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The 2021 award ceremony

2021-11-25

A minute’s silence for Jan Myrdal, Sven Lindqvist, Maj Sjöwall and Sven Wollter. Photo: Olle Asp

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, it was finally time for the Lenin Award ceremony again, after the covid-19 pandemic that had been standing in its way for a year and a half. As a result of the pandemic, the 2020 award ceremony was postponed, postponed again, and merged with the 2021 award ceremony, and finally this double award ceremony was again moved forward. When the award ceremony now finally could come off, the 2021 Lenin Award laureate Nina Björk and the Robespierre Prize laureate Kalle Holmqvist were of course in place, but also the 2020 laureates Kajsa Ekis Ekman and David Ritschard would now finally receive their awards.

As usual, there was a lot of people and full commerce in the foyer of Varberg Theatre well before the award ceremony started. The visitors mingled and flocked around the various book stands, where of course the sales and signing of Kajsa Ekis Ekman’s and Nina Björk’s books were at the centre. Many wanted a dedicated copy of the laureates’ latest work On the existence of gender and If you love freedom.

The theatre was crowded of course, and an extra excited atmosphere settled in the room when the spectators took their seats for this double award ceremony. Most things on stage were as usual, with Lasse Diding as master of ceremonies and Lenin wearing a headscarf, but this time also in the company of one of the garden elves known from the film Waiting for Jan Myrdal’s death and the Karl Marx statuette Lasse Diding brought with him during the autumn launch tour for the just mentioned film.

Professor Göran Therborn. Photo: Olle Asp

Lasse Diding began the award ceremony with a minute’s silence for those who have left us since the last award ceremony in the spring of 2019: Jan Myrdal, Sven Lindqvist, Maj Sjöwall and Sven Wollter. Afterwards, previous laureates who were present and very much alive were given an extra warm welcome. Former Lenin Award laureates Mikel Wiehe, Mikael Nyberg and Göran Therborn as well as former Robespierre Prize winners Daria Bogdanska and, in fact, Kajsa Ekis Ekman who was the first to be awarded the Robespierre Prize in 2010. After complete information from Lasse about the weekend’s extensive program, the house band Jonsereds Proggorkester with Bosse Stenholm in the lead kicked off the actual award ceremony with the obvious signature melody The Lenin song by Ernst Busch. The band, which in addition to Bosse consisted of Stefan Engberg, Magnus Ekman and Stefan Abelsson, then played a song between each award and this year they had an Irish theme which in addition to two Irish tunes included Fred Åkerström’s The Thirtieth of January Seventy-two.

After Lasse Diding read out the justification for the 2020 Robespierre Prize to David Ritschard, the 2019 laureate Daria Bogdanska gave a speech in which she praised David’s ability to portray everyday life, emotions, romance, solidarity, hope and dreams in his lyrics. Daria also thanked David for filling a void after the sometimes overused progg songs from the 70’s, after which David Ritschard received his award.

Then it was time for Kajsa Ekis Ekman to finally receive her Lenin Award for 2020 and here too Lasse Diding read out the justification, before the 2019 laureate Professor Göran Therborn took the stage. In his speech, Therborn talked about a new international left-wing generation that sprang from the failed neoliberalism and highlighted Kajsa Ekis Ekman as its foremost intellectual representative.

Kajsa Ekis Ekman gives an acceptance speech. Photo: Håkan Johansson / HN

In her acceptance speech, Ekis took her starting point in childhood and thanked first and foremost her father, who was also present at the theatre. She also talked about how it is impossible to predict the future because it is people who create history, that all situations carry the seed to their own opposite and that all oppression breeds resistance. Linked to this, she also mentioned how impossible it was to predict how controversial classical feminist positions would be today. In her thanks for the Lenin Award, Ekis also extended an extra thank you to Lasse Diding for the quiet workplace Hotell Havanna constituted, without which she could not have written her last two books.

After a musical interlude, it was time for the 2021 laureates. Lasse Diding read out the justification for the Robespierre Prize to Kalle Holmqvist, after which David Ritschard gave a speech in which he emphasized the kinship between himself and Kalle Holmqvist when it comes to focusing on the common man. He also highlighted the breadth of Holmqvist’s work. Kalle Holmqvist then gave an acceptance speech in which he mentioned three people who have been particularly important to his writing: Jan Myrdal, Sven Wernström and Maria Sandel.

Lasse Diding read out the justification for the 2021 Lenin Award to Nina Björk and then it was time for Kajsa Ekis Ekman to speak again. Ekis highlighted, among other things, Nina Björk’s courage, her ability to write about difficult things in a simple way, her pioneering thinking, and her ambition to reach an in-depth understanding rather than win a debate.

Nina Björk’s acceptance speech. Photo: Olle Asp

Deeply moved by Ekis’ speech, Nina Björk then received her Lenin Award and gave an acceptance speech in which she focused on the key issue of our time, the climate threat and its connection to human activity and our capitalist system, but also in a more positive spirit described her belief that the socialist dream of real equality “cannot be obliterated as long as there are people on earth”.

The end of the award ceremony was the traditional sing-along with the Internationale and all present laureates on stage. In summary, it can be said that this double award ceremony was a very memorable ceremony where the many speeches had an intellectual weight of a rarely seen kind. Quite simply, an award ceremony well worth the wait.

