Mikael Widmark, American Renaissance, December 2003
Until the 1970s, Scandinavia was virtually all white, and content to stay that way. As recently as 1965, Swedish prime minister Tage Erlander noted with regard to racial problems in the United States: “We Swedes are in an infinitely better situation. Our population is homogenous, not just regarding race, but in many other aspects too.”
Today this is no longer true. Immigration began slowly in the 1970s and has since picked up speed. The large cities of Sweden, Denmark and Norway are increasingly multiracial. Whole districts of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö in Sweden, and parts of Copenhagen and Oslo have non-white majorities. Still, the Scandinavian countries are much whiter than the United States. Approximately seven percent of the population of Sweden is non-European, and the figures for Denmark and Norway are five and four percent. Even so, for Scandinavians, for whom a non-white used to be a rarity, the change has been shocking, especially because non-whites are often concentrated in the biggest cities, where their effect is much more visible.
Although it is common for outsiders to think of Scandinavia as more or less uniform, there have been sharply different national reactions to non-white immigration. The utter failure of the restrictionist movement in Sweden is in stark contrast to its ringing success in Denmark. Different national circumstances have strongly influenced the outcomes, but a variety of approaches has also yielded a variety of results. There are useful lessons here for all nationalists.
Failure in Sweden
Undoubtedly the most famous Swede in the history of American race relations was Gunnar Myrdal, whose book, The American Dilemma, set the terms for American racial thinking for the second half of the 20th century. Myrdal’s egalitarian views were typical of Scandinavian intellectuals, even though race relations were, for them, strictly an abstraction. There were essentially no non-Europeans in Scandinavia until the 1970s, and, as Tage Erlander’s 1965 comments show, there was a certain commonsense understanding of the consequences of immigration.
All this changed in 1969, when Erlander resigned after 23 years as prime minister, and was replaced by Olof Palme as leader of the Social Democrats. Palme was heavily influenced by Myrdal, and by the civil rights revolution in the United States Myrdal had helped bring about. His ideological commitment to “solidarity” with the Third World meant sharp increases in foreign aid, especially to countries like Vietnam, Cuba and Zimbabwe (after it was “liberated”), and support for movements like the Viet Cong, the African National Congress and the PLO. It also meant bringing Third-Worlders to Sweden. During the 1970s, Sweden started admitting more and more asylum seekers, and Denmark and Norway soon followed Sweden’s example. In 1975, Palme even managed to persuade the Swedish Parliament to adopt a resolution declaring that Sweden would henceforth be a multicultural society. Palme was assassinated by an unknown assailant in 1986, but his Social Democrat successors, with the full support of the Conservatives, continued his open-borders policies.
During the early 1980s, more and more immigrants of distinctively un-European appearance began to arrive in Sweden, and a mosque was built in Malmö — the first ever in Scandinavia. This gave rise to the first anti-immigration organization, Bevara Sverige Svenskt (Preserve Sweden Swedish), whose initials BSS became very popular graffiti on walls in Sweden. It was never an effective political party, and after years of obscurity, reemerged as the Sweden Democrat Party.
In 1985, just one year after the mosque went up in Malmö, opposition to immigration scored its first electoral victory. The vehicle was the populist Skane Party, which favored immigration control, lower taxes, a liberal alcohol policy, and self-rule for the southern Swedish province of Skane, which includes the city and county of Malmö. It won election to the Malmö County council, but had little effect, and was largely ignored. (There are 286 counties in Sweden, which range in size from 760,000 inhabitants in Stockholm to only 2,600 in Bjurholm. Malmö is the third largest county, with 265,000 inhabitants.)
Three years later, however, in Sjöbo County in Skane Province, the voters spoke again, this time with considerable effect. The issue was applicants for asylum. It usually takes the authorities about a year to decide whether an asylum-seeker is legitimate, and to grant permanent residency. During that period of evaluation, a county can refuse to let the applicant live within its borders. The local leader of the centrist, rural-based Centre Party, Sven-Olle Olsson, managed to get a local referendum on the question of admitting asylum seekers.
