Date: Thu, 28 Nov 96 12:31:57 CST
From: (Robert Malecki)
Subject: Sweden:Report from massive workers protest!
Organization: AlgoNet Public Access Node, Stockholm
Article: 1502

Report from massive workers protest!

By Robert Malecki, 28 November 1996

Taking a lot of this stuff from the USec, newspaper, tv and radio coverage. My 11 year old has been sick with the flu so I couldn't get to some of my other sources of info.

About 5,000 (!) people took part in the march on parliment against the Social Democratic government and its bougeois allies in the Center party last Tuesday. Naturally the National TV and radio tried to play this down, some saying thousands and others very low estimates of a few thousand, etc. The National media also tried to play it up as a far left mobilization and the far left arising from the grave to use the situation that has developed in the country. However the degree of lying depended on which National Channel one watches. However all of them tried to play down this demonstration and its meaning!

Naturally this was a big falsehood because this was a very powerful manifestation of grass roots working class people who have been the backbone of electoral support of the Social Democracy in this country. In fact many of them had never been to a demonstration before in their lifes! Although the left was present and quite vocal and with a fairly large proportion of paper propaganda of the varying sort, the left is no longer the place that can draw big numbers to a demonstration. In fact the left numerically has never been so small as it is today in this country. As to political line I can not say to much about the left as I have not had a chance to look at their newspapers.

However,what is driving these people out on the streets (certainly not the left) is the incredible speed that the Social democrats along with their bougeois allies have continued the policy of dismantling the welfare state in this country. In fact they have done far more in tearing down the reforms then the previous bougeois government. That government could only run up an incredible debt of billions upon billions of crowns to save the banks which were on the verge of crashing in the early ninties. The price of bailing out the banks was going into foreign debt for billions upon billions of crowns naturally can be layed at the door of the former bougeois government, but it is the Social Democrats in power that made the cuts in all of the systems and reinforced mass unemployment on a scale which has not been seen since the depression!

The demonstration brought people in busload after busload from the entire country. It would have beem twice the number, but there are thousands like myself who have to choose between the busfare and food for your kids! Many of the busses were organised by the local trade union sections throughout the country! And some people had to ride buses over 1000 kilometers in order to demonstrate against the Social Democratic government and did!

Not only that they did it in opposition to the central trade union bureaucracy who first went out and said that they did NOT support the mobilisation. Only a day later sending a fax out over the country claiming that this was all a buig mistake and that they did support the demonstration. In fact the central trade union bureaucracy are loyal to the hilt to the Social Democratic government and did everything they could to try and sabotage the demonstration with out right lies and falsifications. Especially the powerful Metall union bureaucracy. One has to on the other hand say Hats off to the Transport Union who did everything in its power to help mobilise for the demonstration. They also have taken the famous four child mother who started all of this under their wing. Although their are some doubts naturally about the ultimate motiv of some of these people who filling the pressure did help to mobilise. Only perhaps too later on down the road make a deal of some sort and sell us out. Let us hope that this is not the case. Another union which was split on the issue was the biggest trade union in Sweden Kommunal. Where in some sections they tried to mobilize and in others did absolutely nothing to help mobilise. This is sort of the general trade union picture all along the line. The grass roots are getting desperate and beginning to organise themselves and the trade union bureucracy is split between loyalists who openly try to smash this mobilisation to the center which gives half hearted support on paper and serious people that want to really fight and bring down this Social Democratic government!

Back to the demonstration which was felt right into the halls of the parliment! A meeting with the finance minister and the trade union bureaucracy in Metals council for labor negoiations to be held at 1:15 PM while the demonstration was to start at 1:00PM. A member of the United Secretariat and trade union activist and four representatives of the powerful miners union walked out of the meeting to take part in the demonstration! While the others sat their as the loyal lackies of the politics of the Social Democratic government who were responsible for the fact that 15,000 angry protesters were marching on the parliment. Another Social Democrat representative of the parliment standing outside the parliment in a camelhair long winter coat which probably cost more then most workers make in a month! Was free to give interviews to the assembled press,TV and Radio about how this demo was a Communist plot! And even a lot of his friends had been in the demonstration.

