The 2018 Swedish vote and the global problem of political and apolitical conservatism

Antiracism in Sweden: The Left Party

To understand the recent election in Sweden, Doug Henwood interviewed an apparently stand-up guy, a California Democratic Party politico, Daraka Larimore-Hall, who also consults for the Swedish Social Democratic Party (the SAP).

First, the two valid points the California-based political consultant brought up:

1) Social democracy depends upon socialism. Or as I always like to put it: Socialism is the backbone of social democracy. You remove your vertebrae and see how that goes.

2) Across Europe, the Right can secure no more than 20% of the voting population, though depending on the electoral representation system, this can be enough to push the rest of the parties “rightward.” The solution is anti-racist organization that recognizes immigrants and restores class critique.

Yes! But however valid this second insight is, it is riddled with serious problems as formulated and as forwarded on the Behind the News interview. Larimore-Hall suggested both parts of the solution, though he did not put them together in the interview. I did, and before me, the Swedes did. Henwood separated them, and explicitly rounded out the interview railing against the strawman of race-blind leftism. What professional, liberal American elitists want everyone to agree is that their network alone can offer anxious, labor-affiliated European parties their special race knowledge “borne of over 200 years of experience.”

What people need to know is that for its entire existence, anti-racist organization that restores class critique has been the primary role of Vansterpartiet, the Left Party in Sweden. Vansterpartiet is the party of socialist immigrants, socialist ethnic-Swedes, and socialist-feminists. Behind them is Sweden’s historical pro-left refugee policy, its tight social science capacity, far more-developed historical-materialist culture, as well as its long experience as an immigration country (only interrupted by the mid-19th-early 20th century emigration). As experts in this ideas and organizing work, Vansterpartiet were enormously successful, keeping the Right disorganized and in miniscule numbers in Sweden. A good question: Why is the SAP importing political expertise from California when it has a working relationship with Vansterpartiet? Is the global liberal meritocrat network more important than real anti-racism?


“Who needs to school whom?” A photograph from the turn of the 21st century.

Let’s look at the data: This 2018 election the SAP did not lose votes to the Sweden Democrats. The bourgeois parties lost votes to the Sweden Democrats. The SAP lost votes to Vansterpartiet. This is because liberal elitism not only cannot fix today’s social alienation, it exacerbates it. In terms of anti-racist organization, all the liberal American elitists have got nothing to teach the Swedes. They also have little insight to offer about turning around the hinterlands barbarians more generally, because they cannot recognize (in the Hegelian sense) hinterlands people. They literally do not see them; the US is too vast and the North American interior periphery is a lousy place–You’re not going there if you don’t have to. And in an obdurate inegalitarian context, their privileged status and income, their inclusion, depends on not recognizing hinterlands people.

Tragedy & Farce

In contrast to Vansterpartiet’s approach, liberal elitism’s operationalization of anti-racist organization can be a grotesque parody, a farce. In the Meritocrats’ account, Right-wing parties push other parties rightward, and this is imagined to be because the parties are too anxious to capture the Right’s dying, “white” middle-class vote. Perhaps it is based in the California experience. Nonetheless, this is a spurious general formulation; its extension leans too heavily on the narrow equation of meritocracy, liberal elitism (or apolitical conservatism), with virtues, such as anti-racist virtue, distinguishing it from conservative elistism (or political conservatism). Theirs is a peculiar definition of what it means to be a thorough-going anti-racist; and it is constrained by what Dem Party politicos mean when they resolve to “stay the course,” to stick with their brand.

Empirically, under “anti-racism” consultant expertise, the SAP blew itself up (lost the election) in 2006 by campaigning on an anti-Facketgubbe (anti-Union Good Old Boy) “blame and shame” platform to wrest northern communities’ communist leaders from their jobs, and replace them with immigrants from the urban south of Sweden. This “anti-racism” platform was designed by in-house (conservative immigrant Swedish) consultants and championed by the SAP’s most EU-oriented politicians. As a real campaign platform, it was everything an anti-racist American Meritocrat could only dream of. It was also everything the conservative parties and their American political consultants could dream of.

Both time-order and identified interests (Bourdieu 2005: 102) warrant a causal claim here, rather than mere association: Hopelessly chained to the lodestone of absolute private property right, global liberal elitism, apolitical conservatism, has helped the world’s growing billionaire class advance political conservatism. It has even in recent years helped bring the Sweden Democrats from their long war of position at the margins into the polity.

Pursuing the transcendent vision the US Democratic Party recommends, specified clearly as conceptualizing hinterlands peoples as a ruined (economically and morally) and so ethically-disposable population–that is, heroically shifting the liberal concept of “ruined”expropriable–peoples from the early -20th century liberal racist imaginary to the neoliberal geographic and class imaginary, neoliberalized parties are “governing to the demographic-electoral future,” using the racial categories of today. That is, they are hoping to buy the credit of future voters by naming and shaming, sacrificing the lives of excluded, feared and vulnerable, nationalized “White” citizens–but not their conservative White bosses, who are organized as political conservatives–upon diminishing citizenship rights and crippling debt.

This self-celebrated liberal elitist version of “anti-racism” contributed to the political realignments over the past 15 years that have allowed the Sweden Democrats, in consultation and strategic coordination with Right-wing parties within slavers’ societies, to develop as a party from a very small population of marginalized Nazis. At this historic moment, the Sweden Democrats and mobilizing like parties around the world use their properly-conservative credibility as uncompromising protectors of nationalisms (symbolic or material), to offer a politicized network alternative to what we’ve grown accustomed to: neoliberalization, or the conservatization of liberalism. This is to also say, contra Giddens (1998), that neoliberalization, both from the right and from the left, was never an equilibrium “Third Way.” It was an apolitical conservatism always restoring political conservatism.

Internationalism > Cosmopolitanism

In Sweden it is also the case that Larimore-Hall’s analysis, and by extension the liberal elitist analysis, is absolutely invalid in important empirically-verifiable respects. For many political-economic reasons, the nationalized non-elite citizens of social-democratic Sweden are not the nationalized non-elite citizens of 1980s-90s California. Crudely applying the Dem Party electoral modernization strategy from California to national and global contexts, Larimore-Hall claims that hinterlands barbarians in small Swedish manufacturing towns “as in the U.S. Midwest” are the main Right base (along with older immigrant enclaves). This is absolutely wrong. Larimore-Hall has no political-geographic analysis; perhaps he’s spent too much time in metropoles. He’s probably certainly spent too much time in US Dem Party employment.

What happened in Sweden’s northern manufacturing towns in the 2018 vote is that more people voted Vansterpartiet. If you’re a political Marxist, you may note that that took their votes away from Larimore-Hall’s employer and Dem Party sister org, the SAP: That’s powerful incentive to analytical error. If you’re a structuralist, you will affirm that economically, these manufacturing-base hinterlands have no interest in making immigrants vulnerable. It makes all kinds of sense that they transferred votes to the pro-immigrant party at the expense of the cosmopolitan party. If your primary motivation is liberal elitism, you won’t even be able to hear this fact and analysis, let alone grasp them. To spell it out: The non-meritorious are not morally ruined, their interests are not an economic dead-end, and it’s not ethical to expropriate their worlds. Don’t believe everything capitalism tells you–especially when it’s flattering you.

Moreover, if you knew Swedish history, you would know that Sweden, with its higher state automony (thanks to the socialism behind social democracy, permitting sovereignty dispersed across class, gender, and race), developed Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) that planned for global market developments, and sank resources into continually retraining and relocating workers out of aging industries. Yes, ALMPs have declined as neoliberalization has ascended, and Swedish workers bear more of the brunt of economic disruption. However, they’re still relatively protected, Sweden still manufactures as well as innovates technologically, and they simply are not the Right’s electoral base. What they are is a force behind the long-standing Swedish political-economic Scandinavianism, as a counterweight to conservatization. This is why they are the targeted bete noir of liberal elitists’ political parties.

Political-economic Scandinavianism is not a racial politics. It’s a long-standing, often-thwarted internationalist aspiration of Swedes to form a coalitional alternative to serving as a tributary region to Germany (as the more right-wing Danes have long done), the UK (as Norway and Denmark have long done), and to the US (as Norway and Denmark have notably done). To keep Sweden’s prime economic niche, Sweden needs independence from the EU and Germany, as Germany thrives by monopolizing high-end science, technology, and manufacturing. Political-economic coalitional Scandinavian semi-autonomy, and the sub-regions that support political-economic Scandinavianism, is a thorn in the side for the political careerists in the SAP, because the EU is European politicos’ career apex. Again, Larimore-Hall’s analytical failure is the probable result of who pays his bills. Maybe Henwood should triangulate with people who study Sweden to contribute to the community of scholars’ knowledge, rather than relying for corrective “leftist” analysis on paid consultants whose chief authority is how their liberal elitist framework resonates in the alienated metropoles.


Beyond Borders: Anti-immigrant Politics in Southern Sweden

Where the Right picked up votes from the bourgeois parties is in southern Sweden. This region is not an analogue to the post-industrial US Midwest. It’s an imperfect analogue to the agriculture-extractive aspect of the Midwest. Manufacturing was not dispersed across southern Sweden because that part of the country did not need the economic stimulus to survive capitalism.  What southern Sweden is is a bourgeois, high-population region with agriculture at its extractive economic base. It is the most Danish-entwined population, culture and political-economy in Sweden, indicating both inegalitarian cultural strains rooted in exploitative agricultural class relations, and Euro-German subsidiarization.  Agricultural capital is usually property-belligerent, because agriculture depends on appropriating nature’s work while hyper-exploiting labor (Though, to be thorough, in the early days on the 20th century, the SAP was able to launch partially based on a temporary, Red-Green coalescence of interests between farmers and labor). When immigrants come into any country, agricultural capital and their dependents want those immigrants as vulnerable as possible.

As Sweden has incorporated more refugees, family-reunification, and other immigrants, and as its bourgeois parties deregulated labor markets, over the first 18 years of the 21st century, the political-economic leadership interest of the affluent, populous agricultural region of Sweden has switched to a significant (though not total) extent from the bourgeois EU integration priority to an immigrant-exploiting priority. Whether this direction of change is temporary or not depends on many factors, which include but are certainly not limited to left strategy.

The interview between Larimore-Hall and Henwood is everything you’d ever want to know about why the international network of neoliberalized labour-affiliated parties are all strategically adrift, and, in the liberal world, drowning at the national and regional levels. To pull few punches, it’s related to how this ocean-views, echo-chamber network of paid political strategists and Thought Leaders can’t quit the liberal version of elitism, meritocracy, or apolitical conservatism. Why they cannot quit the disastrous meritocratic virtue framework is because it pays their bills, as well as fluffs their sense of self.

Lessons from Sweden

There are no lessons from Sweden to be learned about the utility of brow-beating, and further threatening the incomes of, hinterlands barbarians.

There are no lessons from Sweden to be learned about the utility of shaming socialists to bolster your own sense of Meritocratic virtue in combat with conservative elitists (Because what other strategic value could it have?).

The English-speaking left could step up its internationalist game and reach out to Vansterpartiet. The small, hard-working Vansterpartiet still does very effective anti-racism work. There are lessons to be learned from Sweden in how to plan and execute anti-racist organization that restores class critique. This expertise has been developed in a context relatively free of police repression and slavers’ institutions, so it is both advanced, and it’s heavy, difficult work to translate directly into countries where policing and slavers’ institutions dominate society.

A central lesson to be learned from Sweden today is that we have to figure out how to fix liberal elitism, meritocracy ideology within the capitalist context. Tweedledum rival to conservative elitism, it is what shocks life into the fascist body agglomerated upon the cold stone dias of inequality.


Know your market! Some day someone needs to write the book on American conservatives’ and meritocrats’ undying, consumptive hunger to transfer all their prodigious failures upon the Scandinavian social democrats, whether it’s racism and xenophobia, failure to recognize the existential threat of Islam, failure to achieve communism, failure to reverse capitalogenic climate crisis, or failure to produce justice. It’s almost as if there are paying interests behind this narrative.

Privilege, Elitism, and Rivalristic Symbolic Dominations

Shamus Khan (Sociology, Columbia), author of Privilege (2012), analyzes inegalitarian, predatory class social reproduction via elite education institutions. Privilege etymologically means an exclusive legal system for elites, set apart from laws that govern commoners.  This was a better Behind The News Henwood interview.

Khan examines how modern elite education institutions instill the elite privilege disposition, oblivious entitlement. Entitlement, I’ll further suggest, to both monopolistic access to resources, credit, and cooperation (making, in the Scarry 1985 sense), as well as to exploitation and appropriation (unmaking). The elite privilege disposition, or elitism, helps reproduce scarcity, though the context may be abundance (eg. an $80+ trillion global economy). It’s an important contributor to capitalist reproduction.

Elitism is a foundation of apolitical conservatism. It denies non-elite human development capacity. Insofar as elitists suppose, following Edmund Burke (1790), that non-elites uniquely fail to develop beyond a natural or structural disposition to pettiness (provincialism, parochialism, narcissism, exploitation and expropriation, stupidity, withholding cooperation or credit), elitism problematizes distributed sovereignty and poses it as a central social crisis to be “solved.”

Elite privilege incentivizes symbolic domination, for liberals particularly through meritocracy and cosmopolitan discourses, for conservatives particularly through Excellence discourse. What’s attractive, or co-optative, about Excellence discourse is that it is about exceptionalism. Just as you may occasionally buy a lottery ticket, anyone can imagine herself as an exception.

In contrast,  meritocracy discourse is about superior capacity to successfully execute a long-game individual or familial (multigenerational), multi-pronged domination strategy within the rules of an inegalitarian society. Both forms of elitism reproduce scarcity. If, as Bourdieu (2005: 186) described, “The petit bourgeoisie spend their whole lives trying to adjust themselves to their limited possibilities, their deceptive successes leading to complete dead ends…’doomed to structural decline,’” meritocracy discourse is a decreasingly-appealing, increasingly uncompetitive version of elitist symbolic domination.

Across fields of privilege and elitism, the conservative symbolic-domination advantage is clear, if baffling and infuriating to meritocratic apolitical conservatives, elitists who may even be politically liberal or critical. Now regard the unhappy marriage of apolitical conservatism and political conservatism (Robin 2017) and you realize How We Got to Trump & Kavanaugh.

Recommendations for Sweden

Keep pouring energy into internationalism and supporting internationalist innovation.

Build separate tracks within the SAP for domestic and EU public service.

The US Democrat Party is poison at home and in its worldwide coalition. It is constrained not by the limits of its politicos’ intelligence, identity, portfolios, prestige networks, or personal achievements, but by the limits of the interests that can be expressed in the polity of an anti-democratic, slaver-institution-bedevilled country at the center of global capitalism. Use all your diplomacy. Enjoy cocktails and ocean sailing together. But do not implement its handsome, articulate, likable operatives’ well-meaning strategic recommendations.

