I got an invitation in Røverstaden for myself Bjørneboes 100th anniversary, after the official event on the occasion of the anniversary, when I finally failed to keep my mouth shut. The event was led by Audun Engh. Along with him came the rich sharing of anecdotes, musings and some reflections from personalities such as Henning Næs, Truls Lie, Christian Vennerød and Lasse Tømte. I am grateful for the openness and that people, including those who signed, were released. After one after the other also men of the same age, I had to say something.
(From the event, MODERN TIMES 'editor from 56.20–1.09: 00).
My challenge was: How will we meet a Bjørneboe of today? I fear the preservation of an idea put forward by a small circle. I am convinced that society is screaming in anxiety after the Bjørneboeske even today. The rebel must come to life, not be kept and weathered from within.
We must regain the place, understanding and practice of anarchism.
It was in the place of the organizers to leave the sculpted torso of the "big man" on the stage. But stones do not contain the living in man and his work. My Bjørneboe can not be frozen to a stone figure. Hen can not be placed on a pedestal. My Bjørneboe is glowing. The purpose of the stone must be to hammer loose. Tear and shake, out with clutter: Get rid of quirky elitism and overdue courage! My Bjørneboe is burning like fire. Gives will and energy to seize the world again: Stand open and benevolent to new learning and wit, and give it all a lasting round of critical self-insight. Man is alive, and it is in the living man that Bjørneboe finds new life. We need that. Is it then right and proper that a small and self-appointed expertise should convey the "right" understanding of who and what Bjørneboe should be to us today?
Let us explore and find ourselves. Today's living Bjørneboe may be on social security. Is our Bjørneboe a he, she hen, trans? Maybe an asylum seeker? There is one that challenges us. One that sticks to our established complacency. We are forced to make choices: Turn away? We are privileged enough to be able to do that. Or will we wake up and look at ourselves and the world again? Some of us make a Bjørneboe. But one does not get rich on money or the elites' recognition of such. On the other hand, you are left with the cost of being annoying and troublesome. Expulsion from the establishment. But these are the kind of people we need. They are vital for regaining dignity in the communities.
Gerners gate in Moss
I am so lucky to know such a Bjørneboe of our time. Let's call him "Knut." Knut you can meet among bookshelves full of continental philosophers, classical authors, feminists, innovative writers, artists and poets in the environment around Gerners gate in Moss. Knut is knowledgeable and experienced in both other thinkers and the school of life. But Knut is also a practitioner and performing artist, and Knut connects people. He is one of those who stands out. He takes the initiative for us to find together. One of those who have managed to take the extra steps forward for the community, and a step back for new and young people to find their place. These give us the threat of a we, and that at a time when we so desperately need fellowship. Such people deserve our respect and our recognition.
In Gerners gate we create. In Gerners gate, new songs, slut poetry, visual art forms, folk songs and voices that did not previously find their place come to life. Together we agree on life's ups and downs, marital breakdown, suicide and the liberating effect of intoxication. The room is created together. It is the community that leads, but each of us is free to be ourselves. It brings us to the core values of anarchism such as solidarity, mutual aid, equality and autonomy. It was through anarchism that I rediscovered my Bjørneboe, the one I had inherited with me from an early age. Bjørneboe placed himself within anarchism with a clarity few other Norwegians have done. Today, society at large has declined anarchism to misunderstood insults, and solidarity is a new foreign word. We must regain anarchism, we must give back the place, understanding and practice of anarchism in our communities. But maybe this is just possible in an old working-class town like Moss. A place with high immigration, short distance from high to low, and willingness to horizontal relationships. We meet across. Only together can we restore our dignity, not as individualists in an eternal cockfight.
We have to search and find our own Gerners gate. But first and foremost, we must get out of the conformist, the established. Find new insights, new communities and renewed fighting spirit. And recognize those who take the cost, the troublesome ones. Before we perish in our own drunken and navel-gazing complacency.