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The Iron Pipe Of Swedish Neo-Fascism

The Sweden Democrats rally in 1991 to commemorate the death of 18th-century King Karl XVII, a figure they considered to be their founding father. These rallies, made up of hundreds of drunk skinheads mixed with older fascists, often ended in street brawls and police violence. Swastikas and Hitler salutes were common. Photo courtesy of Expo

The Sweden Democrats rally in 1991 to commemorate the death of 18th-century King Karl XVII, a figure they considered to be their founding father. These rallies, made up of hundreds of drunk skinheads mixed with older fascists, often ended in street brawls and police violence. Swastikas and Hitler salutes were common. Photo courtesy of Expo

An important article in Vice that gives excellent historical context and commentary on the fascist “Sweden Democrats.” via. the good folks at Islamophobia-Watch.

THE IRON PIPE OF SWEDISH NEO-FASCISM

by Daniel Strand (Vice.com)

Last November, the Swedish newspaper Expressen published a leaked video that showed neo-fascist members of Swedish parliament running amok through the streets of Stockholm, wielding pieces of scaffolding pipe and shouting slurs like “Paki” and “little whore” at innocent bystanders. They are members of the Sweden Democrats, a political party that was a marginal outlier ten years ago with no hope of ever getting elected to parliament. But in a 2012 opinion poll, the Sweden Dems came out with 11 percent of the vote—which would make them the third most popular party in the country.

At first glance, the upswing of fascism and racism in Sweden appears surprising. The nation has no long-lasting history of colonialism, and far-right movements played a relatively insignificant role in 20th-century Sweden. So how did this ragtag group of anti-immigrant nationalists rise to such a prominent place in Swedish politics? And what made the Swedish people vote these hooligans into parliament?

Fascism seems totally out of place in Sweden, an affluent country with a well-functioning welfare system. But in the past couple of decades, xenophobia has festered under the surface of prosperity. Starting in the early 1980s, a handful of racist groups emerged, the most notable among them Bevara Sverige Svenskt (Keep Sweden Swedish). Distributing flyers that instructed Swedish girls to “avoid unprotected sexual intercourse with Negroes with deadly AIDS” and demanding “repatriation” of non-Nordic immigrants, the BSS functioned as a breeding ground for far-right activists. In the mid-80s, fascist rallies were held in central Stockholm to commemorate the death of the 18th century’s King Karl XII, a figure they positioned as their founding father. These rallies, which included hundreds of drunk skinheads communing with sweater-wearing fascist grandfathers, often ended in street fights and wanton violence. Swastikas and Hitler salutes were common sights.

The Sweden Democrats rose from the ashes of this milieu. Formed in 1988, the party was a coalition between ex-members of the BSS and leading figures of Nazi organizations like Nordiska Rikspartiet (Nordic Nations Party). The party spent the early and mid-1990s mobilizing the far right against the Swedish political establishment.

Although sectarian Nazi parties formed in Sweden as early as the 1920s, their “national movement” never gained much traction. The country’s postwar economic boom was made possible by large-scale immigration. In the decades after WWII, the number of Swedes who immigrated from foreign countries increased from about 100,000 to almost 600,000. The Social Democrats’ ideological vision of folkhemmet (the people’s home)—an exclusively Swedish community that spanned all social classes—involved eugenics programs and oppression of the Romani and Sámi people; however, the bulwark of Swedish socialism largely kept the nationalists at bay until recent times.

In 1992, after the serial killer and bank robber John “the Laser Man” Ausonius shot 11 immigrants in Stockholm, the Sweden Democrats arranged a march during which participants screamed that he should have shot more foreigners. A year after, police arrested the leader of the party’s youth wing at a Communist May Day demonstration for possessing a hand grenade.

In the late 90s, however, the leaders of the Sweden Democrats began to methodically sever their far-right connections. Skinheads were excluded, explicit anti-Semitism was dropped, and references to race were discouraged. By cutting its umbilical cord to Nazism, this violent party whitewashed itself into a softer, more respectable opponent of multiculturalism. In 2001, the party split in two, with the anti-Semitic and more militant factions founding the ultranationalist Nationaldemokraterna (National Democrats). The Sweden Democrats strategically presented themselves as invandringskritisk (immigration critical) and socially conservative rather than explicitly fascist. Led by Jimmie Åkesson, a respectable and smartly dressed young man with a self-proclaimed interest in “history,” the party received 160,000 votes in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

Aware of the increasingly anti-Islamic sentiments in Europe, the Sweden Democrats shifted their demonization to Muslim immigrants and scapegoated them for what the party alleged to be social decay in Sweden. They went so far as to appoint Jewish members to top positions and began to aggressively push a pro-Israel foreign policy. As Åkesson put it, Islam was the “biggest foreign threat [to Sweden] since the Second World War.”

