suggesting names and calling people to man the lists, when the people who supported them stood next to them.

After the elections

The party got four seats in parliament. They started out by shouting a lot and demanding things. Not much happened for many reasons, the system is slow, things must be voted on in parliament and many don’t agree with them, especially people in power. Most of their “subjects” have been “politically compromised” off the table, and they seem to have been out of their league within parliament, and often some of them have sounded naive and totally oblivious about the matters being discussed.

Then came then big issue. The proposal agreed to by parliament yesterday to apply for EU membership. The party had put in its manifesto that the public should have a referendum on all major issues. But when it came to voting on the issue in parliament they had been all for EU talks (against the obvious party line in the beginning) in order to let the people decide in a referendum.

Then on the eve of voting day, three out of four parliament seat members said they could not support the bill. They where against it and Thor Saari (one of the tree) said that he took full responsibility for this actions (what does that mean? Full responsibility, how?). So the party bailed out from their manifesto and betrayed their voters in a very cruel way, by trying to stand in the way of democracy, by refusing the voters the chance to vote directly on the EU deal.

The members who did this had time and time again declared that the matter should go to the voters.

A lot has been written about this total yoyo style of opinions and the willingness of the party members to openly betray their voters so brutally. Here is another entry about this from the Icelandic Weather Report.

Now there is talk of a split in the group, and the only one who wanted the public to vote claims the others have moved away from the party and the grassroots. The grassroots of the party are very angry, and especially after the three members voted like the Independence Party, who they considered their main adversary. The trio went from left to right in their veiws and the excuses they used sounded incredibly stupid to plain childish. But in the end they bit the hand that fed them.

Needless to say, the insider decided not to be involved in this kind of lunacy. So he left the initially good cause of the Civil Movement before the election.


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