Reverse bourgeois governments’ legislation.

Recognize the contributions of socialists and reward the contributions of Vansterpartiet.

Bring in Pasi Sahlberg to restore public education.

As long as the private sector is male-dominated, and heterosexual families predominate, the public sector needs to remain female-dominated; and feminists should save addressing that difference for the last feminist policy change.

Keep strategizing for the development of a Nordic alliance.

Now and again, nationalize the banks.

Translate Swedish materialist philosophy into English.

Find a way to get back to Meidner’s plan for socializing the surplus.

Open Borders & the Carceral Candyland

A couple weeks later, Henwood interviews one of those German idealists, who proposes that we should ignore political economy and concentrate on the cultural failure of the hinterlands Rural Idiots, particularly the East Germans, who, presumably because of their rude communist history, fail to celebrate the relocation of imperially-disrupted populations. The stupid point of this meritocrat/cosmopolitan discourse is about how it’s the Rural Idiots–former communists–who are to blame for the lack of working class solidarity. Not that there’s anything to be done besides side with financial capital, open borders, and demand the “just” expropriation of the hinterlands and the welfare state.

In the German case, Henwood asks if voters are migrating left to right (Perhaps an anachronistic assumption borrowed from the “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” thesis. As per above, he and his California Dem Party rising star had incorrectly assumed that was the case in Sweden.) The interviewee clarifies that the anti-immigrant right-wing party in German is taking votes from all quarters, for different reasons. However, this diversity of adherents the German uses as evidence that Die Linke should not be opposing neoliberalization or replacing conservatized liberal institutions.

The logic at play here is that the diversity of adherents for the anti-immigrant party means that xenophobia is a cultural institution in Germany, and not indicative of a coalition of voters dissatisfied for different reasons with the same structural constraint–neoliberalization, including in its class conflict and labor market interventions.

An aside: The master frame that xenophobia is a cultural institution in Germany is a premise Henwood continually suggests throughout the interview, and certainly a hoary piece of cultural essentialism that has haunted the idealistic German imagination, serves as a socio-psychological manipulation handle, and preempts historical-materialist analysis, abetting the conservative restoration.

It reflects an older consensus in genocide scholarship that genocide is caused by “deep divisions” between groups (Strauss, Scott. 2007. “Second-generation comparative research on genocide.” World Politics 59: 480-483). That older consensus emerged from the hegemonic Jewish community interpretation of the Shoah experience, and was better suited to serve that ethno-religious community’s modern political needs than to explain either genocide or Germany. Sometimes the metropole experience provides intellectual resources; sometimes it imposes unhelpful biases. Always it’s a loud voice. That’s why triangulation is important to valid knowledge.

The idealist proposes that the whole Left, but particularly the political parties, should be fighting for “Open Borders.” In this anarcho-liberal imaginary, capitalist liberation is equated with universal liberation. Conservatized liberal institutions are conceived in this neoliberal view as liberation from borders. Here we can see the idealistic convergence of left and right political conceptualization–or perhaps the conservative co-optation of left idealism. Yet borders always remain, and the “borders” capitalists are liberated from are not just those that serve absolutist kings or their states, but those borders, those constraints on elite liberty that have been fought for and erected to help workers liberate themselves.


If you want to join a coalition erasing and rewriting borders,
first be able to answer:

What is the scale of society at which we can have participatory parity today?

The cosmopolitan Open Borders coalition is hot with idealist and financial-metropole liberal-leftists. The key to the cosmopolitan Open Borders stratagem is that you have to suspend  belief in class conflict, and conceptualize the welfare state simply as a bureaucracy, as opposed to an historical, contested and impure institutionalization of semi-accountability to the working class within a state thats “higher” functions, as Bourdieu (2005) identified, are to support capitalist accumulation. What causes leftists to drift this way? Poor state conceptualization, and panic. Terrible things are happening in the US under conservatives, guardians of slavery. The horror is wielded to assure liberal-leftists that the open path to protecting the innocents is to join the capitalist Open Borders coalition.

I’ve discussed this for about 10 years now, but increasingly as cosmopolitans’ Open Borders idea has captured the left. The left-right Open Borders coalition will not liberate the working class because there is class conflict, and state institutions are forged in it. Open Borders work for actual universal liberty in a latter stage of communism that we are far, far away from. There are other utopias to be fought for first.

open border

Hey guys, the door to this rich man’s house is open!

There are three Open Borders strategy issues: 1) In the US, immigration policy is more subject to potential democratic intervention than other policy, because it’s not under juridical supervision. That seems hopeful. 2) However, the problem today, especially across Anglosphere countries as well as several others, is that borders and immigration are already an integral part of the militarized mass carceral-guard state and market securing unfree labor. Not just the state, but a very large and stratified market stands like a tsunami between global migrants and freedom. 3) Any shadow of Open Borders policy, within left political parties, will have to be fed strategies that divert that market and restore pre-9-11 rights of movement and freedom from surveillance.

Otherwise, we’re looking straight down the throat of open borders with prisons and indentured servitude behind them. As have been steadily erected for the past four decades.

Toward Internationalism

Rather than pining to share in bankers’ cosmopolitan virtue, pro-immigration and Open Borders, the left should struggle step-wise, methodically, to innovate and build internationalist networks and internationalism: cross-border solidarity that values and champions non-elites’ capacity to develop as social, material humans. These are related but very distinct coalitions and solidarities (See Anderson 2002, as well as Lamont & Aksartova 2002). For example, unlike cosmopolitanism, internationalism does not ever black box what induces immigration–capitalist imperialism, expropriation, and climate crisis–and that this dynamic is no favor to the working class, whether established or newcomer. Internationalism, and not cosmopolitanism, can recognize non-elites’ visceral understanding of migration as a symptom of important political-economic problems, and align sympathies and networks to address those.

Internationalism and immigrant recognition are especially, as I concluded in my 2007 dissertation, a responsibility for organized labour. Organizing and organized labour is in the best, most interested, most embedded position to fight for recognition of immigrants’ contributions across space and their human capacity for development. It is organized labour that needs to work and struggle for egaliberte work relations, including building solidarity across the working class. This is also a very good way right now for organized labour to resist capitalist cooptation.

Whereas left political parties do need to recognize the various harms neoliberalization has afflicted people with, and correspondingly do need to focus upon building alternative policies and institutions to conservatized liberal institutions. This should include supporting the work of organized labour; but there needs to be a strategic division of labor extra-polity and intra-polity, as actual social democrats have long known. Left political parties should not be celebrating immigration and “dismantling” borders, because they will only be on-neoliberal agenda, stupidly dismantling institutionalized working-class supports, driving a wide swath of orphaned voters into the Right’s waiting wings. The institutionalized capitalist supports, the class borders and prison walls, will remain and grow, and the beatings will continue until morale improves. Another form of elitism, cosmopolitanism reproduces inegalitarianism and capitalist exploitation and expropriation.

Left political parties need to turn instead to learning how to hear the mob as human voices, learning what is wrong with both kinds of elitism, political conservatism and liberal/apolitical conservatism, articulating what is wrong with elite liberty and absolute private property right, and replacing conservatized liberal institutions with internationalist networks and egaliberte policy and institutions (Here’s one good example).

You can’t just sneer and spit “Social democrats!” and clutch capital’s skirts as your strategy because, historically, effective, actually- existing social democrats (That’s not Berstein’s SPD.) had a real, strategic plan that was effective up to a significant point. We can actually apprehend it and learn from it; the English-speaking left has not so far.

Pro-Immigrant v. Pro-Immigration: Breaking the political and apolitical conservative chokehold

The liberal approach to the problem of solidarity is characterized by a relentless idealist conflation of pro-immigrant and pro-immigration. Symmetrically, as befits a two-party capitalist system, the the conservative approach to the problem of solidarity is characterized by a relentless idealist conflation of anti-immigrant and anti-immigration. Throughout this ideological and coalitional rivalry, liberals, neoliberals, and conservatives converge. They pragmatically take advantage of the empirical difference between immigrant and immigration interests and sentiment–to jointly make labour voiceless and vulnerable.

This conflation has growing resonance, because when the idealist conflation is asserted, an attempt is being made to cohere a liberal or conservative political coalition around that silent elite goal. In marketing the polity organization’s capacity for securing social cooperation for policy and institutional maintenance or change, these mobilizations have effects. A small group of true-believer White Nation political entrepreneurs equates anti-immigrant and anti-immigration. Backed by global conservative support, and reinforced by liberals who equate pro-immigrant and Open Borders, White Nation political entrepreneurs organize and draw in adherents who may not start out with much by way of anti-immigrant attitudes, but who perceive–bear the brunt of–the effects of citizenship attenuation. This was the case in Sweden, where poll after poll showed extraordinarily high pro-immigrant, low anti-immigrant attitudes for decades, through thick and thin, through immigration surges.

What’s different now is that the anti-labour thrust of anti-immigrant politics–both anti-immigration and pro-immigration— is broadcasting an audible signal, forming White Nations around immigrant and labour vulnerability goals, the vicious conservative Winner-Loser protection racket. It’s grotesque and violent, and its effects are enduring and wretched, but for many, White Nationalism is the only protective social network left to them in capitalism, where, outside of capitalist networks, only family, religious-ethnic, and militarized policing networks are not criminalized.

Breaking that advancing conservative politicization will involve breaking the conflation of anti-immigrant and anti-immigration, pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, as these twin conflations vie to coalesce political blocs for capitalist interests. Together, conservatives and liberals have been constructing a behemoth global machine for disrupting and uprooting people from their homes, drawing them into core countries, and sucking them into unfree labour and prisons, replacing labour contracts, organizations, rights, and public goods and services that broadly redistribute recognition and value, and leaving native core populations to  servitude, surveillance, militarization, and the inegalitarian White Nation protection racket. Liberals will explain this has to be the policy because some people (sometimes Blacks, sometimes Whites) are ruined. Conservatives will declare that, even though this institutional structure and the Winner-Loser dispositions it proliferates are obviously constructed, it’s natural.

The capitalist pro-immigrant/immigration Open Borders utopia springs from a venerable tradition of conservative strategy: In 1651 the original conservatizer of liberalism, Thomas Hobbes proposed in his refutation of democracy that the only freedom we need to recognize is the freedom of movement, or as his Dutch twin Grotius would further specify: freedom of imperial movement upon the seas. This conservative siren song has a proven co-optation track record. The alternative utopia is socialist–mobilizing internationalism (or “ordinary cosmpolitanism” in Lamont & Aksartova’s language), and not elite “Open Borders” cosmopolitanism.

Internationalism is the only way out of a regressive one-two chokehold that increasingly devalues and stunts migrant life while increasingly devaluing and stunting working class life. Liberalism’s lodestar is absolute private property right; without socialism, inheritor of the democratic Enlightenment, liberalism’s noblest sentiments on behalf of that absolute private property right can do nothing but return us, over and over again, to the brutal prison workhouse of inequality, inegalitarianism, and conservatism, the patriarchal enforcer. In this vortex, freedom of movement–for non-elites–is reduced to little more than a white-eyed, cold marble statue in a museum.


Apolitical conservatism is not the opposite of political conservatism.

References and Further Reading

Check out the geographic and sociological distributions of the 2018 Vote at SVT NYheter’s interactive website. Because, you know, Swedes are not idiots with the sociology, the geography, and the political economy.

Abraham, David. 1996. “Liberty without Equality: The Property-Rights Connection in a ‘Negative Citizenship’ Regime.” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 1-65.

Abraham, David. 2007. “Doing justice on two fronts: The liberal dilemma in immigration.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 01 June 2010, Vol.33(6), p.968-985.

Abraham, David. 2014. “Immigrant integration and social solidarity in a time of crisis: Europe and the United States in a post-welfare state.” Critical Historical Studies, 01 September 2014, Vol.1(2), pp.215-253.

Anderson, Perry. 2002. “Internationalism: A beviary.” New Left Review 14.

Bacon, David. 2007. Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants. Beacon Press.

Bacon, David. 2009. Interviewed by Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer.

Bacon, David. 2013. The right to stay home: How US policy drives Mexican migration. Beacon Press.

Hurst, Allison. 2018. “Do you know who your foreman voted for?” People’s World, September 24.

Lamont, Michele and Sada Aksartova. 2002. “Ordinary Cosmopolitanisms: Strategies For Bridging Racial Boundaries Among Working-Class Men.” Theory, Culture & Society 19(4): 1-25.

Sampaio, Anna. Terrorizing Latina/o Immigrants: Race, Gender, and Immigration Politics in the Age of Security. Temple University Press.


*Concluding note: In this essay, I sort of diss Henwood and his young soci-dem friends to some extent. First, I am impressed that youthful Marxians can still move to NYC & SanFran. I did not think that possible any longer. (Adorably, here Henwood’s loyalties remind me of Radhika Desai’s deep prejudice in favor of trustfund Marxists who understand the public credit value of cheap branding exercises/petitions.) Second, I am just extending to a case a longstanding critique of mine, concerning how Anglo-America brutishly treats Sweden for Anglo-American political-coalitional ends. It’s more of a thematic thing, and were I to rewrite for some kind of publication or public reception (instead of a mostly-private blog), I would in fact remove the personal shade. But writing for myself, I don’t care about Henwood’s personal relationship with some Berkeley Dem Party dude. They all do just fine, logrolling each other.

The degrading dialectic of liberal toleration and conservative barbarity

“(Competitive) Games hold a special valence for Scalia; they are the space where inequality rules…(After modernism) the watermarks of privilege and privation are no longer visible to the naked eye; they must be identified, again and again, through struggle and contest. Hence the appeal of the game (which) offers the perfect marriage of the feudal and the fallible, the unequal and the unsettled” (Robin 2011: 140-141).

“‘To say that something is ‘essential,’ he writes, ‘is ordinarily to say that it is necessary to the achievement of a certain object.’ But games ‘have no object except amusement.’ Lacking an object, they have no essence. It’s thus impossible to say whether a rule is essential ‘All are arbitrary,’ he writes of the rules, ‘none is essential.’ What makes a rule a rule is either tradition or ‘in more modern times,’ the edict of an authoritative body like the PGA …”the twin poles of Scalia’s faith: a belief in rules as arbitrary impositions of power–reflecting nothing (not even the will or standing of their makers) but the flat surface of their locutionary meaning–to which we must nevertheless submit; and a belief in rules, zealously enforced, as the divining rod of our ineradicable inequality. Those who make it past these blank and barren gods are winners; everyone else is a loser” (Robin 2011: 142-143).

This is not just Scalia’s theory of rules, but the general conservative idealist theory of truth.

The sources of Scalia’s outsized influence:

1) Scalia’s self-confidence when professionally tolerated by liberal peers.

2) “he tells the power elite exactly what they want to hear: that they are superior and that they have a seat at the table because they are superior.”

