Sweden

It has been 34 years since the assassination of Sweden’s prime minister, the social democratic leader Olof Palme, one of the most noteworthy political figures in the history of the country. Gunned down after a visit to a movie theatre without his body-guards, the circumstances around his murder have been mysterious and the investigation mired by scandals. Many had therefore hoped for a solid conclusion to this long-overdue investigation. But all we got was the closing down of the investigation, in a transparent attempt to bury this embarrassing affair once and for all. Thus, this national tragedy yet again ended in farce.

As of the end of April, the amount of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden per 1,000 inhabitants is three times that of Denmark, three times that of Germany and four times that of Norway. The government is peddling the nationalist idea that Sweden is somehow different and better than the rest of the world. But the pandemic has revealed the true colours of Swedish class society.

Underfunding and lack of equipment had already thrown the Swedish health care into a crisis before the pandemic. With little to no measures to stop the spread, there is a clear risk of a catastrophe. As workers respond to the crisis, we can expect a sharp rise in the class struggle in the coming weeks and months. This set the tone for the biggest congress ever of Revolution, the Swedish section of the IMT – with 100 Marxists present online from all over the country.

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.