With their carefully calibrated underdog image, the Sweden Democrats gained significant support over the next few years. Some former Social Democrats, discouraged by their party’s involvement in dismantling the welfare state, found the Sweden Democrats to be a source of stability, community, and tradition. The party appropriated the Social Democratic vision of folkhemmet and turned it against its designers, accusing the Social Democrats of having betrayed the Swedish people by submitting to multiculturalism, feminism, and “mass immigration.”

In the 2010 election, the Sweden Democrats finally garnered the votes necessary to enter parliament. They received 5.7 percent of the popular vote, becoming Sweden’s sixth-biggest party. Not only did the party win 20 seats in parliament, they were also rapidly assimilated into the public sphere. Right-wing pundits argued that the rise of the party provided a reason to “debate immigration.” At the same time, many journalists didn’t know how to classify them—some commentators on the left argued that the Sweden Democrats should be described as fascists. The mainstream media took a more neutral stance, calling them “immigration critical.” This was a significant understatement, given that the Sweden Democrats have essentially advocated stopping immigration altogether.

Key to the Sweden Democrats’ credibility was the civilized and cultured appearance of their party’s elite. All of the young men who served as members of parliament looked proper, dressed in suits (often with a little handkerchief in their chest pockets), and were well-spoken. Over and over again, they claimed that the Sweden Democrats were not a racist party per se; they were only advocating a “restrictive immigration policy.”

Statements made by party members regularly contradicted this claim. “For many thousands of years, the Negro could chill out in the heat, munch some bananas, rape some passing woman or child, fight with other Negro males, and eat them,” one local Sweden Democratic politician, Per Wahlberg, wrote on his blog in September 2010. Some months later, another local Sweden Democrat named Isak Nygren said that he opposed “race mixing” and that Swedes should not have intercourse with “Asians” or “Negroes.” In May 2012, Solveig Renhammar-Metus left the Sweden Democrats, infuriated by the fact that “the Jews control the party.” The same summer, local politician Pär Norling said that practicing Muslims should be deported and Islam should be banned in Sweden. Member of parliament Stellan Bojerud, author of a book called Nazism in Sweden 1924-1945, claimed that scientific research shows that immigrants have a “lower IQ” than Swedes.

Eventually, the party elite had to clamp down on the racist rants. This past October, party leader Jimmie Åkesson sent a letter to all elected Sweden Democrats announcing that the party would enforce a zero-tolerance policy against racism and extremism. Åkesson asserted that instances of racism and extremism were “exceptional cases” within a party made up of “engaged, intelligent, and lovely persons.” According to his letter, a few bad apples were spoiling the serious work of all the other devoted critics of Islam and immigration. Unfortunately for Åkesson, it would be less than a month before the iron-pipe scandal unfolded in the news, and the respectable veneer of the party was quickly buffed away by the naked truth.

Read the rest…

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  • Sam Seed

    I think just ‘Zombie’ will suffice.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Lol. Indeed. xD

  • Kirook

    Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!

    Oh wait…

  • Kirook

    Let me set the record straight on one thing. Loonwatch never has, and never will, support war crimes committed by any group, be it Jewish, Christian or Muslim. The people who performed the acts you are speaking of are sad excuses for human beings. However, that doesn’t excuse the other side (Israel). Two wrongs don’ t make a right.

