We are all Arbeiderpartiet members

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Nick Martin, Labor’s National Assistant Secretary, has written a fine blog post commemorating those Norwegian Labor members who were murdered by an ultra-right wing gunman.

I have copied the post below, and encourage you to visit the blog and leave a message of support for Arbeiderpartiet and its members.

Right across the world people have been shocked by the attacks on Norway, its people, its democratic institutions and on the Arbeiderpartiet – the Norwegian Labour Party.

We are all horrified to see so many young people who were committed to building a better world brutally gunned down. The chilling stories of survivors will stay with all of us forever.

At this terrible time for members of the Arbeiderpartiet, and their youth organisation the Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF), many Australian Labor Party members have expressed their grief and sorrow as the tragedy unfolded before us.

On Saturday night, a group of around 25 members and supporters of the ACT Branch of the ALP led a vigil at the Norwegian Embassy in the quiet Canberra suburb of Yarralumla to pay silent respect to all those who had been through the attacks, and to express their solidarity with our colleagues in Norway.

It is this type of support that binds together “Labour” parties around the world. We are a small, closely-knit family of parties with shared histories.

We have a special bond with our colleagues in Norway, built over many years.   We recently rediscovered some of our shared history while researching local Labor History stories. It was moving for local Party members in Brisbane to find an old scrapbook which had been sent between women members of the Queensland ALP and the Women’s Section of the Arbeiderpartiet in the 1960s. The scenes show not only pictures of everyday life in Norway for women, but also show the childcare, maternity leave and other reforms built by our colleagues in the Arbeiderpartiet. The sharing of their experiences are a beautiful reminder of our friendship with Norway.

On Saturday morning, the ALP National Secretariat sent our comrades in Norway a message of support and sympathy. In it we offered any assistance we could provide, a sentiment shared by our thousands of members.

As Norwegians deal with the terrible aftermath, we are already seeing the resilience of the nation. One of the young survivors said to international journalists “if one person can show so much hatred think how much love we can all show together”.

These are our friends, colleagues and comrades – some known to us directly – and others bound to us by our shared commitment to social justice.

Today, and for the future, we are all Arbeiderpartiet members.

[box border=”full”]Leave a message of support here.[/box]

In times like this, I am reminded of the attempted murder of progressive Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a conservative extremist and the culture of hatred perpetrated by conservative media and pundits that was very much to the fore at that time. We must all be on guard against violence – including violent ideas.