New political course in 2005 – mobilise against neo-liberalism

Dear friends!

We are approaching the end of this fifth and biggest of all
globalisation conferences which have been held in our country. At
this conference we have identified the forces that threaten,
undermine and limit democracy. We have discussed the fundamental
principles which form the basis for our alternatives, for
democratic governance, for the redistribution of power and
resources – not only in this country, but globally. In addition to
this, we have covered a number of issues of vital importance to the
development of our societies, our solidarity and our freedom.
Actually, there are no other arenas in our society these days where
these issues are discussed to such an extent. In the course of some
few years, the Globalisation Conference has become the biggest
political workshop in our country, placing the most burning
political issues of our time on the agenda – and we have only just

We do not have all the answers. Good heavens, no! Neither can we
have them. Anyway, we will continue discussing and developing them,
be sure! Just as important as developing alternatives, however, is
it that we are able shift the balance of power in society – through
mobilisation, building of alliances and direct action. Only in this
way can we create the preconditions which make it possible for
people themselves, through real democratic processes, to develop
the institutions and organisations necessary to build a better
society. Only in this way can people gain freedom and control of
their own lives. This means to remove the obstacles for real
democracy. This means to confront the counter-forces which we have
identified at this conference – the multinational corporations, the
international financial institutions, the so-called free trade
agreements and our neo-liberal governments.

This is our great task – and we are senselessly impatient. The
neo-liberal project, which was pushed through by powerful economic
and political forces in the wake of the global economic crises in
the 1970s, has dramatically shifted the balance of power in
society. It has undermined democracy and resulted in increasing
powerlessness, apathy and right wing populism – and a formidable
redistribution of wealth in society. It is the revolt of the
elites, the revolution of the rich, that we have seen unfold around
us the past two decades, and it has certainly not been a beautiful

Nothing of this has happened just by itself, and it will not
disappear just by itself. It has never happened, neither in today’s
world, nor in previous times, that members of the economic and
political elites one day suddenly have leaned back, put their hands
satisfied on their bellies and said; «Now, finally, have we got
enough.» It has never happened, and it will not happen. The
economic and political elites do not voluntarily give up their
positions, their privileges, their power and their luxurious
wealth. These people must be deprived of their power, and this can
only be done through the democratisation of the economy and
society, through a radical redistribution of wealth – between
countries as well as internally – and by the building of popular
movements and alliances from below, as is now being done through
the global Social Forum movement and not least through our own
2005-alliance against neo-liberalism, for a new political course,
which is now being developed in connection with the coming
parliamentary election.

During this mobilisation and struggle we have now received
unexpected help from neo-liberalism itself. At a rate which we
hardly believed possible, this project is about to become totally
scandalized. Neo-liberalism is namely no longer only a theory or
political allegations that everything will become better. To an
increasing degree, locally as well as globally, we are confronted
with the results of the neo-liberal havocs, and these results are
far from what the neo-liberal high priests promised when they
launched their fascinating stories of the blessings of unregulated
markets. We no longer have any idea of the number of corruption
scandals connected with greedy multinational corporations. We have
lost count of destructive and unsuccessful privatisation projects
in the North as well as in the South. We are no longer able to keep
track of all the countless environmental disasters and plundering
of resources in the South. We hardly have words for the economic
and social devastation that is being carried out in developing
countries under cover of the so-called structural adjustment
programs – which moreover repeatedly are restyled and relabelled,
and whose policies are also being used as preconditions for
Norwegian foreign aid programmes. Thus, reality, my friends,
reality is now about to become one of our most important allies.
Times are changing!

There is no popular support for the policy which is now being
carried out in this country. As an example, when did you last time
see a protest march move ahead through any of our towns or cities
with demands for the privatisation of our schools, the competitive
tendering of our hospitals or more power to the market? When did
the masses in our country claim more freedom for currency
speculators and stock traders? It has of course never happened. The
current policy is not at all rooted in the people of this country.
Neo-liberalism is yesterdays’ answer to the challenges of tomorrow.
The neo-liberalists have got their inspiration from the 18th
century economist Adam Smith, and they call it modernisation!