No fewer than 67 percent voted to keep asylum-seekers out. The Swedish establishment was outraged. The Centre Party announced it could do without “fascist vermin,” and expelled Sven-Olle Olsson and all other Centrists who supported the “no” vote. Politicians and the media denounced Sjöbo County as “racist,” “Nazi,” “xenophobic,” etc., and Sven-Olle Olsson became the official “new Hitler.” This harsh treatment apparently scared enough people so that no other county dared have a referendum on asylum, and very few kept out asylum seekers.
However, in 1991, Sweden entered its deepest recession since the 1930s, and this produced tremendous resentment against the political establishment. Two businessmen formed a new populist party, Ny Demokrati or New Democracy. Except for autonomy for Skane, it had basically the same platform as the Skane Party, including opposition to immigration. New Democracy got 6.7 percent of the vote in the 1991 elections, and immigration control gained its first toehold in parliament.
The other parties denounced their new colleagues as racists, and rejected their proposals for reform — but only initially in many cases. Because of the sharp rise in asylum-seekers from Bosnia, the established parties were forced to adopt some New Democracy policies. Thus, the party managed to influence immigration policy in at least a slightly more restrictive direction. Unfortunately, New Democracy started to disintegrate in early 1994 because of internal personality conflicts, and in the 1994 elections it got only 1.2 percent of the vote and lost representation in parliament. The party soon dissolved.
After the self-destruction of New Democracy, only one of the 349 members of the Swedish parliament advocated restrictions on asylum and immigration: Sten Andersson, the Conservative Party member from Malmö. Between 1994 and 2002, he was almost like Tom Tancredo in the US Congress, except that Mr. Andersson was totally alone and did not have an Immigration Reform Caucus. Even so, he greatly irritated the other 348 members with his questions about the costs of immigration and rising crime rates.
Consequently, in early 2002, the Conservative Party declared it would not let him run for re-election as a Conservative because he was “xenophobic.” Mr. Andersson left the party, and joined the nationalist anti-immigration party Sverigedemokraterna or the Sweden Democrats (SD) in their bid to gain the four percent of the votes necessary for representation in parliament. SD, which is the heir of the BSS-movement, also got the support of Sven-Olle Olsson, former “fascist vermin,” who had been active in local politics and had managed to raise a considerable campaign war chest.
An encouraging pre-election sign had been the attention-getting activism of the SD, especially its Rissne campaign. Rissne is a southern Stockholm suburb, which became the scene of one of the most notorious rapes in Swedish history. Eight young Middle Easterners brutally gang raped a 14-year old Swedish girl for several hours in a parking garage, where they beat her and cursed her as a “filthy Swedish whore.” This crime was so bestial even the establishment media made big news of it — though, as they almost always do, they failed to mention the ethnicity of the rapists.
The SD learned the facts, and published the names and origins of the rapists on their web sites and on fliers, which they handed out at the girl’s school. Of course, the school and the media condemned the SD, not the rapists, claiming the party was “exploiting the tragedy for racist purposes.” The SD gained many new members and voters because of this campaign.
Still, the campaign failed. The Sweden Democrats got only 1.44 percent of the votes, which though much better than their 0.37 percent in 1998, was not enough to enter parliament. Now there is not one person left in the Swedish legislature who openly advocates restriction, and indeed all parties except the Social Democrats favor even more immigration. Many parties want permanent residency for any foreigner who can get a job. The foreigner would have to be paid the same wages as a Swede, but when this provision goes into effect — probably in 2005 or 2006 — it will mean a big increase in immigration.
The current hegemony of immigration-enthusiasts has brought increased repression of dissidents. Many immigration opponents — outright Nazis as well as Sweden Democrats and independent immigration opponents — have lost jobs because of “xenophobia” or “racism.” In more and more cases they have also been imprisoned for violating the Swedish law against “incitement to ethnic hatred,” a law used only against Swedes and never against immigrants.
Recently in Malmö, a man living in the almost all-white neighborhood of Bunkeflo was convicted for sending an e-mail message to a public official, in which he said he believed Arabs were mostly criminals, and that he was opposed to subsidies for immigrants who moved to Bunkeflo, because “Bunkeflo was one of the last few refuges in Malmö where you could go out and not see Arabs loitering all around you.” He managed to avoid prison, but had to pay a fine of 10 percent of his annual pre-tax income. With Sweden’s high tax rates, this means a fine of about 20 percent of net income.
