The far-right in Sweden

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The far-right in Sweden


Jimmie Akesson (centre left), leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats party. (© Fredrik Persson/Scanpix/Reuters)

On 14 September, Swedes vote in the general election. The centre-right coalition in power now will probably not win. The next government will probably be a red-green coalition led by the Social Democrats. But, as in the last national election, the Sweden Democrats, a far-right group, might hold the power.

The Sweden Democrats are a nationalist party. They started with the white power movement. And they won their first two seats in the European Parliament last May, after a campaign saying how bad Syrian asylum-seekers, Romanian beggars and Polish labourers are. They made a new group in the European Parliament with Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Italian Five Star Movement.

The party is now hoping to win at least 10 per cent in this election – twice as many as in 2010, when it first entered parliament.

Up to now, all the other parties have said they will not work with them. They do not like their neo-Nazi past. But the Sweden Democrats really want to be part of the important political decisions. They have studied the French Front National and the popular right-wing parties of Norway, Denmark and Finland.

Many people are still against migrants and minorities – particularly Muslims. But they now say they are against the ‘culture’ not the race. The Sweden Democrats want to get working class people to vote for them because they say they represent social solidarity, which the Social Democrats and the old trade unions do not.

But it is good to see that there is now a popular anti-racist movement that is growing quickly. In many parts of the country it is now difficult for Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats to make a speech because there are often anti-racists there shouting, or most of the audience turning to face the other way. Nurses, doctors, firefighters and students have refused to go to Sweden Democrat campaigns and, sometimes, they have put up barriers to stop them visiting their schools or workplaces.

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