The (anti-)establishment of the Norwegian Green Party

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One year after Breivik’s terrorist attack of July 22, and one year before a possible green electoral breakthrough in Norway, Nikki Schei and Øyvind Strømmen discuss the mobilisation of green voters in their country, the use and impact of populist rhetoric, and the relation of the Norwegian Greens with the political establishment.

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The Norwegian Green Party, copyright

After years of playing a minor role in the political landscape, the Norwegian Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne) has started believing in an electoral breakthrough in the 2013 parliamentary elections. The GEF Campaign Handbook interviews Nikki Schei, executive board member of the Norwegian Greens, and Øyvind Strømmen, green provincial leader of Hordaland, about the political challenges and strategies of Miljøpartiet.

Strømmen is also known as a much quoted specialist on far right extremism in Europe since Breivik’s terrorist attack of July 22. In the article that follows, he and Schei reflect upon the impact of this drama on the ongoing developments within Miljøpartiet. How “anti-establishment” are the Norwegian Greens actually themselves? How appealing is the use of populist rhetoric on the eve of a possible electoral breakthrough? And how prominent is the philosophical heritage of Næss still in Miljøpartiet, with many discontent people from other parties joining the Norwegian Greens in recent years? The interviews with Schei and Strømmen were held separately, but some of the answers are put together in the article.

The professionalization of Miljøpartiet since 2007

GEF: Up till today, Miljøpartiet has not managed to win seats in the national parliament of Norway, for which a 4% election threshold exists. The nearest it got to this threshold, in fact, was in 1989 with 0.4% of the votes. Is it difficult being a green party in a country where so many people have profited, directly or indirectly, from oil and gas exports?

Schei: “Yes, definitely. But I also see that more and more, particularly young people start to understand that we can not continue using these resources forever, and that we have to seriously start investing in renewable energy. I personally like to compare the earth to a balloon. If you do not stop letting air out, the balloon will become weak and empty in the end. Everyone understands such a metaphor.”

GEF: Is Miljøpartiet the only political party in Norway that calls for an end of the oil era?

Schei: “Well, the Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti) would like to see this ending as well, but it seems that they have given up on this point in the coalition government with the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet). In this respect, they have not achieved any political victories. Actually, this is one of the reasons why many people are fed up with the Socialist Left Party and have decided to join or vote Miljøpartiet instead.”

GEF: Is the fact that many people are fed up with other parties the main reason why Miljøpartiet is doing relatively well and hoping for an electoral breakthrough in 2013, or is there more behind this development?

Strømmen: “The people from other parties that have decided to join Miljøpartiet since about 2007, which caused a domino effect and reached a peak in 2009, are very important for the professionalization of the party. They bring a lot of political experience with them, which was partly lacking in the small Norwegian Green Party.”

Schei: “Thanks to these developments, Miljøpartiet also becomes more and more visible as ‘one of the parties’ in the Norwegian media. People are paying more attention to us now, as we are starting to be seen as one of the serious political alternatives.”

The impact of new party members on the political profile of Miljøpartiet

GEF: Nikki, you are in fact a former member of the Norwegian Conservative Party (Høyre). To me that seems quite a big political step. Could you explain your switch between the two parties, and give me an idea of the impact of the new members on the identity of Miljøpartiet?

Schei: “I do not believe that the step from the Norwegian Conservative Party to the Greens is so big. Actually, the Norwegian Conservatives are rather similar to the Norwegian Labour Party. I have switched due to a disappointment with the established parties in Norway, among others with regard to environmental policies. Other people who have joined Miljøpartiet, regardless if they come from the left or the right, have similar feelings. They believe in the political alternative that the Greens stand for, in ideas and solutions that are neither left nor right.”

Strømmen: “On economic policies, Miljøpartiet might be rather left-wing. However, the party has recently developed more to the centre, and this way, it has become a possible ally for both left-wing and right-wing parties. In fact, you can already see this happening in some local situations. This development can be partly explained by the impact of the rather pragmatist attitude of the newly joined party members.”

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  1. Leslie Anthony-Robinson 04/04/2015 at 03:34 | Permalink |

    April 4th, 2015…Hello Norway Greens Party…I am a British American in Australiua…I require Humanitarian Refuge long ago and the evacuations of all Indigenous youth abnd children in the gippsland area where I live. These people require retreival, restoring, reform and theirs only my daughter also savage victim of Australians…Too shocking to express…There are persons “at war”
    as insane in huge networks of narcotics evil, so far found in Melbourne and suburbs, Gippsland where we moved when my daughter Alma May Robinson was born in 1993. Terrible times…Criminality found nowhere on the earth. Sydney and NSW was so insane. Never in Australia have I ever been able to move a step. I condemn all British as fatal as rare Welsh, Scottish/French ancestry. I require an Academic use of my findings in Victimology as us all being innocent, peaceful, dignified examples of what were wonderful people in many nations, ages…I cannot believe the racial/gender attacks as hostiles. I have found Acts of Crime Against Humanity and Genocidals. I deny any use other than specialized Intelligence at American standards. I will in no way consider Australia a nation and certainly not Democratic. I plan to sell my home and travel to Cyprus, Paris, France, a whizz through UK then to remain indefinitely in Washington, USA. I will demand my daughter Alma and her partner Michael Judd, an Aussie with Danish mum, be reassured that they may visit America and know they may be with me and meet my husband and family…an excellent network of hardworking world people. I miss America…I could never be brought here. Interesting because my father, born in Montana was the bastard offspring of an unknown Norwegian. His mother was Scottish/German…International Law will remove every human victim and have these Goddamn perpetrators treated as Correct Procedure. Law Enforcement is not what Australia is. I have collected my last case…very tired of ordeals, dump it on a doorstep…The most imprisonable.
    Help us All please…Thank you. 1 Dempsey Court, Morwell 3840, Victoria, Australia…+61 (03) 51330080…+61 (0)413530206…Immediate response requested for anyone who cares…I am extremely tired of trying to find professional standards…Lawsuits anyone ?? Best regards, Leslie Anthony-Robinson

  2. Leslie Anthony-Robinson 04/04/2015 at 03:47 | Permalink |

    It has occurred to me to re-found the Unity Party of Australia as Democratic representation of Indigenous Rights and respect of Non-Australians and Environmental causes. Also due to continuing Narcotics impacts/risk throughout the community I have also considered establishing the ICEBERG Foundation to record Narcotics activities known to the public, victims of Narcotics crime, referrals, legal advice, use of information by Law Enforcement and treatment…Most of it has no hope. I am multi-cultural Australia and am not impressed with the lack of standards for very good people. Australia is back in the White Australia Policy Era. I condemn all forms of Racism and will regard Discrimination as serious offence. I would like advice or assistance in how to initiate a political party starting with people as resources…I’m outta here man !! Thank you.

    Best regards,

    Leslie Anthony-Robinson