3) Scalia reflects the spirit of the age.

4) “Scalia’s outsized presence in our Constitutional firmament” is enabled by “the patience and forbearance, the general decency and good manners, his liberal colleagues show him. While he rants and raves, smashing guitars and dive-bombing his enemies, they tend to respond with an indulgent shrug, a ‘that’s just Nino,’ as O’Connor was wont to say…Scalia preys on and profits from the very culture of liberalism he claims to abhor: the toleration of opposing views, the generous allowances for other people’s failings, the ‘benevolent compassion’ he derides in his golf course dissent…The conservatism of duresse oblige  depends upon the liberalism of noblesse oblige” (Robin 2011: 146-147).

From “Affirmative Action Baby,” in Robin, Corey. The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin.

Another very recent example of conservative manipulation of liberal toleration for conservatism:

The British right cops to the conservative marketing ploy: “I’ve argued at the top levels of government, ‘Scrap the minimum wage.’ But then there’s a sharp intake of breath. Anything that looks like a return to the Dickensian workhouse raises hackles.

But I don’t want people working in sweatshops at 5p an hour. You should sell abolishing the minimum wage in positive terms, as providing young people with a first step on the jobs ladder, as a ‘jobs for all’ scheme.”

The uneven, degrading dialectic of liberal nicety and conservative barbarity both supports and over time erodes liberalism, which cannot say no to conservatism and its authoritarianism.

For contrast, see egaliberte, which distinguishes/discriminates and refuses, as illustrated in Janteloven (and its application in the Anders Breivik/Fjotolf Hansen case) and Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener.

It is also not to be overlooked that the liberal consensus has rarely bestowed socialism with the same indulgent tolerance it graces on conservatism. 2 cases in point: 1) In the Nordic social democracies, liberalism and socialism were in coalition, from the end of the 19th century to the early 1970s. Even there, the social democrats persecuted communists. 2) As well, the post-1956 Latin American socialist Left struggled to build a liberal-socialist alliance (see Greg Grandin’s history of Guatemala and Latin America).

Both cases are rare examples of lib-left coalition, largely shepherded by a conciliatory and pragmatic Left, and both coalitions were assailed by liberals (internationally, or in the case of Sweden, eventually domestically) who preferred to retreat into conservative barbarity–eg. the US consensus, which was wholly vicious against the 20th-21st century Latin American Enlightenment, pressing the coach drivers’ whip into conservative hands. Where Sweden, in the early 1970s, reached the endpoint of the liberal-socialist partnership–what to do with the excess profits: let capitalists keep them or socialize them?–again liberals forsook socialism and, in embracing capitalist rule, beat back a less-than-measured retreat into the arms of conservatism, recently resulting in the contradictory reification–via vilification/victimology– of immigrants, and the consequent state-sponsored gagging and shackling of labour.

I should think that liberals are not so much the avatars of toleration, as they prefer to self-proclaim, as people who are capable of recognizing a shared genealogy with the Right, as in, for example, the convergence of liberal absolute private property right with the conservative Might-Makes-Right principle. Considering that, perhaps Leftists ought to contain our celebrations of abstract toleration, and more closely attend to the contours and trajectories, the specification of tolerations. Both liberals and parts of the Left have been so proud to claim that fresh tolerations can change the course of human interests and history, if not transcend discrimination outright. Yet even “fresh” forms of toleration must always be partial politics and subject to instrumental manipulation. A cosmopolitan, multicultural embrace of immigration tends to translate directly, efficiently into the policy implementation and cultural affirmation of immigrant labour vulnerability, for example. To develop egaliberte out of a world of tyranny, we need to develop Jantelagen–boundaries on the Genius Boy–as well as the capitalist critique of Jantelagen. In capitalism, we just Let Boys Be Boys.

The (Leftist) point would then be to choose and to fight for a specified range of toleration that facilitates widespread freedoms, rather than, in social context, confers freedom upon a ‘chosen’ elite. We would foremost recognize the necessity of Left collectives within which we may sense and think together to choose key battles and strategies.  We could learn a lot from multivocal, rigorous historical research, rather than fanciful,  more-or-less authoritative narratives.

Conservative Soc Mov Module: Muslim "Honor Killing" Criminals

The thing about conservative political strategy is that it is modular. Conservatives have got a playbook, and it’s not that elaborate. So if they do it to Sweden, they will do it to the Anglo world:

Canadian media sells “Honour Killings” as indication of “natural” Muslim seditionist tendencies.

Political strategy question: How do you get a people who see themselves as super-civilized liberators to support anti-liberatory conservative policies?

It turns out, this is easier than a level one Soduku puzzle. Start with flattery, and then they’ll turn on their own righteousness nozzle. Nationalism + defensive, instable, cul-du-sac liberalism  =  conservative-pliable mass psychology. Think of how conservatism has bloomed in contemporary Sweden, France & Canada.

On the advice of a elder feminist, I went to Sweden to study how their welfare state repressed immigrants. What I found there was a full-blown conservative campaign to destroy labor rights in Sweden, using the double-barreled politics of describing immigrants as both criminals and victims–criminals who make having a welfare state impossible (Because they can’t be trusted, and destroy civilization.), and victims of a welfare state thats de-commodification policies don’t let them “express” (sell) themselves. The conservative-fed media conclusion was that if you got rid of labor protections (and so by extension the labor confederation and social democracy), immigrants would be good and thrive, just like they do in Austria and the Anglo countries.

The Swedes were in complete denial about the potency of immigration politics in Sweden–Despite the legislative meetings and bills; despite feminist galvanization against the cruel, cruel, racist state and the cruel, cruel anti-Swedish civilization Muslim fathers; despite the massive media coverage of these conservative themes (and a very few, although of course always tragic, instances of violence within Muslim households) and simultaneous neglect of contextual data clearly showing that patriarchal violence is common across “civilizations” and hardly monopolized by Muslims; and despite the fact that Karl Rove was there in Sweden strategizing with a new conservative political coalition about this conservative campaign. One year later, the conservative coalition was the ruling government, and it has been ever since.

Now the exact same political trope is being used in Canada. Why now, eh?

You have to know your audience. On the other hand, there you have your data. Are you going to tell some unreconditioned, decades-old tool story about how the immigrants are super oppressed by the state and their fathers? Sure some of them are, sometimes. And they are oppressed by “authority” in a broader sense. So look, there’s something else going on here as well. Something rather pressing.

As Nancy Fraser has argued, people need to strongly consider that the contemporary incapacity of pro-liberation liberals to apprehend conservatism and conservative strategy is decidedly non-trivial. That incapacity decides labor policies and capital regulation in favor of capital. It feeds state-based working class institutional breakdown and reinstitutes full human commodification. It allows capitalist elites to confidently delegate to altruistic liberal managers the diligent pursuit of the task of imposing proletarianization, irrational and ideological privatization, and austerity. In an era of declining growth, it fuels capitalist expansion via primitive accumulation, rather than allowing humans to decrease our throughputs while rationally redistributing accumulated surpluses. Not really ironically, it exacerbates racism and sexism. It promulgates vicious war.

What I’m talking about is this problem: People can be very nice. People can be anti-authoritarian. People can be pro goodness and they can be all about extending moral consideration. Not conservatives, but liberals to lefties. (Though conservatives can champion  elaborate decorum. Order, you know.) 

All that fails to solve this problem: Without an adequate, socially-embedded theoretical framework (eg. Marxist), even self-identified progressives’ work (in the broad, materialist, Scarry sense) can be readily co-opted by conservatives to advance the conservative goal of shrinking moral consideration, monopolizing surplus and stunting human development. This is the problem of directive hegemony (Therborn. As opposed to legitimation — Habermas).

(Discuss Desai, Hall on the historical Thatcherite construction of conservative hegemony, around here.)

If structure is the accumulation of collective action, then conservative collective action creates the pathways that convert altruistic intentions and beliefs into dehumanizing hierarchy and tyranny.

Political-economic engagement (intellectualism, to use Perry Anderson’s term) is not just for conservatives or property-owning white men. Political-economic literacy and engagement matter. A lot. To everybody.

To illustrate this point further, I will discuss how the summer 2011 Winnipeg Rebelles gathering unfolded. Hint: To work together–to express our humanity, even feminist, multiculti lefties/progressives need to be able to distinguish conservatism. And in my personal experience in the technocratic, anti-Big Questions, anti-macro theory Anglo world, this has been an unmet need for over a quarter century, at a minimum.

We’ll see what happens to the Honour Killings conservative strategy in Canada. If Canadian feminists and the judiciary can avoid getting sucked in, if they firmly assert that violent patriarchy is not the exclusive property of Muslims (Obviously, in Canada there is already wide recognition that Aboriginal women are killed by their male relatives.), then maybe they can keep the neocon anti-Muslim “Clash of Civilizations” politics out of courtrooms and out of currency. And just maybe it will not justify, in the minds of Canadians, both Israel bombing Iranians (Yes, partly on behalf of Anglo-American geopolitical/energy strategy.) and domestic austerity measures.

What Is and Is Not Social Democracy

This Varoufakis political analysis applies as well to the federal-level, organized-labor-backed, social service NGO-backed liberal parties of North America. And kindly recall, North Americans, that simply sitting a bit to the left of one or even two conservative capitalist-dedicated parties, in no way qualifies a party for social democratic status in any historical-comparative empirical sense.

Social democratic historically meant, and in order to retain a sense of perspective and strategic possibility needs to continue to mean: Within capitalism, a) the parliamentary wing of b) an actual left, working class-for-itself social movement coalition that includes politicized, organized labor, pressing for, inter alia, socialism-building goals.  The moment you drop part b,  you are a liberal party. Possibly lefty-liberal in some fortuitous historical moments and on small  geographic scales, but liberal.

A liberal party champions (usually, the immediate) interests of politically-organized capital. The peripheral concerns of the welfare of the working class and the economic and geo-strategic health of the region cannot come into stable focus for a liberal or conservative party. That’s why, ironically, actual social democratic parties can manage the capitalist economy better than dedicated capitalist parties.

A social democratic party in capitalism is a party of internal tension. A social democratic party is a dialectical engine; a social democracy is a dialectical machine. The ultimate goal of social democratic parties is always their own aufhebung. The goal of a social democratic party is to work within capitalism to build the institutional and cultural conditions of socialism, see Rudolf Meidner. If that aint the goal, you’ve lost the tension. The bourgeoisie have successfully co-opted the party; and what you’ve got left there is a liberal party, not a social democratic party. At that point, you’re carrying the name “Social Democratic Party” for branding continuity only.

Social democratic parties differ from socialist parties in capitalism in that they are a coalition between socialists and lefty-liberals. Most social democratic parties, because they are coalitions of socialists and the lefty-liberal idealists of a kinder, gentler capitalist utopia that can never exist independently (because capitalism requires alienation and exploitation), shoulder relentless, organized capitalist pressure and undergo internal struggles over whether to turn away from the socialist horizon.

A social democratic culture then is a most peculiar balance of strategic thinking and pragmatism, sentimentalism, and egalitarianism and utopianism.

The Liberal Misrecognition of Social Democracy: Equilibrium Third-way Establishment Politics?

Barnard Europeanist Sheri Berman is also keen to distinguish social democracy from the many unmoored, opportunistic uses of the term.

“Correctly understood, social democracy is far more than a particular political program. Nor is it a compromise between Marxism and liberalism. And neither should it apply to any indivdual or party with vaguely leftist sympathies and an antipathy to communism” Berman “Understanding Social Democracy” XXXX: 4.

Berman argues that social democracy is distinguished from liberalism and communism by active political management of a capitalist market. The capitalist market is assumed to be required for provision of “the material basis upon which the good life could be built” and the promotion of “real growth” (Berman XXXX: 23). So the market is perhaps “traditionally accepted or tolerated,” but it is also effectively TINA, sacred to social democrats, just as it is as for laissez-faire liberals. Yet soc dems’ Nordic-cool dis-stance toward the sacred market uniquely requires a state capable of active market care and management, rather than liberals and conservatives’ preference: state capture. In Berman’s (Peter Evans-affine) view, the capitalist market is something like social democrats’ troublesome god.

Berman insists that armed with such a superior approach to capitalist market and society, social democracy is a third-way, in equilibrium. In such a perspective, active politics is institutionalized polity economic policy. Social movement, especially Marxism, is at most an initial condition to be overcome.

Berman’s is a laudable attempt to rescue social democracy from political obfuscation; it is a compelling narrative; and it jibes with some of some social democrat party members’ assumptions, actions, and strategic claims. However, to understand social democracy, we need to remedy Berman’s liberal oversights in terms of social democratic origins and active politics, as well as her equilibrium view of polity politics. When Berman attempts to understand social democracy, she tells us she will take us back to the origins of social democracy. And yet she does not.

Social movement is starkly missing from Berman’s origins narrative. Restoring the extra-establishment active politics is key to an holistic theoretical-empirical understanding of social democracy. There is a related problem with Berman’s static equilibrium view of polity politics: You cannot theoretically recognize or cogently explain both the rise and decline of social democratic institutions and culture –despite the many empirical indicators of such–unless you see social movements, including especially Marxist socialism, as central to not just the initiation, but also the ongoing development and robustness of social democracy–how it is resolved at critical junctures of essential class conflict.

In a better explanatory framework, social movement does not uniquely inhabit a disequilibrium state; rather, social democracy (like any other political regime), despite its impressive institutionalization, develops in tension and periodically arrives at critical disequilibria. The data better fit a more dynamic, dialectical conception of social democratic politics, where both the changing opportunity structure and extra-establishment social movement continue to matter profoundly to establishment polity political formation.

The Marxist Misrecognition of Social Democracy: Class Conflict Denial?

The notions that the capitalist market is a sacred tree (Yggdrasil, for example. An alternative to  Berman’s distemperate child-god metaphor.) to “true” social democrats (Norns perhaps), and that social democracy is a equilibrium-state third way, are widely-accepted theses. Too widely. I am sorry to say that most Western Marxists’ analysis likewise tends to collapse the historical social democratic internal tension. Like Varoufakis, such Marxists do not differentiate social democracy from liberalism. This is a conceptual error imparted especially to the Anglosphere by the Fabian tradition, which is the Revolution-poor British people’s approximation of social democracy, gelded of its socialism, but retaining a moral commitment to intervening in capitalist excess and crisis, for example with poor-relief social programs, taxation, and capital regulation.

Where Berman and the Fabians regard the capitalist market-as-sacred-tree approach to be ideal, most Marxists see it as an obstructionist, even Machiavellian form of liberalism. These Marxists regard social democratic parties as homogeneously-liberal “Decepticon” organizations in service of capital. They hold that social democrats use deceptive strategies–including the pacifying denial of class conflict–in order to compete for, absorb,  neutralize and betray working class energy. The reductive Marxist perception of social democracy as merely a competitive strategy to crowd out socialism is the crucial linchpin to these Marxists’ ad-hoc understanding of social democracy.

