Sweden

From 29-31 March, over 80 workers and youth gathered in Gothenburg to discuss the national and global political developments erupting across the world. Quantitatively, this was the largest congress for the Swedish section of the IMT; and qualitatively, this was a milestone for the section. Political discussions were sharp and thorough, and a high level of enthusiasm to build the forces of Marxism in Sweden was evident during the entire weekend.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

An international solidarity campaign has been launched to demand the release of comrade Rawal Asad, who was arrested in Multan for the 'crime' of attending a protest. He faces a scandalous charge of sedition, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a judge has now officially denied his application for bail. In addition to demonstrations in Pakistan, comrades from all over the world have been protesting outside of Pakistani embassies, and sending pictures and messages of support calling

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Note: this morning the Left Party announced they are going to abstain on the vote on the government, thereby allowing the Social Democrats to form a government with the Greens. What the Left Party leader hinted at on Monday now has become policy. We remain opposed to the formation of the government on this right-wing programme, and maintain our position that the labour movement should demand new elections and the establishment of a left government on a socialist programme.

This weekend saw the annual, national school of Revolution, the Swedish section of the International Marxist Tendency, which took place in Gothenburg. Over 90 enthusiastic revolutionaries from all over the country gathered to prepare for a rise in the class struggle in the coming period, which will offer great possibilities for Marxists.

Despite the rosy picture presented to us by self-styled socialists like Bernie Sanders, after the latest election, it is clear that the same instability and political polarisation that has affected other countries has finally reached Sweden.

During the night of 7 April, our comrade Martin Oskarsson passed away at the age of 59 years. He was hit by a sudden bout of pneumonia that led to blood poisoning. Despite being under intensive care, it was unfortunately not possible to save him. Our thoughts are with his close friends and relatives.

The Revolution 2017 school was held in Göteborg on the 6-8 October – a weekend dedicated to the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. With 65 participants, great talks with a high political level, and a huge collection of 95,000 Swedish kronor, this was an important milestone in the building of the International Marxist Tendency.

On 30 September, a unified chant could be heard from Göteborg’s Korsvägen: “no Nazis on our streets!” Around 20,000 protesters congregated to oppose the fascist sect NMR, who were staging a demonstration to flex their muscles. By the end of the day, the anti-fascist movement stopped the NMR’s demonstration in Göteborg and even the fascists complained publicly that the day was a “victory for [their] opponents”. This was a major victory for the radical left in Sweden that sent the Nazis running with their tails firmly between their legs.

Marxist Students kicked off the autumn in more areas than ever before. For the first time we held meetings in Lund and Helsingborg, amongst others, but also at Södertörn University in Stockholm. There is an enormous and growing interest for revolutionary ideas among an important section of the youth which will be obvious from the following reports from all over Sweden.

On Friday, 7 April at 2:53 pm, a truck crashed into the department store Åhlens City in Stockholm, after first going on a rampage along Drottninggatan. Four people were killed, 15 wounded and 9 are in critical care. We strongly condemn this terrorist attack and our deepest sympathies are with all the people affected.

Less than two months after assuming office, the Swedish government consisting of Social Democrats and the Greens has announced that they will call new elections. This marks a turning point in Swedish politics. The political instability in the rest of the world – a result of the crisis of capitalism – is now raising its head also in Sweden. This is the beginning of a deep crisis for bourgeois democracy and the capitalist system.

On October 24-26, Marxists from all over Sweden gathered for a Marxist Weekend School in Gothenburg under the title "In Defence of Marxism!" The School was organised by Avanti, Swedish section of the International Marxist Tendency, who are fighting for the ideas of genuine, revolutionary Marxism in the Swedish Labour Movement and youth. In total, more than 30 people participated in discussions about Marxism and how we can fight for it today. The mood was enthusiastic, which was clearly visible both during the sessions and after.

Last weekend’s attempt by fascists to murder left-wing activists in Malmö has had a massive response. During this weekend, there have been a number of demonstrations, meetings and gatherings around the country.

All over Sweden protests are being held against an attack by fascists in the southern city of Malmö on Saturday. This comes amidst a resurgence of fascist attacks on the labour movement in Sweden.

Sweden's suburbs are burning again: Husby, Kista, Tensta, Rinkeby Fittja, Vårby, Norsborg Jakobsbergsgatan, Flemingsberg and Skärholmen. Cars have been set on fire, police stations have had their windows smashed and groups of youngsters have thrown stones at the police. This is a symptom of the impasse of the capitalist system, but also a taste of coming revolutionary events. A long suppressed anger has found a desperate outlet when capitalism can no longer offer young people hope of a future.

The recent elections in Sweden were hailed as a victory for the right wing and particularly the racist “Sweden Democrats”. However, in reality the election reflects long-term dissatisfaction with the rolling back of the Swedish welfare state, to which the Left-Green coalition has no answer. The Left Party, in particular, needs to change course in order to set itself up as a clear alternative for the workers and youth.

