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Johan Galtung: How is Norway going?

How independent and critical can one be? In Part 2 of the double interview with Johan Galtung, we talk about Norway's relationship with the United States, Sweden, Muslims, anarchism and Marxism.


Ny Tid has chosen to do a double interview with the actual "father of the peace movement", Johan Galtung (87). We have a sense of heretics and do not allow ourselves to be provoked by his form or Norwegian ridicule where he is given the sticker "arrogant" – rather than listen to or argue with his knowledge and experience. John Y. Jones and I therefore went to the exile's home in Spain.

In this text, the theme is how conflicts have changed character and where the road goes for Norway. Nor can I dare to go into the role of the intellectual and what it means to be independent – then also as a nation.

Violence and Islam

In Galtung's autobiography Johan without land – On the road to peace through the world, and especially in the epilogue of 2006, "war" is mentioned as a dying phenomenon. The other variants are: "guerrillas" as civilians against military, "state terrorism" as military against civilians (for example the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima), "torture" which some authoritarian governments carry out, and "terrorism" as civilian attacks on civilians. Also, "state terror" as new terrorist-based strategies, especially after 11. September 2001.

"I see Islam today as a blanket from Casablanca on the Moroccan coast to the Philippines."

Galtung has written around 150 books – they are all here in the house in a little cat called his "museum" – and more than 1000 articles. Galtung reminds me that since he has been conducting peace research for 60 years, one should get up early in the morning to prepare if one is to challenge him. And adds that he is particularly ignored by two countries: Norwegian authorities and the media as well as the US government. He is a staunch critic of both countries' foreign policy.

The rest of the world has used him diligently. He has mediated in over 50 conflicts – because with 2000 nations within 200 states, conflicts often arise. But why not look at conflicts as diseases? Today, governments each have their own Ministry of Health. Ny Tid has previously called for a peace ministry. So one could not have comprehensive health programs – for peace? With today's cultivation of the culture of violence – especially in the media – one probably needs just as much training in conflict resolution.

Galtung reminds me that the perpetrators of war and violence culture have poor memory, while the victims' generations have memory as an elephant. For example, in the Middle East, where the Arabs were promised independence if they wanted to rise against the Turks in 1916. But they were betrayed and ended up as colonies (French Lebanon and Syria, as well as English Palestine and Iraq).

The oppressed will eventually resist, Galtung writes: "I see Islam today as a blanket from Casablanca on the Moroccan coast to the Philippines. A rug with sparkling dots, which make up the minarets – and in each minaret there is an imam. It is a blanket where power is extremely decentralized through the imams – these units of power. We do not understand this, it is invisible to us in the West. From this grows independence movements, which do not necessarily achieve independence, but may instead end up destroying their own state structures in order to become part of this carpet I mentioned – the ummah ('community') as a community of believers. We Norwegians and others need to make a friendship with them! ”

Russia and the United States

We are shifting focus to Russia, as Norwegian foreign policy and the Right's Foreign Ministers (Brende and Søreide) stand behind US-initiated military containment and sanctions on Russia:

"If you both believe that Russia will attack us, and that we cannot defend ourselves, you submit to the United States. You are afraid to say anything that might hamper the United States' willingness to help us. "

Galtung recalls that during World War II, Norway was preparing for attacks by the Bolshevik Soviet Union in the north, and was overpowered by the Germans in the south: “We are now in a similar situation. Now, instead, we have American 'occupation' with military forces stored and stationed in several places in Norway. The authorities dare not make a single move without it being accepted by Washington. "

But isn't the danger of the East real? "But Russia has never attacked us! Historically, it was Olav Tryggvason who attacked the Russians at Volga, who chased these Vikings back. Russian soldiers have only captured Norway when they came to our rescue and chased the Germans away from the Church and down. "

If Norwegians had to choose between Russia and the United States, most would choose the latter. But how long does it last? "The name of today's crisis is Donald Trump. Norway has long been submissive, being a client state. But we cannot continue to be obedient to Trump. The longer they hold Trump, the deeper they sink. And then you want to get rid of them, including Norway. ”

