swedish far right

The Swedish (Far) Right



soul idealize alternative
shift predict generous
left (3) on hand dominate
roil disrupt battle (2)
tuition trail (2) divide (2)
dinghy right (4) egalitarian
regard extreme advocate
mass election deportation
phase refugee renaissance (2)
rubber mosque so-called
shelter en route give back
fee analyst model (3)
thwart welfare sanctuary
anti- ambition sell/sold/sold (2)
fringe majority seek/sought/sought
invade asylum campaign
air (2) vigorous significant
taboo opinion scream (2)
crisis prospect encourage
lure benefits subsidize
hope preside magnet (2)
border migrant frustrated
naïve relief (2) turn on (2)
flee murder overwhelm
cradle stem (2) safety net (2)
bolt point (4) campaign
vote support follow (2)
influx hallow stable (2)
scene seal (2) background
grave lucrative cradle-to-grave
trust involve solidarity
policy force (2) superintendent
hire jettison referendum
crime respond telling (2)
afford violence raise its ugly head
ghetto advocate strain (2)
flow involve symbolize
invest pay off background (2)
gang cannabis integration
expect prevent resentment
local fuel (2) offer little comfort
chaos crossfire shoot/shot/shot (2)
neo- abandon lead/led/led
sector espouse mainstream
pariah oppose apocalyptic
inflict whip (3) homicide
cozy ground enormous
ignore poll (2) sense (2)
rival outright influence
victim coalition cooperation
values believe dependence
media threaten minority (2)
rare creature conscript
shift convince overnight
seek function on course
herald election substantial
elite burden parliament
peril provide foundation






Sweden is a day away from one of the more disruptive elections in recent European history.

Analysts are predicting a shift to the right, away from the center-left politics that have dominated Swedish thinking and Swedish government for more than half a century.

Along with healthcare and education, one of the main one of the main issues on hand has also been roiling the rest of the European continent: immigration.

News Hour Weekend special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from the southern Swedish city of Malmo.


.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


More than any other election in recent history, this is a battle for Sweden’s soul. Often idealized as a model society, Sweden is now divided between those who want it to remain generous, egalitarian and open to foreigners, and others who vigorously oppose immigration and multiculturalism.

Gustav Kasselstrand heads one of the most extreme right-wing parties that advocates mass deportations.

Gustav Kasselstrand, Alternative for Sweden: “We have the Swedes on our side. And with our healthy political ideas, we are starting a new phase, a renaissance in Sweden.

For one face in the crowd, this election has become personal. He’s a twenty-three (23) year old refugee from the Syrian city of Homs.

Abed Abulmohammad left Syria when he was seventeen (17), before he could finish his high school education.

In September 2015, we met Abed at this mosque in Izmir on the Turkish coast, where hundreds gathered before taking rubber dinghies to the Greek islands en route to northern Europe.

Abed: “I’m planning to go to Sweden. If I study there, I’m willing to give Europe back what they gave me. They give me shelter, I give them back my whole energy to build their country.”

Abed managed to reach Sweden before the refugee trail to northern Europe was closed. Since then he has almost finished his high school education, and did so in Swedish.

He has two jobs to pay for his tuition fees. He does not receive welfare benefits. He hopes to study psychology at university, but fears the rise of the right will thwart his ambitions.

Abed: “The anti-immigrant parties are trying to sell the people that the Muslims, which are the majority of the Arabs that have sought asylum in Sweden, that they are trying to invade the country, that the Muslims have organized and are planning to invade the country, that Swedish, traditional culture is under attack, which is completely false, not true.”

The party Abed was protesting against may only be on the fringes of the campaign, but what is significant is that until recently, supporters of the so-called “Alt-Right were shy about airing their opinions.

Now, being anti-immigration is no longer taboo.

Lotten Peterson, Alternative For Sweden Supporter: “Oh, it costs a lot because they don’t work very much. I mean, they have a very low percentage working. If you compare them to the Swedes, the Swedes pay the taxes, and welfare is free for everybody.

And now it’s the left that has been screaming, ‘No person is illegal.’ What kind of language is that?”

At the peak of the European crisis in 215, 163,000 refugees and migrants made it to Sweden, encourages by the government’s offer of sanctuary for Syrians.

But it wasn’t just Syrians who came: there were asylum seekers from across the developing world, lured by the prospect of subsidized housing and generous welfare benefits.

The city of Malmo in the south was a particular magnet.

Sweden had hoped that other European countries would follow its example.
The then migration minister Morgan Johansson was frustrated that many EU partners closed their borders instead.

Journalist: “What do you say to those people who think that your immigration policy, your open-door policy is naïve?
Morgan Johansson, Former Migration Minister: “Just turn on your television set and see for yourself what these people are fleeing from.”

As Sweden found itself overwhelmed by the influx, it sealed its formerly open border with Denmark to the south, to try to stem the flow.

It was like closing the stable door after the horse had bolted, say those on the right, like the alternative for Sweden’s Gustav Kasselstrand.

Gustav Kasselstrand, Alternative For Sweden: “The politicians have forced a policy upon us with mass immigration that we have never ever voted for, never ever supported.”

