Theater of Cruelty

That Kristin doesn't dare

Kristin Halvorsen's problem is that she lacks political courage. Does SV steer against disaster, or does the party dare what Kristin does not dare?


Monday night, Rockefeller, Oslo. It was the third whale I came by. And the most wonderful doctor. Here stood the SV-arane and clapped and cheered. Eight landfill seats lost. Nearly one-third of 2001 voters are gone. SV pressed down to 8,8 percent. The party halved from the level ahead of the election campaign. Cheering and clapping. Dagbladet reported from Rockefeller: "Kristin, Kristin, Kristin messed up the government ship SV-er yesterday."

At the same time, the bodies said something different. The body language inside SV's vaunted witness of uncertain. About a party with unclear strategy. And the lump in the stomach: Frp over 22 percent! The evergreen majority and new government were rightfully celebrated as one says on Rockefeller Monday night. At the same time, an unresolved question was pressing inside the SV bodies: Was this still the hour of defeat?

SV's election campaign strategy failed. The party lost eight parliamentary representatives just before the most important four-year term for SV sometime. Who's in charge? It is talked about that SV "should have been tougher in the criticism of the United States and focused more on raising environmental issues" (Audun Lysbakken, Klassekampen 14.09.). Mass media always discuss tactics. But SV's problem is strategy. What exactly is SV's strategy?

SV does not have a strategy. SV has at least two. We can call them the Brave and the Careful. The bold strategy is based on the fact that there is great ideological wear and tear on neoliberalism following the 25 years of right-wing. It is based on the fact that large parts of the world's people perceive the United States as the greatest threat to world peace. It is based on the false assertion of neoliberalism that "There is no alternative" to the tightening of welfare is not more true because it is repeated by the EU, the OECD, the Ministry of Finance and Jens Stoltenberg. On this basis, the bold strategy will challenge the established. It will build a new, strong leftist position in politics. It will push past neoliberalism, and towards a better, more democratic society.

The prudent strategy is more of a common sense, of the type that governs Løvebakken, Marienlyst and Akersgata. These cautious strategists perceive the brave as childish to be brave. They perceive the bold strategy as big slogans and imprecise protest politics. The cautious strategy was clearly expressed as the four top SV campers stepped in to tighten the Folketrygda. This position was far to the right of the Oslo Ap and large parts of the LO system. SV's Åge Rosnes expressed the strategy as follows: “We have chosen to operate within the financial framework of the pension commission. Had we not done so, we would have opted out of the debate ”(Class Fight, February 2005).

The bold strategy, on the other hand, set the premise of SV's national government, which rejected pension cuts. Thereafter, the National Assembly unanimously approved no tightening. This made the national assembly itself if it would create a confrontation with Stoltenberg in the biggest political case in the election campaign year 2005. This made the national meeting because the majority chose the bold strategy. Because they would have a clear alternative to Ap.

The big pension battle in 2005 was at the LO congress. Stoltenberg and Valla were far from certain of the majority. In this situation, the Socialist Left Party for the first time spoke to an LO congress. Afterwards, Halvorsen patted Dagsavisen's Arne Strand shoulder: "Kristin Halvorsen wisely failed to comment on the Congress' extensive pension debate". Then came Jens Stoltenberg. He put maximum prestige into driving through Aps retirement position. No inhibitions there in the garden, no.

How new is actually Jens "New Course" Stoltenberg? When it came to fruition, Høgre was a good enough partner for pension reform on 2005. SV had to stand in the hallway when the Storting made a settlement this spring. The SV's national government nevertheless insisted that "pension is an election campaign for SV". It was the bold strategy behind the decision, again. Then came the election campaign. Kristin Halvorsen did not say a whim about retirement here either. Zero, nothing, nada. In return, she announced her historic friendship with the United States. SV lost 50.000 voters to Ap by this election.

What happened? The SV summits proposed the cautious strategy ahead of the national meeting, and were voted down. The apparatus around Halvorsen followed its own strategy in the election campaign. And lost big. Debate after the downturn 12. September is therefore not about calculating errors or inaccurate formulations. This is about SV's strategy. About who is the party's right of existence. kva supports actual SV with a speaker chair at the LO congress? And what will the left side with the SV, if the SV will not influence when LO takes a position on the decade's largest welfare reform?

It is interesting to compare Halvorsen and Hagen. If anyone owes Carl I. Hagen for being very right-oriented, he takes a step to the right. When VG blames SV for radicalism, Kristin Halvorsen takes a step towards the center. SV and Frp have led reverse election campaigns this year. Where SV has erased the contrasts with Ap, Frp has profiled itself as a bold alternative. And Frp is the big winner, with his best result ever.