There are two obvious and curious side effects to this Marxist theoretical collapse. First, while they are periodically outraged by “social democracy,” Northern Marxists also misidentify semi-peripheral and peripheral social democratic societies as socialist societies, as in the case of Latin American countries such as contemporary Venezuela. This misrecognition clouds analytical and strategic judgment (More on that later).

Second, in reducing their conceptualization of social democracy to liberalism, most Western Marxists are completely, utterly uninterested in the experience, the tension of social democracy where it was most prominent and sustained, in 20th century Scandinavia. (Except to the extent that they can find an obliging Scandianvian to say that social democracy is reducible to Anglo Fabianism.) That is to say, they are completely uninterested in actually assessing social democracy.

They tend to discuss (complain about) social democracy as strictly something that happens to Canada, New Zealand, the UK, or Germany… or now, as with Varoufakis, southern Europe. These are countries and regions that in the best of cases have had an organized-labor-backed party that ceased to be social democratic in anything but name about a hundred years ago (eg. Germany). In the most far-fetched cases, the liberal parties Marxists call “social democratic” have never claimed to be social democratic, and may not even have much of a labor affiliation (Canada’s NDP is a great example). All we can say, rigorously, is that these parties have working-class electoral bases and are to some degree to the left of the US Democrat Party, which is saying profoundly little indeed. It is neither surprising nor is it hypocritical when liberal parties spearhead neoliberalism.

Exactly, swerve the Marxists. That is why social democratic strategists have nothing to offer, they insist. Marxists believe that the only thing to be done is revolution. There is, in their view, no possible route forward in an institutional coalition with any portion of the (unbounded) bourgeoisie, on any time or geographic scale. In effect, these Marxists have a priori determined that social democracy is impossible. Therefore, for such Marxists, social democracy only exists in places where it doesn’t. Such Marxists’ consistent geographic and historical displacement should immediately strike us as symptomatic of an insufficiently-valid analysis.

I think that there is no good (rational) reason why Marxism cannot accommodate a more valid, rigorous, empirically-embedded conceptualization of social democracy, related to but distinct from both liberalism and socialism. Marxists can start with a sober version of their recognition of the socialist strategies and goals of social democracies such as Venezuela, combined with a more sustained, empirically-observant modeling of how the incessant political power of capital tends to erode social democracy–by attacking its socialist backbone. The capitalist context is why social democratic coalition parties, while distinct from liberal parties, are vulnerable to liberal co-optation, rather than liable to reach the socialist horizon that distinguishes social democrats from liberals.

A more valid, change-sensitive (dialectical)  conceptualization would in fact contribute to Marxism, obviously. First, on the issues of social democracy and socialist strategy, it would bring Marxism out of the idealist ether, and back into its theoretical home territory–historical-materialist grounding.

Additional benefits for Marxists of improving their conceptualization of social democracy:

2) Improves our understanding of historical moments of collective class compromise. Permits Marxists to recognize a broader, yet still-robust and delimited coalitional (samarbete) strategy. For example, we can better recognize that the 20th century advancement of social citizenship owed its lifeblood to the existence of a credible communist threat/alternative. This allows us to demonstrate that capitalism’s non-capitalist and petite bourgeoisie adherents’ capitalist utopia (eg. historically, the US in the 1950s-1960s, or alternately, a racism/sexism/heterosexism/ablism/pollution-free capitalist utopia of the postmaterialist future) is dependent upon socialism and communism as a credible threat and alternative. In other words, it’s possible to make a hearty, unflinching argument to lefty liberals: If you pine for a(n imagined) capitalist utopia, and yet you aren’t among the top 1% wealth earners, you need socialism. They kind of know it; they need to be confronted with it.

3) Allows better analysis of the crucial points of social democratic breakdown. Liberal Swedes still don’t know that Swedish social democracy was slated to die in 1976 when their capitalists defeated Meidner’s proposal to socialize profits. In their triumphal co-optation of the Social Democratic Party (SAP), they are bereft of any idea of how to analyze the purportedly “social progressive” neoliberal policies today that steadily break down social democracy and class compromise, clearly reducing their co-opted SAP to impotent electoral rubble–precisely in the historical moment when the SAP utterly forgot both that it needs a socialist lodestar to exist and that its existence as an institution is not the point of its existence.

4) Stops Marxists from contributing to neoliberal obfuscation tactics that undermine organized labor and the working class.


Research Plan: Compare Anglo tradition (Fabianism & Keynes) with Scandinavian social democratic intellectuals (Meidner, Rehn)


Get to Know a Non-autistic Economist, for example this unique guy who understood social democracy:

Rudolf Meidner and his brilliant wage earner funds that could have saved the Swedish model from the dustbin of history.

(See also?: Whyman, Philip B. 2007. “A case for Swedish wage earner funds.” Journal of Post Keynesian Economics30 (2): 227-258.)

Breivik and Judeo-Christian terrorism

In response to Brievik’s Judeo-Christian fascist political terrorism–77 murdered and 96 injured when he bombed Oslo government buildings housing the Labor Party, and slaughtered Labour Party children at a multicultural summer camp,

the Jerusalem Post wrote an anxious story demanding that we prevent the right-wing atrocity from overshadowing the “Failure of Multiculturalism” in Europe. What is the Jerusalem Post on about, you ask? Good question, because as much of a non sequitor as it first appears, it just so happens to get to the heart of the Breivik massacres.

“The Failure of Multiculturalism” in Scandinavia: International Conservative Politics

What has happened in northern Europe is that conservatives have been waging a campaign against labor, and the tool that they have been using is a spectacularly-conflicted (But who needs consistency? What you need is complete coverage!) dual politics creating a “multiculturalism crisis” out of immigrants–immigrants portrayed as both Muslim criminals and as victims of the social democratic welfare state and labor institutions. This political campaign has been raging unchecked since the 1990s. Breivik is the direct product of this conservative campaign.

The broad, intended conservative goal is to exterminate labor institutions in Scandinavia, and thus to exterminate social democracy. It’s been a more difficult project there than elsewhere, though certainly not impossible. Neoliberalism has made great headway for conservatism in Scandinavia. Leave it to a Scandinavian, however, to increase effectiveness and efficiency: You can also help to extinguish the Labour Party’s future by directly exterminating its youth.

The connection to neocon Israel lies in the conservative goal of promoting imperial, high-inequality, capitalist, Anglo-american-centric capitalist countries on the global political-economic stage. Scandinavia isn’t China, but social democracy is an alternative political economy that has the capacity to subordinate finance capital to socio-economic welfare and occasionally controls finance capital. It is  thereby a threat to the financial-military domination of the global conservative hegemon.

Norwegian teens mourn the loss of their friends.

Breivik was the product of global conservative conditioning. Not only did he target Labor Party representatives and children, Breivik wrote a 1500 page “manifesto,” in which Israel is mentioned on 170 pages, Norway on 135. Breivik: “So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists.”

A plump and satisfied Breivik, in Izod, on the way to jail.

Studying Swedish immigration politics over the past 10 years, I have found the “failure of social democratic multiculturalism” trope to be a fundamental conservative tool in Scandinavia. There it is used to argue not just for stepped-up European harmonization with imperial Anglo-American-Israeli policy, but also for dismantling the labor protections that enable social democracy.

The conservative argument is this: “The Failure of Multiculturalism (in Scandinavia, not US/Israel-special-relationshi​p countries) is the result of Muslim Criminality + Social Democratic institutions (eg. welfare state, labor rights). The solution to the Failure of Multiculturalism is to break down labor institutions, and to support Israel in our Clash of Civilizations.”

In this conservative political campaign, the problems posed by fascism (understood beyond the 20th century Jewish Holocaust) are eclipsed, by design (Thanks, Lyotard). These politics are neocon Zionist home turf. It is no surprise that J-post is anxious that such emergent crises of fascism will slow the conservative campaign in Scandinavia.

I initially went to Sweden with the PhD advisor-driven mission of discovering what the Swedes had done to violate their immigrants and how US-Canadian immigration could provide the Swedes with a proper immigration approach. Having extensively compared, in Sweden, the US and Canada, Swedish immigration policy and outcomes with Canadian, US, and other Anglo-country policies and outcomes, I can firmly say that the long legacy of social democratic multicultural policy and program development in Sweden is, if anything, more progressive, constructive, and preferable, from both overarching immigrant and native perspectives. It’s not the communist horizon, but as usual, actually-existing (not nominal) social democracy, even in decline, pretty much gives you the best you are going to get out of capitalism.

Why the Failure of Multiculturalism politics now? 

Graeber points out that modern racism is a class-compromise byproduct in European societies, where elites wished to resume slavery in their countries, and working men and women refused the institution. Essentially, political-economic elites resorted to promoting modern racism as a means of securing broad consent to their right to superexploit someone…elsewhere.

(After the ‘Dark Ages’ rejection of slavery in Europe,) modern racism…had to be invented largely because Europeans continued to refuse to listen to the arguments of the intellectuals and jurists, and did not accept that anyone (in their own societies, whom) they believed to be a full and equal human being could ever justifiably be enslaved” Graeber 2011: 212.

It is worth asking to what extent intellectuals and jurists today are again trying to convince these intransigent, vulgar ‘Europeans’ (or Americans) to accept slavery in their own societies. Where do race and immigration politics, including carefully-managed versions of anti-racism (“Antiracism = submit to capital” or “Civilized contemporary global capitalists are antiracist/antiracism.”) in Europe and the Anglosphere, coincide with the promotion of domestic debt peonage and international slavery?

Why are Scandinavians vulnerable to the conservative anti-racist/pro-racist political one-two punch? What I observed is that, hitting the wall imposed by the bourgeois takeover of social democracy, their tremendous historical social democratic capacity for problem solving stutters and stalls. Unwilling to accept that even Swedish (nativist), righteous liberalism is unable to solve the fundamental social problems of capitalism, they descend into an inability to admit that coerced human migration in capitalism is not potentially a picnic on the beach.

They hysterically swear to themselves that somewhere out there is a liberal-conservative model of social inclusion that is both cheaper and can achieve more inclusion than social democratic inclusion could. There is not. What Swedes have consistently failed to acknowledge, throughout the conservative ascent era, is that immigration is extremely hard, especially for non-elites. It’s hard for the “welcoming” society. It’s harder for immigrants. Refugee immigration is even harder still. It does not get done in any core capitalist country easily or prettily or cheaply.

The free-market formula for purportedly “masterful” immigration (touted to flourish in Austria, Canada, the US) is an unwholesome marketing combination of outright distortions and fractional truth based in ideal, exceptional, fleeting experiences blown up by marketing spin into a bloated department store parade float, distracting children and obstructing our view. The actually-existing social democracies do fundamentally-vexed immigration and social incorporation about as well as it can be done, and they have kept trying to improve (including counterproductively), in the causative context of global imperial war and exploded societies. And in that context, human mobility and the difficult work of rigorous collective restoration are essential.

In studying the intensely-marketed Failure of Multiculturalism campaign in Sweden, I had to conclude that, regardless of what righteous, altruistic feminists and anti-racists it grafts onto its project, it is a conservative political campaign to dismantle labor institutions on the back of immigrant victimology and stigmatization. That is ugly.

It is no prettier that this immigrant-exploitative war on the working class is intimately tied to international neocon efforts to push the more reluctant, social-democratic quarters of Europe behind the oil-dependent, finance-ruled, high-inequality, bellicose and belligerent conservative imperium. Only chronic marketing victims should be surprised that such an imperial military-finance alliance both ignites the E-Z/La-Z semi-laissez faire marketing imaginary (“All the Beautiful, Cafe-latte Multicultural Utopia needs is Walmartization!”) and, on its flipside, fosters contemporary fascism.

Doug Henwood responds: “There’s a right-wing critique of soc dem that says it only works in ‘homogenous’ places like Sweden. Relatedly, Hayek claimed that soc dem and socialism are fundamentally nationalist, since their planning universe need national borders. But your research shows that not only is that not true, but the war on immigrants is part of a war on soc dem.”

(Henwood’s friend Joel Shalit keeps an eye on some contemporary national conservative movements, and also does some damage-repair for Israel within the Western Left. He doesn’t have much to say about the Breivik case; but he does understand at least Israeli, British, German and Italian conservative politics, and following up on his “Actually Existing Israel” (April 2011), Henwood interviewed Joel Shalit on Israeli national identity and radical conservatism and superficially on Israel’s relationship to the European right on Henwood’s radio show Behind the News.

In response to the Jerusalem Post article, Shalit advocates in “Breivik and the Jews” that Jewish people should not be trying to hide the dependency of contemporary European fascism on Jewish conservatism, but rather should confront the conservative ideas.)

Hegemony via Confusion & Opportunistic Parochialism

Having recently viewed a succession of music videos from the 1980s (of which this is representative), and this depiction of modern postmodernism, I think it bears iteratation: confusion is a tool of conservative hegemony.

The conservative “immigrant crisis” political trope continues unabated, as where in March 2012, the right-wing Swedish press, apparently hoping that no one has memory in Sweden and claiming that the Left never let Swedes chat about all the immigrant problems, again lays the blame for the right-wing Breivik atrocity squarely on the shoulders of…you guessed it, “Left-wing culture politics.” Jävla galen propaganda.

The Anglo-american media spun the Breivik massacres in this way: “Norwegians are a lot more barbaric that they think they are. After all, they are Vikings, who once gleefully hurt the innocent villagers of Great Britain.” This interpretation of the meaning of the Breivik massacres is “backed up” by Wikileaks documents in which the US State Department whines that Norway should devote its income to a bigger militarized policing apparatus.

Huh. Of course the US State Dept. desires that other countries give their money to Halliburton. Where has that been shown to reduce harm, and how does that fervent wish demonstrate that Norwegians need to convert over to a similarly repressive state? And as regards purported Norwegian sub-surface barbarity: Norwegians simply do not engage in viciousness at the volume that people in right-wing societies do, and that’s because they have savvier social integration understanding and institutions (Not because they are “homogeneous”, which due to inter alia mass immigration, they are not).

 By any valid measure (Though my review of the literature “documenting” the failure of multiculturalism in Scandinavia shows clearly that conservatives will fuck with the measures–so let’s aggregate the measures for ease of consensus.), the contemporary Scandinavian societies cannot compete in the violence Olympics with the Judeo-Christian Anglo-American societies. (Even if Zionism is your sole measure of civilization, Scandinavians have award-winning, government-mandated, early-to-late education programs focused on the singular tragedy of the early 20th century Jewish Holocaust. They have lots of advanced initiatives designed to combat antisemitism. Their press is not anti-Semitic.) The result of this vigorous socialization into Western “civilization”? When married to conservative politics, it has meticulously groomed a Christian Zionist terrorist.

