Birgitta Jónsdóttir from Iceland is a poetician,
was a spokes person for Wikileaks,
and has challenged established politicians
with her Pirate Party.
We shall soon meet the Unitedstater Bruno Mars;
but before that we will go to Iceland.
a country where the people's will
has shaken politics.
The Pirate Party is now the third largest party,
led by a data nerd, Buddhist and poet
named Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
Protesters in Reykjavic are pounding the message that
the prime minister and the government must resign.
In the midst of all the noise,
Islands chief Pirate thrives.
(voice of Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!)
In Iceland the anarchist Pirate Party
made big gains in sunday's national elections
raising the prospect
it will form a coalition government
with other left wing parties.
The Pirates won 10 seats
in Iceland's 63 member parliament,
up from 3 in the last election.
Please welcome Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
Hi, nice to see U again.
- Welcome to the program.
- Thank you.
I'm sorry, i can't do this in Icelandic,
so we need to speak in English, if that's ok.
That's ok. When i speak
scandinavian i sound like a child ;)
- Let's stick to english.
How would U fit
in the house of lords do U think?
I don't think i would fit there,
I would rather fit in the house of commons.
I come from a very common background.
But i fit in with this crowd,
because i'm an artist.
I found a new name for what i am now:
i'm a "poetician", not a politician.
(Lord Julian Fellowes - actor and novelist)
I don't agree with U about the Lords actually,
because they're not the particularly
posh lot anymore, that's gone.
Yeah maybe, but i'm not British so you know,
i guess i'm never gonna be a Lord... or a Lady.
U've done very well
in the Icelandic election, two weeks ago.
And it's not really settled
how it's going to be there now,
but... have U ever dreamt
about becoming the prime minister?
Yes i did actually have a nightmare once...
in the year 2000-something...
which i then wrote in a poem,
it was called "Letter for U"...
where i describe this nightmare.
It has never been a fascination to me
to acquire power or become power, rather.
I haven't been an activist all my life.
But wanting to change things,
to have this big megaphone and to...
go in a job interview with the nation
is an incredible experience.
U promote to something
U call Robin Hood politics.
Being a Pirate today, really means...
you know, when the great-grandmother says:
"I'm a Pirate"
i want to be part of the change.
And in a sense all that we are seeing
like what's happening in the US...
and in various other countries,
where you get the extreme right,
where it's usually
driven on an external fear,
we're trying to find a way
to motivate people to feel...
part of the change!
That they actually have a voice and a way
to facilitate that voice into the parliament.
And the Robin Hood of politics is a little bit
like Robin Hood was a pirate.
He took the wealth from the wealthy
and distributed to the people,
where he felt that the wealthy
had stolen it from the people.
So that's what U wanna do?
I actually started to use this metaphore
we want to take the power from the powerful
and give it back to the people,
so that we truly have the rule of the mob
what democracy means.
- Hold on to Ur castle now.
- This is actually what we were saying,
that in a sense, Brexit / Trump, is all
reflecting a very similar philosphical position,
that we are having to respect the voice of the people
instead of ignoring and patronizing them
and simply not listening to them,
which has gone on for so long.
It has gone one for a very long time,
but at the same time i feel...
the path that has been taken in the US
and also a lot around the Brexit campaign.
There were negative consequences
both in the US and in the UK,
where you use xenofobia
to justify system change.
And i find that to be unacceptable.
- And i wanna find...//
- I wouldn't put too much onto that.
I have friends in the UK,
actually a fomer Lord,
and his wife... they have been haressed
because she's not originally from the UK.
We have to understand,
that driving on this negativity and fear,
like Trump did in particular and
some members of UKIP did as well in the UK.
- I follow these things very closely.
- U're right, i wouldn't disagree with that.
If U compare what U're doing in Iceland
to the US or to what's happened in England,
U agree that U are sort of channeling
the same or similar discontent?
- Yes and no.
- Choose! Yes or no.
So, no, it's not only about that,
because 40% of the people...
that support the Pirate Party in Iceland
are between 18 and 29.
So we're appealing
to the younger generation.
We're helping the young people
to find a home in politics.
Yes, but below that, it's about
some kind of anti-establisment.
- Yes it is, and what i would say about...
xenofobia, racism and all the rest of this,
i think most of this comes out of fear.
Fear of being bullied,
fear of being pushed around,
fear of not being taken seriously,
being made second rate, second class...
whatever U call it...
and i think if U can get through that fear
and make people feel...
they are being listened to,
they are being taken seriously,
i don't think...
Of course there are some horrible people
and there is some mad people,
but most people are
neither horrible nor mad,
they're just decent people
trying to live their lives.
And i think if U can persuade them
that U're listening...
i have not come across many people
who are anti-immigration...
when I'm outside England i read,
that immigration was the big issue.
- Yes! Immigration was felt to be some...//
- But aren't U then stuck in Ur bubble?
Because i know a lot of people in the UK
and i work with a lot of people in the UK,
who are expressing
exactly the opposite of what you say.
Well i think we're both stuck in our bubbles,
if U don't mind my saying so...
because we can always find people
who agree with us.
I'm not trying to look them up,
i'm not at all.
I don't think
we should be side-tracked by that,
- the main issue is the majority...//
- // It's an important issue, it's the extreme...//
do not feel listened to,
that's the main issue.
For U and for America and for England.
