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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fascism in Sweden

There used to be a popular saying in the English-language-speaking countries "It can´t happen here!" The "it" in this popular saying usually referred to fascism. The idea was that the people of one´s own society were too civilized and rational for fascism to stand a chance of getting popular traction.

Well, here is an interesting question "Could it happen in Sweden?" (The "it" here is supposed to refer to fascism.) In other words "Could Sweden go fascist?"

Well, an interesting point which I would like to make now is that a serious attempt to institute fascism was in fact made in Sweden during the 1970s. The attempt went by the name of "löntagarfonder" ("wage-earner funds"). The political force behind this attempt to institute fascism in Sweden was none other than the largest trade labor organization in Sweden at the time - LO. LO was and is Sweden´s equivalent of the AFL-CIO. LO was and is the umbrella organization for those labor unions which organize the blue-collar workers of Sweden.

LO proposed that the control over Sweden´s private businesses was to be collectivized, in a fascist fashion, at a now-famous national congress which was held in 1976. The means of collectivising the control of Sweden´s businesses was to be a system of funds and committees which was to be called "löntagarfonder" ("wage-earner funds").

This is how the wage-earner fund system was supposed to work:

A portion of the yearly profits of the private business firms was to be handed over to the labor unions and employed by them to purchase shares in the joint stock corporations of Sweden. After a while the labor unions would own 40% of the total shares of the corporations. So LO was to employ the private business´ own money to buy into them! If my memory does not fail me the labor unions were not supposed to ever own more than 40% of the shares. Once LO owned 40% of the private business sector no further collectivization was supposed to occur. However, the really interesting thing is the exact way in which the government of the corporations, once the labor unions owned 40% of the shares, was supposed to be carried out.

In LO´s system the private business firms were to be governed by committees. These committees were supposed to consist of representatives of three parties: the private share-holders, the government and the labor unions. Did you get that?

Committees consisting of representatives of the private share-holders, the government and the labor unions! If you know something about the history of Europe during the 20th century that should ring a great big, BIG bell!

During the 1920s Benito Mussolini instituted an economic system in Italy which he called fascism. In fascist Italy the private business firms were controlled by committees which went by the name of "corporations". The corporations were committees which were composed of representatives of three parties: the private share-holders, the government and the labor unions!

Get it? LO´s "wage-earner funds" were the very same type of entity as Mussolini´s corporations!

So Sweden´s giant labor union organization, LO, proposed to institute the very same economic system in Sweden which Benito Mussolini had instituted in Italy during the 1920s! There should have been a thunderous uproar in Sweden when LO had the effrontery to try to "make it happen here" in Sweden!

Well, there was an uproar in Sweden at the time - sort of. LO and their allies, the Social Democrats, paid a high price for the löntagarfond proposal. The Social Democrats lost their political power over the Sweden in the elections of the fall of 1976. The period 1976-1982 was the first period of time in several decades that the Social Democrats did not control the Swedish government. The Social Democrats were voted out of power by the Swedish people for the first time in several decades - largely as a result of the Swedish people´s aversion to the löntagarfond proposal. "Served the `worker movement´ right!" I say!

But - unfortunately, the Swedish people were so devoid of knowledge of modern European history, that no one (to my knowledge) raised his voice and pointed out that "The emperor is fascist!". Many Swedes at the time accused LO of being hungry for power. But no one, to my knowledge, pointed out the fact that the wage-earner funds were exactly the same kind of entity as Mussolini´s fascist corporations. So LO escaped the fate of being tarred and feathered as "unwitting advocates of fascists". A shame, I say.

Now, don´t get me wrong. I do not believe for a minute that the Swedish LO ever has adhered to a conscious fascist ideology. When the bureaucrats working at LOs headquarters dreamed up the löntagarfond system they were, I am sure, blithely ignorant of the ominous parallels between their system and that of Mussolini. The bureaucrats responsible for the löntagarfond proposal must have been so utterly ignorant of modern history that they had not the faintest idea that they were proposing to institute a fascist type of economic system in Sweden. LO was motivated by a mere, banal lust for power. And it was a sheer coincidence that the means which they got into their heads to employ to acquire more power turned out to be a fascist system.

I do not accuse the people who run LO of being fascists. I merely accuse them of being stoopid, ignorant power-lusters - who once upon a time happened to almost institute fascism here in Sweden by accident!