Galtung mentions the United States' 250 interventions. Historically, the many conquests of the Romans passed in numbers as early as 1919. Is the American culture of violence really as an American interviewed here in Ny Tid said, that the country has only had 13 years without warfare somewhere on the planet? And what if we Norwegians are culturally Americanized? Galtung is amused, with the old man's open and squinting gaze: "The very Americanized Norway can also be illustrated by growing body shapes – which makes it impossible for some young people to pass the blueberry test." Blueberry? «Yes, picking blueberries standing; If you are overweight, you need to sit down to pick berries. "


Where do these heretical attitudes come from? Galtungs once described his role model Arne Næss: "I have been sitting at (the strongly moving) feet of this Norwegian giant." He remembers today the resemblance to his philosophical teacher as politically more than scientific: “To do research was to apply again, search again, re-search, the problem. "

Galtung moved through a number of disciplines – sociology in the 50s, political science in the 60s, theology, economics and pedagogy in the 70s, history in the 80s and cultural subjects such as anthropology, history of ideas and philosophy in the 90s. His core concept and the name of his network organization is "Trancend". This one has benefited from a legacy from his uncle and aunt. But everyone works voluntarily, and the organization is poor, according to Galtung. They give free advice in conflict situations, and only pay to train in conflict resolution. From his book you can pick up their three k's about peace work: crisis, complexity and consensus. Keys to peace.

"There is no doubt that Marx was an anarchist."

But for Galtung it is not least about breaking gender boundaries, class boundaries, racial boundaries, national boundaries and boundaries against deviants. His work on peace, development, future and media criticism is to push boundaries. He emphasizes with his index finger that it is not about interdisciplinarity, but about of professionalism – where the researcher is often disciplined and uncontrolled.

In addition, in 1969 he married Japanese Fumiko Nishimura (today 81), who joined us at our summary lunch nearby: "I got married to another nation!" She nods enthusiastically and contributes with a number of points, despite being hampered by strokes from a time ago.

Galtung criticizes researchers for being driven by the search for money rather than the search for answers. His experience is that scientists are corrupted – "intelligence poodles with a wagtail" who cannot be led by a why into taboo areas, for fear of damaging career and research opportunities. ” For him, the distinction between work and leisure has been lifted. Research is an intense pleasure with disappointments and obstacles. And the joy outweighs lost gratuity. As he says here in L'Alfaz: "For a good intellectual there is never a definitive answer – there are always ways."

Independence and Sweden

Back to Norway. Galtung says that his love for Norway is great and rooted in people and nature. But not in our foreign policy.

But for many, we are an independent country – we are outside the EU and have good self-finances. Galtung responds by swiping over the centuries: “Norway sees itself as a small country that has always been, and always must be, ruled by another. After the Viking Age which ended in 1050, the Middle Ages came with some independence, but then came the Kalmar Union (1397-1523). The Swedes left this, and after that we were Denmark-Norway. We were only independent between World War I and World War II, but not long after we joined the US-led NATO. "

But will the alliance with the United States last, I ask Galtung: "Yes, who is our new ruler? My scenario is that Norway will become part of the EU in order to get out of the shadow of the United States. As it says about Norway in the autobiography you hold, I predict that Norway will one day join the EU – something that will happen by the government simply announcing it without a referendum, since they have already lost two. Their explanation would be that in a crisis it is necessary. Norway will seek a new power of attorney. ”

"I predict that Norway will one day join the EU."

Economically, one can disagree with Galtung, as Oil-Norway has achieved great independence. But how will Norway go internationally?

Looking at Sweden they have had independent international politicians such as Folke Bernadotte, Dag Hammarskjöld and Olof Palme: “Sweden has not been subject to others, they have been independent. One of the reasons is the nobility, though an arrogant one. Sweden has been driven by very confident nobility. Norway has no nobility or an independent upper class of significance. With our mountains we never got real feudalism, it would require as in Sweden a lot of flat land consisting of some heights with castles on. ”

Palme is mentioned, and then I think of the risk Galtung has taken by fighting for truth and justice. Among all his international positions, Galtung was also "Olof Palme Professor" in Stockholm (1990–91). According to him, even though the Palme assassination, with his good contacts, believes in "a conspiratorial triangle with a right-hand corner of the Security Police, another in retired CIA-Pentagon people, fanatical anti-communists" and a third unspoken corner with many killer candidates , which relieved the focus on the former.

