Sweden

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

...

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.

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.

We publish below a translation of the December 1998 editorial statement of the Socialisten (Swedish Marxist journal). It was written because their was some debate at the time over the question of "housemaids". The fact is that a lot of wealthy families "employ" immigrant women to do their housework. They get low wages, no taxes are paid and they have no rights or social security at all. It is a totally black market. The proposal then was to make this market legal, by granting tax-exemptions on these services.

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.