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(en) Sweden: Parliamentarism crumbling? - The antiauthoritarian Invisible Party anti-election campaign

Date Sat, 09 Sep 2006 14:31:10 +0300


Sweden's parliamentary elections are up on September 17. Usually,
similar events are of little interest to outsiders, but this year's election
campaigns have been extraordinarily turbulent - and accompanied by
a vivid anti-election campaign by the anti-authoritarian "Invisible
Party" that is doing all it can to stir things up.
Despite a fairly strong recent economic development, the ruling Social-
Democrat led coalition may face defeat against the Liberal-Conservative
coalition that is currently in opposition. Like many other European
countries, Sweden has a multi-party system where those parties that get
more than 4 percent of the votes are granted seats in Parliament.

There is widespread discontent with the ruling coalition, which has
sustained relatively high unemployment rates and pushed through a
neo-liberal, market-oriented agenda including deregulation,
privatisation, cuts in public spending and other "reforms" that the rest
of the world should be well acquainted with. The rich are getting
richer and the poor are not getting their share, just like elsewhere.

Long-term unemployment surged in the beginning of the 1990s as
Sweden adopted a European-style low-inflation policy. The previous
main economic goal, full employment, was exchanged for a low
inflation goal. This policy has left many more Europeans unemployed
than before but it has not generated any higher long-term GDP per
capita growth as promised.

Consequently, many voters inclined to the political left may boycott
the coming elections or even vote for right-wing parties in order to get
rid of the present political elite.

According to the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll, 72 percent of
Swedes are "not prone to trusting" political parties. The Parliament
received record-low ratings in another recent poll by the SOM
Institute. It showed that 1/3 of the respondants had little or very little
confidence in the Parliament while only 22 percent claimed to have
much or very much confidence in this institution.

This situation has provided fertile ground for the anti-authoritarian
movement The Invisible Party, with its slogan "We have already made
our choices", referring to the limited joy that the coming elections may
bring. With cunning direct-actions, the invisibles (party membership is
granted instantly to all participants) have won the hearts of many and
aroused relentless wrath among parliamentarians and corporate media.

The Invisible Party started out with campaigns against government job
centers. Activists distributed gingerbread bisquits and leaflets,
denouncing job centers as "day-care for grownups", since job centers
time after time fail to decrease unemployment. Their main function
has been to torment its involuntary "clients" with useless,
time-consuming "courses" and low-paid forced labour.

And with elections coming up, the invisibles have directed their
attention towards the established political parties, disturbing their
public meetings, scorning party leaders and party policies and
ad-busting or destroying campaign cottages and election posters that
litter the country during every election.

The Invisible Party actions have been called "small-scale terrorism"
and "anti-democratic" by the corporate media despite the fact that the
actions have not caused any personal injuries ("only" property
damage) and that their message is that parliamentarism is not
democracy. Democracy means popular (majority or consensus) rule,
whereas parliamentarism means rule by a minority that is elected
every four years.

And the parliamentarians are doing a decent work themselves to speed
up the process against the abolition of parliamentarism. The latest
scandal has been compared to the Watergate affair that led to
President Nixon's resignation in the US in the 1970s.

Prominent members of the Liberal party, which is in opposition, have
been caught spying on the ruling Social Democrat party's internal
strategic discussions, which has led to several resignations and an
ongoing police investigation.

What all this will lead to in the long run is hard to tell. But there is no
doubt that Swedish parliamentarism is facing its most serious crisis in
many decades. As the Invisible Party puts it in many of its statements:
"this is only the beginning".

Links in English:
Wikipedia on The Invisible Party
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Party
Sweden: Left-wing radical wins reality TV show (Infoshop)
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=2006sweden_reality
Sweden: The Invisible Party takes responsibility for actions (Anarchistnews)
http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/469
Sweden, Stockholm: The Invisible Party on recruting days (A-infos)
http://www.ainfos.ca/06/mar/ainfos00379.html
Activists disrupt tax demonstration (The Local)
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=4669&date=20060822
New attack on Centre Party offices (The Local)
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3565
Liberal support in freefall (The Local)
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=4812&date=20060907
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Copied from infoshop.org
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