Sky as a Kite

Main menu

Voting

No comments
This weekend I got to vote in Iceland for the first time! We dirty foreigners are only allowed to vote in local elections. The law was just change to reduce the waiting time from 5 to 3 years of residency. I have lived on and off in Iceland for 20 years now, but due to my wanderlust I never reached the 5 consecutive years I needed. But that is over now.
Icelandic voting is different from German voting in that you do not have a first and second (direct and proportional) vote, but you vote for a list of people from a party (proportional). The cool thing is that you can edit the list you vote for, change the seats of candidates (put someone on a lower seat to the first for example) and cross people out. I have been long enough in Iceland to have personal grudges and friendships with people on the list, so I had a lot of fun doing that.
There were also local elections in Germany, but I missed the deadline to apply for voting by post. I managed to do that in the last parliament elections in Germany. I had a lot of fun reading all the names of the fringe parties (there is a HipHop party) and wonder about the envelope sizes (the ballot needs to be folded strangely to fit in the inner envelope, causing me to read and reread the instructions).

Pictures of the German ballot, obviously I couldn't take pictures in the voting booth




A very inside joke

No comments
Today is Good Friday, and in Germany and Iceland it means that by law one is not allowed to dance, gamble or make jokes. I'm nothing but not a rebel, so here is my very inside joke for today:

The office of Efling union is restructuring. To safe costs all employees are fired and replaced by Andri Sigurðsson and his never to be finished web site.




Björt Framtið

No comments
Björt Framtið (bright future) was a political part founded in 2012. It was one of the may parties who appeared in the aftermath of the economic crash in 2008 and the realisation of corruption in Icelandic politics. As most of the parties after the crash their politics were based on promoting direct democracy (many of the party members had also been involved in the movement for a new constitution), some social programs and anti corruption measures.

Ten years later it is hard to describe the mood in 2012. There was a general optimism in the air, a hope that the old and corrupt system could be reformed into something new. In 2015 Björt Framtið had merged with Besti Flokkurinn, a protest party founded by comedian Jón Gnarr, a party that had famously come into power in Reykjavík. In 2017 they formed a coalition government with Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (one of the parties responsible for the economic crash in 2008) and Viðreisn, a liberal party with the idea to "change the system from the inside". The government fell apart in October of the same year, after yet another corruption scandal, which I wrote about during the time here. Björt Framtið never recovered. They received 1.2% in the election after the scandal and have been inactive since.

So why am I writing about them now? Well, they just were in the news, because their Twitter account had been hacked by some NFT promoting bot and is now just spouting NFT and blockchain promotion. And I just can't help but feel that the party called "Bright Future" founded with that much hope in 2012, embroiled in and destroyed by the corruption within the system they joined to change, ending up being hijacked for NFT promotion is just the perfect nut shelling of the last ten years. Oh what a bright future we got.


It is time for a radical response

No comments
Last week Efling launched a campaign in support of a worker fired in retribution for being a union representative (""https://www.efling.is/en/2021/10/icelandair-attacks-a-union-rep-and-workers-rights/""). Rightfully so, Ólöf Helga Adolfsdóttur has our full solidarity.

I was a bit surprised at the strong reaction from the union. We have known several foreign workers over the years who were fired or simply removed from shift schedules in retribution for being a union representative. It is common practice in the tourism and restaurant sector. There was no campaign for them, no attempt by the union to get their job back, only a legal case that took about two years and ended with the workers maybe getting a pay out of two or three months wages.



This is why firing of representatives are so common for foreign workers. There are very few consequences for employers and it is very much worth paying a bit of money to get rid of an active worker, who can make sure their coworkers rights are respected and send a message that anyone can be fired for speaking up.

My brilliant comrade said last year over coffee, that the rights abuses foreign workers have been experiencing for years will also affect Icelandic workers once the economic downturn from Covid sets in. This is also not the first time Icelandair is blatantly braking Icelandic labour law with the full support of the SA (Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise). Earlier this year they fired striking workers, something we made a video about (""https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RH4tg9mh1o"") and something that they faced zero consequences for, because ASÍ (the Icelandic Confederation of Labour) was very concerned about preserving the peace on the labour market. I cannot help but see the actions of Icelandair in the past as a concentrated effort to erode union rights in Iceland, especially as both times they had the full backing of the SA. Which is why the statement of Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, chairmain of VR union “I find it quite unlikely that a company in the position that [Icelandair] is in will go to war with the union movement” (""https://www.visir.is/g/20212166353d/med-o-likindum-ad-icelandair-aetli-i-strid-vid-verka-lyds-hreyfinguna"") gave me quite a headache.



Our rights are under attack. Whether it is in the small scale of union representatives getting fired or a full on attack on the right to strike, employers are trying to introduce radical changes to the labour market. It is time for a radical response by the unions.


Cool German Words - Kraftakt

No comments
Kraftakt is a feat or something that required great effort to do. Literally it translates as an act of strength. My Kraftakt last year was getting our branch of the IWW back on track. In the next post I will describe everything we did last year, which included direct action, becoming a youtube star creating super pretty pamphlets and many many meetings and spreadsheets.


Pages: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] ...