Dear friends and comrades!
My name is Eirik Faret Sakariassen.
I’m a city councillour of Stavanger. I’m the vice president of the student organization in Stavanger. I’m a socialist. But first of all: I’m a norwegian!
To me it has always been something I’ve been proud to say. I represent a small country that many always have reckoned to be a peaceful and caring nation. We’re a small nation, but we’re a great one as well.
After the 22nd of July 2011 we have strengthend this impression.
Former US president George W Bush, after 9/11 said: “We’re gonna hunt you down.”
Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, July 22nd said «We will retaliate with more democracy.”
It’s not hard to understand why I’m proud to be norwegian.
When terror from the far right struck, against the government, against innocent youths and against our democracy, the people of Norway rised up.
Not in anger and hate, but in sadness and in love.
When Norway had its 9/11, people didn’t cry out for more surveillance and more security. We claimed more democracy and more openness.
When a man that hated multiculturalism tried to bomb and shoot it a way, we made him loose.
The 23rd of July I was schedueled to go to Oslo, and three days after that Socialistic Youth of Norway was going to host our annual summer camp, at Utøya island, where the shootings took place. Instead we cried over our lost friends.
In some of the funerals priests and imams stood side by side. Never have we seen a Norway more proud of all our new norwegians.
Before the 22nd of July Norway discussed the problems of a multicultural society. Now a lot of people endorce our multicultural society!
But even though many norwegians now have changed their views, not all of them have. I get threts from time to time, from neonazis, anti-islamists and other loonatics. They try to keep up their fascist fight for, as they say, a Norway for norwegians.
We have to keep up the fight for an open and inclusive Europe. When so many people loses their jobs, we have historicly seen the rise of fascists movements. This must be stopped!
Hatred don’t create jobs. Racism doesn’t stop a recession. People do!
All around Europe we see nationalists organize. Just like in 1933 they point to one group as the reason of our crisis. Then it was the jews. Now they point at muslims.
Have anyone of you seen the TV-show called «Mythbusters? It is our job to bust the myths about immigration. While nationalist groups and parties create an image of a cultural war in Europe, we must retaliate with facts. Hard facts, like: out of almost 300 terrorist attempts or actions in Europe the last then years, only one was done by a muslim. Contrary to all the right wing terrorist, who without a doubt is a bigger thret to Europe.
I believe in the good in people. I believe we are strongest when we stand toghether, than when we’re split a part.
At the same time as most parts of the world and Europe are facing a majore economic recession, Norway is economically in good shape. We have historically low unemployment-rates, high equality and a good portion of oil. We are not a part of the EU, and these days 80% of the poeple are happy about that.
But the oil isn’t a solution to all problems. Also after we found the oil, Norway have experienced crisis and recession. The economic safety for the poeple in Norway doesn’t come from oil, but from the welfare state, created by the workers unions and the left side parties.
In Norway we have a center-left government, whom also my party is a part of. During the last recession, back in 2008, the leader of my party served as the Norwegian finance minister. We used a lot of money to keep people at work, create more jobs and prevent privatizing of the public sector. This worked out very well. Now a days it is a shame to see workers all over Europe pay the bill left by unresponsible politicians and greedy business men!
At the same time, we have a growing part of Norway, the billionares. Never have the rich been richer. And never have the rich been more unsatisfied.
A former minister, representing the Norwegian Conservative Party, once said that: «The tax on personal fortune is like rat posion.» We can only ask ourselves: Who are the rats?
A good friend of mine has recently written a book, that translated to english is called «The Super Rich». The book clearly shows how the rich become richer, but less willing to contribute to the welfare system.
What do you give to someone who’s got it all? An advice to share with others!
This crisis shows – sadly – that we were right. There will be a crisis, we said. And the workers will be the ones paying for it. And we were right. The truely sad thing, though, is that there are less and less people who seek our solutions.
The democratic left looses support, and many turn to the extreme right. This development concerns me, and should concern all of you. We have to take it seriously, and we have to take action.
We have to promote our solutions, talk about more justice, more equality, more green solutions and less blue politics and privatization. Because one thing remains true: You don’t put out a fire by pouring gazoline on it!