Our Norwegian correspondent Zylark has compiled a report on the latest culturally-enriched electoral shenanigans within the Socialist Party in his home town of Bergen. He begins with this extended explanatory note:
I know we’re all focused on Geert Wilders these days, but here is a nice sunshine story about… umm… solid biological waste hit a rotating air-circulation device, in which our dear naïve Socialist friends experience the reality of how Islamists think our democracy works.
Not that the modus operandi in this tale is new. During the nomination process for the national elections this summer, an identical tactic was used by a high-profile Islamist in the Oslo chapter of the Socialist Party as well. It was even rumored that the candidate in question, Chaudry, paid for the extra memberships of his new “recruits” out of his own pocket, but that was not proven. His recruitment drive almost succeeded, too. Just a couple of weeks later this almost identical story begins…
Last year, during the nomination process for the national elections here in Bergen, a Kurdish character named Amir Payan tried to obtain a third place on the Socialist ticket in the region (a secure nomination for a place in the national assembly, seeing as the top candidate was destined for a place in the cabinet) by springing a surprise tally of seventy new members (all Muslims, by the way — dare I suggest a connection to the local mosque?) who registered at the door for the annual local annual general assembly, which during election years also decides the priority of names on the ticket.
The Socialist Party pride themselves on being very democratic, and had no procedure for pre-vetting new members before giving them the right to vote at such assemblies. No quarantine procedure, not even a symbolic length of membership or participation requirements. In practice, you could register at the door, pay the nominal membership fee, and vote at the assembly. No questions asked. Up until then our gullible Socialist friends had not even considered this to be an open invitation for a coup regarding the pre-vetted list for the suggested prioritizing of candidates on the election-ticket prepared by the nomination committee.
Last-minute mobilization and frantic calls made to existing members saved the day for the election-ticket nomination committee. With a record-breaking turnout to the assembly of 287 participants. The previous record was 110 from thirteen years earlier. The final vote was 123 vs. 135, and Payan lost the vote. Ironically, because eighteen of the surprise “members” got bored by the lengthy process (much protracted due to the chaos of all the new members suddenly registering at the door, and I suspect some deliberate delays to mobilize more vetted members supporting the established leadership), and left the assembly before the final vote was put to the floor.
The Socialist Party are the ones who drone on at every opportunity about how our parliament is “washing-powder white”, but in last year’s election they had a every chance to put words into action by securing not one, but two immigrants (Chaudry from Oslo, and Payan from Bergen) a secure seat in our parliament. But no. they fought tooth and nail to prevent it. Go figure.
Anyhow, back to recent events and our dear Payan. In 2007 he was elected to the city council here in Bergen on the Socialist ticket, and also until recently held a position on the local board of the Socialist Party. About a month ago our center-left coalition government (which the Socialist Party is a part of) decided to keep at least one of their election promises: getting tough — or at least giving the impression of getting tough — on illegal and criminal immigrants. So they chartered a jet, filled it with thirty Iraqis, of whom eleven had been convicted of crimes. Escorted by no fewer than sixty-six police officers for the ride. And they went on their merry way to Baghdad. They even promised that this would only be the start.
Payan lost his temper over this, and characterized it as using Nazi methods. This was not particularly well-received among his own Socialist Party colleagues, especially not higher up in the ranks, seeing that they were a party to and — officially at least — supporters of this rather reasonable repatriation of Iraqi illegals and criminals.
After some internal discussion at the local Bergen chapter of the Socialist Party, it was decided that Payan should take a voluntary hiatus from his city council and local party board positions. His eventual future in the party to be determined at a later date, which was earlier today at the annual general assembly of the local chapter.
The thing is, you see, again with the Socialist Party’s rather idyllic view of themselves and their members and representatives, they have no real exclusion paragraph in their by-laws. So no mandate for exclusion could come from the party leadership. No, it had to be voted upon in this rather extraordinary one-item agenda at the local annual general assembly.
