OGH Comments

Apr 19
Men against rape

The “Men against rape” initiative

In 2006-7, there were many rape cases in Oslo. Some media called it a ‘rape wave’. I wanted to do something about this. I initiated a network and campaign, “Men against rape”. Many men signed our declaration. We got support from the Reform resource center and the Gender Equality Ombudsman.

The picture is a poster from one of our arrangements, in 2009.

 

voldtekter i likestillingslandet 1 IMG_20170419_0001

The text says: “Rape in the gender-equal country – conference”.

The conference was held at Litteraturhuset, in Oslo. We also had stands and distributed leaflets in Oslo.

The campaign was clearly directed towards men. We addressed men as “fathers, brothers, partners and friends”.

voldtekter i likestillingslandet 2 IMG_20170419_0001

We held several seminars and made interventions in our local contexts. The campaign also got media attention, e g

http://www.dagbladet.no/magasinet/2008/03/07/529076.html

http://www.dagsavisen.no/innenriks/lanserer-menn-mot-voldtekt-1.855437

Jun 24
Brexit blues

“Why can’t we play today
Why can’t we stay that way “

Richard Wright, Remember a day, on Pink Floyd album A saucerful of secrets, 1968

 

Dec 18
Mannsprisen 2013

Jeg fikk Mannsprisen 2013 på et arrangement på Litteraturhuset i Oslo 25.11.13 arrangert av Mannsforum. Jeg er bare delvis enig i Mannsforums synspunkter, men begrunnelsen for prisen var bra – det var en takk til meg som kjønns- og likestillingsforsker. Derfor sa jeg ja.

 

Jan 07
Counter-revolution

OGH sept 12b w Serge dStalin’s killings created the first holocaust, destroying a whole generation of revolutionaries, the bloodiest counter-revolution so far in history.

Victor Serge (summary), in Susan Weissman: The Course is Set on Hope,Verso, London, 2001.

Victor Serge (1890-1947) was a democratically oriented French-Russian left-wing intellectual, who was persecuted first in France, and later in the Soviet Union. He criticised power misuses by the Bolsheviks and joined the left opposition trying to stop Stalin from taking over, serving several prison sentences and barely escaping from the Soviet Union.

Serge wrote about Stalin’s repression:

“The average man, who cannot conceive that lying on this scale is possible, is taken unawares (..) Outrageous language intimidates him and goes some way to excuse his deception: reeling under the shock [of the Moscow trials] he is tempted to tell himself that there must, after all, be some justification of a higher order passing his own understanding. (..) In any case, it was not a matter of persuasion: it was, fundamentally, a matter of murder. One of the intentions behind the campaign of drivel initiated in the Moscow Trials was to make any discussion between official and oppositional communists impossible. Totalitarianism has no more dangerous enemy than the spirit of criticism, which it bends every effort to exterminate.” (Quoted by Weissman, p. 209).

Weissman’s book is very highly recommended.

As regards “lying on this scale” it is useful to consult Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels, who had the same conviction that if your lie is great enough, you will succeed.

Weissman’s book includes photos and affectionate drawings by Victor Serge’s son, Vlady. A few are reproduced here, in the interest of further research.

Below, at left, Victor is pictured with his family, and at right, painted by his son, in exile, in the early 1930s, He does not look famished or depressed. This may have been made when the democratic alternatives still seemed to have a chance in the new Soviet Union.

Weissman Victor Serge pictures 1

 

However the Serge family were shocked by the news of increasing persecution. Here is Vlady’s impression of Stalin’s killings:

Weissman Victor Serge pictures 3

 

This is an utterly amazing and horrendous portrait, made by a young artist. Later research has shown that Vlady Serge’s “premonitions” were true. Millions of people lost their lives in Stalin’s death camps.

In the photos below, shown in Weissman’s book, the young artist is shown at top; next are his sketches of Victor having escaped Soviet persecution:

Weissman Victor Serge pictures 4

Vlady pictures his father troubled, and somewhat impatient, bottom right, hand in pocket. This is much like Victor emerges, in the photo below, in France. The men are perhaps discussing potentials for anti-nazi resistance. They seem to be filled with action, quite optimistic. Despite much persecution, Victor Serge did not hang his head.

