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(en) Sweden: Antifascism in the Swedish elections

From Mikael Altemark <altemark@home.se>
Date Mon, 9 Sep 2002 01:40:46 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Several different "nationalist" or openly nazi parties are trying to 
seize the opportunity given by the parliamentarist circus to make their 
racist, sexist and homophobic views acceptable to the public. Many 
local SUF (Syndicalist Youth Federation) clubs and other libertarian 
organizations have made it a priority to stand up against them and 
denounce their message of hate, wherever they turn up to try to 
spread it.

The Sverigedemokraterna ("Sweden democrats") have their roots in the 
racist movement "Bevara Sverige Svenskt"-movement of the 80's ("Keep 
Sweden Swedish") and have for a long time had very close ties to both 
Swedish and international nazi and extreme right groups. 

- The 1998 elections

During last election year, 1998, they received large economic 
contributions from Front National in France and have for some time 
tried to cultivate an image of a "nice" party, cleaning out the more 
questionable and obvious nazi-connections from their organization - 
but still keeping their original xenophobic, sexist and 
anti-working class ideals. 

The attempts at gaining a support and voter base amongst regular people 
during the 1998 elections resulted in failure for the racists - 
everywhere they tried to have their meetings, resistance from 
anarchists, syndicalist and anti-racists also turned up. In their 
internal strategical evaluation of the campaign, they concluded that 
square meetings no longer was an option, because the party only became 
all the more associated with trouble and marginalization. 

The few seats in the few municipal councils they managed to conquer 
(sometimes with help from coalitions with established parties of the 
right like the Christian Democrats and the Moderates) soon were often 
lost due to either pure incompetence or internal factioning.
Nationally the party received a total of 19624 votes.

- Polishing the outside of the toilet, but keeping the brown shit inside 

In October 1999, the syndicalist Björn Söderberg was shot to death 
by fascists in Stockholm. The reason was that Söderberg had revealed 
that the nazi Robert Vesterlund had been elected to the local union 
board at a union at his workplace, a warehouse. Vesterlund had been 
the chairman of the youth organization of the Sverigedemokraterna in 
1993 and later was on the national board for the party.

Events such as these are what prompted the party's new direction -
to establish "respectability" by partly purging members with the most
obvious ties to the nazi movement. This provoked a split in the party, 
resulting in about half of the members leaving to form the 
Nationaldemokraterna, who wanted to pursue the original strategy of the 
early 90's. They now consider Sverigedemokraterna as race traitors and 
not "real nationalists". Both parties are running in the national
and many local ones this year. 

- Antifascists on the offensive 

This year most of the populist parties and alliances of the right 
have totally disintegrated (for example the political clowns in 
Ny Demokrati, "new democracy", which managed to take a few seats 
in the parliament during the early 90's) and this now leaves the 
field open for the pure extreme right. 

Also the success of similar parties in many other European 
countries has helped the relatively small extreme nationalist 
movement, as well as "good-intentioned" liberal attempts at "defeating 
the racists in a national debate". This in effect only provided them 
with more legitimacy which in turn provided a good excuse mainstream 
right parties to ride the populist wave of blaming everything on 
"the bloody foreigners". 

Not only the support that Sverigedemokraterna
got from the mainstream right because it's wanting to form a
right majority shows how capitalism breeds racism. Another speaking
example is the defection of the member of the Moderates (2nd
largest party, liberal/conservatives) and member of parliament,
Sten Andersson to Sverigedemokraterna.

But as the activity on the dark and racist extremes has been 
increasing during this years elections the radical left continues 
to pursue our decided strategy of not letting them stand without 
answer. It is as simple as this: racism, sexism and homophobia - 
not OK! No Pasaran! 

- Expose the racists wherever they turn up!

The seventh September Sverigedemokraterna spoke to the people of 
the fourth largest city of Sweden - the southern Malmö. Only it 
turned out the people of Malmö didn't quite seem to like the message 
they were bombarded with. The loud boo-ing of 200 persons drowned the 
racist gang - amongst others the party leader Mikael Jansson.

Police on horse tried to remove the crowd several times, only 
to find more activists taking the places. A person with connections 
to their party was arrested because of having physically attacked 
a bystander.In the end the racists gave up, packed their stuff and 
left with police escort. 

The 31 of July both Sverigedemokraterna and Nationaldemokraterna got 
the OK from the Gothenburg board of culture to spread their propaganda 
for more than a week at the largest library in the city at an 
exposition in connection to the elections. It is a catastrophe that 
commune of Gothenburg can allow public premises to racist shit. It is 
also quite oxymoronic that according to library policy, it is not 
allowed to use the library's computers to view racist materials on 
the Internet when it is readily available at the entrance!

The fifth of September about 500 young syndicalists and other 
antifascists walked to the library in a decided and orderly 
demonstration shouting the slogan of "inga fascister på våra gator" 
(no fascists on our streets!). "It is important to clearly mark who 
is for democracy and what kind of people are against it", a 
representative of the Syndicalist Youth Federation of Gothenburg 
commented the event to national media.

The 17 of august the rascist epidemic of Sverigedemokraterna hit the 
city of Lund - but it was not allowed to roam freely - regular people 
banded together to stand up against the fascists. The area was roped 
of with disaster-tape and human shields isolated the racists at a the 
town square.

As the Syndicalist Youth Federation of Lund commented the action in 
a statement, we cannot only fight the symptoms of racism, sexism and 
rift between the classes, but we must also fight the reasons behind 
them - we must destroy the capitalism which breeds racism!

In the capital of Stockholm the racist have proven to have a 
stubbornness matching their stupidity. Several times the racists, 
under different organizational incarnations, have instead of the 
grand "speeches to the people" announced on their webpages found 
themselves speaking to only a loud and overwhelming opposition of 
anticapitalists and rows of riot police on an otherwise empty square.

Other actions againsts the fascists has been held in numerous
other cities, such as Gävle, Lidköping (where an openly 
nazi party is candidating), Höganäs etc. 

Mikael Altemark

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