On September 15, the Swedish parliament opened again after a long summer break. In the mean time, 2,500 people gathered in Stockholm to protest the government’s right-wing policies. The main slogan was: ”We won’t pay for the capitalist crisis”. The protest against the right-wing coalition government is a yearly event since 2007.
The demonstration was preceded by a long mobilisation campaign all over Stockholm and indeed Sweden. Trade unionists, environmental groups, left organisations and anti racists joined up with workers from Lagena, a contractor company to the Swedish alcohol monopoly. When the Lagena workers were told they would be sacked and replaced by temporary workers, they responded with strike action. Now forced by court to go back to work, they continue their struggle in other means and are fiercly supported by most of the Swedish left. The struggle at the Lagena warehouse shows what the crisis means for the working class, and that struggle is the only way we can respond when the capitalists wants us to pick up the tab for the crisis and save their system.
The crowd listened to speeches by students, senior citizens, trade unionists and representatives from the Stockholm bus drivers, an anti-deportation group and the Lagena workers. All speakers gave good examples of how the crisis had affected their sector, and gave us an insight to the struggle going on all over Sweden. But we’d liked to hear more about the way forward. REVOLUTION fully support demands for LO (the Swedish TUC), the social democrats and the left party to act, but for our struggle to be successful, we need to be prepared to organise independently of the union bigwigs and bureaucrats. And when it comes to the capitalists and their parties, asking nicely for improvements won’t be enough: we need to defend our interests by hard struggle.
After the speeches the demo lined up to leave. As usual, REVOLUTION were quickly taking up slogans and chants: ”Ropen skalla, A-kassa åt alla” (”Our demand: Unemployment benefits for all!”, ”Sparka borgarna, inte oss” (”Don’t fire us – kick out the bourgeoisie!” and ”One solution – revolution!”. The demonstration passed through the central parts of the city. When we passed by some of the more posh bars and restaurants, rich kids were seen gaping after us, surprised over this trespass on their domains. But many onlookers also met us with encouraging comments.
This year’s demonstration was bigger than last year’s, but despite the crisis and the effects it has on the working class, and despite a larger mobilisation campaign this year, we were hardly as many as in 2007. The hate against the right-wing government is deep-rooted in society, but since the large workers’ parties fail pose any real challenge to the capitalists, many think protesting won’t change anything. But the struggle continues every day at schools and work palces threatened by the right-wing’s cuts. REVOLUTION is a part of that resistance, and we’ll continue spreading our answer to the crisis: united struggle against capitalism and for our interests – a revolutionary movement for youth and workers.