I do not ask if a man whom Galtung himself could have been threatened – as a keen critic of NATO and the interests of both those in power and the sick. He has always opposed consensus and mediated in dangerous conflicts: “I have been told not to travel as planned. And many have thought that because of my dedication, I would be hit by a bullet. Such a bullet could have been fired by a three-letter organization… »

At the same time, the man in front of me with his gentle face mentions that it would have been too obvious who was behind. I think there are other methods to stop the mouth of a power critic. You attack the form of criticism in front of the content – or the man in front of the ball. Galtung himself was also told that he was on a list from the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, about researchers who never had to be quoted, saying: “Number one on the list was Noam Chomsky, and I think I was a good number two, which not too bad. ”

In addition, he is monitored, something he mentions in his autobiography: "It sounds so strange on the phone, letters come out very late." A folder he obtained from Switzerland showed that he had been spied on in detail for 25 years. Galtung points out where we sit, that such is called secret services - but rather than being "servants" – it is rather "gentlemen" behind the espionage.

Anarchism and Marxism

A heretic and conflict-solver like Galtung seems anarchist – something you can also recognize in his view of Islamic decentralization. He also has a clear unwillingness to "submit" to directives from the United States and others. We therefore end up with the meaning of state:

'I stand on the anarchist myself. But by that I mean it municipalities thing for the. This does not mean – nor for the ancient anarchists like Mikhail Bakunin – to give up any form of authority. But this one must be local. In other words, the anarchists were localists, or municipalists. The point is that municipalities must be divided or merged to an optimal size of around 30 inhabitants. Here in L'Alfaz we are 000. A municipality must be so large that it works with division of labor and organization. Our neighboring municipality has the same philosophy. For example, you need a store for organic food. When we moved here in 22 there was no such thing – we had to go all the way to Alicante. Now this is organized in the municipality. ”

A real communism? "Now there is no doubt that Marx was an anarchist. Of course, I justify that in one of his most famous sayings: 'The state will disappear'. He never said anything similar about municipalities. "

"The anarchists were localists, or municipalists."

In Norway, the left and Marxists lean on the state as an organizer, so why not a welfare state as a solution? “The primary task of the state has been to protect capital. The capital was willing to pay some taxes and taxes to the state to protect them with their police. In addition, the state is helping the military to expand markets. The police and the military were at their service, and the state depended on capital. "

According to Galtung, Marx wanted municipal hands – anarchist entities that could organize the production: “Municipalities that are not too big know where the shoe is pressing for the citizens, and can help. They know who are unemployed, poor et cetera. In such an atmosphere there is a limit to how rich you can be. Limits must not necessarily be set by law, but norms and values. But the shame of wealth probably worked better here in the past – today it is some pretty rich here in L'Alfaz. But as Marx said, the state will disappear. ”

It is 100 years since the Bolshevik revolution, and I let Galtung round off: “Marx was not wrong, but Marxism, its successors: They worked with the concept of revolution from Marx, but perceived the revolution as conquering the state. Suppose they had conquered the municipalities instead? Then they would come further! They perceived the state as the great helper of capital, and had to conquer the state to put an end to the power of capital. It is not unreasonable that they thought this way. The Bolsheviks (the word means 'majority') – thought this way. But their counterpart on the left, Mensheviks (the "minority") thought more anarchist and more at the municipal level, and they promoted cooperatives. When the Bolsheviks conquered the state, I think they enjoyed the power they were given and became 'state-oriented'. It ended with state capitalism. They hadn't read their Marx well enough. "

Also read the first interview, by John Y. Jones,
on Libya, Israel, anti-Semitism and structural violence.
og More peace journalism

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.

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