Norwegians are not insulated from global civilization/hegemony, surreptitiously (yet lazily!) cultivating their genetically-cruel culture in the backwoods. That’s a cockamame story. That it sells at all is dependent, in fact, on the parochialism and Halliburton investments of the Anglo-american press’ audience.

… A lesbian couple heroicallysaved 40 children from Breivik.

Race politics working their magic on this side of the pond:

Brad de Long ponders a Republican Bangledesh-American arguing hopefully that white American conservatives are not racist; they’re just protecting good things from bad people, Virginia. De Long answers the Republican in “Why Don’t Republicans Like Illegal Immigrants from Mexico?, where he argues that illegal immigrants from Mexico logically should be the posterboys for Republican ideals, and yet still Republicans hate illegal immigrants.

Here’s my rejoinder to the conservative-liberal debate on conservative racism:

It is true that Republicans degrade or hate Mexican immigrants, surfacely because they are “colored” and often have an accent. Wah-wah. But inasmuch as such complaints gesture lazily towards some vaguely-natural “problem” and echo historical charges against some people by other people, it still is something of a random problem construction, as De Long points out. Why is active racism characteristic of conservative politics today?

Because racism  is dehumanization and it is not random; it is a conservative “Little King” institution that allows tyrants to maintain a popular base in a high- inequality political-economy.

Racism encourages zero-sum thinking that co-opts people to a high-inequality agenda. When Republicans enjoy bonding together by actively degrading Mexican immigrants (and other people they want to perceive and remake as low status and powerless), they are sharing a symbol of their tribal project, working together to promote their own material benefit at the expense of other people. In the race-besotted US/Israel, conservatives set up this classic stratification credo, typically without any confirming evidence whatsoever: If we don’t savagely degrade and super-exploit the weaker tribes, they will eat us and everyone we love.

Racism is a conservative coalition-building tactic. From a top 0.1% ruler down to their media lackeys down to a conservative convenience clerk, what these capitalist conservatives have always wanted is to privatize (someone else’s) commons, and the perpetuation of cheap labor that they can exploit. So no matter whether they’re trying to transfer the wealth of the dwindling US middle class into their own off-shore hoard, or whether they’re suffering stagnant income and related hierarchy indignities–no matter their horrible alienation, at least they’ll always share the high-inequality market and the militarized police to force someone more vulnerable to provide them all a compensatory Chemlawn yard.

And while preventing immigration historically tends to allow labor to organize and take a larger share of social wealth, creating a special class of dehumanized and legally-vulnerable laborers definitely does produce loads of cheapened labor to use and abuse– with fun moralistic fervor!

Conservatives are an organized political group that strives to dictate to us our true value (abysmally low), and what we owe them (the sun and the moon and the stars). Paraphrasing David Graeber, conservatives seek to transform the very foundations of our being–since what else are we, ultimately, except the sum of the relations we have with others–into matters of fault, sin, and crime, and to make the world into a place of iniquity–an agonized, writhing hell that they rule, a little crowning fraternity of the damned.

Let me give you a representative example of the framework problem I see with so much of the professional neoliberal civilizer staff, by recounting two examples of pertinent antiracist history that I can say with a great deal of assurance that antiracists don’t know or cannot remember–because it doesn’t fit in the official multiculti Anglo settler country anti-communist plot line.

1) “Communists” in the US South

2) Socialists and communists in the US North:

A century ago, in the early 20th century, socialists in the interior, in Minnesota, worked in coalition with the Twin Cities African American community to promote and host anti-racist movie and discussion nights in rural towns. It was immensely successful anti-racism and progressive rural mobilization (Jennifer Dalton. “Making MN Liberal”). It created the conditions for such unusually progressive politics that in that era, the state even saw its forests run for ecological goals (Mark Hudson. “Fire Management in the American West.”), the preservation of urban public space, the nation’s strongest teacher’s union, the preservation of family farms, and its workers’ lives defended by the National Guard (which only happened one other time in US history–under Pinchot’s PA governance.)

 For at least 5 generations (and, really, we know more), socialists have known–and were capable of acting upon the knowledge–that to build and maintain working class consciousness and mobilization in North America, partly we need to combat the tool of racism across geographies–combat it by engaging people’s sociability. (Kind of like how today, a hundred years later, it is still socialists who work with First Nations folks to develop some of the most innovative antiracism initiatives in central Canada, such as Neechi CED initiatives.)

The Minnesota socialists’ early and effective anti-racism efforts were disbanded, eliminated by a small group of liberals who used the threat of fascism to take over the Farmer-Labor Party. Today rural Minnesota is instead organized by the far right, via churches, and rural people there are again “naturally” racist and sexist and, well, sort of feudal rural idiots, just like how we imagine they should be to sustain the rationale for our jobs as professional civilizers in a gloriously unequal–ahem! ambition-rewarding!–society. And the result is that rabid anti-inegalitarians rule unfettered throughout.

That’s how much we have progressively improved our anti-racism by imagining that working class consciousness and a strong anti-inequality critique is a problem because it must “subsume race,” which we know because we have accumulated our tremendous liberal intellectual endowment of identity politics theory and initiatives that we somehow imagine, despite all the evidence, that conservatives cannot manage the hell out of (the combo racist and antiracist politics harnessed by conservatives in the destruction of US mass public education being but one case in point).

I am always impressed every time I realize that liberals think they personally discovered anti-racism in 1968, possibly at a cocktail party in New Haven or Toronto or London–maybe in the coffee shops of Paris, and that their job is to be as boorish as humanly possible whenever Marxists suggest that This is America, land of identity politics and that North America is rich in hugely-overdeveloped identity politics theory and initiatives, which are materially-supported by universities, governments and foundations across the political spectrum, and which help political-economic elites bond globally, as a class (The ultimate multicultural camaraderie). Whereas the US is absolutely, forcibly poverty-stricken in working class consciousness and historical-materialist understanding.

This intellectual poverty and self-sabotage underlies our inability to sustain a critical mass of alternative mobilization to address our failing, persistent, zombie political-economy, or race and women’s poverty– inequality problems, or our market-besotted, energy-drunk failure to contribute to a greater, barely-initiated project of building a decent, judicious, healthy environment, society and world. When liberals insist that we don’t need a Marxist understanding of racism, they breathe life into racism, which is also a tool for predatory rulers.

David Montgomery’s Cambridge-published studies on Cold War-suppressed Leftist contributions in the US:

Montgomery, David. 1987. The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, The State, and American Labor Activism, 1865- 1925. Cambridge Press.
Montgomery, David. 1995. Citizen Worker. Cambridge.
Montgomery, David. 1979. Workers Control in America. Cambridge.

(In contrast to Lipset’s classic liberal story “Political Man” about the good center and the bad peripheries.)

The Social Democratic Party in Sweden

Since it’s been edited away from this version by now, I’ll own up to editing and writing this Wikipedia entry in nearly its entirety, while I was doing my Swedish dissertation research write-up a few years back. I’ve re-edited it here a bit to bring out parts of the story that I think are germane to understanding what makes social democracy tick, but that don’t particularly appeal to Wikipedia’s conservative, nationalist, and liberal patrols.


Swedish Social Democracy’s Backbone: Social Movements & Socialism

Since the party has held power of office for a majority of terms after its founding in 1889, the ideology and policies of the Social Democratic Party (SAP, Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti) have had strong influence on Swedish politics.[5] Swedish social democracy is partially an outgrowth of the strong and well-organized 1880s and 1890s working class emancipation, temperance, and religious liberalization folkrörelser (folk movements), by which peasant and workers’ organizations both vigorously disrupted the status quo and penetrated state structures early on, paving the way for electoral politics. These social movements had a profound influence on political formation in Sweden (at least in part because they experienced less state repression than workers’ organizations have, for example, throughout the Anglosphere–the UK, US, Canada, Australia). In this way, Swedish social democratic ideology is inflected by a socialist tradition foregrounding widespread and individual human development. [6]

Gunnar Adler-Karlsson (1967) confidently likened the social democratic project to the successful social democratic effort to divest the king of all power but formal grandeur: “Without dangerous and disruptive internal fights…After a few decades they (capitalists) will then remain, perhaps formally as kings, but in reality as naked symbols of a passed and inferior development state.” [7] However, so far the capitalists have decidedly outmanoeuvered this ambition, which is in any case not likely shared by neoliberal party members.

Liberalism in Swedish Social Democracy

Liberalism has also strongly infused social democratic ideology. Liberalism has oriented social democratic goals to security, as where Tage Erlander, prime minister from 1946-1969, described security as “too big a problem for the individual to solve with only his own power.”[8] Up to the 1980s, when neoliberalism and neoconservatism began to provide an alternative, aggressively pro-capitalist model for ensuring social quiescence, the SAP was able to secure capital’s cooperation by convincing capital that it shared the goals of increasing economic growth and reducing social friction. For liberal social democrats, Marxism is at best loosely held to be valuable for its emphasis on changing the world for a more just, better future.[9] In 1889, Hjalmar Branting, leader of the SAP from its founding to his death in 1925, asserted, “I believe…that one benefits the workers…so much more by forcing through reforms which alleviate and strengthen their position, than by saying that only a revolution can help them.” [10]

Some observers have argued that this liberal aspect has hardened into increasingly neoliberal ideology and policies, gradually maximizing the latitude of powerful market actors.[11] Certainly, conservative neoclassical economists have been firmly pushing the Social Democratic Party into capitulating to most of capital’s traditional preferences and prerogatives, which they term “modern industrial relations.”[12]

Both socialist and liberal aspects of the party were influenced by the dual sympathies of early leader Hjalmar Branting, and manifest in the party’s first actions: reducing the work day to eight hours and establishing the franchise for working class people.

Social Democratic Assets

While some commentators have seen the party lose focus with the rise of SAP neoliberal study groups, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has for many years appealed to Swedes as innovative, capable, and worthy of running the state.[13] The Social Democrats became one of the most successful political parties in the world, with some structural advantages in addition to their auspicious birth within vibrant folkrörelser.

At the close of the nineteenth century, liberals and socialists had to band together to augment establishment democracy, which was at that point embarrassingly behind in Sweden; they could point to formal democratic advances elsewhere to motivate political action. [14] Sweden was a semi-peripheral, small country at the beginning of the twentieth century, considered unimportant to competing global political factions; so it was permitted more independence, while soon the co-existence of communist and capitalist superpowers allowed social democracy to flourish in the geo-political interstices. [15]

The SAP has the resource of sharing ideas and experiences, and working with its sister parties throughout the Nordic countries. Sweden could also borrow and innovate upon ideas from English-language economists, which was an advantage for the Social Democrats in the Great Depression; but more advantageous for the bourgeois parties in the 1980s and afterward. While the SAP has not been innocent of repressing communists,[16] the party has overall benefitted, in government coalition and in avoiding severe stagnation and drift, by engaging in relatively constructive relationships with the more radical Left Party and the Greens, and in supporting and working with another external ally, the LO Labour Confederation, which has supplied to the coalition ingenious labor economists over the years. The SAP had internal resources as well, in creative politicians with brilliant tactical minds.

Among the prime ideological assets of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century was its redefinition of “socialization” from “common ownership of the means of production” to increasing “democratic influence over the economy.” [17] Starting out in a socialist-liberal coalition fighting for the vote, the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) defined socialism as the development of democracy—political and economic. It has been argued that this modification of socialism was key to the SAP’s comparative ability to form coalitions, innovate, and govern where other European social democratic parties became crippled and crumbled under Right-wing regimes.[18]

The Swedish Social Democrats could count the middle class among their solidaristic working class constituency by recognizing the middle class as “economically dependent,” “working people,” or among the “progressive citizens,” rather than as sub-capitalists.[19] “The party does not aim to support and help [one] working class at the expense of the others,” the Social Democratic congress of 1932 established. In fact, with social democratic policies that refrained from supporting inefficient and low-profit businesses (Except supporting small business ownership as an economic strategy for refugee immigrant families.) in favor of cultivating higher-quality working conditions, as well as a strong commitment to public education, the middle class in Sweden became so large that the capitalist class (broadly speaking) has remained concentrated (compared to countries where policy encourages a large low-profit, high failure rate, low-wage, small business sector).[20]

Not only did the SAP fuse the growing middle class into their constituency, they also brilliantly forged initial and subsequent periodic coalitions with small-scale farmers (as members of the “exploited classes”) to great strategic effect. [21] Their trans-working class and red-green coalitions were key to Social Democrat successes. A backbone socialist ideology allowed the SAP to long maintain a prescient, and effective view of the working class: “[The SAP] does not question…whether those who have become capitalism’s victims…are industrial workers, farmers, agricultural laborers, forestry workers, store clerks, civil servants or intellectuals,” asserted the party’s 1932 election manifesto.[22]

Folkhemmet: The SAP’s Strategic Co-optation of Conservative Nationalist Ideology

As the SAP has worked more or less constructively with Left parties serving as a radical edge, the Social Democrats have borrowed from socialists some of their discourse, and decreasingly, the socialist understanding of the structurally-compromised position of labor under capitalism.

Even more creatively, the Social Democrats commandeered selected, transcendental images from such nationalists as Rudolf Kjellen (1912), very effectively undercutting fascism’s appeal in Sweden. [23] In this way, Per Albin Hansson declared that “there is no more patriotic party than the [SAP since] the most patriotic act is to create a land in which all feel at home,” famously igniting Swedes’ innermost longing for transcendence with the idea of the Folkhem (1928), or People’s Home. “The expansion of the party to a people’s party does not mean and must not mean a watering down of socialist demands,” Hansson soothed. [24]

“The basis of the home is community and togetherness. The good home does not recognize any privileged or neglected members, nor any favorite or stepchildren. In the good home there is equality, consideration, co-operation, and helpfulness. Applied to the great people’s and citizens’ home this would mean the breaking down of all the social and economic barriers that now separate citizens into the privileged and the neglected, into the rulers and the dependents, into the rich and the poor, the propertied and the impoverished, the plunderers and the plundered. Swedish society is not yet the people’s home. There is a formal equality, equality of political rights, but from a social perspective, the class society remains, and from an economic perspective the dictatorship of the few prevails” (Hansson 1928).[25]

Yet the Social Democratic Party promoted Folkhemmet as a socialist home with an unfinished agenda at a point in which the party forswore disruptive working class strategy and distanced itself from the policy tool of nationalization (Although there were exceptions. The railway companies were nationalized from 1939-1948, the LKAB mining company was nationalized in 1957, and large parts of the banking sector were nationalized in 1992).