Immigrants, on the other hand, can write just about anything. For example, Tobias Hubinette was adopted as a child from South Korea, and has been active in “anti-racist” organizations like “Anti-Fascist Action” and “Expo.” He wrote this in the “anti-racist” magazine Creol: “To feel or even think that the white race is inferior in all conceivable senses of the word is quite natural given its history and current behavior. May the western world of the white race perish in blood and suffering.” He has not been charged with “incitement of ethnic hatred” and continues to be a leading “anti-racist” activist.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s demographics are changing rapidly. Not only is immigration increasing, non-white immigrants have at least twice the birth rate of Swedes or of immigrants from the West. Somali immigrants have the highest birth rate, at more than three times the white rate. More than half of all Somalis in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia are under the age of 18 and only 10 percent are over 40. Among Swedes about 20 percent are under age 18, while 50 percent are older than 40. Although non-whites are only seven percent of the population, 15 percent of all children born in Sweden are non-white. Given current levels of immigration and disparate birth rates, non-Europeans are projected to be 10 percent of the population in 2010 — a number that could be even higher if there are further increases in immigration, especially of Somalis and others with extremely high fertility.
The most non-white county in Sweden is Botkyrka, which has 75,000 inhabitants and includes some of Stockholm’s southwestern suburbs. At least 35 percent of the population is non-European, as is a majority of the children born in the county. Botkyrka has a particularly large concentration of Turks, with more than 11 percent of Sweden’s Turks, even though Botkyrka has only 0.84 percent of the total population of Sweden. Needless to say, Botkyrka tops many statistical indicators, with the highest birth rate and the highest violent crime rate of all Swedish counties.
As Sweden darkens, the problems associated with immigration grow more acute. Violent crime — particularly robbery and rape — has increased rapidly the last few decades. Compared to the 1960s, murder is up 100 percent, from 100 to 200 each year. Rape has gone from 580 a year to 2,380 (an increase of more than 400 percent), and robbery is up a staggering 1,035 percent to 8,700 a year. At the same time, most of Sweden’s provinces and counties are in deep financial crisis. More and more Swedes are leaving the biggest cities, especially the non-white districts, and moving to areas that are still overwhelmingly white. The counties of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Botkyrka continue to grow, but the ethnic Swedish population is declining. Sweden is experiencing classic “white flight.”
Usually people prefer not to discuss why they move from immigrant areas, but an anonymous survey by Malmö County asking why so many people were leaving got interesting answers. Many Swedes at least pretended to be shocked to learn that the most frequent answer was “too many immigrants,” together with problems related to immigration like crime, bad schools and high housing costs (in areas where white flight pushes up house prices).
Here are some of the reasons people gave for leaving Malmö:
- “Who wants 80 percent immigrants in one school class? Who wants four or five interpreters at a parents’ meeting?”
- “Unfortunately, violence, burglary and car theft, etc., have affected life in Malmö very negatively. It is very difficult to have a positive view of foreign youths, especially those in gangs who have attacked some of my good friends who are in their 30s. Just in the last year four of them have been attacked, some beaten to the ground.”
- “Mixed cultures are good. It enriches man. But when the most common boy’s name in Malmö is Mohammed things have gone too far!”
- “Malmö is falling apart. In some parts of the city there are too many immigrants. It feels like you are in some foreign country and not in Sweden when you are in Malmö. It creates problems, insecurity, irritation, fear and injustice.”
- “When children are attacked on the street just because they are Swedes something is very sick in this society.”
As one respondent said about his new location: “Here there are no disturbing neighbors who play loud Arabic music and have strange traditions and clothes.”
If Swedes don’t leave non-white areas voluntarily, they may be forced out, since some immigrants are turning their neighborhoods into “no-go zones” for whites. In Rosengard, in the very center of Malmö, anyone who appears to represent Swedish society is likely to be met by young stone-throwers as part of their intifada against Swedes. There used to be bus service in Rosengard but it was cancelled after buses were repeatedly stoned. The transit company managed to persuade the local Imam to speak out against stone-throwing, if only because many of the passengers were Muslims. It didn’t work; the buses now skip Rosengard.
