External comments: This is a debate article. Analysis and position are the writer’s own.
The overall progress of the socialist left in this election was greater than the Sp’s much-discussed upswing. After it has been the billionaires’ turn for thirty years, this sends a clear signal to Jonas Gahr Støre about a murmuring impatience at the grassroots. Not least in the trade union movement.
There is no shortage of voices saying that Sp’s progress must have major consequences for district and agricultural policy. What consequences should the greater progress on the socialist side have?
SV and Red stands in different positions in front of the red-green negotiations. At the same time, they have a shared responsibility. Audun Lysbakken and Bjørnar Moxnes must not spill the voters’ mandate of petty competition between them. The task now is to ensure that electoral progress is translated into breakthroughs and societal change.
The incoming Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre places great emphasis on him listening to everyone. Not only SV and Sp, but also MDG and Red.
Then I think: If SV and Rødt promote the same demand, in a matter that is important to the voters, well then Jonas should really listen. Let me take a few examples.
A large majority of the voters believe that the money we tax for the common welfare of the many, should not be turned into private profit for the few. Most people say yes thanks to private actors with a non-profit purpose. But the majority no longer wants the welfare state’s operating budgets to finance owners with commercial motives for their activities.
The socialist left represents the majority when both Rødt and SV demand that owners with commercial motives be phased out based on the operation of the community’s kindergartens, child welfare and elderly care. First House lobbyists will fight this with all their might and endless PR budgets behind them. But in a democracy, the will of the majority must outweigh commercial special interests. At least for red-green parties. Among the red-green voters, the majority against private profit on common welfare is overwhelming.
SV and Rødt have the majority in the people and an impatient trade union movement behind them. When Audun Lysbakken meets Støre and Vedum for negotiations, he should use Rødt’s newfound strength to SV’s advantage. The Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party must understand that SV must have an impact in this case. SV can not sign a policy that triggers a steady stream of disappointed voters in the direction of Red.
Moxnes has too a responsibility here. If Rødt’s strength contributes to political impact, Rødt should support the result. If Rødt does not put this in the pot, SV really has no argument against Sp and Ap. That SV wants to prevent voter leakage to Rødt is only an argument whose breakthrough actually means that Rødt will support the government’s policy and not go on the hunt for voters in that particular case.
Such a collaboration may seem impossible in practice. The parties are competitors. And a red-green majority government is not dependent on the votes of Red. The problem is the just demands of the impatient voters. If the socialist left does not achieve much, because two parties with identical policies in important areas are unable to coordinate, why should people vote for the socialist left next time?
If the red-greens can not even deliver in a case where they have a solid and lasting majority among the voters behind them, including the KrF voters, what kind of action do they show then? If it is to be the turn of ordinary people now, it cannot still be the turn of welfare profiteers. For ordinary people want an end to the money we tax for common welfare goes to private profit.
A massive majority of voters want dental health into the welfare state. The Labor Party has long argued that the approximately 12 billion it costs is such an awful lot of money that it seems almost impossible. The pandemic’s hundreds of billions in government support for event agencies and hotel kings and airlines where the boss must have 11 million in bonuses to go to work, have taught us the opposite. It’s not the money it’s about. That is the political will.
A joint offensive from SV and Rødt must ensure a breakthrough for dental health for all. Completed during the Storting period.
The socialist left should also ensure victory for the trade union movement against the staffing industry. We do not need a parasitic intermediary who mediates the labor of others and exploits workers from poor EU countries. Freelance work undermines permanent employment. It undermines productivity. It undermines the trade union movement. A red-green government cannot hold its hand over a staffing system that puts social dumping into a system.
The socialist left must stop the insane plan to electrify the Norwegian shelf with electricity from land. The price tag will be over 50 billion, which will be charged to private electricity customers and Norwegian business. Up there come the increased electricity prices that can affect power processing industry. All to greenwash the gas Equinor sells to the EU and tie up huge investments in the fossil fuels we actually have to quit. The money should be invested in green industry, not greenwashing a black industry.
In all these areas has left side now a historic opportunity for breakthrough. In all these areas it is possible to spill the victory. All that is needed is for the parties to become more concerned with marking themselves than with putting joint power behind common issues.
The left has a long history of sectarian strife. Have Moxnes and Lysbakken learned from the mistakes of the past?