Tuesday, May 14, 2024

«Wir besinnen uns auf unsere Grundwerte zurück»

Ein Gespräch mit Frederikke Hellemann, Kandidatin der rot-grünen Allianz, über die Herausforderungen für die dänische Linke im Jahr 2024.

Im Vorfeld der Wahl zum Europäischen Parlament im Juni 2024 führt die Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung eine Reihe von Interviews mit Parteien und Kandidat*innen aus der ganzen EU durch, um den Wahlkampf, ihre politischen Forderungen und die Herausforderungen für die Linke in ihren Ländern und in Europa zu diskutieren.

Duroyan Fertl sprach mit Frederikke Hellemann, der Nummer zwei auf der Liste der dänischen Linkspartei Enhedslisten (EL), über die Prioritäten der dänischen Linken in diesem Jahr.

Was sind die Prioritäten von Enhedslisten für diese Europawahl?

Unsere Priorität in diesem Wahlkampf ist, die Menschen davon zu überzeugen, dass Enhedslisten auf ihrer Seite steht. Wir wollen ein sicheres, grünes und gerechtes Europa schaffen, das sich gegen die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels schützt. Mehr als der Hälfte des Trinkwassers in Dänemark ist mit Pestiziden und PFAS – sogenannten «ewige Chemikalien» – verunreinigt. In Südeuropa erleben wir Waldbrände und Überschwemmungen. All das sind Anzeichen dafür, dass Europa weder sicher noch gesund ist. Dagegen können wir nur angehen, wenn wir den grünen Wandel vollziehen.

Dazu müssen alle an einem Strang ziehen und die Verschmutzer*innen, die Reichsten, müssen das zahlen. Zum Glück schafft man, wenn etwa Häuser renoviert werden, Windräder gebaut und all das tut, was für ein grünes Europa nötig ist, viele gut bezahlte Arbeitsplätze. Und natürlich wollen wir sicherstellen, dass für diese Arbeitsplätze Tarifverträge gelten.

Deshalb sind unsere Prioritäten Klimaschutz und Artenvielfalt. Wir wollen zu Ende führen, was wir mit dem Grünen Deal, dem Naturwiederherstellungsgesetz und den Vorschlägen zur Landwirtschaft begonnen haben. Wir wollen auch dafür sorgen, dass Geld für die richtigen Zwecke ausgegeben wird. Wir setzen uns dafür ein, das EU-Vergaberecht wieder zu öffnen, damit wir Tarifverträge fordern können, wenn wir als Regierungen oder als Kommunen einkaufen. Wir wollen ein faires Europa und ein besseres Abkommen für Flüchtlinge, damit sie gerechter auf die Mitgliedstaaten verteilt werden und die Kosten von den Reichen getragen werden.

Lesen Sie den vollständigen Artikel auf der Website der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung - Büro Brüssel.

“Back to Basics”

An interview with Red-Green Alliance candidate Frederikke Hellemann on the challenges facing the Danish Left in 2024.

As the European Parliament elections this June draw nearer, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is conducting a series of interviews with left-wing parties and candidates from across the EU on the election campaign, their political programmes, and the challenges facing left-wing forces domestically and at a European level.

The foundation’s Duroyan Fertl spoke to Frederikke Hellemann, second on the list for Danish Left-Green Alliance, or Enhedslisten, about the Danish Left’s priorities in this super election year.

What are Enhedslisten’s key priorities or campaign areas in this European Parliament election campaign?

For this campaign, we have an umbrella theme of convincing people that Enhedslisten is on their side. This means creating a Europe that is safe, green, and just, that is safe from climate change. We are finding dangerous pesticides and PFAS — so-called “forever chemicals” — in over half of the drinking water in Denmark. We see flooding and forest fires in the south of Europe. All these things point to a Europe that is not safe and not healthy and the only way to combat these things is to complete the green transition.

