Theater of Cruelty

SV's lost virginity

The virgin state is over, SV. Now we must be able to stand for what we say.


SV's biggest problem during the election campaign arose when parts of the party's politics had been moved from the dim light in the national assembly hall in Kristiansand to under the critical light of the public. Parts of politics simply could not stand the new light. Thus, in contrast to the other party leaders, Kristin Halvorsen had to try to defend issues and formulations that could hardly be defended. That is what should worry the party leadership in SV. In addition, SV lost many votes on the party leadership behaving loyally towards the new alliance partners. – But sacrificing self-marking out of consideration for the loyalty of the red-green partners was perhaps still a right choice that can pay off in the long run.

In an almost self-effacing critical review of his own efforts during the election campaign, Kristin Halvorsen said last weekend to the SV's national board that all the major election campaign games she was behind were incorrect. If that is right, then SV must have delivered a strong candidate for the most failed election campaign of the time at the election, and it would be interesting to know how it could happen. But more than electoral technical circumstances are the contentious issues that should concern SV when self-examination is on the agenda. Many SVs experience it as an important part of the explanation for the rather disappointing election result that SV was heavily criticized during the election campaign. Three types of attacks that recurred were SV's school policy, economic policy and foreign policy. With regard to school policy, Kristin Clemet resorted to attacks on SV's characterless school, on the opposition to publication of the national tests and SV's opposition to grade requirements in admission to teacher education. Per Kristian Foss and others went on to take action on SV for the costs of the electoral lift and for the fact that SV, at the same time who was reluctant to invest in oil recovery, would use the proceeds from the same oil mill. And last but not least: It was a pervasive point of view from the politicians and media that the SV proclaimed the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.

In the red, none of these attacks against SV are unreasonable, by highlighting curiosity issues such as Kristin Halvorsen supposedly thinks (Dagsavisen 25/9). For there is no question of the kind of issues that are similar to the discussion about how far sheep are aged animals. On the contrary, the attack came to a significant extent in the SV's policy, which the party's national eye meeting with open eyes has gone in to highlight. The subordinate is why it should be such a burden for the SV leadership to talk about cases that the party has decided and agreed to be perceived as essential (see the condemned SV's party program, part 8.2).

The claim that perhaps cost SV the most expensive during the election campaign since it made the party appear nonsensical, was the claim that the United States is the biggest threat to world peace. The program unequivocally states that SV views the United States as "the greatest threat to world peace". To rub it in, the statement is even repeated once more in the same paragraph. It is as if what one wants to say is: – Hello, all those who may not have grasped what stood for two sentences ago, SV believes that the policy the United States leads towards other countries, is what is the greatest risk of worldwide war in the world.

The claim is crazy crazy. The question is how much a serious party could let it pass. Before the election, it was clarified that the SV did not demand the withdrawal of NATO as a precondition for participation in government with the Center Party and the Labor Party. The United States and Norway are together in NATO. Thus, SV thinks that the most important military allies, with whom we are united in an alliance to prevent war and terror, are simultaneously the main threat against the object of the alliance. It is as if the SV were to proclaim Bin Laden as the most dangerous terrorist. And then agree to give him the Peace Prize. Because if the United States is the biggest threat to world peace, then why does the SV accept in a rush that we are in an alliance with United States in the city of against USA? The answer is that SV does not mean that party actually wins. The wording is meant to be demonstrably demonizing. It is thus a formulation that is not meant to be taken very seriously – since even the most bloodthirsty SVs acknowledge that the problem with the United States is that the country is a deficient, partly plutocratic democracy, but after all not an aggressive dictatorship such as the Nazis -Germany was it.

Why do so many of the most reasonable heads in Norwegian politics accept such formulations? The answer gives the key to what is SV's main problem and which is essential to understanding the election result.

