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Sweden

Winning power, not just government

 

 

By Florian Wilde

 

May 6, 2017
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Jacobin with the author's permission Is it a shortcut, if it’s seemingly the only path on offer? Many left parties in Europe today see participating in a center-left coalition government as the only realistic way to win reforms. They often justify joining these administrations by reasoning that having a left party in government will at least block the most regressive policies and keep a more reactionary formation from taking power. These parties also believe government participation will increase their credibility in the eyes of voters and members, ultimately strengthening their prospects to govern on their own.

 

Twenty-five years of history, however, suggest that these expectations are rarely met.

 

Sweden: Far-right gains cause political crisis; Beware of 'Swedish lessons'

Social Democratic PM-designate Stefan Lofven.
By Farooq Sulehria

September 25, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Sweden went to elections on September 14 to elect a new government for the next four years. As expected, an informal red-green coalition gained outpolled (43.7% votes) its rival "bourgeois alliance" (39.3%). The red-green alliance includes the Social Democratic Party, the Left Party (the reformed Communist Party) and Greens. It has represented the ideological polarisation in Swedish electoral politics since the 1990s. It represents the mainstream Swedish left.

In contrast, the right-wing alliance, consisting of the Moderate Party (conservatives), Liberals, the Centre Party and Christian Democrats, was a formal block. It won the last two elections and during eight years of misrule, it managed to aggressively dismantle the famous Swedish welfare state. It will be news only for casual observers of Swedish developments that the country is now top among OECD lands where the class gulf has widened.

Feminist Initiative

Sweden: How the welfare state was stolen

[For more on Sweden, click HERE.]

By Adam Bott

April 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For a hundred years, ABF-Huset on Sveavägen has been the headquarters of the workers’ education movement, a pillar of Sweden’s "study-circle social democracy". Every day and all evening the classrooms and lecture halls are filled with adult education classes, theatre and music performances, as well as political discussions.

Tonight’s public meeting is standing room only. The mood is cheerful, earnest, disciplined and, dare I say it, rather churchly. Fittingly, we begin with songs: first a hymn tune with the refrain "Everything is for sale", then a jazzier number that goes "Got any money? (Then you can buy a place in the queue)". Next there’s a short dystopian pantomime set in a hospital waiting room: the man with the private plan goes straight upstairs while the lady on the public option has to wait in line. The sheepish uninsured fellow with the broken leg is shown a price list, then the door.

Sweden: 'Unemployment, inadequate schools and racism' behind riots

By Mathias Wåg, translated from Swedish by Petter Nilsson

May 28, 2013 -- Transform! -- Stockholm suburbs have been ablaze. Cars have been torched in suburbs around the city and when the firefighters and police arrive they have been met by youths throwing stones. Why is this? Why now? How come in Sweden?

Seen from the outside, Sweden can still seem like the promised land of welfare, the balanced third way between socialism and capitalism. But inside during the last 10 to 20 years, neoliberal policies have been eating away like termites consuming the welfare state's foundations from within, leaving it as an empty shell. And Stockholm, where the riots started and were centred, is the testing facility for neoliberal reforms large and small.

La campaña contra Wikileaks debilita las campañas contra violaciones

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3000.]

Por Ash Pemberton, traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

29-08-2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- La odisea personal del jefe de WikiLeaks Julian Assange se ha utilizado para eclipsar el innovador periodismo de WikiLeaks que sacó a la luz los secretos de gobiernos y corporaciones de todo el mundo.

Unos cables diplomáticos australianos obtenidos por el Sydney Morning Herald en diciembre revelaron: “WikiLeaks es objetivo de una investigación criminal ‘sin precedentes’ por parte del gobierno de EE.UU.” A pesar de esto, el gobierno australiano sigue argumentando públicamente que no tiene conocimiento de una campaña estadounidense contra Assange –editor y fundador del sitio– e incluso argumentó que era muy improbable.

No es sorprendente que el mayor incriminado por las publicaciones de WikiLeaks –el gobierno de EE.UU.– se proponga estatuir un ejemplo con los involucrados. Uno de los miles de correos electrónicos hackeados de la firma de espionaje privada Stratfor publicados por WikiLeaks en febrero dice que EE.UU. tiene una acusación en firme contra Assange.

Anti-Wikileaks crusade undermines anti-rape campaigns; George Galloway wrong on rape

By Ash Pemberton

August 24, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The personal saga of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of Wikileaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.

Australian diplomatic cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald in December revealed, “WikiLeaks is the target of an 'unprecedented' US government criminal investigation.” Despite this, the Australian government continues to argue publicly that it has no knowledge of a US campaign against Assange — the site's editor in chief and founder — and even argued it was highly unlikely.

It is unsurprising that the main party incriminated by Wikileaks' releases — the United States government — is out to make an example of those involved. One of thousands of hacked emails from private spy firm Stratfor released by Wikileaks in February said the US had a sealed indictment against Assange.

Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on August 16 after staying in Ecuador's British embassy since June to avoid extradition to Sweden. He remains in the embassy in a stand-off with British police who have backed down on their threat to raid the embassy.