No! I'll tell you what is the main issue.
The main issue is that, if people
and the powerful forces in society...
are trying to use that:
that people feel they are not listened to
or they're forgotton or don't have a future,
to use that to build walls,
then that is a problem.
That is what was done in the US,
that is what is done around Brexit,
and that is being done in France...//
// It is the absolute opposite
to what was done behind Brexit.
And in fact
the established political class...
was totally anti-Brexit
and totally in favour of staying in the EU.
And in fact it was a misunderstanding
of the nature of the electorate...//
- that let them get it so wrong...
- There were blatant lies around it [?]
It was absolutely the opposite
of what U're saying.
But aren't U a part
of the established political class?
Well i am a member,
i suppose, of the political class.
Yes i am, but i'm also, you know,
i hope, more in tune than some of them...
with the majority.
Do U know how it is to live
on minimum wage? Have U ever?
I tell U this: i don't think i do know,
but the difference is, i know i don't know.
I find this always so interesting,
there is lots of people...
Most of the people that are in the
established political class...
don't know how it is, to have
the ends not meet at the end of the month.
Who don't know how it is
not to be able to afford go to the dentist...
or get a crisis
if the tire brakes down.
Because they have to choose.
Well i agree with U on all of that,
so i'm not going to take U on.
I think that's completely right.
And they have to, somehow, become alerted
to what life IS, for an enormous number of people.
And they are not alert to it at the moment.
I know. We agree on that.
I think this really is what people
are talking about this week.
Specially of course
the US election.
Another thing that U've been a part of
and that played a part in the US election
- is Wikileaks.
- Well I have not played a part with Wikileaks.
I know that, i was gonna say that,
because U left Wikileaks some time ago.
But U've been very active with them,
for a while U were a spokes person also.
What I was gonna ask U is,
having that background...
what are Ur thoughts on the role
that Wikileaks has played now...
in the US election,
in effect helping Donald Trump to victory?
Maybe, many people say that anyway.
I think that they went to far.
And I could have understood it if the US
was interfering with a small country...
in their elections, that there would be
a sort of intense lobbying to try to stop that,
- but there we had to very strong powers...//
- // I can't let this go on, i'm sorry.
Wikileaks was a PROFOUND betrayal
of the US.
It was the act of a real traitor.
And i really can't sit by
and let someone talk about it...
as if this is arguably a positive
and reasonable thing to...//
// I never said that!
- You did, U said it was acceptable
- No i never said that.
Well, i think if we have a playback,
we'll see it was.
Wikileaks in the early days was
an extremely important platform.
Extremely! And if U disagree with that,
then U can disagree with that.
. He was asking me...//
- // I disagree with that, profoundly!
Are U talking about Wikileaks per se
or about the US election?
Oh, nononono... Wikleaks, per se.
Well, we disagree on that.
They created a platform which was safe...
to leak documents.
What has happened since then
is the Panama Papers, for example.
Are U in disagreement with that?
The Panama Papers was extremely important,
it was done in a beautiful way,
where you had investigative journalists
from all over the world...
working on a very complicated issue,
that took ten months to make sense of.
And i think, if Wikleaks had not existed,
we would not see this type of work.
So U have to look at things
in a historical context.
That's what i'm doing
and i fully supported what Wikileaks did...
back in 2009-2012, but i do not agree
with this presidential elections...//
// Well, i suggest U buy and read a copy
of Belgravia [his own book]...
- that's about my main contribution to that.
- To Wikileaks?
- No. Because i think it is absurd...
to talk as if U can govern a country
by using traitors, in order to release...//
// SHAME ON U!
Shame on U!
Whistleblowers, that blow the whistle
on corruption in government and war crimes
are NOT traitors!
Shame on U.
Do U have that view on Panama Papers as well?
That that should never have happened?
I just feel the whole theory,
that U can run a country...
- in this kind of amateur way...//
-// Well, forget that theory.
I asked U about the Panama Papers,
U have that view on Panama Papers?
Well i don't know if the Panama Papers
is a good example, to that extend...
i will concede it
in that to some extend...
some kind of resolution
seems to be coming out of it.
But i'm incredibly uncomfortable,
with endorsing the whole concept of this...
this method of conducting public life
and i'm sorry if U don't approve of that.
How much contact do U and Julian Assange
Would U consider him a friend?
We worked very closely for five months,
he was in Iceland for about five months
and, yeah, i considered him
a friend back then,
but we have not been able
to have communications for a long time.
Now, the internet is, as we talked about,
has been used for political reasons,
it's been used manipulative
and it gives a lot of power to...
as an example, Wikileaks.
I don't think Wikileaks
has the responsibility of...
we can't put the responsibility
of how the elections went in the US.
No, but do you agree that if you have power
you also have responsibility.
Well then they have responsibility
to some degree, right?
Just like any other media
they have responsibility, yes.
Do U think they are aware
of that responsibility?
I don't know, i am not living
in the head of Julian Assange.
- You have to ask him.
- But since he's not here.
Well, you know, with great power
comes great responsibility...
and i can't really go deeper into that.
There's so many pressing issues...
and i wanna see more artists
and philosophers in politics.
Because one of the things, at least,
we all have in common,
is that artists often have the ability
to see things from a different perspective
and offer different solutions.
- Well U have one artist in politics here.
Birgitta, thank U so much for being with us
here tonight and thank U Julian.
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