Communist Party of Norway


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Communist Party of Norway

 

(CPN; Norges Kommunistiske Parti), founded in Oslo in November 1923 by representatives of the left wing of the Social Democrats after the split in the Norwegian Labor Party (which was established in 1887 and was a member of the Comintern from 1919 to 1923). From the first days of its existence the CPN actively supported the vital interests of the Norwegian working class. Along with the struggle against reformism and the policy of compromise pursued by right-wing Social Democrats, the CPN conducted a long struggle for the ideological and organizational strengthening of its ranks on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. In the 1930’s its activity was carried out under the banner of the struggle for uniting the country’s progressive forces in the face of the growing threat of fascism and war. In 1937–38 the CPN participated in the movement of solidarity with Republican Spain; Norwegian Communists fought in the ranks of the International Brigades.

During the occupation of Norway by fascist Germany (1940–45) the CPN went underground. Members of the party were active in the national Resistance Movement; the party’s prestige and its influence among the masses grew, and its membership increased. After the country was liberated (May 1945), representatives of the CPN became members of Norway’s postwar coalition government (June 1945). In the first postwar parliamentary elections (October 1945) the CPN, which previously had no representatives in the Storting, received 11.9 percent of the votes and thus 11 seats in the parliament. The party’s position in the trade unions became much stronger.

In the postwar period the CPN carried out its activity in difficult conditions, characterized, as they had been before the war, by the dominant position of social democracy in the Norwegian workers’ movement. In the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, in a situation marked by anticommunism and the “cold war,” as well as difficulties that had arisen within the party (heightening of disagreements), the CPN’s position in the country and its influence among the masses weakened. The Communist Party continued consistently to struggle for the class interests of the working people. It was the first in Norway to advocate the banning of atomic weapons, and this marked the beginning of a mass political movement in postwar Norway. In the 1950’s, Norwegian Communists were the initiators of the movement against the growing influence of foreign monopolistic capital in the country, against Norway’s membership in NATO, against the arms race, and the like.

In 1963 the CPN adopted a new program (the previous one was adopted in 1953), which marked an important stage in the party’s development and its ideological and political life and proved to be a guiding document in the party’s struggle for peace, democracy, socialism, and the independent position of Norway as a nation.

The Thirteenth Congress of the CPN (April 1971) was an important event which contributed to the consolidation of party forces. The congress came out for unity of action by left-wing forces. It also defined the concrete demands of the Norwegian Communists in the struggle for the socioeconomic and democratic rights of the working people and their demands regarding the solution of the country’s pressing sociopolitical problems in the interests of the Norwegian people. The congress advocated a halt to the rise in prices, the lessening of the working people’s tax burden, the repeal of the antilabor legislation adopted in the early 1950’s, expansion of the rights of the working people in production, establishment of a 40-hour workweek, democratization of the leadership in the trade unions, elimination of the unions’ collective membership in political parties, Norway’s withdrawal from NATO, the pursuance of a foreign policy aimed at solving problems of security and cooperation in Europe, and unconditional support of national liberation movements. The realization in practice of a course directed toward unity of action by left-wing forces strengthened the CPN’s position in the country’s sociopolitical life and broadened its influence among the masses and in the mass organizations of the working people. In the early 1970’s the participation of Communists in several movements involving the progressive community contributed to the growth of the party’s influence to a significant degree—in particular, participation in the popular movement that developed in 1971–72 (the biggest in Norway’s postwar history) against the country’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC; Common Market). In the referendum on this question (September 1972) the movement against Norway’s membership in the EEC scored a victory, receiving 53.49 percent of the votes.

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Norway
 PlaceDate
First ...............OsloNov. 4, 1923
Second ...............OsloMay 30, 1925
Third ...............OsloFeb. 12–13, 1929
Fourth ...............OsloMar. 1, 1932
Fifth ...............OsloApr. 12, 1936
Sixth ...............OsloJune 8–10, 1946
Seventh ...............OsloFeb. 4–5, 1949
Extraordinary Congress ...............OsloFeb. 20–22, 1950
Eighth ...............OsloMar. 20–22, 1953
Ninth ...............OsloMar. 1–3, 1957
Tenth ...............OsloMar. 17–19, 1961
Eleventh ...............OsloMar. 26–28, 1965
Twelfth ...............OsloMar. 22–24, 1968
Thirteenth ...............OsloApr. 23–25, 1971
Fourteenth ...............OsloNov. 2–4, 1973

Representatives of the CPN participated in the international Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957 and 1960. The CPN approved the documents adopted by the conferences. Representatives of the CPN also participated in the 1969 Moscow conference.

In accordance with the rules adopted in 1957 and amended in 1965 and 1973, the CPN is structured on the principles of democratic centralism. The congress is the CPN’s supreme body; it elects the Central Administration (Central Committee) and party chairman, who provide the leadership for the party’s work in the intervals between congresses. The party’s chairman is R. T. Larsen. Its central organ is the newspaper Friheten. (See Table 1 for a list of the congresses of the CPN.)

REFERENCES

Norges Kommunistiske Partis historie, vol. 1. Oslo, 1963.
Program for Norges Kommunistiske Parti. Oslo, 1963.
NKP’s arbeids-program. Oslo, 1970.

V. K. FADIN

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