In his speech to the demonstration at the parliment Anton Flink (chairman of the Malmo section of the Transport Union among other things if the government won't listen to us then the people should disolve this government and elect a new one and we are so many here today that if we were all to spit the government would drowned!. And this demonstration is a lot of people beginning to gather the slem in their throats to spit with! And in and interview with a reporter he said that We are protesting against this anti-democratic government and its anti-people politics which Goran Persson (the prime minister) and is god damned supporters are for!

Social democratic parlimentry representatives were enraged that this speaker and longtime Social Democrat got up and made this speech after a well know actor who sympathizes with the ex maoist KPML-r who in the 60ties and 70ties had the line of a red front against the Social democrats and the trade unions. Naturally this was a show by these parlimentry cretians to paint the whole demonstration up as some sort of anti-Social Democratic Communist conspiracy!

The unemployed and the long time sick organisations which are beginning to bloom all over this country was also represented and many had there own placards done at home that they brought with them to the demonstration. And over 40 trade unions with their flags went at the head of the demonstration with a brass band singing the International! So this was hardly a Communist conspiracy but a rebellion by the grass roots against the Social Democratic top!

The powerful miners union warned the government that if this demonstration did not get the government to back down on the anti-trade union legislation that we belong to a generation that was in the big miners strikes in 1969-1979 and even if we have pensions some of us now we are well aquainted with how to fought a battle.The delegation from the miners union in Kiruna in the far north recieved the following message from the workers in the mines. When you get down their to Stockholm twist Persson's nose until there is nothing left but flour! Also the miners union is now calling for a political strike in the beginning of December when the new anti-trade union legislation will be voted on.

The stock market reacted to the demonstration with a warning that this kind of activity would drive up the interest rates! A clear warning to the Social Democratic government that they had better not back down on this issue. Commentators are saying that the Social Democratic government can hardly back down now that they have put so much pretige into cutting the deficit.

The labor market minister in the government (a womam) as alreadt claimed that this anti-trade union legislation is good for women. Thus trying to make this a feminist question and splitting the working class!

And the struggle is only beginning because the bosses are already calling for more anti-worker and trade union legislation along the lines of Forced arbitration on contract negoiations,forbidding sympathy strikes, taking a vote in a factory before going on strike in other words wripping the only serious weapon the working class has out of the hands of the workers and the trade unions. And the government and the central trade union bureaucrats loyal to the government are prepared to discuss these purposals with the bosses.

Thus the present trend is much like what is going on Internationally in the Labor Parties. The leadership mostly intellectuals at the top + a good dos of relatives ans sons and grandsons of the leadership are deserting the working class with a turn towards the middle class and the bougeoisie. But what is different here in Sweden is that we are not seeing the typical labor vs conservative governments--but a labor government confronted by the working class for its desertion and betrayal of the working class. Thus we do not have the situation like in England as well as NZ and Australia about which wing of the Social Democracy to capituilate to in order to stop a conservative government. Or in the United States the worser of two evils debate that the Democratic party labor fakers use to fool the workers. In fact we have the reformist traitors exactly where we want them. In power and exposing themselves to the working for what they *really* represent. However we do have the danger of the traditionalists who want to go back to the good old times. The Euro Communist who want to become good Social democrats and diverse left groups that are tailing events instead of trying to lead them. Out of this mess a cristalization must take place turning it into a tool of recruiting the most militant and determined workers to a party which can quickly grow from a small sect to a party with mass influence in the workers movement. Because the conditions for a political split between the base and the top are rippening far more quickly then the material for a vanguard party. This connected to the complete bankruptcy of the Social Democracy and the neo-Stalinist Euro-Communist party can mean that a small Trotskyist party of cadre can find themselves quickly leading mass struggles in the future.

The present attack against the trade unions and the working class must be seen in the light of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union connected to a world wide offensive against the working class and its organisations in the wake of this historical event! No longer having the Stalinist led Soviet Union to deal with the cold war has gone over to a hot war directed at the working class Internationally to roll back the gains not only won because of the October Revolution but all of the gains made since the second world war.

Only a party that understands this connection, but also understands all of the historical betrayals in both tactics and politics of the reformist Social Democracy and the politics of the Stalinists Internationally over the last decades and who has the politics,tactics and program which can show the way forward. That is a party which encompises the historical theroretical gains of the Bolshevik Party, the first four congresses of the third International, the Left opposition of Trotsky and the founding documents of the Fourth International can show the way forward.

Thus solving the crisis of leadership and the construction of a Revolutionary International.

Warm Regards
Bob Malecki