Theater of Cruelty

Calls for a new peace movement

"A peace activist organized practice is absent," says Marielle Leraand in Rødt til Ny Tid. Should the party's main be the fight against a Difference Norway or an attempt to re-establish the peace movement? Leerand says that the peace movement has been virtually dead since 2003.


The party's former deputy leader and now chair of the women's political committee, Marielle Leraand, has clear thoughts on how the peace movement can be restored: “It requires parties that actually prioritize building a peace movement. It is not today, and that includes Red. ”

Leraand admits that this is a criticism of her own party, but that this is no secret: "Here I have been in opposition for a long time and believe that we should have had a shift of focus from the 'fight against Forchells-Norway' to trying to restore the peace movement, ”she says. She points to the tense world situation and misses a clear peace commitment:

"In the historical situation we are in now, and with the danger of war hanging over us, we need to build the peace movement in Norway and in Europe. There is a huge dissonance between the real political world situation and an organized and visible peace commitment. ”

Ny Tid has tried several times to get the party's leader, Bjørnar Moxnes, to speak, but he would not comment on the matter.

"Who is the peace movement?"

Norway: warring state. Leerand says that the objections she most often hears about prioritizing peace is that this is something that can be done outside the party: "It's a good argument, but one would get very good help from one or more parties who put that matter in front."

The former deputy leader in Red cites the mobilization that occurred in connection with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as an example of an active party political commitment:

“The media ran propaganda for the war, including by black-painting Saddam Hussein. But both the SV and the Red prioritized working actively on an imminent war, and helped prevent people from being fooled by a demonization campaign against a head of state to legitimize it. ”

She is supported by former MP for RV – now deputy for Red in Oslo city council and leader in SolKurd – Erling Folkvord:

“I think members of my party should try to work more to succeed in anti-war work. That's what it's really needed for. "

"A peace activist organized practice is absent."
? Marielle Leerand. Photo: Brage Aronsen

The attack on Syria. Red by leader Bjørnar Moxnes has spoken out after the attack on Syria night to 14. April. In the run-up to the attack, the party leader has repeatedly stated in the Storting that Red wants a more responsible foreign policy.

In a chronicle of the Class struggle the day before the attack, he writes: "In our view, launching a non-UN war mandate of international law in Syria – which increases the risk of war with our neighbor Russia – will be a betrayal of the Norwegian people's security interests. »

Ny Tid asks Moxnes' predecessor in the Storting:

- Didn't testify to Rodd's engagement in April about a party like nto put peace work at the forefront?

Folkvord does not see it this way: “These are not new views from Red. International solidarity efforts and anti-imperialist criticism of the Norwegian government have, in my view, always put Red, in the program and in practice. But this becomes more apparent when we now have an excellent parliamentary representative who is facing it. ”

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He cites the recent election campaign as an example: "One of our points in the last election campaign was 'never more unanimous parliamentary decision on foreign war'. All the other parliamentary parties have year after year supported one or more war adventures. One of the SV leaders declared in March 2011 that the attack on Libya was the most just and democratic war he had seen. Today it sounds like an extreme statement, when we know what that war led to. Then we were in the beginning of the war, and the SV was a government party. The Prime Minister had declared war by SMS. All the parties to the party cheered war participation. We in Red were the only party that refused to participate in the Libya war, but then we were not in the Storting and were not seen. "

Peace Movement. Folkvord also sees the need for a strong peace movement:

"Getting an active peace movement, which means fighting Norwegian war politics, is proving difficult. I wish we had had it already, and I hope peace friends in many environments and parties can cooperate from below. It is bad that, in an aggressive, belligerent state, we do not have a visible peace and anti-war movement. "

The mobilization against the Iraq war in 2003 ignited a spark, but according to Folkvord, this was "just a blast":

"It was damn nice with the demonstrations that helped Bondevik not dare to send soldiers to the US invasion of Iraq. But the local activity was not successful. "

"All the other parliamentary parties have year after year supported one or more war adventures."? Erling Folkvord. Photo: Kyrre Lien / Scanpix

He points to the war in Afghanistan as a reason for this: "Parties and politicians who participated in the war resistance in 2003 were already in full swing with war in Afghanistan and after the change of government in 2005 went in for escalation of the Norwegian war in the country. I think we have to look at it as some of the reasons why the broad, organized war resistance died down, ”he concludes.