Swedish construction workers who were to add a new building to one of the schools in Rosengard to accommodate the rising number of immigrant school children were likewise pelted with stones. The workers fled in panic, and demanded security guards. Two security guards arrived but they, too, fled in a hail of stones. The construction site finally had to be protected by a force of 10 security guards, combined with police patrols. That the workers were there to build a school building for Arabs made no difference. Arabs have attacked firemen, mailmen, and in some cases even police officers who venture into Rosengard.
Stone-throwing at buses has been reported in mostly-immigrant areas in Gothenburg as well, but not to the same extent as in Rosengard. In the mostly-immigrant district of Husby, in north-western Stockholm, a bus was met with gun-fire — but not from Arabs. The perpetrator — a black man — told a Swedish newspaper he was taking revenge because a “racist” driver had refused to let him board.
Success in Denmark
In Denmark, the situation is similar demographically but far more promising politically. Denmark began admitting asylum seekers a few years later than Sweden, and generally the numbers were lower, so the population is only five percent non-white. Nevertheless, even with the much more restrictive immigration laws passed last year, that number will continue to rise, given that over 10 percent of all babies being born in Denmark are non-white.
Denmark has had a populist party since 1973, when Mogens Glistrup started Fremskridtspartiet or The Progress Party (PP). At the time, Denmark was still virtually all-white, and immigration was not Mr. Glistrup’s main issue. Instead, he ran on a libertarian platform that called for a 90 percent reduction in public spending, and abolition of the income tax. Although such radically libertarian ideas didn’t resonate with the mostly welfare-state loving Danish public, many people were so fed up with the political establishment that his party got 15 percent of the vote in the 1973 elections. In parliament, the PP failed to gain support for its ideas, and lost ground in later elections. Mr. Glistrup himself was convicted of tax evasion, for which he has been repeatedly jailed.
In the 1980s, when Muslim immigrants began to arrive, Mr. Glistrup added immigration control to his platform. The PP now had two main objectives: purging Denmark of both taxes and refugees, with Mr. Glistrup even calling for the forcible expulsion of all Muslims. However, the party failed to repeat its 1973 success, and Mr. Glistrup kept going in and out of jail — and not just for tax evasion. Denmark has relatively mild and seldom-enforced laws against incitement to racial hatred, but Mr. Glistrup managed to violate them. “Muslims reproduce like rats,” he told a radio audience, and he also said that if Muslims resisted his plans to expel them from Denmark, the women should be rounded up and sold on the world market to the highest bidder.
In 1995, Pia Kjærsgaard led a group of PP members of parliament out of the party and founded Dansk Folkeparti, or the Danish People’s Party (DPP). Free of both of Mr. Glistrup’s eccentric behavior and his platform, the party promptly abandoned the futile goal of abolishing the welfare state, and it stopped short of urging the expulsion of Muslims. By turning its back on the erratic Mr. Glistrup, the party won a moderate level of support. In the 1998 elections, it received 7.3 percent of the vote (the PP got 2.6 percent), but was unable to influence immigration policy in a country ruled by a coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals.
Still, after 1998, as the problems associated with immigration rose, so did the party’s fortunes. Violent crime, especially rape and robbery, were increasing sharply, and an astonishing 68 percent of all rapes are now committed by immigrants. At just five percent of the population, this means immigrants commit rape at no less than 40 times the native rate. As in Sweden and Norway, Middle Easterners are the worst offenders.
The increasingly frequent gang-rapes of Danish women by Muslims has particularly outraged the Danes. Unlike Sweden, where the media cover up the ethnic origins of criminals, the Danish press reports the facts. Gang-rapists often brought further criticism of immigrants because of their complete lack of remorse. After one highly-publicized trial of Arab gang-rapists in May 2000, the sister of one the offenders — wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf — ran up to journalists waiting outside the court and gave them all the finger. The burning hatred clearly visible on her face — her contempt for all of Danish society — led many Danes to ask themselves why they should admit people who hate them.
Not only was immigrant-related crime rising rapidly, heavy welfare use by immigrants was burdening the welfare state. According to one study, 35 percent of those receiving cash benefits were immigrants, for a dependency rate ten times the native rate. Immigrants also paid little in taxes, and the Danish media were not afraid to publicize these differences. One of the largest newspapers in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, openly supported immigration control in its editorials, and publicized the worst horrors of immigration.
