When visiting the Ukraine many years ago, I got into a conversation about the difference between communism and capitalism, and a Ukrainian humorously quipped:
"Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Communism is the other way round".
Not until I had lived in Scandinavia for a few years more did I understand what he really meant. Without true liberty and grassroots democracy, they are as dangerous as each other.
Sweden, like Norway, is an interesting political animal. I have lived in both for nearly a quarter of a century so I have had both the perspective of an outsider (from the United Kingdom, the mother of modern democracy) and an insider (living in Scandinavia). Sweden believes is has found the 'solution' to the capitalist-communist extremes which some call the 'Third Way' but as this page will hopefully show, the beasts they hoped to tame and merge have broken loose from their shackles and are beginning a new kind of terror, symptomatic of which is the current persecution of homeschoolers and their children. You can't chain up King Kong and bring him into the metropolis and expect him not to be his natural self.
Whatever Sweden is, it is not what is appears to be to the outside world. The press is highly biased and the government has a slick international propaganda machine that has become expert at spreading myths about this country. Not that I blame them - every government worth its salt wants to promote the interests of its country, such as in trade, but the Swedish régime wants to do more - like the Soviet Communists before them, with whom they sadly have a number of traits in common, they are also evangelising for their party political philosophy, hoping others will emulate them. They needn't bother for as we shall see later, the European Union is now doing it for them, but instead of in small increments, at break-neck speed by deception and fraud. Even the Swedish King has joined in...but then he has little choice what with the Swedish Republican Movement daily gaining strength. Socialism and monarchy never were the best of friends.
Two things about contemporary Sweden need to be understood for the outsider to make sense of it:
As you will see from the diagrams I have created above, and as will be proven in this webpage, the political spectrum is not a line from 'left' to 'right' but a circle. What has been happening in Sweden is that all the political parties have been shifting to the left and thence, full circle, across the thin line dividing communism from fascism. Admittedly the second diagram is a little over-simplified as far as party-political beliefs and policies are concerned (the reality is more complex), but it does accurately show the trend into totalitarianism. And since Sweden outlawed homeschooling it has shifted more into communism and fascism whilst maintaining the illusion of 'democracy' and 'freedom'.
Americans (in particular), accustomed to thinking in black-and-white terms because of the Cold War ('Capitalists' vs. 'Communists'), have fallen into the trap of calling Sweden a 'socialist' country and attacking it as though it were only that. This is only a half-truth. The government propaganda machine quite naturally retorts that Sweden is a capitalist country and is able to prove it because of its free market economy. Mind you, the government controls about half of all business (down about 25% from two decades ago) but taxes you up to the hilt to finance its socialist state, so really it's still a mixture of both.
If you're still confused as to what the Swedish political system is I don't blame you. Some of the articles in this section of the website will expand on this short introduction. Part of the problem is that political labels don't mean very much because the same product has different labels and different wrappings to maintain the illusion of a liberal democracy. So taking all things into consideration, I would say the Americans are mostly right: Sweden is a socialist state but with a big enough dose of capitalism to make it appear otherwise. If you can define the Chinese hybrid then you can start defining the Swedish one too. Could it be that everything has simply become inverted?
I wish to state for the record there are some things about economic socialism that I approve of: I have always been, and will always remain, a supporter of National Health Care and there is much else about the Swedish system that I like and admire too. There was much about 1970's Sweden that was good. I believe in social safety nets for the disadvantaged funded by taxation. So a part of me is socialist. What I do not like is the government intrusion into the personal lives of the Swedish citizen and its insistance that everyone be the 'same'. That is not freedom or equality but oppression. It is Orwellian. I absolutely maintain - and I believe all genuine freedom-loving people will absolutely maintain - that:
The 20th century leaves ample testimony to the failure of forced anti-libertarian collectivist systems (communist and fascist) which have proved to be both economic failures and social disasters. The only reason Sweden changed direction in the 1990's towards capitalism was for the same reason the Chinese communists did - Marxist economics doesn't work and hard working people do not like forced redistribution of wealth to those who refuse to work. I guess I am a capitalist there. Capitalism in Sweden was introduced by means of generous tax incentives to business to keep the Marxist social system going instead of reforming the whole system from top to bottom. It worked. Sweden grew more prosperous but now the big capitalist corporations control (and exploit) Sweden. As a powerful banker once cynically said (paraphrasing): "I care not what laws a country makes". He meant that that he could buy anything and anyone he wanted to. That kind of capitalism I loathe. So I guess you could say that I am a little bit socialist and a little bit capitalist, but neither. "Then you would make a perfect Swede!" someone might claim. I wish it were so, but no.
Swedes, who have known no other system since the 1920's (nearly a century) - that's nearly three generations - have had no real exposure to the liberal democracy that Britain thrived under from about 1945 to the 1980's until we too went down the political drain. The system here, while looking superficially like democracy, is nothing like the democracy I grew up with in the United Kingdom. What's the use of having democracy on every tier of society except the top? It's the top where the real decisions are made that affect everyone else. It's like EU 'democracy' where the parliament simply rubber-stamps what the Politbureau (pardon me, Commission) tells them. What's (now) at the top of the Swedish system? Corrupt bankers and industrialists do pretty much as they want now...thanks to the tax breaks the socialists gave them to create more wealth to rescue the failing, imploding economy.