For this to happen we need everyone on board, and to make sure that it is the polluters — the richest — who pay. Luckily, when you renovate homes, when you build windmills, when you do all the things that are necessary to create a green Europe, you also create many well-paying jobs. And, of course, we want to make sure that those jobs have collective agreements.

Therefore, for us the key priorities are going to be climate action and biodiversity — to finish what we started with the Green Deal, with the Nature Restoration Law, and with the proposals touching on agriculture. We are also campaigning on ensuring public money is spent in the right way. We want to reopen the EU Public Procurement law so we can demand collective agreements when we are buying as governments or as municipalities. We want a fair Europe and a better deal for refugees, with a fairer division among member states, and for all of this to be paid for by the rich.

Read the full article at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office.

Friday, April 26, 2024

„Wir müssen den Menschen Hoffnung geben“

Ein Gespräch mit Hanna Gedin von der schwedischen Linkspartei über die Prioritäten und Herausforderungen der schwedischen Linken vor der Europawahl.

Im Vorfeld der Wahl zum Europäischen Parlament im Juni 2024 führt die Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung eine Reihe von Interviews mit Parteien und Kandidat:innen aus der ganzen EU durch, um den Wahlkampf, ihre politischen Forderungen und die Herausforderungen für die politische Linke in den jeweiligen Ländern und in Europa zu diskutieren. Duroyan Fertl sprach mit Hanna Gedin, der Nummer zwei auf der Liste der schwedischen Linkspartei Vänsterpartiet, über die aktuellen Prioritäten der schwedischen Linken.

Welche Prioritäten setzt sich die Vänsterpartiet für diese Europawahl? Was sind die wichtigsten Wahlkampfthemen und Forderungen?

Wir haben drei Prioritäten in diesem Wahlkampf: Klimawandel, gute und sichere Arbeitsplätze, und die Lebenshaltungskosten-Krise. In mancher Hinsicht ist die EU beim Klimaschutz progressiver als die rechte schwedische Regierung, die gerade klimapolitische Errungenschaften der letzten Jahre wieder zunichtemacht. Dennoch verbietet das auf EU-Ebene vorherrschende neoliberale Dogma staatliche Beihilfemaßnahmen für die gewaltigen Investitionen, die für den grünen Wandel nötig sind. Es muss den EU-Mitgliedstaaten erlaubt werden, massiv in eine gerecht gestaltete sozial-ökologische Transformation, in die Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen und in eine bessere Lebensqualität für viele Menschen zu investieren. Gleichzeitig muss die EU aufhören, die fossile Industrie zu subventionieren.

Beim Thema gute Arbeitsplätze geschieht die Priorisierung von Kapital und Wettbewerb in der EU zu Lasten der Qualität der Arbeit. Ein Beispiel dafür ist die aktuelle Debatte um die Richtlinie zur Plattformarbeit. Wir wollen außerdem die Regeln für das öffentliche Beschaffungswesen ändern, die den niedrigsten Preis zum Hauptkriterium für die Auftragsvergabe gemacht haben, was zu Sozialdumping führt. Zusammen mit den europäischen Gewerkschaften fordern wir eine Erneuerung des öffentlichen Vergabewesens, die Sozialklauseln und Tarifverhandlungen in den Vordergrund stellt.

Letztlich sehen wir bei den Lebenshaltungskosten, dass die Inflation zu mehr Armut und sozialer Ungerechtigkeit geführt hat, während gleichzeitig Schwedens Großkonzerne historische Gewinne erzielen. Wir müssen eine neue Gesellschaftsform aufbauen, von der alle Menschen profitieren statt nur einige wenige. Ein tiefliegender Grund für die Wohnungskrise in Schweden – die durch Wohnungsknappheit und steigende Mieten verursacht wird – ist, dass Wohnraum auf dem europäischen Markt schlicht als Ware angesehen wird, was uns daran hindert, staatliche Beihilfen für den Bau neuer Wohnungen zu vergeben und öffentliche Wohnungsunternehmen dazu zwingt, die Marktregeln einzuhalten.