And guess what, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen? Our one-trick pony Payan was up to his old shenanigans. Never mind that the entire organization wanted him out for embarrassing them in public, he mobilized no fewer than eighty-four new supporters.
The thing is, since the nomination process last summer our friends in the Socialist Party have wised up somewhat. Gaining membership and a vote at the general assembly at the door was no longer possible. I supposed that is a sort of progress.
Of course, our dear Payan thought this was not entirely fair. I’ll just translate the actual news-story from this event, as it is unusually candid for the Norwegian press.
Payan’s supporters left in protest
Amir Payan tried to get 84 new party members accepted to the general assembly of the Bergen chapter of the Socialist Party tonight
Photo caption: In the hallway: Amir Payan’s supporters not allowed entrance to the meeting
Payan and his supporters left the general assembly in protest.
New members flooded in to support the Norwegian-Kurdish politician.
“We have received a list of 84 persons from some supporters of Amir,” said a centrally-placed local party member to bt.no.
None of them was allowed access to the meeting tonight.
All the names on the list are foreign, according to the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous. The background for the mass registration of newcomers to the party is assumed to be because Amir Payan risked losing all his positions in the party. By recruiting new supporters, Payan could have saved his own hide tonight. [I am not kidding; this is a literal translation. — Zylark]
When the 84 were not allowed access, Amir Payan and about 25 of his supporters left the general assembly.
Left the hall in protest
Amongst those allowed entrance and who did not leave in protest, the great majority supported the board’s proposal to “withdraw the trust Amir Payan received at the 2009 annual assembly”. 88 voted for the proposal, whilst two voted against and two voted blank.
But at that point Amir Payan and about 25 of his supporters had already left the hall in protest. Additionally, several tens of people were not allowed access to the hall. They were on the list of 84 people that were enrolled into the Bergen chapter of the Socialist Party in two batches on Thursday. The Socialist Party centrally decided that the people on this list could not be approved as members, because it was a collective enrollment, and not individual enrollment.
“We have to relate to our by-laws. All are naturally welcome as members of the Socialist Party, but membership may only be signed up individually — we cannot approve a list of names in a Word document, when the contingent is not paid,” says Skei Tveitdal.
“The rules have been followed”
Payan himself think it is wrong to use the term “coup” regarding the mass influx of new members.
“I’ve not come to ‘coup’ anything. Normal rules and by-laws for membership have been followed,” he says.
[This is from the preceding press conference, by the way. — Zylark]
Payan says that he will give a speech at the general assembly. Not until later tonight will he decide if he still wants to hold any position in the party. Regarding the new members, he says that many registered during last year’s assembly, and that they have renewed their membership by again paying the membership contingency.
He says that a committee of seven people have worked actively to recruit the participants for tonight’s meeting. He does not want to disclose the identity of these seven.
“We’ve talked. They are people who have sympathy for my situation,” Payan says to bt.no.
Have been anticipated
The annual general assembly of the Bergen chapter of the Socialist Party have a proposal from a unanimous board that “The Bergen chapter of the Socialist Party withdraw the trust given Amir Payan at the general assembly of 2009!”
When bt.no interviewed Payan on Monday, he said to the BT journalist that he anticipated many would show up to support him at the annual meeting. At that point, what was in the cards had not yet been disclosed.
BA.no reports the anticipated coup, and references many anonymous sources in the party who are distraught over the situation.
“It is not possible to do politics, when everything centers around Payan,” says one of the online-newspaper sources.
Also last year, Payan created chaos at the general assembly by enrolling 70 new members at the door. The goal then was to secure the third place on the party’s local national election list, but he lost by a close margin.
An afterword from Zylark:
I am personally happy that the Socialist Party of Norway have had a tête-à-tête with reality. I was quite active in their youth organization when I was younger, some sixteen years ago, and I know they are good people who want the best for all. But they really need to grow out of their idealistic delusions, and look somewhat more closely at the terrain, and not just at their map.