Theater of Cruelty

Utopia, nostalgia and principle-making

Let us state it as well first as last: If Ny Tid is not quickly provided with external funds of a significant scope, then the Bankruptcy Court is the next stop. In 2006. It is not nonsense, it is not crisis maximization and it is in fact a miracle that it has not happened before.


To call the work bringing about a change of ownership in Ny Tid for a "coup" is therefore rather misleading and it surprises me that the concern for the newspaper's soul is so great now that it – after ten years on the verge of bankruptcy – has finally found a serious investor! Where were all the worried shareholders before? At the general meetings I myself have attended, I saw an average of three shareholders. None of them had money, powers of attorney or good ideas with them.

It is therefore appropriate to ask: How many of those who now anxiously curl their foreheads would open their beaks if Ny Tid had suffered a silent bankruptcy?

Damm's skepticism is probably due to several factors. They are understandable, but do not relate to the realities:

1) Damm is owned by the entertainment capitalist Egmont and we can not trust Egmont. Well – we can all wish for a situation where no one owned others, but those days are numbered. Moreover, it is actually Norwegian Damm that buys Ny Tid, not Egmont in Copenhagen and no one can accuse Damm of being driven by a desire for quick profit in this case. Also – are there no opportunities to set limits for an owner? Does October not publish radical books anymore, after they were bought up by Aschehoug? Of course they do.

2) Editor Dag Herbjørnsrud does not have confidence among old radishes in Norway. If so – stick your fingers in the ground and preferably your eyes with: Dag Herbjørnsrud has a modern, radical project that is based on our modern, global reality. He has personal qualities, an editorial staff and a network that indicates that there is no utopia that he should be able to lead a provocative and innovative editorial board – at best OrienteringSaand. Orientering has today become a symbol of a bygone golden age, when people were radical, when people dared to think, act and criticize. Implied – this is no longer the case. It is easy to forget that the newspaper was actually a newspaper with both good and bad cases. Some of what has given Orientering its status in hindsight was that the editors went into their time and established something new. Shouldn't New Time get the same opportunity?

Most critics seem to think that Ny Tid should rather merge with Klassekampen than continue alone during Damm and on Monday this week Bjørgulv Braanen and Klassekampen promised to continue the radical newspaper legacy after Orientering. Or as he writes: "continue to keep the ravine open" – implying that a Damm-owned Ny Tid is lost to the left.

I must. Personally, I think a broad cooperation on the left, including the left-wing revisions, sounds great. I can reveal that we had sensors out in several directions in my time as well (1998-2000), but ask for an understanding that the Class struggle in the time after the AKP coup against Paul Bjerke was not a serious cooperation candidate.

The question is whether the collaboration invitation from Klassekampen is better founded now that a solution to Ny Tid's financial problems has been found? How can the otherwise so seasoned and experienced SV members have confidence in a collaboration between KK and Ny Tid without having seen anything concrete about what such a possible collaboration should consist of? The calculation Klassekampen + Ny Tid does not go away on its own and it is difficult to imagine that a collaboration between the two will be anything other than a de facto neutralization of Ny Tid. This is partly due to structural difficulties in achieving a sensible collaboration between a daily newspaper and a weekly newspaper, and partly due to Klassekampen's own economic and political problems. Ny Tid is an economic ruin and Klassekampen can neither carry nor invest in Ny Tid. In addition, Klassekampen's majority owner, AKP, has shown very clearly in Klassekampen's own columns that they are already skeptical of the turn Braanen has carried the newspaper in. And if we imagine a Klassekampen without Braanen – is really the legacy of Orientering safer at Jorun Guldbrandsen than at Damm?

Therefore – feel free to dream! Utopias can be beautiful. But salaries and operating expenses are not a utopia. They are hard facts, here and now! I would therefore insist that Ny Tid's shareholders relate to facts and not to nostalgia or utopia in this case.

Anne Hege Simonsen is a board member and former editor of Ny Tid.

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