The left parties did badly in the recent EU elections in Sweden. Many on the left were disappointed. But within a week of those results a dispute broke out at the Lagena warehouse south of Stockholm. Lead by IMT member Patrik Olofsson, it has sent an electric jolt through society.

On 31st October–1st November the left student union (VSF) in Sweden held its 7th congress in Rågsved, south of Stockholm. The VSF has a close relationship with the Left Party and its youth organisation, the Young Left. Among other issues discussed was the idea of declaring the VSF a revolutionary socialist organisation.


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The new Conservative government in Sweden immediately launched a programme of cuts and attacks on the working class upon coming to power. With a massive round of contract negotiations coming up this spring, however, the stage is being set for a major explosion of the class struggle.

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Over the weekend of the January 6-7 a Northern European Marxist School was held in Stockholm, Sweden. There were around 40 people present from Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Great Britain. The school was organised by the Marxist tendency in the Swedish Labour Movement gathered around the paper Socialisten.

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For only the third time in 84 years the Social Democracy lost the recent parliamentary elections in Sweden, leading to the resignation of its leader Göran Persson. Now a bourgeois four party “alliance” will govern the country. But anyone who thinks that the workers of Sweden have voted for more attacks on their living conditions is ignoring reality. The alliance announced the very opposite of what they are going to do. So a new period of conflict is being prepared.

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The Swedish Marxists of the Socialisten journal have sent us this appeal which is taken from the website of the underground drivers’ trade union branch (www.klubb119.org). It describes a very important trade union struggle in Sweden that involves the rights of all trade union activists. Their next demonstration/strike will take place on Friday, November 18, but the struggle will continue after that. The union is asking for messages of support.

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In 1905, one hundred years ago, when Sweden looked set to go to war to stop Norway breaking away, the anti-war campaign was organised by the labour movement and the war was stopped. The Swedish labour movement directed its struggle against the Swedish establishment. The methods used were effective and would work today.

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The referendum held in Sweden on Sunday (September 14) on whether or not to join the euro has upset the plans of Swedish big business. But its impact goes beyond the borders of Sweden and is being discussed seriously in other countries, especially in Britain where Blair is finding it difficult to convince the people of the "benefits" of adopting the euro.

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The municipal workers' strike is now over. It came to a humiliating end when the union leadership decided to sign an agreement with the employers over the heads of the membership. This agreement will only give the workers a relatively low settlement, far lower than the modest 5,5% originally demanded. It is nothing less than a betrayal against those workers who were ready to struggle.

Why did the union leaders call off the strike, when the opinion polls told us that there was a massive (over 80%) support for the struggle? And why did they back down when one union after another (the electricians, the bus-drivers, the commuter-train personnel and the builders for example)

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The municipal workers in Sweden have come out on strike. All over the country day-care centres, schools, refuse-processing plants and other public services have been shut down. This strike marks an important turning point for the class struggle in Sweden.

Despite the propaganda of the mass media, millions of workers and youth have flooded onto the streets of cities all around the world to protest against the attack on Iraq. On Friday Greece was brought to a standstill by a massive 4 hour general strike. More than 150,000 people demonstrated in Athens, in addition to tens of thousands around Greece, while airports, banks, public services, public transport, ferry boats and passenger ships, supermarkets and stores were shut down as a result of the strike.


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In this article Martin Oscarsson, from the Editorial Board of the Swedish Marxist journal Socialisten, illustrates how the deepening worldwide crisis of capitalism is affecting Swedish society. A radical mood is developing among the youth in the Social Democratic Party (SSU) and the unions are being placed in a position where they will have to come out into open opposition to the party. The old "Swedish model" once fondly referred to by all the right-wing leaders of the labour movement internationally has definitely broken down. Sweden faces an intensification of the class struggle.

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The Swedish media has been taken by surprise by the groundswell of opposition to the US military adventure. Now the opposition to the US attacks has begun to be expressed in demonstrations. Opinion polls reveal that 6 out of 10 Swdes are against any US attack if any innocent civilians were put at risk. Only 3 out of 10 favour such attacks. In addition 56% have little or no confidence in Bush and only 32% have confidence in him. By Lena Ericson Hoijer, Editor Socialisten, the Swedish Marxist Journal. In addition we publish a report on an anti-war demonstration in Stockholm by Pia Hallgren.

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Three huge demonstrations (particularly for a city with only half a million inhabitants) took place during the EU summit in Gothenburg. 10,000 marched against president Bush on Thursday 14 June, 20,000-25,000 against EU/EMU on the Friday and 10,000-15,000 against the policies of the EU on the Saturday. These was the largest demonstrations in Gothenburg since the big strike and lockout of 1980. It also reflects a growing discontent amongst young people and workers.

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The ECOFIN - all the Finance Ministers of the EU member states - held a meeting in Sweden's third largest city, Malmo, in the early part of May, which was met with a countre-demonstration, similar to the many demonstrations around the world againts the IMF, the WTO, World Bank, etc. The police used brutal methods to break up the demonstration.

Day to day reports on the Festival of the International Union of Socialist Youth.