"Our Revolution" and "People for Bernie," two key elements of the Bernie Sanders for President movement, have developed a close relationship with a militant Norwegian communist party.
The party in question, Rodt (Red Party), was formerly known as the Arbeidernes Kommunistparti (AKP or Workers' Communist Party) and was notorious in Norway for its open support of Cambodian communist leader and mass murderer Pol Pot.
The Sanders movement's ties to one of the most extreme communist parties of Europe gives lie to Sanders’ often-repeated claim that his “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with communism.
The AKP maintained close ties to foreign Maoist parties including the New Zealand Workers Communist League and especially the United States’ Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO). In recent years, Rodt has broadened its Maoist base to admit Trotskyists and “democratic socialists.”
This has been mirrored in the United States by the backbone of the Sanders movement, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which includes in its rank Trotskyists from “Solidarity” and Maoists from Liberation Road, the new name for FRSO.
Sanders MovementAfter developing deep ties with FRSO over several years, Rodt began to build links with the wider Sanders movement during the 2016 election cycle. In October 2016, the New York City branch of FRSO sponsored a small get-together of "local labor activists, Sandernistas and other lefties" to meet Reidar Strisland—former youth leader of the Oslo section of Rodt. Strisland was in the United States for two months gathering material for a book on the Sanders movement.
Strisland visited comrades in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, as well as in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in South Dakota. Strisland was back during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, scoring photo-ops with several DSA-supported candidates, including Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas and congressional candidate James Thompson in Kansas.
Wong was a leader of People for Bernie and a newly minted DSA member at the time. Sandberg was an organizing director for Bernie 2016 and a founder of the FRSO-linked electoral organization We Will Replace You. Ahmed was a leader of People for Bernie and Millennials for Revolution and a member of the DSA.
In Oslo, the three Americans socialists addressed a Rodt-run political and cultural festival “Popvenstre,” met with Rodt leaders, and even trained grassroots comrades in U.S. election campaigning techniques in the party’s downtown Oslo office.
The training seems to have worked. In the 2017 elections, Rodt leader Bjornar Moxnes was elected as the sole representative of the party in the Norwegian Parliament.
In a play on the Sanders slogan “Feel the Bern,” Rodt campaigners wore “Feel the Bjorn” T-shirts as they campaigned in Oslo.
Is it legal for American Marxists to involve themselves in Norwegian elections?
The leader of a Sanders support organization claiming more than 200,000 members and 600 groups across the United States gave a keynote speech at a high-level planning conference with one of Europe’s most militant communist parties—with zero media scrutiny.
Key operatives in the movement to elect Sanders to the U.S. presidency are working with a European communist party that once openly supported Pol Pot. Senior American Sanders supporters seem to have played a role in electing a revolutionary Marxist to the Norwegian parliament.
Does the Sanders movement really support Scandinavian “social democracy,” or does it really favor flat-out Norwegian communism?
Nothing to see here, folks.