Lesen Sie den vollständigen Artikel auf der Website der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung - Büro Brüssel.

 

”We need to give people hope”

An interview with Hanna Gedin from the Swedish Left Party Vänsterpartiet on the priorities and challenges of the Swedish Left ahead of the European elections.

In the lead up to the 2024 European Parliament elections this June, the Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung is conducting a series of interviews with parties and candidates from across the EU on the election campaign, their political demands, and the challenges for left forces domestically and at a European level.

Duroyan Fertl spoke to Hanna Gedin, second on the list for Swedish left party Vänsterpartiet, about the Swedish left’s priorities this year.

What are Vänsterpartiet’s key priorities in this European Parliament election campaign? What are your key campaign areas or flagship demands?

There are three key priorities for this campaign: the climate transition, securing good and safe jobs, and the cost of living crisis. In some respects, the EU is more progressive on climate than the right-wing Swedish government, which is now dismantling years of climate policies, but the neoliberal dogma that prevails at the EU level prevents state aid measures to deliver the large investments needed for the green transition. EU member states must be allowed to make huge investments for a just transition, creating jobs and a better life for many people, and the EU must stop subsidising the fossil industry.

On the issue of securing good jobs, the EU’s prioritising of capital and competition comes at the expense of job quality – the recent fight around the platform work directive is a case in point. We also want to change the rules around public procurement, where securing the lowest price has been made the key condition for making procurements, something that leads to social dumping. Alongside the European trade unions, we are calling for a new kind of procurement where social clauses and collective bargaining are made the key factors.

Finally, on the cost of living, we can see that inflation has led to more poverty and increased social injustice, while at the same time the big companies in Sweden are making historic profits. We need to build a different kind of society, one that works for all the people, not just for a few. One reason we have a housing crisis in Sweden – which is being caused by a shortage in apartments and increasing rents – is because housing is deemed to be just another commodity on the European market, preventing us from using state aid to build new housing and forcing public housing companies to operate under market rules.

Read the full article at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

“Death or Liberty” – Australia’s Battle of Vinegar Hill at 220

220 years ago, on March 5, 1804, several hundred armed rebels – mostly escaped Irish political prisoners, veterans of Vinegar Hill and the United Irishmen rebellion of 1798 – clashed with British armed forces near Castle Hill in western Sydney. They lost, but while their rebellion was short-lived, it was far from the impromptu uprising many suggest. Rather, it was just the latest, and largest, manifestation of an ongoing Irish republican struggle in the fledgling colony.

In terms of scale, the ‘battle’ of Castle Hill was truthfully little more than a skirmish in the bush in western Sydney. Only a handful of rebels were killed, the rest fled, and their leaders were easily captured by crown forces under a false flag of truce. The rebel forces were poorly organised and divided, while – due to betrayal – hundreds more who would otherwise have joined them did not. Even so, the rebellion shook the colony to its core – a reaction that can only be understood in the context of the years immediately preceding it, both in Sydney, and in Ireland.

A vulnerable penal colony

By 1800, Sydney Town was a young settlement of barely 12 years, with only 2500 European inhabitants – 43 percent of them convicts. Further inland, Toongabbie and Parramatta had a combined population of under 1500, and perhaps another 1100 – mostly free settlers – could be found in the Hawkesbury. The colony was dotted with several small garrisons, but the military presence was confined largely to Sydney Town.

The economic viability of the settlement was also still uncertain, particularly after huge floods in 1799. This instability was to continue for several years, with ships sent to seek emergency food supplies from India as late as 1813. While hindsight can give rise to a misleading sense of inevitability, this vulnerability would have been palpable at the time, not least to hundreds of Irish political prisoners – convinced republicans and veterans of a large-scale armed rebellion against the British only months before.

The first ships carrying around 400 of these Irish political prisoners arrived at the start of 1800, sent as exiles-without-trial to the New South Wales colony in the aftermath of the failed United Irishmen rebellion of 1798. While some were senior members of the United Irishmen, arrested before the rebellion had begun, others had seen action in Waterford, Wexford, the Midlands, and the north. It would soon become apparent that the long journey to Australia had failed to break their spirits.

