Posts Tagged ‘Social Democrats’

High irony in Swedish politics

August 2, 2018

The Swedish Social Democrats (the ruling party) have been in power for almost 80 of the last 100 years. They are not, however, very keen on talking about their past when it comes to the politics of racism. It was at the initiative of leading Social Democrats that the first ever state-run Institute for Race Biology was established in 1922. Within the workers’ movements, it was ingrained that Swedish workers were superior to other races. Even within the intellectual elite of the “Socialist” movement too it was “common wisdom” that Swedish culture and values were superior. It was this institute and their “scientific” work which was to prove the inspiration for the German version of eugenics. Whereas the German Institute was shut down after the war the Swedish Institute continued and later became part of Uppsala University and its genetics centre.

Eugenics Archive:

In 1918, it was suggested that an institute of racial biology be partially funded by the Nobel Committee (Lundborg, 1922). This was unanimously supported by the Nobel Committee itself, but the idea was seen as a misuse of Nobel funds and a race-biology institute was not created at that time. Lundborg argued that a race-biology institute was important to prevent racial degeneration in Sweden, and ultimately, the Swedish state-institute for race biology was created (Lundborg, 1922). ….

…… The purpose of the institute was to research genetics, heredity, and racial characteristics. (Lundborg, 1922; Broberg & Roll-Hansen, 2005). The data from this research was meant to be used to create practices that would supposedly improve the quality of the Swedish population (Lundborg, 1922). As eugenics became less popular in the public, the institute became controversial and was eventually renamed in 1958 (Broberg & Roll-Hansen, 2005).

Through their own eugenics program, where the Sami people were subjected, until as late as the 1970s, to forced sterilisations and abortions, the Swedish program was not so very far removed in its objectives from the Nazi program. The Nazi methods and the scale of their program were of a quite different magnitude. The Social Democrats would rather that this part of their history went away quietly. They have never really confronted the past or come to terms with it. Many leading Social Democrats (among them the Myrdals) were strongly involved in the vision of eugenically ensuring a population with the “right social attitudes”.

A Brave New World

In the mid-1970s Sweden’s parliament abolished the eugenics-inspired sterilization legislation enacted in 1935 by a social democratic government. During the four decades that passed between implementation and abolition, almost 63,000 Swedes were rendered infertile, in many cases in response to pressure from the state and sometimes as a result of outright compulsion. Furthermore, it was chiefly those regarded as ‘‘unproductive’’ who were the targets of that social policy.

The Sweden Democrats is the anti-immigration party which has seen increasing popular support over the last decade. Inevitably it is attacked for having its origins with, and having connections to, neo-Nazi (rather than Nazi) groups in their past. Other political parties have shunned them and have refused to contemplate working with them in any way. In this September’s general elections it is very likely that the Sweden Democrats will end up as the second largest party in parliament. The game is changing.

Yesterday I found it a case of very high irony indeed when the Sweden Democrats released a 1h 45 minute documentary about the place of race in the Social Democrats’ past. They use racism – which they are usually accused of – to attack the Social Democrats. Pure propaganda of course but not factually incorrect. The Social Democrats are trying to shrug this off as propaganda but they have some very dark skeletons in their closet.

One People, One Party

(Ett folk ett parti)

(You Tube keeps removing this video but it can be found quiet easily)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CekDXP7a6s

The video is still available here: https://vimeo.com/282930261

The Social Democrats with their eugenics program were probably as close, if not closer, to the Nazi eugenics of the 1930s and 40s, than the Sweden Democrats when they began, were to the neo-Nazis of their time.


 

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Left/Green sanctimony is causing a debacle for Swedish foreign policy

March 19, 2015

The 2005 defence cooperation agreement between Sweden and Saudi Arabia was renewed in 2010 and was coming up for a natural termination or a mutual renewal again this year. Currently there is very little being done under this agreement. It could have been allowed to die quietly. But that was not loud enough and self-righteous enough for the Greens and the left of the ruling Social Democrats.

The Greens are new to government (and it shows in many areas) but they are implacably opposed to Sweden having any defense industry of any kind. The Greens and the left are utterly opposed to the “anti-feminist and anti-democratic” nature of Saudi Arabia. But the Greens and the left of the Social Democrats forgot that they were actually in government and were not just an irresponsible lobby group like Greenpeace or the WWF indulging in publicity pranks.  They were so mesmerised by the idea of showing off their moral credentials that the intention to terminate the defense agreement was announced in a great blaze of self-righteous publicity.  The Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (an old trade unionist with a good understanding of the importance of jobs) actually wanted to extend the agreement. But he was over-ruled by his far left and the Greens. His Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström (who, unlike the Greens, is old enough to know better), was more obsessed with demonstrating how Swedish foreign policy was feminist and green and occupied the moral high ground than in promoting Swedish interests and values. And so she forgot about her duties as a Foreign Minister and sharply criticised Saudi Arabia in most undiplomatic language. It verges on incompetence that the consequences of her statements were not analysed. She received a swift diplomatic “punch on the nose” when she was barred from speaking to the Arab League.