Weissman Victor Serge pictures 6

 As the Stalinist repercussion hardened, all opponents were lumped into one case – enemies of the Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky, below, in a sense “profited” on this treatment, becoming “enemy number one”. Here is a picture of Trotsky, close to Serge’s visit.

Weissman Victor Serge pictures Trotsky 8 Weissman Victor Serge pictures 9

This position of Trotsky and Trotskyism as the number one alternate to Stalinism was effectuated not least by Stalin himself – after one of his many hit-man gangs managed to kill the arch-enemy in August 1940.

Serge was symphathetic to many points made by Trotsky but he was not a Troskyite, as Weissman’s book documents. Serge did not live to write down a history or greater theory of what happened. Yet his independent viewpoints are very valuable and important.

See further

Holter, Ø. G. 2004e: “A theory of gendericide”,  In Jones, Adam, ed.: Gendercide and genocide. Vanderbilt University Press, Norman

Holter, Ø. G 1984d: ”Sosialismens herredømme: kvinner og menn i Sovjetøkonomien” (Socialist Patriarchy: Women and Men in the Soviet Economy”), Materialisten 4, 1984, 41-62. See text.

Jun 28
“Men, also, must be willing to reduce their careers”

Former minister Knut Storberget and former chief editor of the daily newspaper Dagbladet, Lars Helle, on how work/family balance is now a concern for men as well as women:

http://www.aftenposten.no/kultur/–Familielivet-er-for-travelt-til-at-jeg-kan-ha-en-lederstilling-6920620.html

 

 

Feb 06
The rose march continues

You have done a good job, says one of the survivors of the terror to the defence lawyer.

Cf http://www.dagbladet.no/2012/02/06/nyheter/innenriks/anders_behring_breivik/fengslingsmote/20107916/

Dec 29
Terror and gender equality

I have been thinking, why is “terror” judged so much by words? Why not look at the actions, their actual consequences? Who is killed or wounded? The victims are mainly civilians. In Norway, at Utøya, youth and children.Civilians, women, men and children – these are the typical targets. I have called terrorists “fascists” in a former blog post. Whatever we call them, the victim is clear; civilians and civil society.

This is what terrorists don’t respect – whatever their words. This is what they try to strangle. Everything that is soft, human, vulnerable, trying. This is dangerous and must be eradicated. Society must be “cleansed”. Terrorists use words, to further the deception – it is done for or against capitalism or imperialism, against the wrong religion, and so on. But the real message is in the action itself – the killing of civilians. According to the Norway July 22 2011 terrorist, this deed is even “knightly”.

Besides the actual victims, two key processes are blocked by the typical terrorist actions. The first, most visible, is democracy. A good target in terrorist logic is voters. Another good target is women in public, or schools for girls (e g Afghanistan). The attack on democracy trend is accompanied, more or less visibly, by attacks on women and gender equality. In the Norway case, the terrorist wanted to target two groups, “cultural marxists” and “feminists”, and the misogynistic aspect is fairly clear (e g women described as birth machines).

In a paper written in 2004, called “A theory of gendercide” (see Texts / Publications in English, on the menu above), I discussed the role of sex/gender in the build-up processes of social aggression and war. I compared Nazi Germany, the Balkan wars in the 1990s, and other cases. I found that a trend towards misogyny (hatred of women) and anti-feminism is common, sometimes combined with an idealized “upgraded” role of women in the new state (or reich) created by the aggressors. I also discuss evidence pointing to sexist terror becoming more common, as a component of terror in general.

The Norwegian 2011 terrorist saw himself as knightly, although he did not exactly protect women and children. Terrorists generally appear on the lower end of the power scale in a conflict. They are not up to a meeting man to man, so to speak, they do not have a military able to meet the enemy on a battle front. Instead they operate a bit like thieves, through sneak attacks. This “lower class position” of terror in the hierarchy of forms of warfare, contributes to the anti-civilian, anti-women and anti-children character of typical terrorist attacks, although it is not the only reason for these trends. Terrorism, as a method, as acutely anti-democratic. Democracy is what we do not have time for, faced with terrorism. We must fight or flee. The terrorist act is not an invitation to democratic settlement, but the very antidote to such settlements. It is no wonder, therefore, that terrorism tends to go together with reduction of democracy, and renewed authoritarianism, on all sides.