Sedition and conspiracy

As early as February 1800, records tell of a seditious meeting among the Irish being broken up in Sydney, while another plot was reported in May. In September, another conspiracy among the Irish prisoners was uncovered, with plans to take the Sydney barracks and overthrow the Governor, and for the rebels to then live on the settlers’ farms until they heard back from a message they would send to France. More disturbances were reported in October, with suspected ringleaders shipped off to Norfolk Island to defuse their plotting – unsuccessfully. In December, a rebellion on Norfolk Island was apparently averted only by the pre-emptive execution of two of its leaders.

Such accounts make the colony seem a hotbed of rebel activity, but it is difficult to know how much was true, and how much was British paranoia. One witness testified to the notorious “Flogging Reverend”, Samuel Marsden, in 1800 that she became convinced the Irish were planning “something that was improper” after seeing them “talking very earnestly in Irish”. A sectarian bigot, Marsden was already predisposed to distrust the Irish, describing them as "the most wild, ignorant and savage race that were ever favoured with the light of civilisation", while considering Irish convicts even worse, “depraved beyond all conception”.

Bigotry and sectarianism

Yet while the evidence of conspiracy and unrest may have been often flimsy, the British fear and distrust of the Irish was real enough, reflecting both ingrained ethnic prejudices and genuine political insecurities in aftermath of the events of 1798. Governor John Hunter – replaced by Governor Philip Gidley King in late 1800 – repeatedly complained to London that the Irish prisoners were “turbulent” and “diabolical” and called for the number of Irish transportees to be drastically reduced in the interest of colonial security.

Another consequence of the 1800 Irish scare was the establishment, on September 7, of an official civilian paramilitary movement: the Loyal Associations of Sydney and Parramatta, each with a captain, three sergeants, two drummers and three corporals, 36 privates in the Sydney group, and 29 in Parramatta. These loyalist paramilitaries were suspended by Governor King in August 1801, but recalled on December 9, 1803, when news arrived that France and England were at war. They marked the beginning of a conservative, protestant, “law and order” tradition that was to continue well into the twentieth century, built on profound distrust of, and discrimination against, the Irish Catholic community in Australia.

Echoes of Emmet’s rebellion

Further ships soon arrived from Ireland – the Anne, which reached Sydney in 1801 after surviving a mutiny by the prisoners onboard, and the Atlas I, Atlas II, and Hercules in 1802. Each carried more veterans of 1798, along with the latest updates of the state of unrest in the Irish countryside. Perhaps in response to news that the rebellion had finally been defeated, reported Irish agitation in the colony lessened, so much so that the British allowed the colony’s first Catholic priest to (briefly) perform his ministry. As late as March 1, 1804, Governor King wrote to London that the Irish in Sydney were now behaving themselves.

The spark for a new rebellion was already being kindled, however, after the whaling ship the Ferret arrived in Sydney in January 1804, bringing newspapers dating from August 1803. These bore tidings of Robert Emmet’s new United Irish rising near Dublin – but not of its demise, which followed closely in the weeks that followed. Not to be dampened by news of later events, word of Emmet’s uprising spread through the colony like wildfire, and six weeks later – whether by coincidence or not, on Emmet’s birthday – that spark became a flame.

“Liberty or Death…”

Literally, as it turns out. Instructions spread on March 4 that the rebellion would begin at nightfall, and the official signal was when one of the leaders, John Cavenah, set fire to his hut at Castle Hill Government Farm at 8 o’clock. That night, some 200-300, mostly Irish, prisoners escaped from the prison farm, led by Philip Cunningham – a key architect of the rebellion. A Kerry-man, Cunningham was a veteran of the 1798 United Irishmen rebellion and of its aftermath, where he had been captured and tried in Clonmel while rebuilding the United Irishmen in Tipperary. He had also been involved in the mutiny on board the Anne during its journey to Australia.

