Leader of Red, Bjørnar Moxnes: “I’m not a populist”
“A populist turns his coat after the wind. In Red the wind blows our way,” Bjørnar Moxnes asserts. The party leader of Red may very well continue to be ridden by the term «Communism», though.
“I am not a populist, I am a socialist,” Moxnes tells NTB in response to the characterisation of him from, among others, Dagsavisen commentator, Hege Ulstein.
She calls Moxnes a “thoroughbred populist” who uses classical moves such as ridicule of political opponents, polarising and sharpening of the image of enemies. In addition, Red, just like Carl I. Hagen of the Progress Party, is in favour of spending a larger share of the Norwegian oil wealth here and now.
The wind has turned
Moxnes rejects that he uses populist rhetoric to NTB.
“A populist many will probably view as one who turns the coat after the wind. What has factually has happened, is that the wind has turned,” Moxnes states, adding:
“We are sticking to our policy. It is the society that has been polarised by the fact that the differences increase. That weakens society. In Parliament, it, however, seems that some parties still believe Norway is a kind of Utopia – a harmonious society.”
A recent survey from Norfakta shows that Red sails in a headwind – achieving 4.9 per cent voter support. It is above the barrier limit for the fourth consecutive month. The result is the best for the party since the poll started in 2008.
“You are not afraid that the party reaches the summit a little bit too early?”
“This National Convention is a large upturn. I do not think we have used all the gunpowder yet, but that we will gather in strength towards the election,” Moxnes replies.
Red focuses on the cities in particular and has designated the Progress Party as its main opponent.
“We want to create a popular movement against the division society,” deputy leader, Marie Sneve Martinussen, asserts from the pulpit. She calls many of the others «Winnie-the-Poh parties».
“They say they want a win-win situation. However, very often it is the case that some must get less for others to get more,” she concludes.
«Communism» decision on Saturday
One of the major issues at the national assembly is whether the term «Communism» should be scrapped from the party’s program declaration. This is something that both party leader Moxnes and a minority of the program committee wish for.
“Nothing is finally adopted before tomorrow. But we probably know how it will end after the first polls today,” the chair of the editorial committee, Mimir Kristjansson, tells NTB.
The matter is debated fiercely on Saturday.
“My problem is that «Communism» often is a hindrance to what we want to achieve,” Moxnes debates.
He has tried to weed out the term «Communism» from the principle program ever since he became the Leader of Red in 2012. Moxnes lost at the National Convention in 2014, and there is a lot of excitement whether history will repeat itself this time around.
Scepticism to the removal of «Communism»
Others are far more sceptical towards removing the term.
“Language is power. I am a communist, and I do not understand how we can have a communist basis without mentioning Communism,” Andreas Lindrupsen argues.
Kristjansson, on the other hand, supports Moxnes.
“We must realize that many have difficulties swallowing the term «Communism»,” he responds.
It is the 219 National Congress members who decide the matter. Neither Moxnes nor the rest of the party leadership has – in good communist tradition – a right to vote.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today