Were it not for the European Union (EU), which is yet another Marxist experiment that has borrowed extensively from the Swedish model and experience, non-libertarian (totalitarian) socialism would almost certainly have died out long ago and been classified as a monumental failure - which it is. It has survived only because of what one British prime Minister called 'the unacceptable face of capitalism', that is, greedy monopolistic capitalism. It is the monopoly capitalists who rule the planet today and by their corruption and criminal activities continue to breathe life into the dying socialist beast. They are the real power in Sweden today though they weren't always. They have taken the 'acceptable face of socialism' and turned it into National Socialism - again.
When I was at Oxford University I came across a saying attributed to, I believe, Winston Churchill which, paraphrased, runs something like this: "If by the time you are a student you are not a socialist, you have no heart. If by the time you are middle-aged you are not a capitalist, you have no brains." Offensive to some, no doubt, but a brutal truth.
The desire for equality and justice is a powerful force, but so is the desire for freedom, which is becoming an increasingly rare commodity in Sweden, Europe as a whole, and even in the USA. You really can't subtract any one of them - you need all three. As Benjamin Franklin rightly said:
The world has still not found the answer because I don't believe the answer is a political but a religious/moral one. However, that, as they say, is another story altogether (see our Religion page) because it is the story of how to make mankind moral which even the Soviets admitted they had failed to achieve. What was their solution? To quote the words of Lenin: "Freedom is so precious it must be rationed." It was because of that lie that Eastern Europe rose up against socialism and overthrew it along with the Soviet Bolshevik experiment. Little did they realise that a 'New Soviet Union' was being created in the West in the form of the European Union (the darling of left-leaning socialists with an addiction for money taxed from member states) and that they would be enslaved all over again, but this time along with the Western nations whom they failed to convert by persuasion or by force - eastern Europe never 'voted' communist in free and open elections: it was 'made' to be by the Soviet Red Army...with rigged 'elections', of course.
Have we answered the question as to what Sweden is politically and socially? I think we are a little closer. Were I to refine this answer even more I think I would say that Sweden is basically a 'Social Democratic' country in a very broad sense, but even that label is misleading. What does that mean? As I hope to prove in this section in the articles below, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is quite the political chameleon (what political party isn't?) and has mutated and evolved since it first took power in the 1920's. It was originally the Communist Party of Sweden (as in Norway - where it's now called the 'Workers' Party' or 'Labour Party' as in Britain) and then broke off. These are the approximate phases of the SDP in Swedish history:
As a former communist party, the Social Democrats, with one foot in socialism and one in capitalism, present many strange contradictions. Even now, voices within the SDP criticise it for being "too Stalinistic" (Värmlands Folkblad, 'Öppna valprocessen', Tis.23.november, 2010, p.2) and Politbureau-like. And Stalinism, you will remember, was one of the bloodiest forms of communism, responsible for the death of over 62 million of mostly its own people. Sweden, like, many countries, has yet to condemn communism for what it is and show it to be a bedfellow and close political neighbour of nazism.
As I think history will prove, the Soviet Union never really died - it simply relocated from Moscow to Brussels and had a new paint-job to make it look more 'Western'. Sweden made the choice to join this bloated, corrupt monster along with my own country and now we are both suffering. It has already ruined Greece and Ireland and will soon ruin other nations like Portugal and Spain. The Social Democrats of Olof Palme were (rightly, and to their credit) strongly opposed to the EU and many have speculated that it was for this reason that the Swedish Prime Minister was assassinated. Today the modern SDP is strongly pro-EU along with nearly all the mainstream Swedish Parties who follow the SDP drumbeat.
I think Sweden is a lovely country and the broad masses of ordinary people here are wonderful. Most people mean well but I do believe they have been politically deceived and dumbed down, as elsewhere in the West. Foreigners like myself arriving in the country, having heard the government's propaganda machine at work in the international press, usually get quite a shock as they look around and see what is actually going on. One homeschooling mother, arriving from another neighbouring Scandinavian country, describes her experience with these words:
"I wish someone had told me the truth when I moved here 21 years ago. Already then I said to my [Swedish] husband that it seemed like Sweden was very communist. I had simply observed that everyone seemed dressed the same and seemed to behave the same. As I was totally uninterested in politics I didn't delve into my intuitive observation to find out more. After having tried hard to adapt to the Swedish ways I have finally understood that the box that I would have to fit into is just too small for my soul to fit into and so I have accepted that I will forever be on the outside of the Swedish society. They're just not going to let me in unless I adapt myself - my whole energy, my whole personality - to be a small, little unnoticable grey spectre in the mob.
"My very first step in the wrong direction was to give birth at home. That is sooooo taboo here in Sweden. My neighbour asked if it was allowed!! And then they talk of feminine emancipation. The next mistake was to not vaccinate and along with that mistake was to breast-feed for 4 years, all things that seemed quite natural and normal to me at the time [but which] have for ever made me into Mrs. Weird here in Sweden rather than into what I think I am: Mrs. WOW."
