2 Comments

  1. avatar Norwegian Guy

    What about Karen Jespersen? Don’t know what current she belong to in the Left Socialists, but she could well have called herself a communist at one time.

    There must have been several former communists that have been members of Norwegian governments. After all, the Norwegian Labour Party was a member of Comintern in the early 20s, and many of the people who would late make up the Labour cabinets were members of the party at that time. Additionally, there were people who joined the NKP in their heydays in the 1920s or the mid-1940s, but soon left the communists in favour of the labour party. Some of them eventually got prominent positions there. The latest example is probably Vesla Vetlesen, who was a government member in the 1980s. There have even been former communists who ended up in right-of-centre parties. John Lyng, who was prime minister for the Conservative Party in 1963, had been a member of the famous communist student organisation Mot Dag in the 1920s.

    Then you have people who, like Karen Jespersen, where involved for some time in communist movements in the 1970s, and who eventually drifted rightwards, to the Labour Party, or even further towards the right wing. Although I think being mostly Maoists or Trotskyists, such people have been less haunted by the past. Even though the Maoists supported China and Albania, certainly worse regimes than those in the Warsaw Pact countries, they were far away, and posed no geopolitical threat. If anything, the Maoists were often so paranoid about the Soviet Union that it was almost silly.

    The comparison with Nazis suffer on an important point. Nazis were not banned from the political scene because of their political views, but because they had been collaborators during the occupation. Even then, at least in Norway some who had been were later able to get prominent positions, Hanna Kvanmo perhaps being the most famous. And people like Johan Bernhard Hjort, who had been members of Nazi organisations in the 30s, but for some reason left before the war, weren’t necessarily excluded from the political scene after 1945.

  2. avatar

    Re: Karen Jespersen – I will be happy to say a lot of unfavourable things about her (perhaps “careerist” is the term best describing her and Ralf Pittelkow), but she was never a Communist and never had any ties to the CPSU or the Chinese CP for that matter. How she ended up in a party calling itself “Liberal” beats me.

    Re: Norway – yes, Norway has a fascinating story. In Denmark, the Social Democratic youth movement split in 1917/18 but the party was always moderate. Ex-Communists found it hard to be accepted in SocDem.

    Re: Communists – Nazis – another complicated story. But one of the charges more or less openly put against Sohn (and other ex-Communists) is indeed “collaboration with the enemy” during the 1980s.

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