Posts Tagged ‘purging the opposition’

Juholt, the smiling Stalin, begins the purge as the Social Democrats try to relive the past

March 22, 2011

The Social Democrats in Sweden will have their convention at the end of this week where Håkan Juholt will be confirmed by a vast majority, if not unanimously, as their new leader. It will all seem very democratic of course even though the party’s Nomination Committee produced his name out of a hat at the last minute after a very obscure and confusing process reminiscent of a Soviet style politburo election in action.

Håkan Juholt : image

While Juholt’s physical resemblance to a smiling Stalin is meant partly in jest, the coup by the left wing of the party and the subsequent purge of the more moderate and “right-wing” leaders is anything but a jest. There may not be much real blood spilled in these days but the elimination of the “opposition” is as ruthless as anything Stalin perpetrated. In an organisational sense the Social Democrats are the true inheritors of the power broking style of the communist parties of the Soviet bloc. The smoke-filled rooms are gone (since this is Sweden and smoking is almost as sinful as any hint of male chauvinism and certainly more sinful than paedophilia) but the back-rooms are still around and the influence of the power brokers still reigns supreme.

Of course a new leader will appoint his friends around him. But guilt by association has been created as a new sin within the Social Democrats. The Nomination Committee has done its job well and prepared the way for a purge. Where unwanted individuals actually proposed policies more in line with the electorate, they have been blamed for the election defeat without reference to policies so that they can be removed. Where favoured individuals backed the losing policies they have anyway been “promoted” as being the instruments of rejuvenation. But all of this is merely an attempt to step back to the “good old times” of 40 years ago.

The Svenska Dagbladet writes:

The ousting of Ylva Johansson and Thomas Östros is extraordinary. The latter is being punished for being Mona Sahlin’s candidate for finance minister. There seems also to be a new principle that not only the leader shall be held accountable for policy failures.

It looks like a shift to the left. (So the Social Democrats) dismiss Thomas Östros who criticized the Social Democrats’ fiscal policies from the right and selects Veronica Palm who has defended the tax policy adopted before the election.

I wonder how long it will take for the Social Democrats to realise that trying to recreate “good old times” is a cul-de-sac.

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