Iceland’s ‘pots and pans’ revolution

As Scotland explores a Citizens Assembly and National Council to build a new constitution (‘Move to stop politicians carving up an indy Scotland‘) we are looking for inspiration and advice from elsewhere. As the surge of energy for a better democracy gathers momentum, we are exploring how to drive that forward.

What can we learn from the Icelandic experience?

There’s much talk of the nordic model, but what can we learn from our neighbours to the north? In the wake of the financial crisis, Iceland was a beacon of democracy in its attempt to create a new constitution. A process of radical democratisation was attempted. Information activist Smári McCarthy has written:

After the government collapsed, a new social democrat and left-green coalition took over. Amongst the many things they promised to do was work towards a new constitution. The shortcomings of the old Danish hand-me-down constitution was not the cause of the collapse, but they certainly didn’t help. The call for a new constitution was as much a demand for cleansing as it was for a reconstitution of our values.

Bella is delighted to bring Smári McCarthy to Edinburgh for a public seminar at Summerhall, Saturday 14 June 6.30 – 8.00 pm to tell his story and to inspire and guide the Scottish process.

For more background on the Icelandic experience read also: “From the people to the people, a new constitution”  by Thorhildur Thorleifsdóttir from Open Democracy and also “The Kitchenware Revolution, The true story of how Iceland beat the Credit Crunch” on qcommunicate .


Book your ticket for Crowdsourcing the Constitution – Lessons from Iceland with Smári McCarthy here.


Smári McCarthy is an information activist, free software developer and author. He has worked globally on issues of democratic participation, information security, access to information, civil liberties, and social and economic justice. He invented Liquid Democracy in 2007, worked with Wikileaks in 2009-2010, and is a core developer of Mailpile. He co-founded the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), the Shadow Parliament Project, the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society, the Constitutional Analysis Support Project (CAST) and the Icelandic Pirate Party. He currently works at ThoughtWorks on defending the free Internet.