But the Greens and the left (and the Swedish media – who are all very politically correct and morally upstanding) basked in the warmth of their own sanctimonious self-indulgence. If they thought they were promoting Swedish values, they seem to have failed spectacularly. Instead they have fuelled the opposing views from the region about Swedish moral degeneracy and decadence.

But now the whole affair is becoming a foreign policy debacle. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have called their ambassadors home. Fifty seven other nations have backed Saudi Arabia in criticising Margot Wallström for “denigrating Saudi Arabia’s social norms, judicial institutions and political institutions”. Swedes are not being issued visas for Saudi Arabia any longer.

Sweden is left floundering with a foreign policy being made by children and governed by childishness. A policy built on trying to demonstrate a self-proclaimed moral superiority and which talks down to others smacks of the playground. It diminishes Sweden. Business will suffer and jobs will suffer. And it will take a long time to repair the damage. Right now almost the entire Islamic world has taken umbrage and Sweden’s voice has never been as irrelevant in the region.

(Soon after the left/green government took over they had recognised Palestine as a State – also to demonstrate their moral superiority. Needless to say Israel was not amused and they are not the flavour of the month with Netanyahu. And he is going to be around for a long time yet).

But the Greens and far left are still basking in their moral superiority and don’t even realise that they have done something very silly. That they have managed to earn the contempt of both Israel and the Arab World  – simultaneously – seems to be of little consequence.

Swedish Radio:

Saudi Arabia has informed the Foreign Ministry that they will not issue any new business visas to Swedes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that they received notice about this and say they will continue trying to resolve the issue bilaterally.

Companies that are in procurement or planning projects will not be able to send employees to the country. 

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had just received the information and said, “We do not want this situation with Saudi Arabia. We have been clear all the time that we want a good relationship with Saudi Arabia and we work seriously and systematically with it”.

Swedish Industry Minister Mikael Damberg also believe that the news is negative. “It is clear that this not good and we are working both to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia and to make sure that it does not spread to more countries. We are very careful to emphasize that what the government did was not to extend a military Terms of Collaboration with Saudi Arabia. And there was a very strong political majority in parliament not to extend”, says Mikael Damberg.

Tonight, the Minister and the Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström will meet with executives from Swedish industry regarding Sweden’s relations with Saudi Arabia. “I will talk about what the government is doing but also to listen to those companies that are active in the region to see if they have encountered a problem and if there are misunderstandings so that we can help each other” says Mikael Damberg.

On being asked what actions the government would take, he said “We are working very hard to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. Both through diplomatic contacts here in Stockholm but also in place in Riyadh and in countries in the region. The work is intense.. We are also working together with Swedish companies in place in these markets. We take note that this has happened but we have no interest to implement some kind of retaliation or to escalate this”, says Mikael Damberg.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have called their ambassadors home from Sweden. The reason is because of the statements made by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström about Saudi Arabia in connection with the Swedish government cancelling a controversial trade agreement.

At the same time 57 states have closed ranks behind Saudi Arabia in their criticism of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström. This means that almost the entire Muslim world is critical of Wallström’s statements.

“In its opinion Wallström has humiliated Saudi Arabia and its social norms, legal systems and political institutions,” says a statement on the website of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC).

 

Farce continues as trade unions force the Swedish Social Democrats to dump the Greens

December 11, 2014

Just a week ago the Swedish Social Democratic Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, lost a budget vote in parliament. The whole process was one of low farce. The budget was one his party and their Green (Environment Party) partners in government and supported by the far Left party had put forward. After the loss he announced that he would call an “extra” election as soon as it was permitted on 29th December and to be held on 22nd March 2015. He was quite belligerent and adamant that the joint budget with the Greens (the one defeated) was the very best for Sweden and that they would go to the hustings on the basis of the joint budget. The Greens were quite happy to ride his coattails for it gave them an exposure and a position at the High Table that they could never otherwise have commanded.

In the next day or two it became pretty obvious that it was the Social Democrats shift far to the left with the Greens and the Left party which effectively blocked any possible cooperation with parties further on the right. But Löfven was not prepared to give up his new found friends on the left. Even though it meant that his government was now required to administer the opposition’s alternate budget which had won in parliament until the new elections. Effectively income tax levels would continue throughout 2015 at the levels of the opposition’s budget. Even some expenditure items would have to remain static for the best part of 2015. He kept repeating the self-contradictory mantra that his party would contest the elections as a separate party but on the basis of the joint budget with the Greens. His propping up of the Greens and his obsession with the goodness of his Red/Green budget was becoming untenable.

