Monday 10 September 2018

Disturbing advances for Swedish far right in elections

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The good news is that over two thirds of Swedish voters didn’t vote for the far right, Swedish ‘Democrats’ (sic). However, the very serious truth is that the Swedish Democrats (SD)  have grown from a  5.7% share of the national vote in 2010, when they first entered parliament, to 12.9% in 2014 and now nearly 18%, yesterday. It should be said that the SD’s failed  to win the 20% to 25% they were hoping for and thus become influential players. The SD’s leader Jimmie Akesson had high hopes of a real breakthrough.


Their results though are the latest in a line of Europe wide, far right, electoral successes. Earlier this year, Italy got a new coalition government run by the anti-establishment Five Star and the right-wing League.



In 2017 the far-right Alternative for Germany won 12.6% of votes, and The Danish People’s Party won 21% in 2015. Thus, Sweden is another sign that the far right’s targeted anti immigrant and anti muslim scapegoating is reaping electoral rewards. As with all fascist movements, the thugs on the streets who back the SD will be emboldened by the election, as has happened in Germany, in Chemnitz, recently.



“We will increase our seats in parliament and we will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years,” Akesson said. He had hoped to gain the support of one in four, Swedes, which some polls had predicted. The outcome is closer to one in six. However, no anti fascist can be complacent, in the wake of the results.



The SD’s rise reflects their hard, racist campaign, attacking refugees, migrants and  playing on fears around ‘Swedish identity’. There had been fears that the SD’s might  become Sweden’s second largest party, as for some time they have polled around 15%–20% of the vote.



After accepting 163,000 refugees in 2015,  as one Swedish anti fascist said last year, ‘Sweden has slammed the borders shut and the media and politicians have competed to be hard on immigration and asylum. This created a climate in which Alt Right publications are treated respectfully, and outright Nazis like the NRM are allowed into the political mainstream in the name of freedom of speech’.



Trump’s racism

US President Trump’s outburst last year that immigration would lead to social crises, led to a backlash against the bigot by many Swedes. It also however, shored up support and boosted the SD’s divisive claims. The fascists were able to win support on the back of arguing, ala other far right parties in Europe, that immigration = high crime, lower welfare standards and increased possibilities of islamist terrorism. Slick videos went alongside such themes of their hostile, street campaign.




Swedish anti fascists have a fine history, as this piece here from last year shows,



For many years, the mainstream Moderates party and the left leaning Social Democrats have governed the country. More recently, several parties such as the Greens, alongside the Left party, have been part of the ruling apparatus.



The elections yesterday, however, saw the Social Democrats and the Moderates lose key parts of their former support.  This will encourage the SD’s to put pressure from the extreme right, on whatever coalition arises.


Fascist roots

The SD’s history is a truly vile one. It came from a white nationalist grouping in the late 1980s. Several leading members of groups which helped spawn the SD were adherents of Hitler’s SS.



The SD’s logo from the 1990s until 2006 was a version of the torch used by British fascists from the National Front. The SD’s  crossed the 4% threshold necessary for parliamentary representation for the first time in 2010, polling 5.7% and gaining 20 seats in the Swedish parliament.




The SD’s were founded in 1988 as direct successors to the Sweden Party, which in turn had been formed in 1986 by an amalgamation of far right groups. SD claims 1988 as the date of its foundation, although many see the party’s foundation as part of a complex decade-long series of events, on the extreme right.



What will happen now at the top of Swedish society will be arguments between the two main blocs, Moderates and the Social Democrats, over coalition. On the ground, the far right will look to shore up their base in cities and towns and increase harassment of minorities of all description in Sweden.



The best traditions of anti fascism in the country stand up as examples of how beat back the far right. UAF sends warmest solidarity to all Swedish anti fascists. The most productive way we can aid them is to ensure the FAR right in the UK are resolutely opposed by many, throughout the movement.


Key dates to this end are below,


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