The Social Democrats took fright as more and more of their voters defected to the DPP. They began to sound a little “xenophobic” themselves (and were condemned by the politically correct), and made some minor changes to curb immigration. This did little good politically, because the DPP could say the Social Democrats’ new stance was just talk, and that their Liberal coalition partners would not permit real restrictions.
Then came the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, just two months before the Danish elections. The attacks caused an anti-Muslim backlash world-wide, but it was particularly sharp in Denmark for several reasons. In some heavily-immigrant areas, Muslims celebrated in the streets after the attacks. Some days later, an Islamic fundamentalist group called Hizb-u-Tahrir, which has long stated its goal of turning Denmark into an Islamic state, handed out fliers calling for Muslims to kill Jews and to go to Afghanistan to join the jihad against America.
The DPP instantly saw the value of the anti-Muslim backlash, and used it skillfully. It had always been strongly anti-Muslim, so the DPP could say “See, we told you so! Muslims are the enemy of Western society.” In the ensuing election, the DPP campaigned on an explicitly anti-Muslim theme, and described Muslims as savages incompatible with life in Denmark. Most of its campaign posters were explicitly anti-Muslim. One showed a mass meeting of armed Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, with the text “The future of Denmark? Your country — your choice . . .” Another was a picture of a little blonde Danish girl, age four or five, with the text “When she retires, there will be a Muslim majority in Denmark.”
All this caused a dramatic change in the political debate, and the Social Democrats and the center-right parties agreed that immigration had to be sharply cut back. This reversal in the other major parties’ policies limited the DPP to only 12 percent in the November 2001 election, but the views of the DPP clearly won the election. There was an almost revolutionary spirit in the air, and as one commentator put it, “This election was a referendum on Islam, and Islam lost.”
Later, the two big center-right parties, the Left Party and the Conservative People’s Party, formed a new government, and made a deal with the DPP to slash immigration in return for the DPP’s support. Asylum rules became much stricter, and tough new family-related immigration laws made it far more difficult for immigrants from Somalia, Pakistan, and the Middle East to import spouses from their home countries. The result was a dramatic decline in immigration. The new center-right government even banned Hizb-u-Tharir, the organization that called for jihad against America, on the grounds that it incited violence against Danish citizens (Danish Jews) and against Denmark’s key NATO ally, the United States. Now only a few fringe parties oppose strict curbs on immigration.
The Swedish media, which had virtually blocked all news about the Danish elections during the campaign, finally broke the silence on election day. In the days that followed, news programs and political debates were filled with denunciations of the “racist” and “xenophobic” Danes. “Debates,” to which only anti-racists were invited, all began with unanimous condemnation of Denmark, followed by discussions of “How did the Danes become such evil racists?” or most importantly: “How do we keep this from happening in Sweden?”
When the new Danish immigration laws were passed, there was another round of vitriol and hand-wringing. Mona Sahlin, the Swedish Minster of Integration, who has children by a Chilean immigrant, denounced Danish “xenophobia.” Danes retorted that Swedes should mind their own business. As DPP leader Pia Kjærsgaard put it: “If the Swedish government wishes to turn Sweden into a ethnic melting pot, that’s their business. And if they wish to turn Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö into Scandinavian New Beiruts with clan warfare, honor murders and gang rape, that’s also their business. I suppose we could always close down the Oresund bridge [which connects Copenhagen and Malmö].”
This greatly upset Swedish politicians, and the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth Group even tried to have Miss Kjærsgaard charged in Sweden with “incitement of ethnic hatred.” Naturally, Swedish courts threw out the case, because Danes are not under Swedish jurisdiction.
Still, Swedish politicians are able to undermine the new Danish immigration laws to some degree, because Sweden and Denmark are members of the European Union (EU), which guarantees free movement of people within its borders. Since the new Danish laws were passed, hundreds of Middle Easterners and others have moved from Denmark to Sweden, where they have made use of liberal Swedish immigration law to import spouses. Though many of them will stay in Sweden, after two years, they have the right to return to Denmark, and there is nothing the Danes can do about it. “Closing down the Oresund bridge” would mean leaving the EU.