All of us are the peace movement. Marianne Gulli, leader of the international committee in Red, believes that the party already has a strong focus on foreign policy, and that the party has been visible for half the year Red has been represented in the Storting:

“We have taken up the bases at Værnes and the military base at Rygge, and recently challenged Solberg on the question of international law and the training of soldiers in Jordan. We have also questioned the attacks in Turkey. It's good, but we always have room to do more and get better both as a party and as activists in the peace movement. ”

She sees the peace movement as weakening, and she thinks we all have a responsibility to raise it again:

"Who is the peace movement? After all, that is all of us, and we in Red want to actively contribute to starting that mobilization again. In the mobilization against the Iraq war, peace organizations stood there. There were unions, parties, other organizations, academics, cultural workers, student organizations and many more. ”

«Trident Juncture». In rebuilding the peace movement, it is important to build alliances, Gulli points out. She highlights the planned NATO exercise "Trident Juncture", which will take place in October and November this year. It includes several regions in Norway – as well as in Sweden and Finland, which are not NATO allies. It will be one of the alliance's largest exercises with approximately 35 000 soldiers, as stated on the Armed Forces website.

"We must mobilize against this," says Gulli. “NATO is positioning itself in our region and drawing two non-Allied countries closer. It builds tension with Russia. "

Gulli draws out Red's dialogue with the trade union movement. She says that LO's Trondheim Conference, held in January, has made a decision that Red will oppose and mobilize against this exercise:

“Alliance building is an important part of building a peace movement. I think many, including myself included, talk about the peace movement as an abstract entity that is about to resurrect. But it is all of us who are the peace movement, and it is everyone's responsibility to work for renewed mobilization and strength. ”

"I think many people, myself included, talk about the peace movement as an abstract entity." Marianne Gulli. Photo: FOCUS

On the question of how a peace movement can be rebuilt, Gulli says a clear language from politicians is needed: “We and others have repeatedly addressed the lack of public discussion on major foreign policy issues, as also pointed out by the Godal Committee in the review of Afghanistan war. If anything is discussed, it is behind closed doors with a written ban. ”

Leraand, for its part, believes that youth have a central place in building a peace movement:

“What you get involved in as a young person is usually something that follows a lifetime. I know that from my own experience. Young people must be invited to attend meetings and hand out flyers. Schools must organize debates on this, and seminars should be held at the Storting. Instead, we sit today as individuals and talk about this in social media – as well as in the occasional rare debate at the Storting. It has not forced itself into a public conversation about how to create a lasting peace policy for Norway. A peace activist organized practice is absent. "

Newly elected leader of Red Youth, Tobias Drevland Lund, agrees with Leraand and encourages engaged youth to organize themselves: “It is youth that is changing the world. Youth parties like Red, and young people in Norway and elsewhere in the world, who care about these issues, need to organize. We need to create an active peace movement that we had in the 60 and 70, but also in the 2000 in connection with the attack on Iraq. ”

Want smaller working groups in peace work. Folkvord highlights the utility of smaller working groups when it comes to anchoring the peace work locally in Norway:

"There is a lot of important peace commitment, but we lack a unifying peace organization with local activity. No to New NATO is an excellent organization. It only consists of a working committee of five to six people, but does not have local groups. Solidarity with Kurdistan (SolKurd) is still a small organization. We limit ourselves to one subject area and believe that local groups and local activity are most important. Then it can be easier to get activists involved – than in groups that are more generally for peace and against war 'everywhere' in the world. "

[/ ihc-hide-content] See also the sub case A third way in foreign policy

Kaisa Ytterhaug
Kaisa Ytterhaug
Ytterhaug is a freelancer in Ny Tid.

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