The LO leadership proposes that, contrary to the government’s policy, Norway should sign the controversial agreement on a ban on nuclear weapons.
– If no one is ever willing to break the ice and take the first initiative, we will never be able to get the world to go in the right direction, says the union’s leader, Mette Nord.
Monday 30 May, the LO congress opens. Wages, pensions, energy and continued exploration for more oil and gas are on the agenda. There is no strong criticism of the government in these fields.
Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, can trigger riots on Youngstorget. The LO leadership, with 970,000 members behind it, has decided to challenge the Støre government and NATO solidarity in the most demanding security policy situation since the Cuba crisis in 1962.
In the draft of a new action program, a unanimous LO secretariat supports the peace movement’s controversial position on how the world’s nuclear weapons can be removed. The fate of the proposal will be decided during the LO congress.
The proposal states that LO will: “Work for Norway to work for an international ban on nuclear weapons and the abolition of biological and chemical weapons, and sign and ratify the international ban on nuclear weapons.”
The treaty is controversial. No NATO countries and no countries with nuclear weapons support the agreement. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned against signing the treaty.
– Can threaten to do anything
Torbjørn Bongo, leader of 600 members of the Norwegian Officers ‘and Specialists’ Association, says the proposal is “naive and dangerous”.
– If it had been possible to establish a scheme that was efficient and worldwide, we would not have objected. But a ban will be extremely difficult to control, says Bongo.
He spoke against the proposal in the LO secretariat, but did not have the right to vote. According to Bongo, the treaty could make the world more dangerous.
– We have countries like North Korea that manage to produce in secret. Then they will sit on a weapon so formidably superior that they can threaten to do almost anything. If someone manages to make nuclear weapons in hiding, they will have a formidable overcapacity that will be very tempting to use.
– Then the world community must almost be willing to go to war to stop such production. I do not think it is possible to achieve this in practice. It will be a great risk for the world community, he says.
– I out of step with the population
– Many people fear that nuclear weapons could destroy humanity?
– I understand the skepticism of nuclear weapons and understand that people are afraid of the weapons. But it is a scary thought that we can ban and abolish them. It is also out of step with Norway’s population, which joins NATO.
“Norwegians are happy to have an alliance that has a counterpoint to Russia’s obvious threat of using nuclear weapons,” says Bongo.
When the treaty was discussed in the Storting in 2019, the Labor Party voted with the Socialist People’s Party, the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the Christian Democrats against the agreement.
NATO’s ability for credible deterrence dictates that the alliance cannot unilaterally give up nuclear weapons as long as others have such weapons, the majority said at the time.
Sp, Venstre and KrF have since changed their views and now support Norway joining the agreement.
– War in Europe
Mette Nord says that “there is a war in Europe, where the use of nuclear warheads has been threatened”.
– At the same time, we see that Iran can now become the tenth nuclear power in the world. More than ever, we need to create new dynamism and speed up the disarmament work. It has become more, no less important that Norway, as a NATO country, is at the forefront of disarmament, she believes.
She believes Norway will not violate any formal NATO commitments by signing the UN ban.
– We will only have to reserve ourselves from participating in activities related to the construction, development and use of nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is in our self-interest to strengthen the work for mutual disarmament, says Nord.
As far as Aftenposten is aware, strong forces in the LO management regret the wording. They will not demand that Norway sign as the only NATO country without reservation. Instead, it is working on a new form of co-operation where the government in other Nordic countries is asked to work for a ban on nuclear weapons.
Silence about the treaty
In the Hurdal Platform, the government does not mention the treaty, but says that the government will “increase Norway’s efforts for nuclear disarmament, take the initiative to focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and work with countries inside and outside NATO for a world without nuclear weapons”.
But on one point, the Labor-SP government goes further than Norway has done so far: The Støre government says that Norway will participate as an observer in the meetings of the countries that have signed the treaty. To see and hear, but not to sign.