Red Party (Norway)

Red Party
Leader Bjørnar Moxnes
Founded 11 March 2007 (2007-03-11) (9 years ago)
Merger of Red Electoral Alliance and Workers' Communist Party
Headquarters Dronningens Gate 22
Youth wing Red Youth
Membership  (2015) 2,400
Ideology Revolutionary socialism[1]
Political position Far-left
European affiliation None
International affiliation None
Colours Red
0 / 169
County Councils[3]
10 / 728
Municipal Councils[3]
80 / 10,781

The Red Party (Bokmål: Rødt, Nynorsk: Raudt, Northern Sami: Ruoksat) is a Norwegian far-left[4][5][6] political party and the leading party to the left of the Socialist Left Party in Norway. The party was founded in March 2007 by a merger of the Workers' Communist Party and the Red Electoral Alliance. Bjørnar Moxnes is the Red Party's current leader.

Red is officially committed to socialist ideals. Red, along with its predecessor party, the Red Electoral Alliance, has struggled with the label "communist", however the party maintains communism as its ultimate goal in its own official political program.[2] The label is a result of many of the party's leading members promoting communist values, either currently or previously; notable examples are Erling Folkvord and former party leader, Torstein Dahle. The party's main principles are based on replacing capitalism with a socialist society, including a strong public sector and nationalization of large businesses, while its core ideology espouses the revolutionary socialist aims for "the workers" to "take the power", and the creation of new legislatures.[1] The party however makes clear that it does not support the "armed revolution" formerly espoused by its predecessors.[7]

Red has slowly gained popularity, both on national and local levels, since the heyday of the Red Electoral Alliance. Red has 10 county council representatives nationwide and 80 municipal representatives. In the 2013 parliamentary election, it was the largest party which failed to win a seat.

Ideology and positions

Red is a far-left party like both of its predecessors, the Red Electoral Alliance and the Workers' Communist Party. It favours the welfare state and high taxation upon the wealthy as a means of tackling inequality.[8] Since its formation, notable groups have merged with the party, the most notable example of this being the Trotskyist International Socialists.[9] The party consists of various internal factions, including the Trotskyists, Marxist—Leninists, and democratic socialists.[10]

One of Red's important projects is protecting the Norwegian welfare state, calling for the government to spend 30-40 billion NOKs on the public sector to counter the financial crisis.[11] Red politician Mimir Kristjansson claimed that the "right wing parties have proved their willingness to dismantle the very foundation of our welfare state". According to him, the socialist parties, along with the Norwegian Labour Party, need to be forced into a policy which strongly protects the welfare model for the weak.[12] The party advocates that no person should earn more than 1 500 000 kroner (about 200 000 Euros) per year and wants 100% taxation for earnings over this.[13]

The 2009 election results which was regarded as disappointing led to some turmoil within the party, with some members wanting the party to move ideologically closer to the Socialist Left Party.[14]

After being challenged on the party's position to liberal democracy in 2012, party leader Moxnes wrote in Aftenposten that "free speech, freedom of association, free elections, free media and independent courts that guarantee rule of law for individuals is fundamental for a socialistic society".[15]

In its official political program, the party says that its ultimate goal is a classless society, which it describes as "what Karl Marx called communism", and that "the Red Party bases its understanding of society on Marxist theory."[4][16] In 2014 there was large support within the party to highlight the communist revolutions in China and in Russia as "positive", with half the committee drafting the program supporting an early draft that stated this, although it was ultimately decided not to be included in the final program.[2][17]



Red was founded on March 7, 2007, in a merger of the Red Electoral Alliance and the Workers' Communist Party. The two parties had shared the same history for decades, because the Workers' Communist Party founded the Red Electoral Alliance as an electoral party that would promote communist and socialist values. During the national convention held by the Red Electoral Alliance, a faction within the party stated it would support the merger of the two parties if any references to communism in the new party program would be removed.[18]