Many voices within the Social Democrats pointed out the inconsistencies of this position but he stuck to his partnership. But the final straw came when the head of the Landsorganisation (representing the trade unions of Sweden) came out publicly  with the advice to abandon the Greens and fight the election on their own strengths – not least because any coalition agreements could only be negotiated later if they were not encumbered by the Greens and the Left party.

Dagens Nyheter(1):

Stefan Löfven should go to elections without the Green Party. So says a deeply concerned LO chairman Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson.

“Sweden is in a dangerous position, we are no longer seen as a politically stable country, we risk investment and jobs. The image of Sweden as stable, pragmatic and growth-friendly gave us investment and more jobs”, says LO’s chairman. He now sees this threatened on several fronts.

Mainly because of the parliamentary mess. But also because of the Green Party’s influence,  which he has criticized strongly several times in recent months. Among other things their requirements for nuclear decommissioning, the decision to close Bromma airport and postpone the Stockholm Bypass.

The Social Democrats ignore the trade unions at their peril. And Löfven has now been forced to back down and throw the Greens under the bus. But his contortions to keep his position today in touch with his position a week ago are also a little farcical.

Dagens Nyheter (2):

On Thursday the LO boss Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson put it plainly to DN: “Stefan Löfven should throw MP overboard and go to the polls alone”.

So on Thursday Löfven gave a number of bizarre answers. On the one hand, he had intended to do just that (dump the Greens) all the time – even though his press conference with Gustav Fridolin last week clearly showed that this cooperation was firm and fixed. “We like thecooperation we have and we have a very strong budget,” said Löfven.

Dagens Nyheter is scathing:

  • The Social Democrats are going to go to the polls alone, 
  • but together with the MP (Green Party),
  • with a budget that does not apply anymore
  • but which will anyway form the basis for future policy.

The show goes on. At least farces and pantomimes are quite suited to the festive season.

Have Green Parties in Europe been hijacked by the Far Left?

October 15, 2013

I have a theory that the fall of communism and the subsequent meltdown and demise of the Communist Parties in Western Europe (most immediately dropped the word “communist” from their names) then led to many of the core supporters of the communists hijacking the Green Parties to gain a measure of respectability. This infiltration of the green parties by the forces of the hard-left was enabled by the relative inexperience of the do-gooding environmental enthusiasts who had initially set up the Environmental parties.

It is my thesis that the take-over by the hard left of the Greens started after about 1995 (with the wall falling in 1990) and has been going on ever since. Not just the political parties but even organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and even the WWF have all effectively been taken over by the Far Left. The current behaviour of Greenpeace is a case in point. Today most Green Parties in Europe are indistinguishable in their policies from the Communist Parties of old (in Western Europe) though usually hidden under a cloak of environmentalism.

A recent analysis of voting patterns in the Swedish Parliament seems to support my hypothesis. The Environmental Party (MP) seems to be much more closely aligned to the Far Left Party (V) than to the Social Democrats (S) and closer than the Social Democrats are to the Far Left. This same picture spans all the main policy committees; Traffic, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Business and Industry and Environment and Farming.

Voting Patterns in the Swedish Parliament

In the diagram above the red bars indicate the level of agreement between the Greens (MP) and the Far Left (V) compared to the alignment of MP with S and of S with V.

Environmental parties would like to claim that this is because the Far Left has come closer to them but that doesn’t hold water. In issues of jobs or employment or industry or business or health, the Environmental Party policies are often just traditional Marxist dogma.

Getting confusing – Sweden’s Social Democrats are not the Sweden Democrats – or are they?

April 17, 2013

In Sweden the Sweden Democrats is a  (relatively) new anti-immigrant party with neo-nazi and skinhead roots which is growing in support and has managed to win seats in Parliament. Apart from being anti-immigrant and of blaming all problems in any area on immigration their Parliamentarians have mainly distinguished themselves by regularly getting involved in scandals (old-fashioned hooliganism and drug and alcohol abuse) and subsequently resigning.

Sweden’s Social Democrats on the other hand was founded in 1889, has its roots in the labour movement and was till 2003 the dominant party of Government through the 20th century. It is the party of Tage Erlander and Olof Palme and the largest party in the country and can be credited for most of the social advances made in Sweden. For a left-leaning party they have been remarkable in being very pragmatic and supportive of private manufacturing industry. It is currently in opposition but ought – in the normal course of affairs – to return to power in the 2014 elections.

Unless they can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Right now they seem to be keen on showing the world all their dirty washing and looking for ways to lose the next election.