ALMPs, Centralized Bargaining, & Full Employment: Social Democratic Policies

The Social Democratic Party is generally recognized as the main architect of the progressive taxation, free trade, low-unemployment, Active Labor Market Policies (ALMP)-based Swedish welfare state that was developed in the years after World War II. Sweden emerged sound from the Great Depression with a brief, successful “Keynesianism-before Keynes” economic program advocated by Ernst Wigforss, a prominent Social Democrat who educated himself in economics by studying the work of the British radical Liberal economists. The voluntary 1938 Saltsjöbaden capital-labor agreement, regulating and constraining capital’s and labor’s tactical conflict repertoires, established the cooperative institutional foundation for three decades of centralized bargaining. The social democratic labor market policies (ALMPs) were developed in the 1940s and 1950s by LO (Landsorganisationen i Sverige, the blue-collar union federation) economists Gosta Rehn and Rudolf Meidner. [26]

The Rehn-Meidner model featured the centralized system of wage bargaining that aimed to both set wages at a just level and promote business efficiency and productivity. With the pre-1983 cooperation of capital and labor federations that bargained independently of the state, the state determined that wages would be higher than the market would set in firms that were inefficient or uncompetitive and lower than the market would set in firms that were highly productive and competitive. Workers were compensated with state-sponsored retraining and relocating; as well, the state reformed wages to the goal of “equal pay for equal work,” eliminated unemployment (“the reserve army of labor”) “as a disciplinary stick,” and kept incomes consistently rising, while taxing progressively and pooling social wealth to deliver services through local governments. [27] Social Democratic policy in Sweden has traditionally emphasized a state spending structure whereby public services are supplied via local government, as opposed to emphasizing social insurance program transfers. [28]

From Emulation to Discipline: On the Response of Anglo-america to Swedish Social Democracy

The depiction of Swedish society abroad has reflected or rebuked these social democratic policies. The early Swedish “red-green” coalition encouraged Nordic-networked socialists in the state of Minnesota, in the U.S., to dedicate efforts to building a similarly potent labor-farmer alliance that put the socialists in the governorship (who could then use the National Guard to defend striking workers from Pinkerton Detectives), ran model innovative statewide anti-racism programs in the early years of the twentieth century, and enabled federal forest managers in Minnesota to practice a precocious ecological-socialism, before Democratic Party reformers appropriated the Minnesota Farm-Labor Party infrastructure to the liberal Democratic Party in 1944.[29]

On the other hand, policies comprising the Nordic model have often been depicted, in American conservative circles and the American press, as wreaking havoc upon Swedish society. At a July 27, 1960 Republican National Committee breakfast in Chicago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower disingenuously claimed that “a friendly European country (commentators read this as Sweden)…has a tremendous record for socialistic operation, following a socialistic philosophy, and the record shows that their rate of suicide has gone up almost unbelievably and I think they were almost the lowest nation in the world for that. Now they have more than twice our rate. Drunkenness has gone up. Lack of ambition is discernible on all sides.”[30] Unflattering depictions of Swedish society, emanating from conservative American competitive distaste for social democratic policies, have not withered over time. Arguing that the Swedish approach to Muslims is too lenient, a typical [47] New York Times editorial claims, “(C)learly, various experiments close to the heart of Swedish democracy and Swedish socialism have gone wrong.”[31]

Sweden & Global Social Disruption

Under the Social Democrats’ administration, Sweden retained neutrality, as a foreign policy guideline, during the wars of the twentieth century, including the Cold War. Neutrality preserved the Swedish economy and boosted Sweden’s economic competitiveness in the first half of the twentieth century, as other European countries’ economies were devasted by war.[32] Under Olof Palme‘s Social Democratic leadership Sweden further aggravated the hostility of political conservatives when Palme openly and unequivocally denounced US imperial aggression in Vietnam. In a typical fit of pique, Nixon temporarily suspended diplomatic ties with the social democratic country. Olaf Palme was assassinated in 1986; while many petty criminals have been fingered for the crime, it is popularly believed the CIA was the assassinator, due to UN mediator Palme’s characteristic lack of sympathy for the conservative Americans’ Iran-Contra operation at that time.

The Swedish neutrality policy has changed with the contemporary ascendance of the bourgeois coalition, and Sweden has committed troops to support the Anglosphere’s imperial adventures in Afghanistan and other oil-strategic Islamic countries.

Sweden and its capitalists have long prospered by defense industry. Under Social Democratic governance, some of this profit was converted into relatively strong overseas humanitarian programs and a comparatively well-developed refugee program, that is nonetheless a lightning rod for neoliberalization arguments.[33]

Tipping Point / Not with a Bang but a Whimper: 
The Rejection of Socialism, the Triumph of the SAP Neoliberals & The Decline of Social Democracy in Sweden

Because the Rehn-Meidner model allowed capitalists owning very productive and efficient firms to retain excess profits at the expense of the firms’ workers, workers in these firms began to agitate for a share of the profits in the 1970s. Meidner established a study committee that came up with a 1976 proposal that entailed transferring the excess profits into investment funds controlled by communities and the workers in the efficient firms. This was a social democratic precipice for Sweden. Capital immediately distinguished this proposal as socialism, and launched an unprecedented opposition that became amplified by the global neoliberal movement. The Social Democratic Party blinked, and backed away from the progressive “reform”. [34] Here was the real limit to social democracy’s promise of a kinder, gentler transition to socialism.

As Swedish capital increasingly moved Swedish investment into other European countries with the coalescing of the European Union, a hegemonic consensus arose among the elite financial community: progressive taxation and pro-egalitarian redistribution became economic heresy.[35] Financial capital struck when the Swedish government imposed a miniscule financial tax on local brokerage services (The experimenting state neglected to impose the tax on foreign broker services, and this is regarded as the policy’s fatal flaw.); foreign investors removed their speculative funds to solicitous London, and domestic investors reduced their number of equity trades.[48]

Decline in per capita GDP after the 1970s portrays the Swedish economy in a dimming light, but it is important to note not only did profit rates begin to fall world-wide in the 1970s,[37] also this period saw rightward changes in Social Democratic ideology and policies, growing disenchantment with the SAP, and the electoral rise of the bourgeois coalition in place of the Social Democrats. A leading proponent of capital’s cause within the SAP at the time, Social Democrat Minister of Trade (1970-1975) and Finance Ministry member Kjell-Olof Feldt reminisced in a Swedish Playboy interview about his role in the SAP’s rightward turn,

“The negative inheritance I received from my predecessor Gunnar Sträng (Minister of Finance 1955 – 1976) was a strongly progressive tax system with high marginal taxes. This was supposed to bring about a just and equal society. But I eventually came to the opinion that it simply didn’t work out that way he concluded. Progressive taxes created instead a society of wranglers, cheaters, peculiar manipulations, false ambitions and new injustices. It took me at least a decade to get a part of the party to see this.”[36]

Social Democratic neoliberal measures instituted in the 1980s–including deregulating the currency, dropping corporate taxation and taxation on high income-earners, and switching from anti-unemployment policies to anti-inflationary policies–were exacerbated by international recession, unchecked currency speculation, and a centre-right government led by Carl Bildt, creating the financial crisis, and then state fiscal crisis, of the early 1990s.[38]

When the Social Democrats returned to power in 1992, they responded to the induced fiscal crisis by stabilizing the currency and nationalizing a large part of the banking system. As well, in the standard neoliberal Shock Doctrine approach of the era, the SAP reduced the welfare state and privatized public services and goods. With the collapse of the Left bank that was the Soviet Union, Right pressure ran amok worldwide, and Social Democratic Party leaders sought to tie the SAP, their own careers, and Sweden to the European Union’s (EU) fortunes. Goran Persson and Mona Sahlin promoted EU  membership, and the Swedish referendum passed by 52-48% in favor of joining the E.U. on August 14, 1994. However, inasmuch as the SAP claimed that it would allow Swedes to influence the rest of Europe, the neoliberal SAP’s turn to the EU was received with deep ambivalence if not popular disfavor in Sweden. In a subsequent referendum, Swedes rejected the SAP leadership’s efforts to abandon Swedish monetary policy (semi-)control by converting to the euro currency.

Withal, many of the aspects of the social democratic welfare state continued to function at a high level, due in no small part to both path dependency and the exemplary competency and efficiency of the feminized public sector workforce.[39] As well, the Social Democrats initiated studies on the effects of the neoliberal changes, and the dismally-regressive picture that emerged from those findings allowed the party to reduce many tax expenditures, slightly increase taxes on high income-earners and significantly reduce taxes on food. The Social Democratic Finance Minister increased spending on child support and continued to pay down the public debt.[40] At the turn of the twenty-first century, Sweden has a well-regarded, generally robust economy, and the average quality of life, given government transfers, is very high, inequality is about the lowest in the world– though as elsewhere it is rising (the gini coefficient is .28), and social mobility is high (compared to other affluent but more sclerotic countries following Anglosphere and Catholic Conservative traditions) [41].

The twenty-first century Social Democratic Party champions “an open economy, strong trade unions and generous welfare” as the “pillars of the Swedish model,” [42] as opposed to the corporatist decision making institutions, and solidaristic wage policies that formerly constituted the Swedish Model. [43] Contemporary liberal Swedish Social Democratic politicians urge all “normal” European social democratic parties to “forswear all Marxist ideas,” as the German SPD did at Bad Godesberg in 1959.[44] Where decommodifying policy provides resources to working class people to help them have some independence from employer and capitalist class control,[45] Social Democratic efforts to decommodify workers have declined.

Even as initiatives to re-commodify workers gained momentum, Swedish feminists and Greens pushed the Social Democratic Party to pursue environmentalist and feminist policies which defend the conditions of reproduction and continue to push for decommodification in ways that take gender roles into account. Feminist policies formed and implemented by the Social Democratic Party and its coalitional partners, the Left Party and the Greens, include paid maternity and paternity leave, high employment for women in the public sector, combining flexible work with living wages and benefits, providing public support (still to an insufficient degree) for women in their traditional responsibilities for care giving, and policies to stimulate women’s political participation and leadership. Reviewing policies and institutional practices for their impact on women had become common in social democratic governance.

However, the variety of targeted social progressivism that can accompany neoliberal economic management is designed to dismantle broad freedoms-expanding social democratic foundations. Identity champions, including within the SAP, also allied with the post-1990 conservative “immigration crisis” political campaign, leading to the development of an “immigration crisis” consensus that fanned a passionate fear of order loss across Swedish society, promoted a desire for law and order, put labor institutions in question, and advanced the strengthened bourgeois coalition at the expense of the decreasingly-distinctive SAP in 2004 and thereafter.[46]

It appears that the SAP strives to model its post-socialist/social democracy role in Swedish society upon the UK’s New Labour and the US’s Democrat, somewhat more legitimation-oriented, capitalist parties. It remains to be seen, whether the LO and the other labor confederations will reconsider the Saltsjöbaden concessions, should a more favorable political opportunity structure of protest and disruption arise globally.


^ “Socialdemokraterna tappar medlemmar”, Svenska Dagbladet, 2007-03-19. Retrieved on 2007-03-27. (in Swedish)
^ Hur röstade LO-medlemmar?, Social bakgrund – sysselsättning relaterat till partiröst SVT Valu (Parliamentary election exit poll)
^ (Swedish)Historisk statistik över valåren 1910 – 2006, from Statistics Sweden, accessed June 14, 2007
^ Sundström, Eric. 2006. “Election analysis: Why we lost.”.
6) Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
Misgeld, Molin & Amark. 1992. Creating Social Democracy. Penn State: Ch 2 Esping-Anderson on the prelude to soc dem, Ch 3 Amark on the trade union movement behind social democracy, Ch 4 Gidlund on how the popular movement transformed into a party, Ch 6 Odhner’s “Workers and farmers shape the Swedish model.”
Olsen, Gregg. The Politics of the Welfare State. Ch 6 “Societal Actors: Pressure from Above & Below.”
Alapuro, Risto. 1999. “On the repertoires of collective action in France and the Nordic countries.” TBD.
Pp. 101-102 in Adler-Karlsson, Gunnar. 1967. Functional Socialism. Stockholm: Prisma. Cited on p. 196 in Berman, Sheri. 2006. The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, MA.
^ Pp. 258-259 in Erlander, Tage. 1956 SAP Congress Protokoll, in Från Palm to Palme: Den Svenska Socialdemokratins Program. Stockholm: Raben and Sjögren. Cited in Berman 2006: 196. Abrahamson, Peter. “The Scandinavian model of welfare.” TBD
^ Berman 2006: 153
^ in a letter to Axel Danielsson in jail (1889), reprinted on p. 189 in Från Palm to Palme: Den Svenska Socialdemokratins Program. Stockholm: Raben and Sjögren. Cited in Berman 2006:156.
^ Korpi, Walter and Stern. 2004. “Women’s employment in Sweden: Globalization, deindustrialization, and the labor market experiences of Swedish Women 1950-2000.” Globalife Working Paper No. 51. Korpi, Walter and Joakim Palme. 2003. “New politics and class politics in the conext of austerity and globalization: Welfare state regress in 18 countries 1975-1995.” Stockholm: Stockholm University. Korpi, Walter. 2003. “Welfare state regress in Western Europe: Politics, Institutions, Globalization, and Europeanization.” Annual Review of Sociology 29: 589-609. Korpi, Walter. 1996. “Eurosclerosis and the sclerosis of objectivity: On the role of velues among economic policy experts.” Economic Journal 106: 1727-1746. Notermans, Ton. 1997. “Social democracy and external constraints.” Pp. 201-239 in Spaces of globalization: Reasserting the power of the local, edited by K.R. Cox. New York: The Guildord Press. Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pred, Alan. 2000. Even in Sweden: Racisms, racialized spaces, and the popular geographical imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ryner, Magnus. TBD. SAF. 1993. The Swedish Employers’ Confederation: An Influential Voice in Public Affairs. Stockholm: SAF. Stephens, John D. 1996. “The Scandinavian welfare states: Achievements, crisis, and prospects.” Pp. 32-65 in Welfare states in transition: National adaptations in global economies, edited by Gosta Esping-Anderson. Wennerberg, Tor. 1995. “Undermining the welfare state in Sweden.” ZMagazine, June. Accessed at [1].
^ Vartiainen, Juhana. 2001. “Understanding Swedish Social Democracy: Victims of Success?” pp. 21-52 in Social Democracy in Neoliberal Times, edited by Andrew Glyn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
^ Berman 2006: 153-154, 156
^ Berman 2006: 159
^ Berman 2006: 152
^ Cohen, Peter. 1994. “Sweden: The Model That Never Was.” Monthly Review, July-August.
^ Berman 2006: 196
^ Berman 2006: 153, 155
^ Berman 2006:157
^ Stevenson, Paul. 1979. “Swedish Capitalism: An Essay Review.” Crime, Law, and Social Change 3(2).
^ Berman 2006: 158-159; 166-167
^ Reprinted in Håkansson, edl, Svenska Valprogram, Vol. 2, and cited in Berman 2006:173
^ Berman 2006: 163-164; 170
^ Hansson, Per Albin. “Folk och Klass”: 80. Cited in Berman 2006: 166
^ Berkling. Från Fram till Folkhemmet: 227-230; Tilton. The Political Theory of Swedish Social Democracy: 126-127.
^ Carroll, Eero. 2003. “International organisations and welfare states at odds? The case of Sweden.” Pp.75-88 in The OECD and European welfare states, edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1985. Politics against markets: The social-democratic road to power. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Korpi, Walter. 1992. Halkar Sverige efter? Sveriges ekonomiska tillväxt 1820-1990 i jämförande belysning., Stockholm: Carlssons. Olsen, Gregg M. 1999. “Half empty or half full? The Swedish welfare state in transition.” Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 36 (2): 241-268. Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
^ Berman, Sheri. 2006. The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, MA
^ Abrahamson, Peter. 1999. “The Scandinavian model of welfare.” TBD
^ Delton, Jennifer A. 2002. Making Minnesota Liberal. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Hudson, Mark. 2007. The Slow Co-Production of Disaster: Wildfire, Timber Capital, and the United States Forest Service. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon.
^ Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1960. From Public Papers of the President. Dwight D. Eisenhower Library. Available online at
^ Caudwell, Christopher. 2006. “Islam on the outskirts of the welfare state.” The New York Times.
^ Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1985. Politics against markets: The social-democratic road to power. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
^ Integrationsverket website TBD; Alund, Aleksandra & Carl-Ulrik Schierup TBD; Mulinari, Diana and Anders Neergaard. 2004. Den Nya Svenska Arbetarklassen. Borea: Borea Bokforlag.
^ Berman 2006: 198
^ Steinmo, Sven. 2001. “Bucking the Trend? The Welfare State and Global Economy: The Swedish Case Up Close.” University of Colorado, December 18.
^ Sjöberg, T. (1999). Intervjun: Kjell-Olof Feldt [Interview: Kjell-Olof Feldt].” Playboy Skandinavia(5): 37-44.
^ McNally, David. 1999. “Turbulence in the World Economy.” Monthly Review 51(2).
^ Englund, P. 1990. “Financial deregulation in Sweden.” European Economic Review 34 (2-3): 385-393. Korpi TBD. Meidner, R. 1997. “The Swedish model in an era of mass unemployment.” Economic and Industrial Democracy 18 (1): 87-97. Olsen, Gregg M. 1999. “Half empty or half full? The Swedish welfare state in transition.” Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 36 (2): 241-268.
^ Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
^ Steinmo, Sven. 2001. “Bucking the Trend? The Welfare State and Global Economy: The Swedish Case Up Close.” University of Colorado, December 18.
^ Steinmo, Sven. 2001. “Bucking the Trend? The Welfare State and Global Economy: The Swedish Case Up Close.” University of Colorado, December 18.
^ Sundström, Eric. 2007. “Första maj 2007 i Hudiksvall.”
^ Steinmo, Sven. 2001. “Bucking the Trend? The Welfare State and Global Economy: The Swedish Case Up Close.” University of Colorado, December 18.
^ Sundström, Eric. 2007. “Royal’s defeat”.
^ Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1990. The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Esping-Anderson, Gosta. “Three political economies.” Accessed at Therborn, Goran, TBD.
^ Acker, Joan. Hobson, Barbara. Sainsbury, Diane. 1999. “Gender and the making of the Norwegian and Swedish welfare states.” Pp. 153-168 in Comparing social welfare systems in Nordic Europe and France. Nantes: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Ange-Guepin. Älund, Aleksandra and Carl-Ulrik Schierup. 1991. Paradoxes of multiculturalism. Aldershot: Avebury.
46] Fridell, M. 2007. The Politics of Citizenship.
47] Chernomas, Robert and Ian Hudson. 2011. The Gatekeeper: 60 Years of Economics According to the New York Times. Paradigm Publishers.
[48] European Commission. Impact Assessment: On a common system of financial transaction tax. Brussels.

