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