[Marxism] Martin Tranmael and John Enestvedt (Was: Comrade Leon Trotsky about his stay in Norway)

David Thorstad binesi at gvtel.com
Mon Jul 5 09:30:33 MDT 2010

In the late 1960s, when I was organizer of the Minneapolis-St. Paul 
branch of the Socialist Workers Party, one of our at-large members was 
John Enestvedt, who lived in rural Sacred Heart, so rarely came to town. 
He was the only other party member I knew who spoke Norwegian, and so he 
once lent me a biography in Norwegian of Martin Tranmael, whom I had 
never heard of. Tranmael's stay in the United States was in Minnesota, 
where he was a member of the IWW, as Trotsky noted. He returned to 
Norway in the early twentieth century to organize the labor movement 
there. One technique he used, according to the book, was to soapbox 
churchgoers as they left Sunday services.
     John himself was an activist in the National Farmers Organization 
(NFO), the radical alternative to the Farmers' Union. He told me how NFO 
activists would shoot out the tires of farmers who were driving products 
to market during an NFO-called strike (a militant tactic the SWP even 
then probably frowned upon!). His daughter married a Syrian, and, after 
a trip to Syria to visit them, John told me how his son-in-law had 
taught him how to build small rockets, which John thought might come in 
handy as part of NFO struggles.
     All this just to show a radical link between Minnesota and 
Norwegian labor struggles.

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