Nu på Svenska:

Det socialdemokratiska partiet i Sverige
Eftersom det har varit redigerats bort från den här versionen nu ska jag äga upp till redigering och skriva denna Wikipedia posten i nästan sin helhet, medan jag gjorde min svenska avhandling forskning skriva upp några år tillbaka. Jag har re-edited det här lite för att få ut delar av berättelsen som jag tycker är relevant för att förstå vad som gör socialdemokratin fästing, men som inte särskilt vädja till Wikipedias konservativa, nationalistiska och liberala patruller.
Svenska socialdemokratin ryggrad: Sociala Rörelser och Socialism
Eftersom partiet har haft makten av Office för en majoritet av tal efter starten 1889, ideologi och politik det socialdemokratiska partiet (SAP, Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti har) hade stort inflytande på svensk politik. svenska socialdemokratin [5] är delvis en följd av den starka och välorganiserade 1880 och 1890-talet arbetarklassens frigörelse måttlighet och religiösa liberaliseringen folkrörelsestrukturen (folk rörelser), genom vilken bonde-och arbetstagarorganisationer såväl kraftigt störd status quo och trängde statliga strukturer tidigt, vilket banar väg för val politik. Dessa sociala rörelser hade ett stort inflytande på den politiska bildningen i Sverige (åtminstone delvis eftersom de upplevde mindre statlig repression än arbetarorganisationer har till exempel hela Anglosphere – Storbritannien, USA, Kanada, Australien). På detta sätt är svenska socialdemokratiska ideologin böjs av en socialistisk tradition foregrounding omfattande och individuell mänsklig utveckling. [6]
Gunnar Adler-Karlsson (1967) liknas tryggt Socialdemokraterna projektet till framgångsrika socialdemokratiska försök att avyttra kungen av all makt, men formellt storhet: “Utan farliga och störande interna bråk … Efter ett par decennier de (kapitalister) kommer förbli kanske formellt som kungar, men i verkligheten som nakna symboler för ett passerat och sämre utveckling stat. “[7] Emellertid hittills kapitalisterna har avgjort outmanoeuvered denna ambition, vilket är i varje fall inte troligt delas av nyliberala partimedlemmar .
Liberalism på svenska socialdemokratin
Liberalism har även starkt infunderas socialdemokratisk ideologi. Liberalism är orienterade socialdemokratiska mål som säkerhet, som där Tage Erlander, premiärminister från 1946-1969, beskrivs säkerhet “för stort problem för den enskilde att lösa med enbart sin egen makt.” [8] Upp till 1980-talet, då nyliberalismen och neoconservatism började ge ett alternativ, aggressivt pro-kapitalistiska modell för att säkra social inaktivitet, var SAP kunna säkra kapitalets samarbete med övertygande aktiekapitalet det delade mål att öka den ekonomiska tillväxten och minska de sociala friktion. För liberala socialdemokrater är marxismen i bästa löst anses vara värdefull för sin betoning på att förändra världen för en mer rättvis och bättre framtid. [9] År 1889, Hjalmar Branting, ledare för SAP från dess grundande till hans död år 1925 hävdade, “Jag tror … att man gynnar de anställda … så mycket mer genom att tvinga igenom reformer som lindrar och stärker sin position än genom att säga att endast en revolution kan hjälpa dem.” [10]
Några observatörer har hävdat att denna liberala aspekten har stelnat i allt nyliberala ideologi och politik så småningom maximera latitud kraftfulla marknadsaktörerna. [11] Visst har konservativa neoklassiska ekonomer varit fast trycka socialdemokratiska partiet i kapitulera till de flesta av kapital traditionella preferenser och privilegier, som de kallar “moderna industriella relationer.” [12]
Både socialistiska och liberala aspekter partiets påverkades av de dubbla sympatier tidiga ledaren Hjalmar Branting, och manifestera i partiets första åtgärderna: att minska arbetsdagen till åtta timmar och upprättandet av franchise för arbetarklassen.
Socialdemokratiska tillgångar
Vissa kommentatorer har sett partiet tappa fokus med ökningen av SAP nyliberala studiegrupper, har den svenska socialdemokratiska partiet i många år vädjat till svenskarna som innovativa, kapabel, och värt att köra staten. [13] Socialdemokraterna blev en av de mest framgångsrika politiska partier i världen, med vissa strukturella fördelar utöver sin gynnsamma barn enligt pulserande folkrörelsestrukturen.
Vid utgången av det nittonde århundradet, liberaler och socialister var tvungen att gå samman för att öka etablering demokrati, som var vid den tidpunkten pinsamt kvar i Sverige, de kunde peka på formella demokratiska framsteg på andra håll för att motivera politisk handling. [14] Sverige var ett semiperifert, lilla landet i början av nittonhundratalet ansåg oviktigt för konkurrerande globala politiska fraktioner, så det var tillåtet mer självständighet, medan snart samexistens mellan kommunistiska och kapitalistiska stormakterna får socialdemokratin att frodas i de geopolitiska mellanrum. [15]
SAP har resursen att dela idéer och erfarenheter och arbetar med sina systerpartier i hela Norden. Sverige kan också låna och förnya på idéer från engelskspråkiga ekonomer, vilket var en fördel för socialdemokraterna i den stora depressionen, men mer fördelaktigt för de borgerliga partierna under 1980-talet och därefter. Medan SAP inte varit oskyldig undertrycka kommunister, [16] partiet har totalt nytta i regeringskoalitionen och att undvika allvarlig stagnation och drift, genom att delta i relativt konstruktiva relationer med mer radikala vänsterpartiet och miljöpartiet, och stödja och arbetar med ett annat externt bundsförvant LO arbete förbundet, vilket har levererats till koalitionens sinnrika arbetskostnader ekonomer under åren. SAP haft interna resurser samt, i kreativa politiker med lysande taktiska sinne.
Bland de främsta ideologiska tillgångar den svenska socialdemokratiska partiet under de första två tredjedelarna av nittonhundratalet var dess omdefiniering av “socialisering” från “gemensamt ägande av medel för produktionen “att öka” demokratiskt inflytande över ekonomin. “[17] Med utgångspunkt i ett socialistiskt-liberal koalition kämpar för omröstningen, den svenska socialdemokratiska partiet (SAP) definieras socialismen som utveckling av demokrati-politisk  och ekonomisk . Det har hävdats att denna ändring av socialism var nyckeln till SAP: s jämförande förmåga att bilda koalitioner, förnya, och styra där andra europeiska socialdemokratiska partier blev förlamad och föll under höger-wing regimer. [18]
De svenska socialdemokraterna kunde räkna medelklass bland sina solidariska arbetarklassen valkrets genom att erkänna medelklassen som “ekonomiskt beroende”, “arbetande människor”, eller bland de “progressiva medborgarna”, snarare än som sub-kapitalister. [19] “Partiet inte syftar till att stödja och hjälpa [en] arbetarklassen på bekostnad av de andra, “den socialdemokratiska kongressen 1932 fastställts. I själva verket, med socialdemokratiska politik som avstått från att stödja ineffektiva och låg vinst företagen (utom stödja små företagsägande som en ekonomisk strategi för flyktingbarn invandrarfamiljer.) Till förmån för odling av högre kvalitet arbetsvillkor, samt ett starkt engagemang för allmän utbildning, medelklassen i Sverige blev så stor att den kapitalistiska klassen (i stort sett) har varit koncentrerat (jämfört med länder där politiken uppmuntrar ett stort låg vinst, hög felfrekvens, lågavlönad, småföretagen). [20 ]
Inte bara SAP smälta den växande medelklassen i deras valkrets de också briljant förfalskade initiala och efterföljande regelbundna koalitioner med småskaliga bönder (som medlemmar av “exploaterade klasserna”) till stor strategisk effekt. [21] Deras trans arbetarfientliga och röd-grön koalitioner skulle nyckeln till socialdemokratiska framgångar. En ryggraden socialistisk ideologi tillät SAP till lång upprätthålla en förutseende och effektivt utsikt över arbetarklassen: “[SAP] inte fråga … om de som har blivit kapitalismens offer … är industriarbetare, lantbrukare, lantarbetare och skogsarbetare, lagra kontorister, tjänstemän eller intellektuella “, hävdade partiets 1932 valmanifest [22].
Folkhemmet: SAP strategiska omvalet av konservativa nationalistiska ideologin
Som SAP har arbetat mer eller mindre konstruktivt med vänsterpartierna fungerar som en radikal kant, de Socialdemokraterna har lånat från socialister några av deras diskurs och allt mindre, den socialistiska förståelsen av strukturellt äventyras positionen av arbetet under kapitalismen. Ännu mer kreativt, socialdemokraterna beslag utvalda, transcendentala bilder från sådana nationalister som Rudolf Kjellén (1912), mycket effektivt underskred fascismen vädjan i Sverige. [23] På detta sätt Per Albin Hansson förklarade att “det finns inte mer patriotiska part än [SAP då] den mest patriotiska handling är att skapa ett land där alla känner sig hemma”, berömda tända svenskarnas innersta längtan efter transcendens med tanken på Folkhem (1928), eller folkhemmet. “Utbyggnaden av part i ett folkets parti betyder inte och får inte innebära en urvattning av socialistiska krav,” Hansson lugnas. [24]
“Grunden för hemmet är gemenskapen och gemenskap. Den goda hemmet känner inte igen några privilegierade eller försummade medlemmar, inte heller någon favorit eller styvbarn. I det goda hemmet finns jämlikhet, hänsyn, samarbete och hjälpsamhet. Tillämpat på det stora människors och medborgarnas hem detta skulle innebära avskaffandet av alla sociala och ekonomiska hinder som nu separata medborgarna in i privilegierade och försummade, i de styrande och de anhöriga, i rika och fattiga, besuttna och utarmade, de plundrare och plundrade. svenska samhället är ännu inte folkets hem. Det finns en formell jämlikhet, lika politiska rättigheter, men ur ett socialt perspektiv förblir klassamhället och ur ett ekonomiskt perspektiv diktatur få råder “(Hansson 1928) [25].
Men det socialdemokratiska partiet främjas Folkhemmet som en socialist hem med ett ännu oavslutat program vid en punkt där den part forswore störande arbetarklassens strategi och avstånd från den politik som verktyg för nationalisering (Även om det fanns undantag Järnvägsbolagen nationaliserades från 1939. – 1948 var LKAB nationaliserade 1957, och stora delar av banksektorn nationaliserades 1992).
Aktiva arbetsmarknadsåtgärder, centraliserad förhandlingar, och full sysselsättning: socialdemokratisk politik
Socialdemokraterna är allmänt erkänt som det viktigaste arkitekten av den progressiva beskattning, fri handel, låg arbetslöshet, aktiv arbetsmarknadspolitik (aktiva arbetsmarknadsåtgärder)-baserad svenska välfärdsstaten som utvecklats under åren efter andra världskriget. Sverige kom ljud från den stora depressionen med en kort, framgångsrik “keynesianismen-före Keynes” ekonomiska program som förespråkas av Ernst Wigforss, en framstående socialdemokrat som utbildade sig i ekonomi genom att studera arbetet i de brittiska radikala liberala ekonomer. Den frivilliga 1938  Saltsjöbaden mellan arbete och kapital avtalet reglera och begränsa kapitalets och arbetets taktiska repertoar konflikt, som inrättades kooperativet institutionella grunden för tre decennier av centraliserad förhandlingar. De socialdemokratiska arbetsmarknadspolitiken (aktiva arbetsmarknadsåtgärder) utvecklades under 1940-talet och 1950-talet av LO (Landsorganisationen i Sverige, den blå-collar fackliga federation) ekonomer Gösta Rehn och Rudolf Meidner. [26]
Den Rehn-Meidner-modellen presenterade centraliserat system för löneförhandlingar som syftade till att båda inställda lönerna på en rättvis nivå och främja företagens effektivitet och produktivitet. Med pre-1983 samarbete mellan kapital och arbetskraft förbund som förhandlade oberoende av staten, staten beslutat att lönerna skulle vara högre än marknaden skulle sätta i företag som var ineffektiva eller icke konkurrenskraftiga och lägre än marknaden skulle sätta i företag som var mycket produktiva och konkurrenskraftiga. Arbetare kompenseras med statsunderstödd vidareutbildning och omplacering, också, staten reformeras lönerna till målet “lika lön för lika arbete”, elimineras arbetslöshet (“den reservarmé av arbetskraft”) “som en disciplinär pinne” och höll inkomster ökar konsekvent, medan beskattning successivt och samla socialt välstånd för att leverera tjänster via lokala regeringar. [27] socialdemokratisk politik i Sverige har traditionellt betonat en struktur statliga utgifter där offentliga tjänster tillhandahålls via lokala myndigheter, i motsats till att betona sociala transfereringar försäkringar program. [28]
Från Emulation för att Disciplin: på respons av Anglo-Amerika till svenska socialdemokratin