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven presided over the influx, which has strained the hallowed welfare system and changed Sweden to the point where one in four of the population comes from a foreign background.

His center-left Social Democrat Party advocates high taxation to pay for the cradle-to-grave safety net.

Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden: “If we can continue four more years, at least four more years, we will continue to invest in the Swedish welfare system.

And that is what people need now: we need to build solidarity and trust between the citizens of Sweden, and that’s what we want to do.”

This is a Social Democrat campaign video: “I would like a society where safety comes before tax relief, so we can afford to hire more people in our medical care sector.”

Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden: “This is actually a referendum about the Swedish welfare system . . .”
Journalist: “But isn’t this also a referendum on immigration?”
Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden: “No, it’s not about crime.”

It is perhaps telling that the prime minister responds to a question about immigration with an answer about crime.

On the day he was in Malmo, violence raised its ugly head. Superintendent Glen Sjogren is based in Rosengard, Malmo’s biggest ghetto. We’re on our way to a murder scene in a neighboring ghetto.

Hundreds of gang members are fighting for control of the lucrative cannabis and cocaine trade.

According to the police, almost all of those involved have immigrant backgrounds.

Glen Sjogren, Superintendent: “This year, so far, eleven homicides and shootings involved.”

For many Swedes, the gang war symbolizes a failure of integration. It fuels resentment against immigrants. The latest victim was twenty years old. He was killed next to a local mosque.

The fact that rivals are killing each other is of little comfort because the number of shootings is on the rise, and often there’s crossfire.

Jimmie Akkesson: “My name is Jimmie Kkkesson, and I will do everything in my power to solve this chaos that you Social Democrats and you liberals have created.”

Jimmie Akkesson is benefitting most from Sweden’s growing sense of insecurity. He leads yet another far-right party, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats.

The party has neo-Nazi origins. But it’s jettisoned its more extreme policies, and members who espouse openly racist views.

Despite becoming more mainstream, the Sweden Democrats are widely regarded as pariahs. In one election video, Akkesson paints an apocalyptic image of Sweden that critics say whips up the climate of fear.

Campaign Advertisement: “Massive immigration hasn’t paid off. We know that today. And we know that in reality, it inflicts enormous costs and a huge burden on our society.

You have created a Sweden where families are forced to move because they no longer feel safe in their own homes.”

One reason why the right is gaining ground is that many working and middle class voters have abandoned the center-left Social Democrats because they believe the party ignored their concerns over immigration.

According to the latest opinion polls, the center-left Social Democrats of Prime Minister Lofven are going to get the most votes, but not enough for him to form a government outright, and so he’s going to have to try to form a coalition.

Although the right-wing Sweden Democrats are on course to become the second biggest party; the prime minister has made it absolutely clear that he will do everything he can to prevent them from having any influence.

Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden: “For me, one thing is very clear: no cooperation or dependence on the Sweden Democrats.”
Journalist: “That’s ignoring a large percentage of the Swedish people who has those views, isn’t it?
Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden: This is a party with values that are so far from mine, they do not believe that each individual has the same human value. They speak badly about minorities. They threaten the media. This is not just another part; this is an extreme party.”

A party with some unexpected support. Nima Gholam Alipour is a rare creature: he is both a refugee and candidate for the Sweden Democrats. His parents fled from Iran thirty years ago to save his brother from being conscripted as a child soldier.

Despite the Prime Minister’s stance, Alipour is convinced the voice of his party’s supporters will be heard.

Nima Gholam Alipour: “A lot of political parties said they will never change the migration issue. But they changed overnight. So we will see after the election, they need a government that functions. And if we get a lot of support, they need support in the parliament. So they have to seek our support somehow.”

If the right-wing does as well as expected, this will herald a substantial shift in the foundations of a traditionally Social Democratic society. It will provide a warning to the rest of Europe’s liberal elite: if it can happen in cozy little Sweden, it can happen to you. Ignore the working class at your peril.


*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. Sweden has experienced a profound change in politics. True or false? What is the key, central issue?

2. What are the main camps, parties or ideologies?

3. Who is Abed from Syria? What is his goal? Is he on government aid?

4. Do some or many Swedes feel afraid, angry, resentful? Why might they feel this way?

5. Only refugees fleeing war, and asylum seekers escaping persecution came to Sweden. Is this right or wrong?

6. Did all EU member states have the same migration policy as Sweden?

7. Does the Social Democrats (center-left) favor lower, higher or the same amount of taxes?

8. All Sweden feel safe and secure in their communities. Is this entirely correct, mostly correct, partially correct, in the middle, yes and no, largely untrue or completely false?

9. What did the report predict the election results will be? What about the new government?

10. All Swedes are xenophobic and all migrants support the liberals and left parties.


A. There are many migrants or ethnic minorities in my city and country. Yes or no? If yes, who are they and where did they come from?

B. Has integration been entirely successful, mostly successful, partially successful, in the middle, yes and no, mostly a failure or a total failure?

C. Is society divided between right and left parties and elements?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. What do you think is the “solution” to the “problem”?

Comments are closed.