During a secret meeting between the leading staff of both parties on March 5, a vote was held, with most members supporting the merger. The Workers' Communist Party was official dissolved in April 2007.[19] During the party's first national convention, three names were considered: Red Choice, Solidarity and Red Cloth.[20] When founded, the party saw it as its main mission to fill "the void" between it and the Red-Green Coalition.[21] When talking about the party program, Torstein Dahle said:

We will bring up issues which have broad agreement among the people of Norway, but are unfortunately not reflected in the other parties' policies.[22]

Dahle (2007–2010)

Dahle, the former leader of Red

Torstein Dahle was unanimously elected party leader by members of the Workers' Communist Party and the Red Electoral Alliance in February 2007.[23] This was met with criticism by outsiders, who claimed that Dahle would not be able to lead the party in a "new direction". The then leader of the Workers' Communist Party, Ingrid Baltzersen, was elected the party's Deputy Leader.[24]

On July 23, 2007, Dahle became subject to media attention when he said that the Taliban and other Afghan rebels had the full right to fight Norwegian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.[25] The attention occurred only days later with the death of a Norwegian army officer in the Logar Province as a Norwegian military unit came under hostile fire. Dahle later replied to the criticism, saying that he did not support the death of Norwegian military personnel.[26]

When planning for the 2007 local elections, the party thought it had a realistic chance of gaining the mayorship in three municipalities. During the local elections, the party was forced to campaign under the banner of the Red Electoral Alliance, as the Election Committee had not approved its new name.[27] During the 2007 local elections, Dahle said Red's core issues were:

We will bring up issues which have broad agreement among the people of Norway, but are unfortunately not reflected in the other parties' policies.[22]

Election researcher Bernt Aardal believed that Red would be able win votes from voters who usually voted for the Socialist Left Party. The reasoning behind this was that the Socialist Left became part of the ruling Red-Green Coalition, and would constantly need to make compromises with the two other parties in the coalition. When confronted with his research, he replied, "This is not a large voter group. We've looked at some polls in the past that RV would give the party one or two seats in Parliament. It is difficult to say whether the new party will make a difference."[28]

After experiencing what many described as a bad election, Trond Andresen, a leading political figure within the party, resigned. He claimed the party was going in a downward spiral and would eventually meet the same fate as the Communist Party of Norway if it did not renew its image.[29] Among several known candidates that officially announced or were rumoured to be candidates for Party Leader were Bjørnar Moxnes,[30] Mona Bjørn,[31] Asgeir Drugli, Mimir Kristjansson and Ingeborg Steinholt.[32]

Thomassen (2010–2012)

Bjørnar Moxnes, leader of the Red Party since 2012.

Turid Thomassen was voted in as party leader of Red in May 2010. Thomassen has long experience from both the Workers' Communist Party and the Red Electoral Alliance. The former leader of Red Youth (2004-2006), Bjørnar Moxnes, became deputy leader.

Moxnes (2012–present)

Bjørnar Moxnes was elected party leader in May 2012.

Youth programs

Aastebøl: former leader of Red Youth
Main article: Red Youth (Norway)

The party's youth wing is Red Youth, which was founded in 1963, preceding the foundations of the Red Electoral Alliance and the Workers' Communist Party. The current leader of the youth wing is Linn-Elise Øhn Mehlen. Red Youth was highly supportive of the merging of the Red Electoral Alliance and the Communist Party, with Sandra Johansen, leader of Red Youth in Brønnøysund claiming "it to have been difficult to be a youth party under two different parent parties."[33]

In a widely publicized report, former Deputy Leader of the Red Electoral Alliance Marte Mjøs Persen left the party, believing there was a big generational gap between the older and younger members of Red. She further claimed that only the older members, who have their origins from the foundation of the Red Electoral Alliance and the Workers' Communist Party, controlled the party. Persen's statements were met with positive response by fellow party members and outsiders. Mathias Furevik, who had served as Dahle's campaign manager, agreed with her accusations. Bergen City Council representative, Stine Akre, reluctantly agreed with Persen's accusations and said; "Red is now a party for middle-aged men, and has not been able to get rid of the generation gap. It also means that many younger people will get burned out before they move the party's direction."[34] Persen shortly after joined the Norwegian Labour Party.