Mixed Results in Norway
In Norway, the political situation is midway between that of Sweden and Denmark. Norway started its transformation in the late 1970s, and, as was the case in Denmark, the effects of immigration turned a tax-cutting movement into an immigration-restriction movement. As in Denmark, the vehicle was the Norwegian version of the Progress Party, founded in 1973 by Anders Lange. The original name was actually Anders Lange’s Party for Sharp Reductions of Taxes, Charges and Public Interventions. It demanded big cuts in public spending and taxation, and is still officially a libertarian party.
Lange had a strong racial consciousness. He opposed official Norwegian support for the ANC and stated that “Anyone who supports black rule in South Africa is a traitor to the white race.” The only reason his party focused on tax cuts rather than on immigration was that there were virtually no non-whites living in Norway in 1973. Leftist “anti-racist” groups in Norway have claimed Lange received financial support from the white government of South Africa. The PP has neither confirmed nor denied this, but if it is true, it would be a remarkable exception to the apartheid government’s general passivity in the face of world-wide condemnation. Lange died in 1974, and in 1978 the party elected its current leader, Carl I. Hagen.
Unlike Lange, Mr. Hagen denied having racial views but as significant numbers of immigrants started to arrive in the 1980s he made opposition to non-white immigration the party’s main issue. One big problem for the PP was its libertarian ideology and its official “anti-racism,” which would imply open borders. Mr. Hagen squared the circle by saying the party was for open borders in principle, but that free immigration required abolition of the welfare state. Open borders and a welfare state meant Norway had a theoretical obligation to feed the entire world — an obvious impossibility. Mr. Hagen thought he could win both libertarians and nationalists to one party by promoting a “vision” of open borders while restricting immigration in the short term.
For a while this succeeded reasonably well, but after losing more than half their seats in the 1993 parliamentary election, there was a fierce internal battle between the nationalists and the libertarians. The PP’s Youth Group, which lead the libertarians, wasn’t convinced the existence of a welfare state required immigration restriction, especially since the nationalists did not appear to be hostile to white immigrants. If white immigrants and native Norwegians were assumed to prefer work to welfare, wasn’t it “racist” to assume non-whites would prefer welfare?
It is probably true that Mr. Hagen and others in the PP are more racially conscious than they want to admit, but the official PP argument has some factual basis. A study made by the Norwegian Statistical Bureau showed that while European immigrants have rates of employment that are as high or, in the case of Nordic immigrants, even higher than the Norwegian employment rate of 70 percent of the population between 16 and 64, working-age non-white immigrants have an employment rate of only about 50 percent. As in Sweden and Denmark, the lowest rate of employment was for Somalis, at 29 percent.
The libertarians lost the internal battle, left the party, set up shop as the Free Democrats, and have had little success. The PP then started moving to the center in economic policy. In the 1997 elections, it got a respectable 15.3 percent of the vote, and in late 2000, its opinion poll numbers reached an all-time high of 35 percent. Many people thought it would become Norway’s biggest party, and perhaps form a government, but it was crippled by serious setbacks. First, there was increasing internal fighting, and the expulsion of some of the more controversial officials, who kept making comments like those of Mogens Glistrup. Then a leading member of the PP was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party conference. This led to a 2001 result of 14.7 percent, a marginal decline from 1997.
In Norway, as in Denmark and Sweden, the majority of serious crimes are committed by non-white immigrants. As noted correctly in the January, 2003 AR, some 69 percent of teenage robbers and 65 percent of rapists in Oslo are immigrants, even though they are only slightly over 20 percent of the city’s population. Although the media are more open than in Sweden, and often report the ethnic origins of perpetrators, they still prefer to highlight crimes by whites.
Typically, there was extensive coverage of the rape case against the leading PP member, and there was a national uproar when a group of Nazis murdered a 14-year old mulatto (African father, Norwegian mother). Some 20,000 Norwegians demonstrated against the “racism” symbolized by the crime. Even though the PP never had any connection to Nazis, and even though Mr. Hagen strongly condemned the murder, it was still used against the PP, which was accused of “creating an atmosphere of hatred.”
Unlike Sweden, whose only real anti-immigration party destroyed itself after three years, Norway at least has a strong party. But unlike Denmark, the PP has been unable to influence Norwegian immigration policy, since the established parties unanimously reject restrictions.
Why the Differences?
Why have nationalist movements in Scandinavia had such varied results? Why complete failure in Sweden, success in Denmark, and mixed results in Norway?
