Another thing I was thinking about in connection with my trip to bergen is the extreme focus all other regions in Norway put on Oslo – at the same time as they really don’t like it at all.
They were all very certain that in Oslo you can get killed by just walking out on the street and living for them was apparently all about moving back out into the middle of nowhere where they were born after finishing their education in the nearest town with a population just large enough to provide for a college.
The most amazing thing about these misconceptions of Oslo is that Norway is incredibly Oslo-focused.
This weekend I was in Bergen and it was the first time for a very long time that I have spend an extensive amount of time with “normal” non-political Norwegian youngsters. Well, not really, they were not all that unpolitical, but they were not on the extreme far left. Or at least not all of them were. I was attending the fall camp of the Pedagogy Students (PS) – the student chapter of the main teachers labor union.
< %image(20050927-CARO.gif|150|150|CARO - coffe substitute)%>
And then yesterday, I started reflecting a bit upon the the meaning of coffe-substitutes…
Remember how in New Orleans the feuderal authorities and their partially private armed security teams had to be there – not only to protect private property but also to protect those still in the city against themselves? Especially the reports about rapes in the super dome and mass killing amongst these “underpriviliged groups”.
It is only now, when nobody really follows the news, that we get reports like this:
Do you know those situations when you think you feel love (or have recently) for a person at the same time that you really despise their behavior? Well, that’s where I’m at right now. It might not even be her behavior so much as what my subjective interpretation is of it: whenever she shows some positive signs – a smile, a brief, a flattering remark, a yell of my name across a room full of people – I almost always tend to interpret it as no sign at all or a sign of her trying to play with me. But then I got this dream (with Nazis and stuff), and I think that explained a lot.
< %image(20050923-johannes_night.jpg|900|675|Johannes at night)%>
If there is one positive thing about the Scandalous handling of the New Orleans tragedy, it is probably the renewed focus that class and race relations have received in the US afterwards. Listening to KALX most of these early fall days (the temparature really went down quite a bit following the elections here) while typing or reading, I can’t get the Kanye West remix “George Bush don’t like black people” out of my head – and it seems to spread extremely fast – just got a reference to it from my brother in Roskilde, Denmark a few days ago. Probably it’s partially cause you can download it for free, but also cause the theme is something people are interested in.
So these are probably some of the most exciting elections since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (that is, West Germany): the chancellor is seeking reelection, but nobody can quite understand why he asked for an election prematurely (that is one year before he had to). Right now it looks as if the Social democrats (SPD), the Greens (Grüne) and the Socialists (Linkspartei) will tie with the Conservatives (CDU) and Liberals (FDP, that is economic liberals). However, if CDU + FDP fail to get a majority, Linkspartei and SPD have already said that they will not cooperate – which would mean that one might get a “big coalition” of CDU + SPD.
To be honest I think that could be just as good – and as I said earlier, it might mean the start of a new outer-parliamentary opposition.
So I’m saying to those who can vote: vote for the Socialists! And that is actually quite easy this time – cause also the DKP (German Communist Party) is participating in the campaign – as well as almost all the smaller left wing groups that historically have kept to themselfs.
Of course, blogging has been there for quite a hile amongst average urban internet users. However, in connection with the Norwegain elections, it really has become an instrument amongst the Norwegian left. The first thing was Kristin Halvorsen’s blog, (leader of Socialist Left Party SV) but she never had time to write in it so it was taken off air – and has since been replaced by a blog at the worst yellow press newspapers “VG”. Then we got the blog from Liv Gulbransen and Erling Folkvord (1st and 2nd candidate for Oslo Red Voting Alliance RV). After the elections, which put SV in the government although they went down from 12.5% to 8.8% and RV outside the parliament, focus has been mounting on the Magnus Marsdal hate blog (leader of ATTAC Norway and co-author of 2 books, not very popular amongst one section of the left mainly due to his high self-esteem and very popular with the rest). During the election campagin, he and his friends had been given the opportunity to keep a blog at one of the major Oslo focused classic conservative newspapers as they were labeling themselfs as a “think tank”. And then there are all those blogs with less direct focus on them – but that are still read a lot.
The last thing I talked about as the night before election day, when I chose to go home instead of sleeping outside the parliament. When I wrote those lines, I had just left the camp and was planning to spend the night before the election at home. When I left them, they had my tent, three banners a tabek with five big chairs around it and I thought that the camel woman, the Danish doctor and one grown up Oslo activst would be able to handle it all.
The last two days have been equally exciting, although less contrastive. The camp still stands, and we were filmed by Danish TV2, Swedish SVTV1, Finish MTV3 and Helsingin Sanomat as well as Norwegian Dagbladet. The plan is now to stay for election night…
< %image(20050911-camp_two_young_punks.jpg|1398|1128|Two young punks)%>
Do you know those situations when you move too fast to reflect upon your? It feels like I’m trying to do that right now. Just looking at the time span between Thursday evening and until now (Saturday morning)…
< %image(20050911-camp_day.jpg|900|675|Camping for a cause - in the background the Norwegian parliament)%>