The 2005-alliance is an answer to this economy of madness. The
alliance represents a new way of developing policy and political
power in this country. More than 20 years of neo-liberalism, under
a number of different governments, forms the basis of our
reorientation. The fundamental, underlying developments in our
society have hardly been affected by which government we have had
in this period. The policy has been characterized by privatisation,
redistribution of wealth and increased market orientation –
regardless of the colour of the government – including an
increasingly stronger global alliance with the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, to
destroy the environment, exploit developing countries and the
poorest people of the world. Our task is therefore not to get
married with any of the existing political parties, but to mobilise
far and wide to build social movements and thereby achieve enough
strength from below to increase the pressure on the political
parties and create a climate for political change. This is actually
what we are about to do now.

We must be aware of what enormous task we thus are undertaking –
all of us who are here. We are no longer going to limit ourselves
to demonstrations against injustice, misery and poverty, against
exploitation and oppression, against terror and war – like we did
in our mobilisation against the World Bank in the spring of 2002
and our massive mobilisation against the Iraq war in February last
year. We will of course continue this mobilisation, because it is
decisive for the building up of social power, but we shall no
longer restrict ourselves to merely protesting. This is only the
first step in our project. The second step is about developing
alternatives, our fundamental principles for another society – but
not even there will we stop.

What we are now doing in this movement, by joining the
2005-alliance, is to take the third decisive step in a necessary
process. We are now putting the power relations in society on the
agenda. We are not only demanding a new government, we are first
and foremost demanding a new policy. This is the ambitious goal of
the 2005-alliance. We are now starting our march to capture power,
we are now aiming at influencing the development of society in this
country. We cannot do that by taking over the present power
structures. 25 years of continuing neo-liberalism has proved more
than anything else that radical change does not come from within
existing institutions. Changes can only be achieved through
pressure from outside and from below. Social and political power
gains strength from the movements. This struggle for power must
therefore also be a struggle that, in the way it is being
organised, contributes to empowering the powerless, and it does not
end on the day of election in September 2005. On the contrary, it
is then of vital importance that the pressure is carried on.

Bid us nothing small! It is a huge project we have undertaken.
Through the initiatives we are now taking, through the fundamental
political directions we are pointing out, through the alliances we
are building between the new movements, the trade union movement
and other social movements and organisations, we are just about to
write the first pages in the history of the 21st century.

Finally, I would like to strike a blow for making a poem of the
Finnish poet Pentti Saarkoski this movement’s poem. It is called «I
will not forgive them» and goes like this:

I will not forgive them, for they know very well what they are
They wanted me to write songs for them about the wind, about the
bird and the tree,
beautiful songs that they later at night could read to their souls’
to forget what they have been doing during the day:
poisoned the wind, killed the bird and the tree.

I will not leave them in peace.
I do not speak incomprehensible to satisfy them,
I am not waiting until the prison they are building is finished
around me,
I do not believe in their knowledge, not in their money,
not in their God and not in their victory.

They brought me up, they wanted to tame me and make me a humble
and now they are full of hatred,
they see that their efforts were in vain,
I became their opponent, and all their teaching now turns against

I give them no calm until they are deprived of the power they
control people by,
they, who are not even able to control things any longer.
They are businessmen, and businessmen should always be paid
than they themselves pay, but I pay them with their own coin,
they have poisoned the wind, killed the bird and the tree, all my

They own the earth and they own the sky,
but the earth and the sky are not on their side.
This they know, therefore they arm for war,
they spoil the earth and sky rather than giving up their

I do not believe in their victory, because they are ever
ever more are those who are not just waiting, we are ever
in their narrow cities, in their schools, in their factories, are
we ever more,
more and more do they need us, less and less do we need them.
We have carried them on our shoulders long enough and endured
their incompetent leadership, their miserable household, their
false teaching.

We carry them on our shoulders, we only need to straighten our
and they will fall, we only need to open our mouths and they become
the bird sings again, the tree turns green.


Let us get started, my friends. It is a long march we have
started. However, it is not late in the world, it is still early.
We have only just started. Good luck!

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