Attac Norway does not like to comment on party politics, and I write this comment as a board member of the Manifesto Foundation. In early 2005, this small think tank published a warning against "The Great Lemen March". The title refers to a phenomenon of the type Frp: When hordes of workers vote on the far right, it is like a shock with the limb marching down the political precipice. We referred in this article to the United States, where George W. Bush's extreme wealth policy is "voted to the pinnacle of power by those affected by it. Of those who were once the Democrats' core voters. Of the working class ». We referred to France: "'Earthquake', shouted the front page of Le Monde on April 22, 2002. The far-right Jean-Marie Le Pen had ousted the Social Democratic Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the French presidential election. Jospin's government of 1997 was a center-left alliance. It promised to stem the right-wing privatization and market liberalism. The French Communist Party was in SV's role, as a junior partner of the dominant Socialist Party. Jospin promised a break with neoliberalism, but did not deliver. The bill was served on a fateful evening in April 2002: Sitting increased from 21 to 28 percent. Le Pen and the National Front won 30 percent of the vote from the unemployed. Among factory workers, the right-wing extremist received support from 23 percent, compared to 16 percent for the loser Jospin. For the Communist Party, the downturn became even worse. After 9,9 per cent support in 1997, the result in 2002 was 3,4 per cent ».

And we pointed to Norway: “When was Frp first shocked at approaching 30 percent? Was it not under Jens Stoltenberg's neo-liberal government that Carl I. Hagen and his companions fell to the position of the country's largest party? Frp has never been bigger than when Stoltenberg ruled. With Jens Stoltenberg at the helm and a benevolent Kristin Halvorsen as a sailor, the Solidarity Government's voyage could end in a disaster, according to Jospin: We risk a disillusioned left-wing and electoral slump for Right and Frp in 2009 ».

Now we are halfway through the process. SV has shrunk to 8,8. Frp has established itself as the undisputed largest opposition party in Norway. When most people start to become tired of Prime Minister Stoltenberg, it is not Kristin Halvorsen who becomes the alternative. It's Siv Jensen.

Why couldn't Ap and SV's election campaign get into 2005, if the job was to show most people that Erna wants to remove 25 percent of future pension? We never had this debate. Because Stoltenberg stands shoulder to shoulder with Solberg in the biggest cases. And SV lacks the courage to say it out loud. When the big financial issues are taken off the table before the election, because of Erna Stoltenberg's neo-liberal consensus on Løvebakken, gasoline prices and cash support may come into focus. Or as in France in 2002: Crime, Immigration, Law and Order. It turns on the right side.

SV's job number one in the Stoltenberg government is to drive a new course and avoid disaster a la Jospin. There is little indication that the SV tops can do that job. On the contrary: Øystein Djupedal has announced from the Storting's rostrum that market liberalism "has probably won a crushing victory, nor is it possible to see that there is anything that can replace it – perhaps fortunately" (28.05.20 May 2001). The election campaign demonstrated that it is the prudent strategy that governs everything in the party office, regardless of national assembly decisions. In this sense, Norwegian politics is set on autopilot in the direction of a brawl for the Conservatives and the Green Party in 2009. But nothing has been decided. Four years is a long time. And 2005 was a real saying for the left. It is entirely possible to use that victory to move the leftist positions forward and drive the FRP back.

I am not an SV member and cannot participate in the party's inner life. But with SV on its way into the Stoltenberg II government, SV's strategies have major consequences for the entire community. And not least for everyone on the left. Therefore, more people should take the word no. We do not care to mutter in the hooks what should be loudest. And that's in my view:

  • SV's election campaign strategy failed. The weakened left side and the strength of Stoltenberg. This is the responsibility of the 100 percent party peaks.
  • SV is too small of training and organizational structure, and too much of a professional advisory corps that is impossible to politically lie to the AUF. SV's new strategy must build on active party groups and orient itself more towards non-profit organizations. That debt is peacekeeping, that debt is Attac and that debt is not least professional.
  • The SV must show the courage to break out of the Stoltenberg government and enter into an opposition role before 2009, if necessary. The alternative may be to be completely over-run.
  • If not SV opposes to confront Stoltenberg, it goes against dark blue majority in 2009. Then it will be Kristin Halvorsens SV who saw the crown of Carl I. Hagen's life's work.

The best thing that can happen to SV no is that the party learns from the downturn to 12. September and change strategy. Then the change of government in 2005 can be launched for a new course and lasting progress for the popular movements fighting for peace and justice, against war and neoliberalism. The worst thing that can happen is that SV's left wing gets a scourge in the government without doing anything with the strategy. Then we are on autopilot against the big lemma march. Then we know what it was, the wonder we got to see at Rockefeller Monday night. It was the hour of defeat.

You may also like