Sweden: the Revolutionary Communist Party has arrived!

On 27-28 April, 168 communists gathered to found the Revolutionary Communist Party (RKP) in Stockholm. Now we are setting out to find all of Sweden's communists, who want to organise to crush capitalism.

[Originally published in Swedish at marxist.se]

In the summer of 2022, our Swedish organisation, together with International Marxist Tendency comrades around the world, launched the campaign: ‘Are you a Communist? Get organised!’ to find and organise those who have concluded communism is the only solution to the problems of capitalism.

After that, the IMT grew by 34 percent in just six months. In Sweden, we have gone from just over 130 members in 11 branches, to 250 in 30 branches in one year. During the summer and autumn, 196 people scanned QR codes on ‘Are you a Communist?’ posters and stickers and wrote into marxist.se asking to join.

The response showed something very clearly: there is a massive layer of mainly young people who are no longer intimidated by the right-wing's anti-communist propaganda, on the contrary. The more the capitalists, the right and the reformists defend the genocide in Gaza, the more they spew their racist bile, the more they attack the working class: the more young people realise that if these people are attacking communism, that must be exactly what is needed.

Now we have also taken the step of forming parties in several countries. The International Marxist Tendency, in turn, is being relaunched as the Revolutionary Communist International this summer at the World School of Communism.

Since our Swedish section (formerly ‘Revolution’) decided to launch the campaign to form the RKP, a further 154 people have signed up to join. The messages we have received show precisely the need to openly declare a Revolutionary Communist Party, part of a Revolutionary Communist International:

“I want to join the RKP because I don't believe in capitalism as an ideology and it's time for a change. We need to start organising ourselves if we are to have a chance of revolution and survival.”

“I want to join the RKP because I think parties like the Social Democrats and the Left Party have misunderstood what they need to fight for. They have proven time and time again that they do not fight for workers and low-income earners but instead compromise with capitalists and then call themselves ‘Democratic Socialists’ if even that is not seen as too radical. It is time we showed our discontent and united behind a Communist Party.”

“Always wanted to fight for the working class. Proud to join the RCI. LONG LIVE MARXISM.”

“Hi, I'm an 18-year-old kid from the suburbs and feel like the world is all fucked up because of capitalism. I'm a little educated in Marxism, socialism, etc. For me, it has always been obvious that you should take care of everyone in society, which is something that has been forgotten over the years. I don't know what I would like to do in the RKP but I want to explore how a REAL Marxist party views the world situation.”

It is by and for these people that the RKP has been formed. Those who look to communism and who want to take up the struggle here and now.

RKP and RCI: tools of the revolution

RCI launch 1

The Congress was opened by Ylva Vinberg from our Executive Committee, who explained that the RKP is not like other parties.

“We are not a political party like the others. We will not stand here and promise that we will solve all the problems in society… We are not politicians and we do not stand for 'party politics'. We are revolutionaries. We tell the truth: only the working class, set in motion, can fight back and win. And only revolution can guarantee that victories are lasting. We are not a party that says: join our party, become an election worker campaigning for our representatives to get a comfortable position with a high salary in parliament. Joining the RKP is not working for someone else's career. You are building the party, this is your party, you are taking the step to become a revolutionary, you are working for the emancipation of the working class, nothing more, nothing less."

As communists, we recognise that the only way to achieve true communism is to work to destroy capitalism on a global scale. From the climate crisis, to wars and economic crises, none of the major problems can be solved within a single country. A communist party that only works for a revolution in Sweden would not be worthy of the name communist. The RKP therefore also differs from other left-wing parties in that it belongs to a real international. It is not a loose collection of branches. The IMT, soon to be the RCI, is one and the same organisation: with the same programme, the same ideas and traditions. We work to provide the leadership that the working class needs to smash capitalism in a socialist revolution, all over the world.

RKP Image RKPThe only way to achieve true communism is to work to destroy capitalism on a global scale / Image: RKP

This was also clear throughout the Congress, which was attended by four comrades from Denmark, two from Switzerland, two from the UK, 13 from Finland, one from Norway and Niklas Albin Svensson from the IMT leadership. At the beginning of the congress, we also received greetings from comrades in Brazil, USA, the UK and Switzerland who told us how they are building in their countries to spread the ideas of communism where they are.

During the session that launched the Revolutionary Communist International, Niklas Albin Svensson explained the inability of the capitalists to emerge from the crisis that began in 2008, and how their attacks on the working class, and the ever-growing contradictions within capitalism, have led to wave after wave of class struggle and revolutions around the world.

This is the basis of the growth we have seen for our International. We have held fast to the ideas of Marxism and can now join with those who reject all half measures, who look beyond all reformist solutions and demand a revolutionary one.

During the discussion, several of our international guests spoke about the poverty that is increasing in the wake of the crisis of capitalism in their countries, how they see the same layers of communists in their countries, and how they are building to organise them. In Denmark, they have also launched a Revolutionary Communist Party and will hold a founding conference for the party in October. In Switzerland and the UK, the comrades will hold their founding congresses this May. The Finnish comrades told how they have gone from 14 comrades on 8 March this year, to 24 now, aiming to hold their first own congress in January next year.

Others spoke about how our US section is participating in the university occupations sweeping the country; about the crisis and potential for revolution in the Middle East, and the need to build the RCI there; as well as the climate crisis and the need for a revolution to guarantee the future of humanity.

Leo Marklund explained that the formation of the RCI means that we Trotskyists are reclaiming our rightful place as part of the communist movement, and urged everyone to attend the World School of Communism this summer. He also explained the impact that the founding of the RCI and the RCI Manifesto will have. He told us how one person (now a member) had seen one of our posters, scanned the QR code and then read the RCI manifesto that had been posted that day. She then sent the following to the website:

“The founding of a new genuine communist international gives me hope for the fight against capitalism. Long live communism!”