It is still a party where party decisions are made in back rooms (no longer smoke-filled) by the few who exert the real political power. Within the party it is old fashioned power politics which matter and there is little trace of any real democracy. Lately the twists and turns over getting rid of Mona Sahlin as leader, appointing Håkan Juholt in a coup and then replacing him after a media campaign with Stefan Löfven, indicates that the internal antagonists have been well matched with the advantage shifting between the right/left and the left/left wings of the party. (All the factions are left of centre of course but the field is wide)!

But during the last week the party has shown itself as being particularly inept and the “dirt” from the battle for power has manifested itself as seeming to be racist and anti-immigrant! They appointed an immigrant to their governing board and then the internal fight began and the unfortunate Omar Mustafa was forced to resign less than a week later. But the double whammy for the Social Democrats is that in addition to their dirty washing becoming visible they now look exactly like the party they love to hate – the covertly racist and overtly anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats!

(If I were to be very cynical it could even seem that the Social Democrats are trying to win some of the anti-immigrant vote back from the Sweden Democrats).

 The LocalEmbattled Social Democrat Omar Mustafa, who also chairs Sweden’s Islamic Association (Islamiska förbundet), resigned from all his duties with the party on Saturday night, bowing to calls from within the party that he leave the governing board.

“The party leadership believes that having a mandate within the party and within Muslim civil society is incompatible. The party leadership’s view isn’t only regrettable, it’s also a frightening signal to Muslims and other Social Democrats who are people of faith,” he wrote in an open letter. 

“I therefore feel that the party leadership doesn’t have confidence in me and have forced me to resign from all my duties in the party.”

Mustafa, 28, was chosen to sit on the governing board of the left-of-centre opposition party at last weekend’s party congress. Mustafa’s announcement came following a Saturday night crisis meeting among Social Democrats in Stockholm who had previously lobbied to have him included in the party’s governing board.

“Knowing what we know now and considering how events unfolded, the situation became unsustainable. I therefore urged him to resign,” Veronica Palm, chair of the Social Democrats in Stockholm, told TT.  Palm explained that she and her colleagues had nominated Mustafa to the Social Democrats’ governing board because he’d “done a good job” for the party in Stockholm.

The Local continues in its next article:

.. Demonstrator Malika Moor has supported the Social Democrats for 36 years, but said she wouldn’t vote for the party today.

“I don’t understand why it’s come to this. It might be because his name is Omar, because he’s an immigrant, or a Muslim. I really want the Social Democrats to explain this to us,” she told TT.

Meanwhile, 29 active Social Democrats signed an open letter published on Tuesday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper taking issue with the party’s management of the situation.

According to the authors, it’s unacceptable that someone elected at a party congress should be forced to resign due to unfounded criticism from party colleagues and media hype.

They demand the party leadership distance itself from the accusations directed toward Mustafa and express their confidence in him. The authors also want those who published the unfounded accusations to apologize.

“We state with sorrow and anger that Mustafa was forced to leave the party’s governing board,” they wrote.

Swedish Social Democrats commit suicide as they destroy their own leader

October 14, 2011

I was not much impressed by the “back-room” election of Håkan Juholt as the leader of the Swedish Social Democrats and nor have I been very impressed by his performance to date. But the current media storm over his “failings” (excessive housing and travel expense claims, vacillation on immigration and citizenship and embellishing his credentials as a young politician) is I think entirely fuelled by forces within his own party which have decided to take revenge for the manner in which they were ignored and overridden in the battle for the party leadership. The timing  and the drip feeding of all the revelations over the last week screams of an “inside job”. There are some who are now blaming the media feeding frenzy – which no doubt exists – but it was surely initiated – and perhaps orchestrated – by a few of his party “colleagues”.

But this internecine feuding will surely keep the Social Democrats out of government for a long time to come.

Irrespective of whether he will actually be found to have broken any laws or parliamentary rules, his position and that of his party has been destroyed for the next election in 2014. The prevailing perception – that will surely dominate the next election – is of a party which is supposed to represent workers, weaker members of society and the downtrodden but where the representatives are a grubby, greedy, hypocritical lot looking for every possibility of lining their own pockets. They have opened themselves up for unending attacks regarding their ethics. All social democratic politicians can now be  accused of embodying a “do as I say and not a do as I do” mentality.

Needless to say, the left-wing of the party which organised the coup which made Juholt the party leader 6 months ago are now whining and busy blaming the “neo-liberal” wing for leaking and initiating the whole affair. As one of them- Daniel Suhonen – puts it:

Maybe Juholt needs to go, maybe he deserves it. But the story of how this has happened for probably all the wrong reasons, and how the trap was sprung by the
neo-liberal, right-oriented social democrats in the county of Stockholm has yet to be revealed.


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