Date: Thu, 28 Nov 96 12:31:57 CST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Malecki)
Subject: Sweden:Report from massive workers protest!
Organization: AlgoNet Public Access Node, Stockholm
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
a few thousand, etc. The National media also tried to play it up
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
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
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.