Skildringen av det svenska samhället i utlandet har reflekteras eller tillrättavisade dessa socialdemokratiska politik. Den tidiga svenska “röd-gröna” koalition uppmuntras nordisk-nätverk socialister i delstaten Minnesota i USA, att ägna arbetet med att bygga upp en liknande potent arbetskraft bonden alliansen som satte socialisterna i governorshipen (WHO kan sedan använda det nationella vakt för att försvara strejkande arbetare från Pinkerton Detectives), sprang modell innovativa Statewide anti-rasism program i början av det tjugonde århundradet, och aktiverade federala skogsförvaltare i Minnesota att träna en brådmogen ekologisk-socialismen, innan Demokratiska partiets reformatorer beslag på Minnesota Farm -Labor Party infrastruktur för att den liberala demokratiska partiet i 1944. [29]
Å andra sidan har politiken som ingår i nordiska modellen ofta avbildas i amerikanska konservativa kretsar och den amerikanska pressen, som anställer stor förödelse på det svenska samhället. Vid en 27 jul 1960 Republican National Committee frukost i Chicago, hävdade president Dwight D. Eisenhower disingenuously att “en vänlig europeiskt land (kommentatorer läsa detta som Sverige) … har en enorm rekord för socialistisk drift, efter en socialistisk filosofi och posten visar att deras antalet självmord har gått upp nästan otroligt och jag tror att de var nästan de lägsta nationen i världen för det. Nu har de mer än dubbelt våra takt. Dryckenskap har gått upp. bristen på ambition kan skönjas på alla sidor “. [30] föga smickrande skildringar av det svenska samhället, som härrör från konservativa amerikanska konkurrenskraftiga avsmak för socialdemokratisk politik, har inte vissnat över tiden. Att hävda att den svenska inställning till muslimer är alltför överseende, en typisk [47]  New York Times redaktionella anspråk “(C) gäller helt enkelt, olika experiment nära hjärtat av svenska demokratin och svenska socialismen har gått fel.” [31]
Sverige & Global sociala störningar
Enligt socialdemokraternas administration, behöll Sverige neutralitet, som utrikespolitisk riktlinje under krigen i det tjugonde århundradet, inklusive det kalla kriget. Neutralitet bevarade den svenska ekonomin och ökade Sveriges ekonomiska konkurrenskraft under första hälften av nittonhundratalet, som andra europeiska länders ekonomier devasted av krig. [32] Under Olof Palmes ‘s socialdemokratiska ledningen Sveriges ytterligare förvärrat fientlighet politiska konservativa när det Palme öppet och otvetydigt fördömde USA: kejserliga aggressionen i Vietnam. I en typisk anfall av pique, tillfälligt Nixon tillfälligt diplomatiska förbindelser med den socialdemokratiska landet. Olaf Palme mördades år 1986, medan många småbrottslingar har fingrade för brott, är det populärt tror CIA var assassinator, på grund av FN: s medlare Palmes karaktäristiska brist på sympati för konservativa amerikanerna “Iran-Contras drift vid den tidpunkten.
Den svenska neutralitetspolitiken har förändrats i och med den samtida ascendancen av den borgerliga koalitionen, och Sverige har åtagit sig trupper för att stödja Anglosphere kejserliga äventyr i Afghanistan och andra olje-strategiska islamiska länder.
Sverige och dess kapitalister länge blomstrat i försvarsindustrin. Under socialdemokratiska styret, var en del av denna vinst omvandlas till relativt starka utländska humanitära program och en relativt väl utvecklad flyktingprogram, det är ändå en åskledare för neoliberalization argument [33].
Tipping Point / Inte med en Bang, men ett kvidande:  Den Avslag socialismen, en triumf för SAP nyliberalerna & The Decline of Social demokrati i Sverige
Eftersom Rehn-Meidner-modellen får kapitalisterna äger mycket produktiva och effektiva företag att behålla övervinster på bekostnad av företagens anställda, arbetstagare i dessa företag började agitera för en andel av vinsten i 1970-talet. Meidner etablerat en studie kommitté som kom med ett 1976 förslag som innebar att överföra övervinster i investeringsfonder som kontrolleras av samhällen och arbetarna i de effektiva företagen. Det var en socialdemokratisk stup för Sverige. Capital skiljas omedelbart detta förslag som socialism, och inledde en aldrig tidigare skådad opposition som blev förstärks av den globala nyliberala rörelsen. Det socialdemokratiska partiet blinkade, och backas bort från den progressiva “reform”. [34] Här var det  verkligagränsen för socialdemokratin löfte om ett vänligare, mjukare övergång till socialismen.
Som svenska huvudstaden alltmer flyttat Svenskt investeringar i andra europeiska länder med sammansmältning av Europeiska unionen, en hegemonisk konsensus uppstod bland eliten finansvärlden: progressiv beskattning och pro-egalitära omfördelning blev ekonomiskt kätteri. [35] finansiella kapitalet slog då den svenska regeringen införde en mycket liten ekonomisk skatt på lokala mäklartjänster (de experimenterar staten försummat att införa skatt på utländska mäklare tjänster, och detta anses vara den politiken olycklig brist),. utländska investerare ut sina spekulativa pengar till angelägen London och inhemska investerare minskat deras antal aktietransaktioner [48].
Nedgång i BNP per capita efter 1970-talet skildrar den svenska ekonomin i en nedtoning ljus, men det är viktigt att notera inte endast vinstnivåer börjar falla över hela världen under 1970-talet, [37] även denna period såg åt höger förändringar i socialdemokratiska ideologin och politiken, växande missnöje med SAP, och valet ökningen av den borgerliga koalitionen i stället för socialdemokraterna. En ledande förespråkare av kapital sak inom SAP vid den tiden, reminisced socialdemokrat handelsminister (1970-1975) och finansdepartementet medlem Kjell-Olof Feldt i en svensk som Playboy intervju om sin roll i SAP: s åt höger tur.
“Den negativa arvet jag fick från min företrädare Gunnar Sträng (finansminister 1955 till 1976) var en starkt progressivt skattesystem med höga marginalskatter Detta var tänkt att få till stånd ett rättvist och jämlikt samhälle, men jag kom så småningom till uppfattningen att.. det helt enkelt inte fungerade på det sättet han avslutade. progressiva skatter skapade i stället ett samhälle av Wranglers, skojare och egendomliga manipulationer, falska ambitioner och nya orättvisor. Det tog mig minst ett decennium för att få en del av partiet att se detta. “[36]
Socialdemokratiska nyliberala åtgärder som inletts i 1980-talet, inklusive en avreglering av valutan, släppa företagsbeskattning och beskattning av höginkomsttagare arbetare, och växling från anti-arbetslöshet politik för att anti-inflationsdrivande politik – förvärrades av internationell lågkonjunktur, okontrollerade valutaspekulation, och en center-högerregeringen under ledning av Carl Bildt, vilket skapar den finansiella krisen, och sedan staten finansiell kris, i början av 1990-talet. [38]
När socialdemokraterna tillbaka till makten 1992, svarade de att den inducerade finansiell kris genom att stabilisera valuta och nationalisera en stor del av banksystemet. Som väl i standarden nyliberala  Chockdoktrinen tillvägagångssättet i eran minskade SAP välfärdsstaten och privatiserades offentliga tjänster och varor. Med kollapsen av den vänstra banken som var Sovjetunionen, sprang rätt däcktryck amok över hela världen och socialdemokratiska partiledarna försökte knyta SAP, sina egna karriärer och Sveriges anslutning till Europeiska unionens (EU) förmögenheter. Göran Persson och Mona Sahlin främjas EU-medlemskap, och den svenska folkomröstningen passerade 52-48% till förmån för anslutning till EU den 14 augusti 1994. Men eftersom SAP hävdade att det skulle tillåta svenskar att påverka resten av Europa, den nyliberala SAP: s tur att EU fick med djup ambivalens om inte populärt onåd i Sverige. I en efterföljande folkomröstning avvisade svenskar SAP ledningens ansträngningar att överge den svenska penningpolitiken (semi-) kontroll genom att konvertera till euron valutan.
Fortsatte dock många av de aspekter av den socialdemokratiska välfärdsstaten att fungera på en hög nivå, beror ingen liten del till både banan beroende och den exemplariska kompetens för feminiserade offentliga sektorn arbetskraft. [39] Förutom inledde socialdemokraterna studier om effekterna av de nyliberala förändringar, och dystert, regressiva bild som framkom från dessa konstateranden gjorde det möjligt för part minska många skatteutgifter, något höja skatterna på höga inkomster arbetare och avsevärt minska skatten på mat. Den socialdemokratiska finansministern ökat utgifterna för barnbidrag och fortsatte att betala ner statsskulden. [40] I början av det tjugoförsta århundradet, har Sverige en väl betraktas allmänt robust ekonomi, och den genomsnittliga livskvalitet, ges statsandelarna, är mycket hög, är ojämlikheten om lägsta i världen – även på andra håll om det ökar (Gini-koefficienten .28) och social rörlighet är hög (jämfört med de rika, men sklerotisk anglo-amerikanska och katolska länder) [41].
De 20-talet sdp champions “en öppen ekonomi, starka fackföreningar och generösa välfärd” som “pelarna i den svenska modellen”, [42] i motsats till den korporativistiska beslutsfattande institutioner och solidariska lönepolitik som tidigare utgjorde den svenska modellen. [43] Samtida liberala svenska socialdemokratiska politiker uppmanar alla “normala” europeiska socialdemokratiska partierna att “avsvärja alla marxistiska idéer”, som den tyska SPD gjorde i Bad Godesberg 1959. [44] När decommodifying politik ger resurser för att arbetarklassen människor hjälpa dem att ha lite oberoende av arbetsgivare och kapitalistiska klassen kontroll [45] socialdemokratiska ansträngningar att decommodify arbetstagare har minskat.
Även som politik att åter kommodifiera arbetare fart, det socialdemokratiska partiet fortsätta miljöhänsyn och feministiska politik som försvarar villkoren för reproduktionen och fortsätta att verka för decommodification på ett sätt som tar könsroller hänsyn till. Feministiska politik som bildas och genomförs av det socialdemokratiska partiet och dess coalitional partners, vänsterpartiet och miljöpartiet, inkluderar betalas mamma-och pappaledighet, hög sysselsättning för kvinnor inom den offentliga sektorn, att kombinera flexibla arbetsformer med levande löner och förmåner, vilket ger offentligt stöd (fortfarande en otillräcklig grad) för kvinnor i sina traditionella ansvar för vård ge, och strategier för att stimulera kvinnors politiska deltagande och ledarskap. Igenom strategier och institutionella praxis för deras inverkan på kvinnorna hade blivit vanligt i det sociala demokratiskt styre.
Identity mästare, även inom SAP, även allierade med efter-1990 Höger vinge “immigration kris” politisk kampanj, vilket leder till utveckling av en ” invandring krisen “enighet om att fläktade en passionerad rädsla för att skada hela det svenska samhället, främja en önskan om lag och ordning, sätta arbetsmarknadsinstitutioner i fråga, och avancerade den stärkta borgerliga koalitionen på bekostnad av de allt mindre särskiljande SAP år 2004 och därefter. [46]
Det verkar som om SAP strävar efter att modellera sin post-socialist/social demokratin roll i det svenska samhället på Storbritanniens nya Labour och USA: s demokrat, något fler legitimation-orienterade, kapitalistiska partier. Det återstår att se, om LO och de andra förbund arbetskraft kommer att ompröva de Saltsjöbaden eftergifter, bör ett mer gynnsamt politiskt tillfälle struktur protester och störningar uppstår globalt.

Neoliberal = zombified

Can anyone answer me this: How did Schroeder become a neoliberal putz? How did the South African socialists become neoliberal stooges? What the fuck? Do politicians like Schroeder pose as progressives to rise up the ranks of the SPD and then just huddle with a little cabal of neoliberal fucks to sell out a whole society’s achievements to their capitalist masters? A trojan horse for a new round of primitive accumulation?

I got news for you deaf, dumb & blind Europeans: What do you get with neoliberalism? Economic dynamism? A solution to US-centric trade imbalances? I don’t think so. You get the US itself: a crapola, Louisiana-style lotto society, and a one-way ticket down the fascism chute.

Congrats to Oskar Lafontaine and the Linkspartei for their excellent showing. It’s a fucking pity that that old goat Schroeder blocks a left coalition, which could help differentiate the SPD from the rightwing Xian Democrats and Liberals. Apparently Schroeder prefers to imagine that the most important accomplishment he can achieve as the leader of the SPD and Germany is to just implement a bunch of national degradation policies that the Christian Democrats could fix up without him or any social democrats.

I now know why leftists the world over spit when you mention European social democracy. Where the fuck is it going? Why bother? Why call it social democracy? Why not “This Old Political Network (Including Working Class Votes) That We’re Using”?

Why have social democratic parties at all, if they can only come up with right wing coalitions? They’re going to bury themselves, preening their suits and egos, beavering around, smoking hash under the tuteledge of their neoliberal Rasputins from Harvard and Oxford.

And now the Swedes are polling for the neoliberal right parties. Why? What do they think they’ll achieve?