World School banner

The potential for the RKP in Sweden

On Saturday, the crisis of capitalism in Sweden was discussed, and what massive potential there is for class struggle in this country. Fredrik Albin Svensson from our Executive Committee explained:

“We grew up in a period in Sweden with no or little protests, no major strikes, where we could only reach out to a minority, of a minority, of a minority. But it's a period where healthcare has gone from being one of the best in the world to having the least number of beds per capita in the EU. Right now, 172,000 people are waiting for surgery. 88,000 have been on the waiting list for over three months. They have taken schools, social security – everything – cut it down and privatised it beyond recognition. At the same time, we are seeing a level of poverty not seen in 70 years in Sweden. Pensioners looking for recyclables in rubbish bins. Ordinary workers who go to Matmissionen [a ‘social supermarket’ whose shelves are filled with donated surplus stock] to afford food. In other words, poverty is back in Sweden.”

From the situation in healthcare, increasingly harsh working and living conditions in industry, all comrades who came into the discussion explained how the situation is getting worse everywhere, how this will lead to intensified class struggle and what role we can play in it.

Valter Karlsson, an upper secondary school student in Stockholm, told us how discontent over fish parasites in food, bread and water for lunch and cold classrooms at his school led his classmates to ask him what they could do. He told them “we can go on a school strike”. He explained that, when you are an open communist, people will come to you, because they know we have ideas on how to fight back. This is especially true in schools, where there are no trade unions and hardly any political organisations present at all, to channel the struggle, or for that matter, to block it, as the leaders of the Swedish trade unions do.

Free Palestine Image RKPComrades talked about how we participated in the Palestine movement / Image: RKP

On Sunday, we also discussed what role the RKP should play in the class struggle and how we should build our party. Comrades talked about how we participated in the Palestine movement, about how they have tried to win their colleagues to the party at their workplaces and build RKP branches at schools. Charlie Sahlin talked about how we now have a branch of six comrades at Schillerska high school in Gothenburg. Calle Niemi from Umeå talked about how they have travelled to Skellefteå, Luleå, Piteå, Sundsvall, Hudiksvall, Boden and Örnsköldsvik – as well as Vaasa in Finland – to build new RKP branches.

This is what we will now be doing across the country this summer: following in August Palm's footsteps, touring Sweden to build a truly nationwide party. The potential is clear even in small towns, as explained by several comrades from Karlstad, who not only built two branches there, but also a branch in Kristinehamn. In one year, we have established ourselves in a whole host of new cities: Borås, Växjö, Varberg, Kristinehamn, Örebro, Norrköping, Skellefteå and Örnsköldsvik.

As Ylva Vinberg explained in her closing speech:

“We will go out into Sweden and search with light and lantern, from Ålidhem in Umeå, to Farsta in Stockholm, from Osby in the south to Vilhelmina in the north, for communists to organise. In the streets and squares, in the factories and in the hospitals, in the schools and in the supermarkets, everywhere we shall, step by step, sow an RKP seed.”

This is what the RKP is aiming at first and foremost: winning the communist youth. To do that, as many comrades explained, we must be seen as communists. Comrades told of how they made speeches in cafés, on the streets, standing on rubbish bins. They told us how they came to demonstrations, high schools and new towns carrying flags with hammers and sickles.

But we will also throw ourselves into the coming class struggle.

As Leo Marklund explained in the session ‘How to Build the Revolutionary Communist Party’, this work is about more than just shouting that we are communists. When we build in workplaces and intervene in struggle, we must learn to explain our solutions in a way that can connect with those who are not yet communists.

“The task of a communist is to connect with the consciousness that exists and through it prove the need for revolution. You build on the best conclusions that the workers in a workplace or a particular movement have drawn and show a way forward in the struggle, the next logical step.”

As Leo explained, this requires both practice and theoretical training. Many comrades emphasised what Lenin explained in What is to be done?: “Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary organisation.” The message went down well. We sold a record number of books for SEK 54,000. Our newly published book, Lenin's Imperialism, sold 58 copies.

But perhaps the strongest evidence of the enthusiasm that prevailed at the Congress was the fundraiser, which brought in SEK 863,000!

In addition, comrades collectively raised their membership fees by 5750 SEK over the weekend. As Sebastian Ingvarsson explained during the session, ‘How communists finance their party’:

“We build with the same methods that the labour movement was once built with, with ordinary workers and the sacrifices of young people. Today, the rest of the left has made itself dependent on state support. That's why, one by one, they are being forced to cut back and close down, as the government cuts press subsidies. We will not do that. As communists, we realise that since we want to overthrow the bourgeois state, we cannot depend on it.”

Now we will embark on an intense May and summer of party building, starting on 1 May. Comrades across the country will then travel down to Malmö to join the Eurovision demonstrations against Israel's participation. We will hold a press conference to announce the formation of the party to the Swedish media. We will organise participation at the World School of Communism in Varberg where we will take part in the inauguration of an eight-metre high Lenin statue. Then we will embark on a summer tour to build the RKP across the country.

There is no more important task than organising to overthrow capitalism. As Ylva Vinberg said in her closing speech:

“Comrades, it is our generation that will abolish capitalism. We will do it, because we have to do it. So decide, here and now: for all those who have come before us, for us and our families and all the oppressed of the world, for the generations to come. Declare like Rosa Luxemburg: ‘I was, I am, I will be.’ That is the communist thread that runs through history and binds us to that promise. They were – they fought for communism. We are – we fight for communism. And thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions will be. For them, for us, for those who come after us.”

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