The signal fire was not seen by his comrades at Green Hills (today's Windsor) on the Hawkesbury River, but Cunningham proceeded with his plan regardless, taking weapons, ammunition, and food from the Castle Hill Government Farm, and recruiting local supporters. The rebels - their numbers soon swelling to over 685 - adopted the slogan “Death or Liberty” as their rallying call, planning to join hundreds more from the Hawkesbury area, to rally at Constitution Hill, and to march on Parramatta and then Sydney’s Port Jackson itself. There they would establish Irish rule and send those who wished it back to Ireland to reignite the 1803 rebellion.

Damned Betrayal

After looting the government farm, the rebel group divided into smaller parties, going from farm to farm on their way towards Constitution Hill, collecting further supplies and recruits. Their actions were informed by intelligence gathered the previous year, when 12 escaped prisoners sought out friends and sympathisers in the surrounding districts. Even so, many lost their way during the night and failed to reach the rendezvous point – including a group of 70 under the command of Samuel Humes. These losses were worsened when plans to join with hundreds of prisoners in the Hawkesbury region went awry after John Griffen, the courier taking their mobilisation orders, betrayed the uprising and surrendered to authorities that night.

Another small group of rebels attempted to enter Parramatta to set a building alight as a signal for local rebels and those in Sydney to join the rebellion, but two defectors again ruined the plan. Captain Edward Abbott commenced defensive measures in Parramatta and sent a message to Governor King in Sydney. King, alerted to the rebellion late during the evening of March 4, declared martial law, although when news of the uprising reached the small colony, a great panic set in, with some officials – including Samuel Marsden – fleeing the area by boat. Major George Johnston of the New South Wales Corps (himself later to play a key role in the Rum Rebellion coup d’état of 1808) quickly gathered a force of British troops and a large civilian militia – including the Sydney Loyal Association – to pursue the rebels.

New Ireland

With the element of surprise lost and plans to mobilise rebels in the Hawkesbury, Parramatta and Sydney having failed, the uprising was confined to the area west of Parramatta. Cunningham, lacking any sign that Parramatta had been taken, and without the expected reinforcements, was forced to withdraw the rebel group to Toongabbie to re-assess strategy, gather new forces, and perhaps find his lost comrades. In the process, he also collected a significant number of arms, by this point possessing of perhaps a third of the colony’s entire armaments, but the rebel forces continued to dwindle in number. Those that remained are reported to have proclaimed the area around Constitution Hill "New Ireland”.

Meanwhile, Major Johnston’s much smaller crown forces endured a forced march through the night, coming to within only a few kilometres of the remaining rebels, now reduced to approximately 233, on the morning of March 5. Outnumbered and tired, Johnston decided to employ delaying tactics, riding on ahead of his men along with a trooper, Thomas Anlezark, and the colony’s sole Catholic priest, Father Dixon – himself an Irishman exiled to Australia following 1798 – to demand the rebels surrender, and to otherwise parley with them while his troops advanced to a more favourable position.

“… and a ship to take us home!”

Sending first the trooper Anlezark, and then Father Dixon, to demand (unsuccessfully) that the rebels down arms and accept an amnesty, Major Johnston himself finally rode up to meet them. Cunningham’s response, however, remained emphatic: “Death or liberty”. It is sometimes claimed that he also said, “and a ship to take us home”, although that addition is first recorded some while later. During this exchange, the government troops and the loyalist militia finally appeared, lining up behind Major Johnston. Seizing his opportunity, Johnston – still under a flag of truce – took Cunningham and another rebel leader captive at gunpoint.

Quickly retreating with the captured Cunningham, Johnston ordered crown forces to fire on the rebels. After fifteen minutes of gunfire, followed by a charge, between 15 and 20 rebels were killed, the others scattering into the bush in disarray. An unknown number – certainly more than a dozen – were killed in the pursuits that followed into the night and the following days. Governor King then announced leniency for those who surrendered before March 10, leading many of those who got lost on the night of March 4 to give themselves up, while the large group commanded by Samuel Humes was captured by the Parramatta Loyal Association militia at Castle Hill.

