Socialist Worker

Racism is at the root of Swedish far right gains

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2621

Supporters of Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson in 2014

Supporters of Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson (Pic: Frankie Fouganthin/WikiCommons)


Racists celebrated in Sweden after elections saw a vicious anti-immigrant party make a breakthrough with a record number of votes

Far-right Sweden Democrats managed to pull 17.6 percent, up from 12.9 percent in the 2014 election. The party’s leader Jimmie Akesson said that they were the “real winners” of the election.

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The result places them in a potential “kingmaker” position.

The election was shaped by anti-immigrant rhetoric, a crisis in healthcare and public sector cuts.

Inside the Riksdag—the Swedish parliament—parties work inside two coalitions.

The ruling coalition—made up of Social Democrats and the Green Party—came first, but their vote fell by 3 percentage points to 40.6 percent.

The Alliance grouping came second. It includes four centre and right-wing parties—the Moderates, Liberals, Centre and Christian Democrats. They pulled in 40.3 percent of the vote.

The result means the Social Democrats’ bloc has only two seats more than the right bloc, and no overall majority. Voters are losing old loyalties as the main parties fail them.

According to a post-election survey by the Swedish public broadcaster SVT, a remarkable 41 percent of Swedish voters said they had cast their ballot for a different party this time than in 2014.

“We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years”, Akesson boasted.

Support

One possibility is the centre-right bloc forming a government with parliamentary support from the Sweden Democrats.

But prime minister and Social Democrats leader Stefan Lofgen said the mainstream parties have a “moral responsibility” to form a government.

“The Sweden Democrats can never, and will never, offer anything that will help society. They will only increase division and hate,” he said.

The election saw a drop in all the main parties’ votes. The Social Democrats saw its share of the vote tumble to 28.4 percent—the lowest in a century.

By contrast, Sweden Democrats has increased its results in almost every election since its formation in 1988. It managed a breakthrough in 2010, getting 5.7 percent, entering parliament for the first time and prompting mass demonstrations throughout Sweden.

Burning

This followed a major rebrand in 2006. This saw the party changing its logo from a burning torch to a yellow and blue flower.

But the organisation has struggled to hide its far right nature.

The party was founded by fascists. It used the Nazi slogan Keep Sweden Swedish until the early 2000s.

It only banned the wearing of Nazi uniforms and carrying swastika flags to party meetings in 1996.

But openly identifying with fascism is not confined to Sweden Democrats’ past. Martin Silhen, Sweden Democrat candidate for the Orkelljunga city council, posted on Facebook that “Hitler was not bad”.

He also posted that Hitler wanted to “remove the Jewish plague from Europe in a humane way”.

Sweden Democrats contains activists who were members of Nazi outfits the National Socialist Front and Nordic Resistance Movement.

Akesson says it will take members who were previously in Nazi groups if “you can credibly demonstrate that you have changed and developed in your values”.

Racism is on the rise across Europe and must be stopped.


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