AKP(ml) and IRA to the rescue
Norway have our own stories of ethnic oppression, of forced sterilization of Romani's and Gypsies, resettlement of their children, as well as cultural imperialism (the genuine kind) against the Sami's, a nomadic people that lives in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland. We weren't much worse than other Western countries, but not much better either, and some of this was still practiced in the 1960's and 70's. In recent years, the full story of the oppression of the travelling peoples has been brought out in the open, and the Sami's now have limited self-rule, with their own parliament since 1989. Not sure I see the point of a Sami parliament, but at least it reflects a dramatic change in attitude to the better from a time not long ago when Sami's were banned from using their own languages in schools.
One turning point in the relationship between Norwegians and Sami's was the (eventually successful) attempt to build a hydropower plant in Alta, in the late 70's and early 80's. The Sami's who lived in the area protested, and got the sympathy of many Norwegians, especially the growing environmentalist movement. Protesters used civil disobedience to delay the construction of the plant, and as far as I know there was little or no violence. But this could have turned both ways. In Nordlys today, a leader in the Alta protest movement reveals that they had offers from both AKP (ml) and the IRA for aid with sabotage and terrorism, but turned them down:
- We were contacted by Norwegians we knew were far out on the left, who I knew were members of AKP. They told us they had people who worked in positions that enabled them to cut off the power supply to Oslo, among other cities. It was talked about sabotage against trafo stations, and in Pasvik to cut power masts so they would break in bad weather. We turned down these offers because they violated our no-violence line. [..]
Good for them and us that they felt this way. I'm not sure why some ethnic conflicts spawn terrorism and others don't, but it was obviously no thanks to AKP(ml) and the IRA that this went as well as it did. I'm not sure how much AKP(ml) and the IRA had in common, politically, and AKP(ml) has always denied cooperation with the left-wing terrorist organizations of the time, but it is suspicious that both groups had thought of the same idea, to sabotage Norway's power supply. The article mentions a find the police made in 1979, of concrete plans to blow up 35 vital power plants in Norway, so we know such plans existed, and it seems plausible that there was a connection between these plans and the offers the Sami protesters received.
Gill Doyle | 2003-08-10 07:37 | Link
It's to AKP's credit, I suppose, that they never acted on any of their violent fantasies. Here in the States we experienced some scattered outbreaks of insanity -- the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army, for instance. But leave it to the Germans to do things in a serious and systematic way. I read in this week's edition of the Economist that the Baader-Meinhof Gang (Red Army Faction) still enjoys a certain vogue in Deutschland. T-shirts imprinted with the Gang's logo are apparently stylish in some circles. A retrospective of the group's "contributions" to German culture has, however, stirred considerable controversy. Some would rather forget about youthful indiscretions. An ad for a recent BBC documentary about the group had this to say, though, about some former members of the gang:
"BBC Four: Did you detect any remorse or regret in any of the surviving members you interviewed?
Bjørn Stærk | 2003-08-10 09:56 | Link
Pål Steigan was on NRK yesterday and claimed that AKP(ml) actually stopped Rote Arme Fraktion from getting a foothold in Norway. They were approached by RAF to create a Norwegian branch, but rejected it. I can believe that, though it's probably an exaggeration to take the whole credit for stopping them. And this Sami business shows that there were at least some elements in AKP(ml) who were itching for a more active line.
Taco | 2003-08-11 16:55 | Link
Just wondering what ml in AKP (ml) means. I know the AKP was the communist party in Norway, but I never heard of anything-(ml).
Bjørn Stærk | 2003-08-11 18:16 | Link
Marxist-Leninist. It's a funny word. You don't say "jeg er marx-leninist", but "jeg er marxist-leninist", and not "ifølge marxist-leninismen ... " but "ifølge marxismen-leninismen .. " and "det der er ikke så veldig marxistisk-leninistisk av deg". They could probably tell police spies by their failure to bend their tongues around "marxismen-leninismen".
Magnus Bernhardsen | 2003-08-14 10:17 | Link
Actually, a Finnish researcher made a thesis some years ago where she compared Norway, Finland and Germany and concluded that the way the AKP ((ml) ditched in 1991) was a major reason why RAF-like groups never got a foothold in Norway.
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