Aftermath

The extent of British alarm over the Castle Hill rebellion can be measured by the scale of repression that followed. While some have estimated that 39 rebels died in, or as a result of, the Castle Hill uprising, the precise numbers will never be known. Around 230 people were arrested in the days following the rebellion, of whom nine were executed. Eight of these received a court-martial, while a wounded Cunningham was hanged without trial on the steps of the Government Store at Windsor, which he had claimed he would burn down. Interestingly, of those executed, four were Protestant, and two were English.

Two prisoners – including Humes – were hung from the gibbet, while two others, Bryan McCormack and John Burke, were reprieved and detained. Seven were whipped with between 200 or 500 lashes and sent to the Coal River chain gang at Newcastle, and a further 23 others were sent to the Newcastle coal mines. Another 34 prisoners were placed in irons until they could be "disposed of”, but their fate remains unclear. Of the approximately 150 rebels that remained, many were sent to Norfolk Island on good behaviour bonds, but the majority were pardoned and allowed to return to their previous lives, it being adjudged that they had been coerced into rebellion.

The International Society of United Irishmen?

Martial law ended on 10 March 1804, but the Irish insurgency in Sydney – both real and imagined – continued. Two Frenchmen who had come to the colony to cultivate vines were expelled on suspicion. More realistic plots continued to develop, with authorities on the constant alert over the following three years. For his part, Governor King was convinced that the true leaders of the 1804 rebellion had remained out of sight, and were continuing to plot the colony’s demise. As a result, he sent numerous suspects to Norfolk Island as a preventative measure.

Whether King was correct will likely never be known – the identity of the rebellion's co-conspirators in Parramatta, Sydney and the Hawkesbury are lost to history. It is true, however, that the rising was neither as spontaneous nor isolated as most Australian historiography would have us believe. Indeed, there are unverified claims that at least two Irish prisoners who arrived in February 1800 on board the Friendship were corresponding with the United Irish leadership around Emmet to establish a secret branch of an “International Society of United Irishmen” in Sydney to act there under direction from Ireland.

Loyalist paranoia about Irish republicanism was further fed by the arrival in February 1806 of another group of Irish political rebels on board the Tellicherry. They included the last hard core of United Irishmen, and were led by none other than Michael Dwyer, the “Wicklow Chief”, who had only surrendered in December 1803 on condition of voluntary exile to the United States of America. Perfidious Albion, of course, had other ideas, sending Dwyer, Hugh Byrne, Martin Burke, Arthur Devlin, John Mernagh, and a dozen of their comrades to Botany Bay. Perhaps regrettably, the loyalist fears of renewed rebellion were misplaced.

Australia's Vinegar Hills

Known as Australia’s “Battle of Vinegar Hill” due to its links with the Irish events of 1798, and that famous battle in particular, the 1804 Castle Hill rebellion is now commemorated at the Vinegar Hill Memorial, Castlebrook Memorial Gardens, in Rouse Hill. A monument was unveiled by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1988, carrying the names of several contemporary politicians and councillors, but with none of the rebels. This rather blinkered oversight was remedied on the bicentenary of the rebellion in 2004 with a new plaque.

The Castle Hill rebellion was also the opening sally in a longer struggle for democracy in Australia in which Irish republicans have played a key part. The anti-authoritarian streak, and the lived experience of many Irish in Australia, found its expression in the widespread popular support for the Kelly Gang in northeast Victoria, in the better expressions of Australia's trade union movement, in the struggle against conscription during World War One, and in the fight for Aboriginal rights. In 1920, 100,000 people marched in Melbourne's annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade to demonstrate their support for Irish independence.

