Theater of Cruelty

- Immigration will increase

History professor and SV's Knut Kjelstadli calls for a broader immigration debate in SV, but strikes back against Astrups and Høyre's policies.


Minerva editor and Conservative politician Nikolai E. Astrup accused in last week's Ny Tid article in the left that he had failed the immigrants and the poor. In the same newspaper, SU leader Audun Herning supported him in the desire for free immigration and a clearer SV.

Professor Knut Kjeldstadli has for many years worked on issues such as labor immigration and asylum and refugee policy in the SV. He has also written the history work on Norwegian immigration history.

Kjeldstadli is also calling for more high-level thinking and debate on these issues, both in the SV and in the Norwegian social debate otherwise.

He points out that both labor migration and asylum and refugee policy are comprehensive and important issues.

- Such questions are important to discuss. First, because global migration is a historical fact that will last. It is not a "case" that one can solve and be "done" once and for all. It will be a structural basic condition for the foreseeable future. And then we need to think hard about this. Another reason is that many people today suffer because of Erna Solberg's restrictive refugee policy, says Knut Kjeldstadli.

He points out that people who have been denied asylum are about to perish in Oslo today.

- For some, it turns into mental illness, for others, profiteering becomes a way of surviving. And people are being sent to areas that Amnesty International considers dangerous. This applies, for example, to politically active Kurds who are sent back to Iran. And this is not something the UDI and UNE do alone, it is completely in line with the policy of today's parliamentary majority, says Knut Kjeldstadli.

SV's challenge

In the SV, international solidarity throughout the party's history has been strong, but this can be difficult to spot in the election campaign so far. Kjeldstadli says that if one reads SV's work program, it becomes clear that international solidarity is strong in the party.

- Audun Herning, leader of Socialist Youth, calls for a clearer profile and more offensive policy. What should SV be clearer on – and how?

- Emotionally, I understand well the idea that Herning mentions, that everyone who wants to should be able to come to Norway, for example. Both decency, fairness, historical co-responsibility from the West, international solidarity, the supply of resources for immigrants – and also the need for large-scale immigration – can speak for this. And one may ask why being born in a certain geographical area gives you an appetizer over a human being who was not born in the same place.

- But what is the challenge then?

- The challenge is that everyone should have equal conditions. And then the number becomes relevant. If we think that there will be a very rapid and very comprehensive immigration, is it then possible to secure the conditions for everyone? The question, of course, is how many would come at open borders.

Worldwide, two to three percent live outside their own country of origin.

Knut Kjeldstadli points out that researchers have tried to calculate possible relocation by taking as a starting point previous situations where there have been no restrictions. If relatively as many would choose to leave today, it would have meant 2,4 per cent annual population growth in the industrialized countries. In comparison, the growth rate in Norway in the 1980s was 0,5 per cent. With two percent growth annually, a population of 35 doubles. In countries in the South, it has been between 2 and 3,5 percent.

- So completely free immigration is thus not completely unthinkable, but would involve very extensive challenges. Personally, I believe that the future will offer greater immigration. Immigration should not be unregulated, but openness must be such that immigration can take place in an orderly, legal manner.

Demand for equal terms

LO and the trade union movement demand that everyone who gets a job in Norway must follow the agreements that the trade unions have negotiated. This is sometimes claimed to be a shell hideout to prevent labor from coming to Norway?

- If one first accepts that working immigrants should not have the same working and wage conditions as those who are citizens, then one opens up for a sub-proletariat. And if you do that first, why shouldn't workers who are Norwegian citizens also be able to support others in the fight to get a job? A principled liberal must claim this, and from that point of view there have also been proposals to create an employment service based precisely on the principle of selling cheaply. It was precisely this logic that the trade union movement historically managed to reverse. If the trade union fails, we will rage back to this open, brutal class society. The labor movement's response must be a struggle for organization across nationalities.

- What about the claim that it is the bourgeois side of Norwegian politics that are the real solidarity, while the trade union movement sacrifices the world's poor to secure Norwegian jobs?

- Astrup and his associates cry crocodile tears. If they are concerned about the world's poor, why does the Conservative government take in only 750 refugees compared to 1500 previously? Why is the number of people who have been granted asylum now at a record low? Why do they not support SV's proposal to increase the annual quota to 3000? The world's Astruper rations its concern to include those who can help lower the wages of workers. When the Conservatives talk about diversity, one should keep in mind the disproportionate and rising unemployment among the minorities.

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