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Socialist Election Association

Sigurd Evensmo
Evensmo was formerly editor of Orientering, MODERN TIMES's forerunner.
POWER / It involves a long-term process with the formation of one party – in permanent contact with the grassroots.

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

Da Orientering was started 20 years ago and began the prelude to the renewal of the Norwegian labor movement that was so powerful in the election this autumn, it was a consistent feature of the "circle" that the participants continued in their various subjects and work without thinking that politics would become major. There could be a strength in this that no one dreamed of a personal, political career and tried to distinguish themselves more than others.

But no new movement gains power only as an anonymous collective. The movement needs individuals who interpret its ideas and current demands with their personality, with talent and courage, people who have the will to political power because the ideas and demands feel like an irrefutable pressure, a life task – whatever the cost. They are not strivers, they know that they can lose and end up in a permanent, cold loneliness.

The struggle costs a lot over many years, it requires strength to endure indifference, contempt, ridicule – and has, when the progress becomes obvious.

The Norwegian Labor Party – a colossus on clay feet

Then the movement breaks through, it gains power. And then comes the time of trials for each individual who has their share of this power.

With its 16 representatives in the Storting sits Socialist Election Association (SV) suddenly with an influence that few dared to dream of just a few months ago.

And now we have cheered long enough. The time has come for a vaccination against the dangers of power, the poisoning of people who previously toiled and sacrificed in the unknown, without thought of personal gain and prestige.

In Norway's political history we can read examples that should frighten: the greatness and annihilation of the Liberal Party, the Norwegian Labor Party in greatness, in failure towards basic ideas, in confusion and defeat.

Are we then to believe that the leading women and men in the Norwegian Confederation of Elections are immune to the bacilli of power, because so many of them stood close together in the cold of isolation for many years and then acquired essential human qualities, such as true camaraderie despite differences of opinion, contact with the grassroots – not as a tactical necessity, but a human need, the ability to conform to a community and step aside for the more capable instead of using pointed elbows?

From year to year, our people could learn from the developments in the major parties, above all the damaging effects of power in the Norwegian Labor Party, which in its long-lasting monopoly became a colossus on clay feet. Some of the significant experiences were these: A large party attracts fellow runners who are only looking for their own "advancement", who develop an apparatus that is centrally directed and relies on servile partisan sergeants out in the districts both in party teams and in the newspapers. People who can form an effective political army for a few years, but in the end become a disaster for their party, because they too want to mark their importance by giving a false image of the party's power locally.

Device people

In the Soviet Union, they are called "Apparatschikij" – the apparatus people, from the top to the ground level. In a dictatorship, they can function effectively for decades. In a democracy, they can soon become a disaster for the party.

In a while, the Socialist Electoral Association will become a Socialist Association, a party with considerable power and with good chances of even greater power. "A party that is here to stay," said the wise Right-winger Jon Lyng about the Confederation of Labor in an interview with Arbeiderbladet shortly after the election.

And we would be idiots if we did not expect that the dangers that have led many large parties to political-moral decay, sometimes with fatal outcomes, follow in the wake of power.

Perhaps it would have been an advantage if the Norwegian Confederation of Elections had not found itself in a tilting position in the Storting, which could soon create complicated situations. But rather given time for internal clarification, stabilization and a marking from the Storting's lectern of the new, socialist policy in Norway, without having to squint at the tipping of the scales together with the Norwegian Labor Party.

With the current situation, the demands on each of the 16 representatives are particularly high. I don't think much about the fact that Valgforbundet is a rapidly cobbled-together alliance between several parties, and that it entails a lengthy process with the formation of one party. It is now that each of the 16 must show their human qualities, which can be just as important as the ability to coordinate political theories for a new party.

We do not want to see pointed elbows in this group, nor any sergeant-majority in the grassroots organisations.

One of the bids in Aksel Sandemose's Jantelov reads: "You must not think that you are something".

We are not Janteloven's people. We say to our trustees in the Storting, in the central and national government and at the local level: You are something.

But not to become strivers. You are something, because we are becoming a mass movement and because you are suited to serve – yes serve this development, in permanent contact with the grassroots.

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