Colombia must free Joaquin Perez Becerra

Statement from the Socialist Alliance in Australia

May 14, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.

Perez Becerra, a refugee from Colombia, is a Swedish citizen. We also call on the Swedish government to do its upmost to defend the rights of one of its citizens.

Under Article 33(1) of the Geneva Convention, no refugee shall be returned “in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

We also call on the Venezuelan government, which complied with Colombia's request to deport Perez Becerra to Colombia, to demand that Colombia respect the rights due to Perez Becerra under international conventions.

Perez Becerra, a strong voice in defence of human rights in Colombia, was forced to leave Colombia in 1993 following the murder of his wife and constant death threats against him due to his membership in the Union Patriotica (UP).

As a member of this democratic and legally registered party, Perez Becerra was elected city councillor in Corinto, Valle del Cauca. However, a state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror against the UP resulted in the assassination of more than 4000 UP members.

Wikileaks: Sweden, Assange and the USA

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail in Britain on December 16, 2010. It is almost a certainty that the editor of Wikileaks will be turned over to the United States if he is extradited to Sweden.

By Al Burke

December 28, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Nordic News Network -- Sweden has requested the extradition of Wikileaks editor Julian Assange from the United Kingdom, and legal proceedings are expected to commence at the start of the new year. Due to the extraordinary behaviour of the prosecutor in charge of the case, questions have been raised about the prospects of Assange receiving impartial justice in Sweden.[1]

Sweden: Far-right election gains met with spontaneous mass protests

On September 20, 2010 -- the day after the Swedish general election -- 10,000 people in Stockholm protested against the far-right Swedish Democrats party.

By Johann Sommansson

September 23, 2010 -- The counting of votes in the September 19 Swedish parliamentary elections sent out shock waves. The far right made its parliamentary debut, and for the first time in modern Swedish political history an incumbent non-Social Democrats government has been able to win a national election. As such, the process of dismantling the Swedish welfare state is set to continue unabated.

Michael Lebowitz on the socialist alternative and real human development

Prof. Michael Lebowitz on the socialist alternative from Dangerous Minds at Vimeo.

August 30, 2010 -- Michael Lebowitz is a Canadian Marxist economist. He is the director of the “Transformative practice and human development” program at the Venezuela-based left-wing think tank, the Centro Internacional Miranda. He is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and author of Build it Now: 21st Century Socialism and the 2004 Isaac Deutscher-prize winning Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class. His latest book is The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development.

`Intensify pressure!' -- (updated June 8) Call by Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee gains support

By the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

Occupied Palestine, June 1, 2010 -- Palestinian civil society calls for intensifying boycott and sanctions as Israel massacres humanitarian relief workers and international solidarity activists.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) strongly condemns last night’s fatal attack by the Israeli navy on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. The BNC conveys Palestinian civil society’s condolences to the families and friends of those killed by the Israeli assault and warmly salutes the principled solidarity and moral commitment of all those involved in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

In response, the BNC calls on international civil society to:

Left Party Sweden: Combating `Fortress Europe'

Kalle Larsson addresses the Socialist Party (USA) meeting. Photo by David McReynolds.

By Billy Wharton

February 16, 2010 -- To US immigrant rights activists faced with the harsh repression of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids or the outright racism of public officials such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Europe may seem like a kinder, gentler place. Yet, as Kalle Larsson, representative of the Left Party of Sweden, argued during a recent speech organised by the Socialist Party USA (NYC local), Europe is developing its own forms of exclusion and repression for migrants.

Larsson described the changes underway in the European Union (EU) in the treatment of asylum-seeking refugees and people without papers. As the EU moves to “harmonise” various policies employed by member nation-states, what once seemed like a minimum policy to insure a base level of rights has become a ceiling designed to prevent the implementation of more humane policies. This process, Larsson argued, is one part of the larger neoliberal approach being implemented in Brussels.

Convert the ailing car industry to socially necessary production!

A 1960s car designer's vision of the car of the future. Today, the private car's days are numbered.

With the economic recession and environmental crisis alternative plans for socially useful, sustainable production have never been more relevant argues Lars Henriksson.

When the financial shit hit the fan last year the overproduction in the auto industry became visible. In the Swedish auto industry the proportions between fan and shit was especially problematic. The crisis involved two of the world’s smallest mass producers, both owned by troubled US corporations, and both producing large, fuel consuming semi-luxury cars. In a country of 9 million it was like having two bankrupt car companies and their chain of sub contractors plus two crisis-hit truck companies in London.

The auto crisis of course became a big political issue in Sweden and still is. As elsewhere in the world there were two principle lines of argument in the mainstream discussion about what should be done.

(Updated Sept. 28) International solidarity with the Honduran people's struggle for democracy

Solidarity demonstration, Sydney, September 24, 2009.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal below is publishing various solidarity statements and reports of actions in solidarity with the democracy struggle of the people of Honduras. More will be posted as they come to hand.

Socialist Alliance: `Australia must act for democracy in Honduras'

Below is an open letter from the Socialist Alliance to Australia's foreign affairs minister, Stephen Smith, calling on the Australian Labor government to act for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, and the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

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