  • Kirook

    And people will do insane things to be “in”, just like many fashion cliques. And I mean INSANE, totally bats**t crazy.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    So much stupidity ,life is too short .
    Who are these mohammedans you are talking about ? Are you being deliberatly insulting ? One assumes so
    Why ” Zionists ” not zionists ? Dont you believe in Zionists ?
    again you are being insulting .
    Satans Ummah ,Yup you are being insulting.
    Begone foul troll to the nether regions of hell or whatever sad, sad life you live in reality, return to Atlas does drugs or Jihad botch and tell them how brave you were to go on Loonwatch.
    Sir David

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    conglatulations Thats the most bonkers post we have had since this ” Discus ” programme was started on this web site.
    I still have not worked out how it refers to mindy’s post . Care to enlighten us more ?
    Its a slow day here in France
    Sir David

  • Just_Stopping_By

    It must take a lot of work to put so many errors into a single post.

    First, Palestine is a well-accepted term for a location and a political entity. The use of quotation marks indicates that you are not even going to accept common terminology. Similarly, Palestinians are a well-recognized people and I find putting that term in quotation marks offensive. How can you expect to convince someone of your point if you start off so offensively?

    Second, there are lots of different ways to support Palestine, but you seem to confuse supporting Palestine with supporting the far-right Palestinians, as you put it. Well, there are extremists in every political group, and they generally have views that most people would not support; but it’s a mistake to use those to denigrate their entire group, people, movement, or country.

    Third, I don’t think anyone here has supported anyone killing religious minorities, and you certainly can’t claim that that is anywhere in the comment you are replying to. If you want to argue that someone is supporting an idea, it might make sense to actually reply to a comment that at least vaguely supports that idea. There are actually comments on this site that do have ideas that you probably object to; it would make more sense to respond to those actually advocating ethnic cleansing, for example, than picking a random comment and acting as if it said something offensive.

    If you ever get past those points, then perhaps it would be worth actually considering the substance of your arguments. As it is, right now, you don’t even seem coherent enough to be worthy of more of a reply.

  • Zombie Mohammed

    How can you support “Palestine” and oppose this party? There is nothing the Sweden Democrats have said which is inconsistent with mainstream “Palestinian” political thinking.

    Let me clear about what I’m saying: If you support the far-right “Palestinians”, you have no right to critique people who hold the same views. If you supported the genocide of “Illegal settlers” in Gaza; how the hell can you criticize the Sweden Democrats for supporting the same thing in their country? If you support dismantling “Jewish settlements” on the ‘West Bank’, then what’s wrong with deporting all the Quranic invaders from Sweden?

    Why shouldn’t Mohammedan colonists in Europe be treated PRECISELY the way that Jews are treated in Gaza, Mälmo, and Makkah? Why is okay for “Palestinians” to kill religious minorities which they don’t like, but no okay for Swedes?

    If you demand racial purity in the dar al-Mohammed, you have no right to object to racial purity in the dar al-Harb.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Islamophobia is like fashion. When one person wears something (starts being islamaphobic) and likes the look of it another person starts wearing it and soon you see hundreds of strange rucksacks during break in the canteen. The only thing different is that islamophobia is still unfortunately quite trendy unlike those bags which i suspect will become last year soon.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    The British spent millions bribing the Spanish to stay neutral and keep out of the war . The Swedes lets the germans march troops though sweden to conquer Norway .
    Sir David

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    I agree.

  • mindy1

    This is a disturbing trend :(

  • Reynardine

    Could eat them. How precious!

  • Reynardine

    Sweden was not occupied and Switzerland was not occupied, even though they were compliant in allowing the Reich to ship across their territories. In return, the Reich allowed them to remain neutral, doubtless planning to have them for dessert if they won the war, but saving them as refuges/repositories if things went against them. Though Franco was a creation of the Axis and a bloody-handed man, he was clever enough to keep them from occupying Spain, and without passage through Spain, Portugal was out of reach. Thus, on the Continent, there were four countries the war did not roll over, and Finland only tangentially.

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Sorry I was confused about which countries the occupied and which they didn’t. The only European country, I could think of besides the UK and the Vatican that I knew the Nazis never occupied was the Vatican.

  • Reynardine

    Dragon, no. Sweden was never occupied. Norway and Denmark were. That is why, in Norway, Breivik was pretty much a lone wolf, but in Sweden, these are pack dogs. You have to have *not* known the Nazis to glamorize them.

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Emperor,

    You would think that the fact alone that the Nazis once occupied their country would make them a lot more anti Nazism. I remember hearing about the fact that here in the US, even some klansmen take issue with Nazis since many of their parents and grandparents fought Nazis. You’d think even most people on the far right in Sweden would be the same way.

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