One important difference is the experience of the three countries during the Second World War, and the stance immigration-control activists have taken towards Nazism. This is important, because while it is probably fair to say that a majority of Scandinavians want sharp restrictions on immigration, a much greater majority also believe Nazism is pure evil. Denmark and Norway, where immigration-control has been relatively successful, were both occupied by the Germans, and had resistance movements. Sweden was not occupied, and made important raw materials available for the German war effort.
Both the Danish and Norwegian People’s Parties have been very thorough in distancing themselves from Nazis, and they highlight their older members who were active in the resistance against occupation. They can portray themselves as anti-Nazis who have always resisted invaders: yesterday it was German soldiers, today it is Muslim civilians. They even call pro-immigration politicians Quislings, after the Nazi Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling, who collaborated with the Germans.
PP leaders in both countries also take a strong pro-Israel position, which further distances them from the neo-Nazis. The PP has an official, Zionist plank in its platform, and the DPP invited the Israeli ambassador in Copenhagen to address its annual convention. The ambassador praised the strong friendship between Israel and the DPP, while the Danes ate Israeli fruit and drank Israeli wine. Philosemitism is partly a consequence of the strongly anti-Muslim component of the nationalist movement, but it also makes any accusations of Nazi ties seem ridiculous.
The SD in Sweden has behaved quite differently, and this has undoubtedly hurt it. Several of its earliest leaders — including the first party leader Anders Klarstrom and the founder of the youth group Robert Vesterlund — had ties to Nazi organizations. Indeed, after Mr. Vesterlund left the SD, he went on to become one of Sweden’s most prominent Nazi activists. The party takes a neutral position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has only recently purged Nazi sympathizers. These ties are so recent that the media still feel justified in dismissing the SD as closet Nazis. It remains to be seen whether the passage of time and the recruitment of the former Conservative parliamentarian Sten Andersson and former Centre Party activist Sven-Olle Olsson will, in the minds of ordinary Swedes, dissociate the SD from Nazism.
Another disadvantage for the Swedes has been the absence of a charismatic leader like Carl Hagen in Norway or Pia Kjærsgaard in Denmark. The official SD leader, Mikael Jansson, is dull. Sten Andersson is more attractive, but is unwilling to take over, and Sven-Olle Olsson is now too old to play a very active roll.
There are also what might be called national differences in temperament that affect the different countries’ political movements. Beer drinking and pork eating are important to Danes, while Norway and Sweden have a long tradition of teetotal movements, and consume more fish than pork. This has made Danes naturally more hostile towards Islam, which forbids both beer and pork.
Of the three countries, Sweden has the strongest legacy of racial egalitarianism, due to the tremendous influence of Gunnar Myrdal and Prime Minister Olof Palme. Myrdal, who had a world-wide reputation as a racial liberal, influenced Palme heavily, who in turn was the dominant Swedish political figure for nearly 20 years.
The press is firmly in the Myrdal-Palme tradition, and this may be the single most important obstacle to nationalism in Sweden. The media are relentlessly hostile to any suggestion of curbing immigration, and virtually never permit spokesmen for immigration control to print their views or participate in news programs or political debates. If the media do criticize the government on immigration, it is only because it does not bring in more non-whites.
In Norway, the media are also basically hostile to immigration control but are not so one-sided as in Sweden. They do occasionally publish reports on immigrant crime rates, and reveal the ethnicities of perpetrators. They sometimes even let immigration opponents express their views. In Denmark, the media are tolerant and even supportive of immigration control, and usually report the backgrounds of criminals.
It is impossible to predict how the dynamic of nationalist movements will unfold, but one can be cautiously optimistic about the Danish model for Scandinavia. It is true that free movement within the EU means Denmark cannot prevent non-white immigrants to other European countries from crossing its borders. However, it already has a vital, invisible barrier to immigration: its reputation. It is well known within Europe that the Danish people, press, and even government are officially restrictionist, and this discourages migration. At the same time, because very few Third-World people will find asylum in Denmark, very few will experience integration into Europe in a Danish-speaking environment. Those who come from elsewhere will face a serious readjustment problem.
If, as time goes on, Gothenburg and Malmö do become New Beiruts, the contrast with Denmark will be all the more striking. Perhaps even the Swedes will eventually see the light.