Shockwaves will go through the West in the aftermath of the Swedish General Election on the 9th September. Opinion polls are suggesting that the post-war Swedish consensus is about to be shattered, with it looking increasingly likely that the Sweden Democrats are going to win the most seats. This essay seeks to explain who the Sweden Democrats are and how they rose to prominence.
It’s the Swedish Summer of 2008. The country has been rocked by the news that the Sweden Democrats, considered by most to be neo-Nazis, have just come over the 4% threshold in latest opinion polls. If they can maintain this level, they will enter the Riksdag (Parliament) at the next election. I’m sitting at the waterfront, not far from the centre of Stockholm, discussing the situation with a politically engaged friend of mine, a member of the Social Democrats.
I had just spent the summer in the North of Sweden, a vast and rural area, long known as the heartland of the Social Democrats. The Far North has always been poorer than the Swedish South, for a variety of reasons, and therefore somewhat dependent on government assistance. Many people up there are unemployed and on benefits, and they were not happy about immigration.
Talking to these people and listening to their grievances, I got a sense that the bounds of solidarity had been extended too far in Sweden. These people had been raised to think of Sweden as a giant family, where the high levels of homogeneity meant that everyone had something in common, and so everyone looked out for each other. The mass importation of Muslim and African immigrants could only mean less solidarity for the rural Swedish poor, which was reflected in their poverty.
For whatever reason, this unhappiness with the state of the nation was not taken seriously by the ruling classes. Sweden Democrat voters are poorer and less educated than average (like nationalist voters elsewhere) and the attitude of the Swedish ruling classes seemed to be that these people could be dismissed as simple racists and hicks.
It was apparent from talking to my friend in Stockholm that this grievance movement was not being taken very seriously. Of course the Swedish poor are poor, the argument went, but the refugees are even poorer, so it’s fair that the Swedish poor are made to go to the back of the queue in favour of the refugees. If they didn’t like that, then they didn’t appreciate how good they had it in Sweden, which was of course the world’s best at everything.
In any case, the rural poor were usually just smygracister – a word that describes a person who makes decisions out of racism, but is too ashamed to admit it. I pointed out that calling these angry people who felt betrayed ‘racists’ was not going to help the situation. In fact, it would make them feel that their anger was justified and that the government and the ruling classes had truly betrayed the Swedish people.
But the denial persisted. The Muslims and Africans would “försvenskar sig” (make themselves Swedish) and they would then be exactly like us, and all of the grievances would disappear. Being a psychologist, and having a deep interest in history I knew that the immigrants didn’t give two shits about becoming Swedish, or about Sweden in general. Sweden was, to them, just a bitch to be exploited and used. The fact that she gave herself so willingly was ample justification.
Few agreed with my dire prognosis at the time, but having met and spoken to Sweden Democrats voters, I knew that their movement would only grow in strength. Because the grievances of their voters would not be met, their march to power was inexorable, and that would not be a good thing for a foreigner like myself. For that reason, I decided to leave Sweden in 2008.
Sweden Democrats voters are the disaffected poor, who have come to feel that they are not represented by the neoliberal tag-team of the Social Democrats and the Moderates. They are the people who have lost out from neoliberalism, and from the freedom of capital to drive down wages through strategies such as mass importation of incompatible Third Worlders. They are not just dumb hillbillies who have been aggravated by far-right wing rhetoric.
The way they felt about mass immigration was how I would feel if my parents gave my inheritance away to some random strangers because they felt kinder helping strangers than helping their own family.
Sweden Democrats supporters feel deeply, deeply betrayed by the decision of the Swedish ruling classes to open the borders to the Third World. If you are Swedish, and poor, and you need help from the state for the sake of a physical or mental illness but can’t get it because of a lack of funding, it’s extremely difficult, and galling, to watch the government spend money on refugees.
The heaviest concentration of Sweden Democrats voters is in the Far South, which is also the area with the heaviest concentration of Muslim and African immigrants. In some areas in Skåne, the Sweden Democrats are predicted to get over 40% of the vote – which will be most ethnic Swedes. These are the people who have seen first hand the effects of mass immigration, and they understand more than anyone else how much has been lost, and how bad things could get.
These people are not bad people, and they’re not stupid losers. They’re simply people who have been lied to and betrayed by their rulers, and are angry and trying to take action to prevent further losses and humiliations. They’re not necessarily nice people, and they’re not necessarily open-minded, but neither of those things will stop them from getting their will through.
It’s already apparent that the other parties will work together before they allow the Sweden Democrats into power. After all, the Social Democrats and the Moderates are both neoliberals, and mass immigration is one of the main policy planks of neoliberalism. This can only mean that the Sweden Democrats will continue to grow in strength until the day where they take power outright.
When that day comes, anything can happen. The Sweden Democrats, and their supporters, utterly despite both the Social Democrats and the Moderates, and will be more than happy to throw everything out the window in order to stop Sweden from disintegrating into a Third World country. Anyone who suffers from this, Swede or otherwise, will be considered merely collateral damage.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).