I think what worries me the most about socialist Sweden is the lack of liberty, and the grey totalitarian conformist mindset that is drummed into Swedes from the time they are small (thanks in large measure to the ubiquitous (and now compulsory) state schooling system - that Big Brother (the State) will take care of all their needs (from cradle to grave), and taking away from people the ability to think for themselves.
People are, however, beginning to get tired of this slavish mentality and are starting to question the wisdom of the Nanny State (see some of the Links on the Politics main page). So unthinking have people become that when the Sweden Democrats, who want Sweden to return to the Social Democratic Golden Age of Olof Palme, won their first seats in the Swedish Parliament in 2010, they were immediately accused of being 'right-wing fascists'. Why? Was it because they were nazis? No, it was because they were reacting to the grey conformity around them and wanted to be 'different'. And everywhere people who do not bend their knee to the Third Way hybrid monster are being slandered and villified by the government-controlled press. Some are being beaten up and some are being killed.
The irony is that the Sweden Democrats are Social Democrats! They're even against homeschooling (which is one reason I cannot vote for them)! So what's the problem? The problem is that they are the 'wrong kind' of Social Democrat - they're not European Union Federalists, they are for Sweden as a nation-state...which makes them 'nationalist', which makes them 'fascist' (in the perverted, twisted thinking of Swedish Newspeak). And irony of ironies, the European Union, which so much wants to be a 'Nation', then (in Newspeak) becomes Nationalist; and since it's already Socialist, and since Nationalist + Socialist equals National Socialist, then that makes them what? Fascist! Quad erat demonstrandum...sort of. By today's warped and twisted political standards, Olof Palme's Social Democratic Party would today be labelled 'fascist' like the Sweden Democrats who so closely mirror them, not to mention the father of Swedish Social Democracy, Per Albin Hansson. By a strange turn of fate, then, Sweden has become like George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm satire on the Soviet Union. Isn't life ironic?
As you work though this Politics website you will discover - and probably be shocked into the bargain - that there really isn't a lot of difference between International Socialist (Communist) and National Socialist (Nazi/Fascist). Indeed, they're two sides of the same coin. Even their flags are similar...red (no slur intended against Morocco which also has a red flag). The only real difference between them is that one is anti-family and other is pro-family but neither is libertarian...a bit like 21st century Democrats and Republicans in America or the Labour and Conservative Parties in Britain - both have completely changed...by small increments, of course, so that no one could see what was really going on - a bit like slowly boiling a frog alive. And likewise today's Swedish Conservatives (the Moderates) and Socialists (the Social Democrats) have also moved...by small increments...into this new political paradigm which nobody has properly explained to them. Now they're just the same. Now everyone's a 'conservative' (moderate) social democrat, 'liberal' social democrat, 'Christian' social democrat, 'centrist social democrat, or 'socialist' social democrat, 'green' social democrat, or 'communist' social democrat.
I would like to see the people of Sweden, Britain, Europe, and the USA open their eyes and see what is going on in their countries. They're being taken for a ride. I would like to see the real Conservatives and the real Social Democrats (with Liberals in the middle) back on the political scene and all submitted to genuine libertarian, grass-roots democracy, where people can choose to be different again and where finally where we can have an authentic pluralist society, where everyone can be free to be religious or atheist, pursue their own lifestyles, without anyone getting offended by the other when they voice and defend their differences, and with people simply living together. I want to see a genuine pluralist society which we do not have in our countries any more. For what we have now is slavery.
A libertarian British politician recently said that he was born in a [genuine] democracy, isn't living in one now, but means to die in one. That is also my wish. What is so very important for Swedes to understand and wake up to is that they aren't living in an authentic democracy and have never known one, though the period before 1975 was a lot nearer to it than it is today. They moved from an autocratic theocratic monarchy into a dirty mix of communism and Western liberalism which so distorted the latter that they don't know what the authentic thing really is. I invite them to find out. I hope this website will prod them in that direction.
I would like to see an authentic libertarian party here in Sweden challenge the status quo. I am still looking for it, though the Pirate Party comes close...it just needs to drop its silly name, broaden its appeal and have the guts to defend the rights of the Swedish homeschooling community along with all human rights. Swedes definitely need a moderate libertarian party like the United Kingdom Independence Party - I invite them to take a look at it. Better still, I would like to see the established parties reform, break out of the mold, and restore sanity to this country. Oh, but I forgot, Sweden isn't a country any more, is it? It's now a mere province of the EUSSR... sorry, EU. It doesn't decide most of its laws anymore, does it?
And here's another irony - EU law says that homeschooling is legal! Mind you, countries with enough power and money ignore it, like Germany does (because of its 1938 Nazi anti-homeschooling law), and the EU itself lets Germany do as it wants, even though the United Nations have censured Germany for its totalitarianism and instructed it to set homeschoolers free. Sweden seems...again...to be copy-catting totalitarian Germany. Come on Sweden, wake up!