Theater of Cruelty

SV has found himself

The SV has invented itself – to the extent possible.


[national meeting] Despite the fact that SV's national meeting 22.-25. March was added to Clarion Hotel Oslo Airport, at Gardermoen, the meeting was not a direct take-off. This was due to both the nerve-wracking battle vote for the deputy leader position, as well as Minister of Education Øystein Djupedal's unfortunate statements – where he put political pressure on a party colleague.

But still: Maybe it was just such a sober and objective meeting of the government party needed, without the very big views on take-off or hallelujah mood, as it could be easier when the SV was in no-obligation opposition. There was something historical about this country meeting: the first in the party's history where it has been sitting in power, in position, at the king's table.

That is how the ring ended, 45 years and nine months after the predecessor Socialist People's Party (SF) had its first national meeting at the Engineers' House in Oslo, 17.-18. June 1961. At that time the party was founded after the Labor Party excluded the radicals in the circle Orientering, New Time's predecessor. Now they and their descendants are included in their joint red-green government project. There is something symbolically heavy about the fact that SV's national meeting on Sunday elected Bård Vegar Solhjell as deputy chairman. As State Secretary for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the new SV deputy leader only builds on the division that the Labor Party has represented for almost half a century.

Solhjell was the preferred choice for SV leader and finance minister Kristin Halvorsen. And with her clear support for the government project going forward, there is evidence that both the internal and external wounds are in the process of healing. Solhjells challenges Ingrid Fiskaa, leader of the Peace Initiative, in many ways represents the more traditional SV virtues. But there are new times now: In a government collaboration, pragmatism is cultivated more than idealism, compromises more than either-or solutions, power more than power.

The transition from opposition to position has, of course, been heavy for a party founded on anti-authoritarian principles. But the National Assembly showed that most SVs believe in the newly acquired power to do something about it 21. the most important challenges of the century. The statement about making the 2007 local election an environmental choice testifies to a party on the offensive. And about a clear alternative to the right-wing leader who makes climate change foreign policy, or to the FRP leader who chooses vague opportunism rather than courageous solutions.

The national meeting, the elections and the statements show that the ring has ended. The party has found its soul – to the extent that it is known as a power party. This is not to say that all internal opposition to Halvorsen's government policy will not, can or should disappear in the future. But now there is at least one new alternative for the dissatisfied on the left: the new Red Party.

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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