In a party on the left, one is often not content with just setting the course for what could be a better day tomorrow. In addition, much of the right to exist of a party on the left is linked to the maintenance of another future society as an alternative, a society in which many of today's problems have been overcome – a socialist ideal society. The problem arises when what is meant to be visionary, not to say utopian ideas, is sauce together with what is a work program, and which commits the elected representatives for a four-year period. When the alarm bells do not ring during the national meeting in Kristiansand in the pure demonstration proposal proposed in a work program, it is because the party's so-called system-critical wing sometimes has disproportionate power in the most important internal governing bodies of the party. This is a core problem the party should address. SV represents a general value base that SV's voters support. Often there is no correspondence between the value base that is the source of SV's electoral power, and the value base that gets the raw ground in SV's governing body. In the Storting group, this is hardly a problem because even the hyper-radical representatives with a minimum of self-awareness gradually moderate in the face of dissenting and often apt objections. In the central board, the national board and at the national meeting, on the other hand, there are strong representatives of the system-critical parts of SV among their own. For reasons of domestic peace, they therefore go so far as to say normal SV arenas go a long way in meeting the system-critical even when it has fatal consequences, cf. the US wording. Here, the SV leadership is failing, I mean. Instead of looking between the fingers with proposals that do not ask for water, there must be clearer messages about what is realistic politics and what is utopia. Formerly, it was almost a task for the party leadership to make sure that the most curious parts of the party's policy did not escape. That strategy no longer works because the party naturally gets a stronger spotlight on itself, as the party demands to be taken seriously by taking management responsibility.

This does not indicate that the ambitions of a more socialist society are being thrown onto the boat. The liberal realization that democracy is inherently reformist and always on the move does not mean rejecting the ambition to gradually democratize economic life further. But it is time that good SV leaders, including the SV leadership, realize the need to distinguish between utopia and vision in the formulation of their own policy: Utopia criticizes current politics by referring to an ideal future society, but without showing how we can get there. On the other hand, the vision also points to how we can get closer to the goals we have not yet achieved. SV must listen to the visionaries, but ask the utopians to come back when they have something more concrete to do. Now, in short, it is required that a clearer message be given the next time utopians destroy for a deficient, but despite all good policy today by claiming that this falls through compared to their policies – the ideal alternative from the like world. Otherwise, government cooperation will be under constant criticism from utopians. We do not deserve it for what has been referred to as an alternative, is often not a real alternative. SV has now chosen to participate with both legs in democracy as it exists here and now, and not as it could be in a dreamlike future society. Then we will not let go of the democratic shit on our fingers. It is similar to when SV had to endure being unpopular as the party finally began to budget realistically in local politics. Thus, like all other parties, we had to make painful priorities instead of spending more money that only we had access to in a sort of budget that included the extra billions from SV's parliamentary budget.

In SV's foreign policy, there is also a distinction between visionary and utopian people or more straightforward: between ideal politics and real politics. At the national meeting, the SV seemed as if the United States was not the world's only superpower and a de facto ally in the blink of an eye and then, as soon as real politics emerged, to lean on the United States with a view to impacting national interests in the Northern Territory. This party party must have realized that do not hang in hope. There is a difference between criticizing and demonizing. Next time it should be clearer. The virgin state is over, SV. Now we must be able to stand for what we say.

Kristin Halvorsen went too far in her own self-criticism during the election summary. For her contribution to the SV's strength and involvement in Norwegian politics, it was not decided by this election, but by the election in 2009. In the choice between on the one hand to strengthen the government alternative and risk a SV in the shadow and on the other to risk it the red-green majority voter missed with strong self-markings, Kristin Halvorsen for good reason chose the first at this year's election. It was the exact opposite strategy of the one used by the Progress Party. It made the choice. The Progress Party advanced, but lost power and influence. For SV it was the opposite.

What Kristin Halvorsen achieved, is that SV can now be perceived as a serious party among broad electorate once and for all. Therefore, SV will be able to stand freer in the next election with a view to marking its own policy. Then the party is usually established as a serious party and not as an at times populist protest party – provided that we escape new political sabotage attacks and freak show artists from our own ranks. A survey done for Klassekampen during the election campaign, showed that there are sensational many AP voters who have SV as their second choice while SV has almost nothing to gain from RV. This indicates that if SV is established as a serious party, it will take little to gain a foothold in large groups of voters. The rough work is now done. SV has become a grown lady. The future for Kristin Halvorsen and SV may look brighter than the first glance at the election result would suggest.

Svein Tuastad is a member of Sandnes SV, and former tenant of Rogaland Attac. He works as a state lecturer at the University of Stavanger and will soon finish a dissertation on Norwegian post-war politics in the light of normative political theory.

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