Perhaps the most iconic such expression, however, took place fifty years after Castle Hill at the Eureka Stockade rebellion on the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria. It, too, was defeated in blood, but the popular support it enjoyed saw one of its key demands realised: a Legislative Assembly in the Victorian colony. The Eureka rebels – migrants from every corner of the earth – were inspired by the same ideals of liberty, justice, and freedom as the heroes of '98 and '04. Led by Peter Lawlor, the brother of Young Irelander James Fintan Lawlor, they raised a standard of liberty while using the password "Vinegar Hill".

Friday, January 26, 2024

Northern Lights? Nordic lessons for the just transition

For many, Scandinavia is synonymous with social democracy, high union density, public ownership, and progressive governments inclined to climate action and sustainable policies. A recent study tour to Norway and Denmark, hosted by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s New York and Brussels offices, found that both countries still struggle with entrenched interests – local and international – holding back a genuine “just transition”.

The five-day study tour in October brought ten experts – legislators, researchers, and activists – from North America and Europe to Norway and Denmark. It was the aim of the tour to explore the renewable energy landscape in Scandinavia, and to exchange experiences from both sides of the Atlantic around building a “just transition”: a greening of the economy in a fair and inclusive manner that creates decent work opportunities and leaves no one behind.

Taking as its starting point the role and strategies of left parties, trade unions and climate justice groups in the Nordic region, the visit also looked at the larger challenges, including the regional and global dynamics surrounding a green transition. The results were challenging, and sometimes inspiring, but contradictory.

Leading on renewables?

Denmark and Norway are rightly seen as world leaders on renewable energy, but this status is riddled with incongruities. While Norway’s hydro sector supplies over 99 percent of the country’s electricity needs and is more than 90 percent state-owned, wind power faces significant public opposition. Unlike hydro, onshore wind generation in Norway is 75 percent privately owned, largely exported for profit, and pays lower taxes than other energy sectors. Offshore wind production – which faces less criticism – mostly serves to electrify Norwegian oil and gas platforms.

Opposition to onshore wind has even emerged within Norway’s environmental movement and indigenous Sámi population, most notably around the Fosen wind farm in central Norway. In October 2021, Norway’s Supreme Court ruled the wind farm had been built in clear violation of the Sámi people’s human rights, but the government has failed to take any action. Both environmental groups and the Sámi people continue to protest against the wind farm, and the case has only helped deepen public opposition to wind energy in the country.

Read the full report at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office or Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Das Thema „Sicherheit“ und die Linke

Erfahrungen und Strategien linker Parteien in den nordischen Ländern und Deutschland

Im Juni 2023 veranstaltete das Brüsseler Büro der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) einen Workshop in Malmö, Schweden, um den Austausch von Erfahrungen und Strategien zwischen verschiedenen linken Parteien zu fördern, die sich insbesondere nach dem russischen Einmarsch in die Ukraine mit dem Thema Sicherheitspolitik beschäftigen.

Am Workshop nahmen 20 Parteiaktivist:innen und Entscheidungsträger:innen der politischen Linken aus Dänemark, Finnland, Norwegen, Schweden und Deutschland teil.[1] Darunter waren sowohl Abgeordnete der nationalen Parlamente, Fraktionssprecher:innen in den Bereichen Sicherheit und Verteidigung als auch Mitglieder der Parteispitzen von Enhedslisten (Dänemark), Vasemmistoliitto (Finnland), Rødt (Norwegen), Socialistisk Venstreparti (Norwegen), Vänsterpartiet (Schweden), und DIE LINKE (Deutschland).

Der Workshop bot neben der Möglichkeit, sich über Analysen und Strategien auszutauschen, sich untereinander zu vernetzen und voneinander zu lernen, wichtige Einblicke in die Erfahrungen und Debatten linker Parteien in den nordischen Ländern und in Deutschland. Der Fokus lag auf zentralen Fragen und Herausforderungen für die Linke im Bereich der Sicherheitspolitik, einschließlich der heiklen Frage linker Strategien und Taktiken gegenüber militärischen und sicherheitspolitischen Bündnissen wie der NATO.