Election history and polls

In the 2007 county election Red won 2.1% of the votes.[35] After the 2007 county elections, Knut Henning Thygesen became the party's first and only mayor elected through a direct mayor election in the municipality of Risør.[36] In the local 2011 county elections the party won 1.7% of the votes. In the 2009 parliamentary election the result was 1.3%, giving the party no seats in the parliament. The party came closest to winning a seat in Oslo, where they took nearly 4% of the vote.[5]

Electoral researcher Bernt Aardal noted that the Red Party would have won a single seat in Oslo had it not for the fact that the voting system is designed to ensure that more MPs come from rural areas.[37] The Oslo constituency considered to be where the party had their best change of gaining a seat in the 2013 parliamentary election, but they once again failed to win any seats.

Electoral results

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
2009 36,219 1.35
0 / 169
Steady 0
2013 30,751 1.08
0 / 169
Steady 0
Year Vote % Type
2007 1.9
2011 1.5
2015 2.0

Party leaders


  1. 1 2 3 Jan-Arve Overland, Inga Berntsen Rudi, Ragnhild Tønnessen. "Hva står de politiske partiene for?". Nasjonal digital læringsarena (in Norwegian).
  2. 1 2 3 "Rødt holder på kommunismen [Red holds on to communism]". VG/NTB (in Norwegian). 11 May 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Raudt". Valg 2011 (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Moxnes ny partileder i Rødt". NRK/NTB (in Norwegian). 6 May 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Rødt". Store Norske Leksikon, 10 September 2013 (Norwegian)
  6. "Rødts historie". TV 2. 19 February 2009.
  7. "Dropper væpnet revolusjon". Bergensavisen. 05.02.2007.
  8. Hellesnes, Pål (September 12, 2009). "Dette står det om". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 6.
  9. Aspevoll, Tone Foss (September 25, 2007). "IS in i Rødt". Klassekampen (in Norwegian).
  10. Sjøli, Hans Petter; Bratlie, Tom Henning (April 4, 2009). "Vil ha et liberalt Rødt". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 11.
  11. Horn, Anders; Larsen, Christiane Jordheim (October 9, 2009). "Noen må kreve mindre". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 4.
  12. Larsen, Christiane Jordheim (September 23, 2009). "Krever endring i Rødt". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 4.
  13. Siv Sandvik: Rødt vil stjele rødgrønne sofavelgere (Norwegian) NRK, retrieved 15 April 2013
  14. Brox, Johan; Bratlie, Tom Henning (August 12, 2009). "Rødt på vippen?". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 8.
  15. Bjørnar Moxnes: Et sosialistisk folkestyre (Norwegian) Aftenposten, 27 August 2012
  16. "Program of The Red Party". Red Party.
  17. "Mao-strid i Rødt". Bergens Tidende. 24 April 2014.
  18. "Et farvel til kommunismen?". Adresseavisen (in Norwegian). February 12, 2007. p. 11.
  19. "AKP og RV samles til helgen". Stavanger Aftenblad (in Norwegian). March 6, 2007. p. 13.
  20. "Rødt - rett og slett". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). March 11, 2007. p. 11.
  21. "Nytt parti på venstresida!". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian). March 21, 2007. p. 30.
  22. 1 2 Nordstoga, Anders (March 7, 2007). "Rødt skal fylle tomrommet på venstresiden". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved December 15, 2009.
  23. "På Topp: Torstein Dahle blir". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). January 25, 2007. p. 8.
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  29. Sjøli, Hans Petter (September 17, 2009). "Det går som med NKP". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 6.
  30. Skurdal, Mari; Larsen, Christiane Jordheim (September 18, 2009). "Unge vil fram i Rødt". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 6.
  31. "Generasjonsskifte". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). September 21, 2009. p. 4.
  32. Sjøli, Hans Petter (September 21, 2009). "Sikter mot ledervervet". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). p. 4.
  33. Priésner, Jakob (March 17, 2007). "Del av norsk partihistorie". Brønnøysunds Avis (in Norwegian).
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  36. "Norges første RV-ordfører". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 7 March 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
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