I learned in school that democracy was a formal thing. It meant elections every four year and so on. This year, I have learned that it is a very real and lively and vulnerable thing. It is not just there, by itself, it is something we must fight for. Today’s “contempt for politicians” resembles the contempt for democracy in the 1930s. “Politicians” are not crooks, but people elected – by us. The enemies of democracy should be brought into the open.

Oct 09
The terror in Oslo

This is hard. It is really hard. It comes to attack me in my dreams.

I thought I was well prepared. But how could someone do this? Not just a bomb, but an hour-long systematic shooting of youth? I haunts me and gives me nightmares. It is worse than even the Nazi death camps.

Here are some pictures, telling more than many words. The first is of prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. present when a woman got a message of grief (copied from media reports July 24).

Tomorrow Norway stops

Norway stands still one minute, the headline says. It was to become more.

The next pictures are from the flower demonstration in Oslo, known as The Rose March, on July 25, where many people participated, perhaps a third of the nearer city centre population. In fact, the centre of Oslo was so full of people that no march type of demonstration could be arranged. Similar scenes had not been seen since the liberation of Norway from the Nazis in 1945.

All kinds of flowers were displayed.

As a participant, I felt that all the people were angry – and yet not about to show revenge!

On the next picture you can see how all kinds of people participated, and on the left, children at the shoulders of their parents. Is it symbolic that the sign in the middle asks for low speed.

Only a third or so of the marchers had the opportunity to actually hear the start speeches for the meeting. The rest walked towards the parliament and the main church of Oslo. I was among them.

This is how the “main strip of Oslo” between the parliament (Storting) and the King’s castle looked

The streets were full of people. We turned towards the main church of Oslo, to honour the dead.

Many had laid their flowers there already, it was hard to get approach, the square was packed with people.

May 01
Comment: Bombing Cafe Argana – fascists undermining the democratic revolution

The Arab revolution 2011 is about democracy, dignity and development. This new voice of freedom is constantly silenced and twisted. One way to do it, is to bomb communication links.

The Cafe Argana in Marrakech is not a communication link by itself, but a symbol of communication. It was selected for symbolic terrorist attack Friday April 28. I was there ten days earlier, with my sons. I am very much aggrieved and saddened by this attack. My heart is with those who have lost their loved ones.  I am just a Norwegian. I can’t say much for Moroccan culture. But I feel, this is an attack on everything that the new Morocco stands for.

When we were at Cafe Argana, my sons and I enjoyed the view of the great square and used the opportunity to discuss some larger matters, like, what could work, for Morocco, why does it have a fifty percent illiteracy rate, why not more prosperity, being so close to Europe.  It could be said that we were at the Cafe with a bit of love for Morocco in our hearts, like many guests.  In that view. the killers have killed a piece of Morocco, through us, the Argana clientele .

How dare these bomb-throwing cowards and fascists speak for the people of the Arab world? I am only a foreigner, but as a world citizen, I have to speak my mind. I think that the new fascists must be clearly named and opposed. If initiatives like  “the new Morocco” keeps to a democratic agenda, there will be increased progress and increased freedom. The opportunities are there.

Apr 27
Comment: “The snake is long, seven miles”

For some reason this song part often intrudes when I read recent news on the 2011 Arab revolution – and counter-revolution, e g  in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.  It is from the Doors’ first album (1967), the song The End. The snake is long, seven miles… he is old, his skin is cold, Jim Morrison sings, in one of the dream moments of this apocalyptic song. Perhaps it is no wonder that it creeps up on me, as I read about the counter-revolution, the way tyrants now move into fascist means of controlling their populations, firing with heavy armour, using the military, covert action, snipers and torture.

My heart is with the revolution, the proudness and courage displayed by the democracy protesters, who are forced to become militia, and take up weapons, and their families and friends. Whatever the tyrants do, the democracy activists will be remembered as martyrs for a more democratic, free, developing, prosperous, respectful and dignified Arab world.