Der Workshop war Teil einer laufenden Veranstaltungsreihe der RLS Brüssel mit Schwerpunkt auf den nordischen Ländern.

Den vollständigen Bericht finden Sie auf der Website der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung – Büro Brüssel.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

“Security and the Left” - Impact Workshop

On 8-9 June 2023 the Brussels Office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) hosted a workshop in Malmö to facilitate the exchange of experiences and strategies between several left-wing parties grappling with the issue of security policy, particularly in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The event was held face-to-face and invitation-only to guarantee an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality to participants.

The workshop brought together 20 party activists and decision-makers from the political left in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Germany.[1] Participation included current MPs, and members of party leaderships, from Enhedslisten (Denmark), Vänsterpartiet (Sweden), Vasemmistoliitto (Finland), Socialistisk Venstreparti (Norway), Rødt (Norway), and DIE LINKE (Germany).

Participants had the opportunity to exchange views on analysis and strategy, to connect and to learn from each other – gaining useful insights into the experiences of, and debates within, left parties in the Nordic countries and Germany. Through a dynamic mix of inputs and interactive discussions, the workshop concentrated on key questions and challenges for the left in the area of security policy, including the thorny question of left strategies and tactics towards military and security alliances such as NATO.

The workshop was part of an ongoing series of events with a focus on the Nordic countries organised by RLS Brussels.

Read the full report at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Impact workshop: “The Left in Power”, Copenhagen 9-10 June

In June 2022, the Brussels Office of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung hosted a workshop in Copenhagen to better understand and compare the central issues, experiences and strategies of left-wing parties’ participation in, or support of, governments in the region. The event was face-to-face and by-invitation only to guarantee an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality to participants.

The workshop brought together 30 party activists and decision-makers from among the political left in Sweden, Denmark and Germany.[1] Participation included current MPs, members of the party leadership, and activists with experience at the regional and local level from Enhedslisten (Denmark) and Vänsterpartiet (Sweden), as well as DIE LINKE officials and elected representatives from several German states and state parliaments (Thuringia, Brandenburg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bremen and Hamburg).

Participants had the opportunity to exchange viewpoints on analysis and strategy, learn from each other and connect, gaining useful insights into the experiences and debates of left parties in the Nordic countries and Germany. A dynamic mix of inputs, interactive methods, small group discussions and strategy development, concentrated on a number of key questions, including the case for the “left in power”, strategies and tactics for making this a reality, and the question of placing limits or “red lines” on government participation.

The workshop was part of an ongoing series of events with a focus on the Nordic countries organised by RLS Brussels.

Read the full report at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Denmark’s left in crisis?

Denmark’s radical left party, the Red Green Alliance, is in a spin. At the November 1 general election, it lost a quarter of its support, a third of its seats, and its influence with government. Alongside the immediate financial and political ramifications, the result has opened up both internal and public debate on what went wrong and why – exposing strategic disagreements over the party’s direction.

This was the Red Green Alliance’s (RGA) third electoral retreat in a row, following the 2019 national election and last year’s municipal vote. The party won just 5.1 percent of the vote, down from 6.9 percent in 2019 and its historic high-water mark of 7.8 percent in 2015. The result is worse if you consider the party was averaging 8.1 percent support when the election was called in October. Compared to expectations during the campaign, the election results came as something of a shock.

In the regions, the party’s vote continued to drop, with many voters turning to the Social Democrats or the Green Left party, and confining RGA support largely to the big urban centres. There too the party faced setbacks, with many supporters of radical change backing the new Independent Greens or the environmentalist Alternative instead.

The party’s Main Board soon announced an internal review and plans to address the sudden financial shortfall, but this review was pre-empted somewhat by an article in Politiken, Denmark’s main newspaper. In it, former party spokesperson and outgoing MP Pernille Skipper blamed the poor result on – among other things – outdated party structures, calling for an intensification of the “modernisation” process begun a decade and a half ago, and for greater political manoeuvrability for MPs.

Read the full article at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Brussels Office.