After the award ceremony was over, it was time for an open member meeting for the Jan Myrdal Society at the theatre and at 5 pm there was a well-attended world premiere of the film Myrdal 92 in the same premises. Alexander Larsson’s documentary delves into Jan Myrdal’s last year working as a 92-year-old writer and allows Myrdal to finish speaking.

In the evening, there was a traditional Lenin Award party at Gästis Kafé & Matsalar, which was packed to the last seat. David Ritschard and the seven-member band Krokodiltårarna treated the party guests to a fantastic show where they mixed the Ritschard compositions from their two latest albums with well-chosen covers for the occasion such as Wiehe’s Huddinge, Huddinge and Knutna nävar’s Lär av historien.

The weekend’s events ended on Sunday morning with a screening of the cinema version of Waiting for Jan Myrdal’s death at Gästis Kafé & Matsalar and about fifty who had not yet seen the film attended.

Henrik Bromander’s speech to Daria Bogdanska

2019-05-09

The cheap Malmö is quite a well-known phenomenon. A city where it is both cheap to reside and live, where you can get a falafel for thirty crowns and cut your hair for a fifty crowns bill. And it is quite romanticized in some circles, the life around Möllan has been called “Little Berlin” by some. But this reality is based on a shadow society and a black economy, which is the very premise for that cheap falafel and that cheap haircut. And it is based on low wages and bad, or even miserable, terms of employment for those who do these jobs.

Some politicians have wanted to stretch it as far as that those who consume these services even contribute to the growing gang criminality. I myself do not really want to stretch it that far, but I have in any case gained a lot of insights into Malmö’s black economy. Especially during the work on the play Blue Dreams that I wrote the script for. It was a theater play set in a car that drove around in the Malmö night, where two actors sat in the front seat and the audience in the back seat. And it was a story about a restaurant manager who is looking for his paperless dishwasher who has disappeared and it becomes more and more dramatic the longer the time goes.

As part of the research for this play, we in the team talked to people who had experience of both the white and the black part of the restaurant industry. Among others we talked with Daria Bogdanska, who has a rather special history and quite an in-depth knowledge of Malmö’s black restaurant world. Daria came to Sweden in 2013 to start studying at the Comic Art School that is located in Malmö. To be able to support herself, she started working as a waitress at several of these Indian restaurants around Möllan, which are known for their cheap beer and cheap food.

Quite quickly she discovered that the wages were low and the conditions poor, but there were also very unequal conditions. Swedish employees received one salary and she as a Pole received one salary and the very lowest salary went to the employees from Bangladesh who were countrymen to the boss and owner of the place. So, Daria soon decided to try to do what workers of all times have done to correct injustices in their workplaces: to join forces with their colleagues and organize. The problem is, of course, that the unions we have in Sweden today, especially within the LO collective, find it hard to handle the situation with paperless and black economy employees and it was only when they talked to the syndicalists of SAC that things started to happen.

Daria also began to document all the fraud that the manager at these restaurants was doing and also came in contact with a journalist who was doing a story about Malmö’s black economy workforce. Then a lot of other things happened, some of those Daria tried to organize with, dared not go all the way for fear of threats and reprisals from the boss and his friends. Daria ended up in a meeting with this manager and won her conflict and got all the salary he had withheld. She was not content only with winning this labor conflict, but she also decided to tell about all her experiences, also to inspire others to fight and win.

The result was this book that Lasse showed us before, Wage Slaves, which is a graphic novel that is not just about work and struggle at the workplace. It is also an autobiographical account of being a newcomer in Sweden and not being able to speak much Swedish at the beginning and friendship and love. It is also a depiction of the punk scene around Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. It is an extremely well-told and inspirational book that, in my view, holds a high international standard and the book has also been translated into a number of languages: French, Spanish, English and soon also German. I also know that Daria has several graphic novels in progress. Among other things, she is working on an autobiographical story about the increasingly segregated housing market. And then she has a project later on that I personally look forward very much to: A biographical depiction of her grandmother’s life. A woman who has experienced much of Poland’s very dramatic 20th century.

But Daria has also continued to commit to the union work and recently she was involved in helping to organize a group of Eastern European migrant workers working in the salad industry in Skåne. They took the fight with the staffing company that had paid them very low wages and won. A victory like this is proof that we who want a more equal world must never give up but continue to fight and we will also win from time to time. So, congratulations to the 2019 Robespierre Prize laureate Daria Bogdanska.

Göran Therborn’s acceptance speech

2019-05-09

From one revolutionary era to another

The Lenin Award is, by its name, an intentional provocation, not only against the bourgeoisie and the good stock market prices, but also against the silent, the cautious and timid, who sit still and patiently wait for what the government will come up with, such as for instance the January agreement this year, about which gaps to expand and what social rights should be cut back.

It is an honour for an academic sociology researcher to receive this year’s edition of this award together with the major critical cultural creators who received it before me. And to be introduced – embraced as a brother – by the country’s greatest actor. I would like to warmly thank Lasse Diding and his advisors for the award. Lasse reminds us of the words of the Manifesto: “The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.”

I would also like to thank Jan Myrdal, who was the second founder of the award, one of Northern Europe’s great intellectuals in our time. Like many others, I have often disagreed with him, but I have never been so close to him that we have become enemies.

No Nobel laureate is usually asked about what she thinks about Nobel and about dynamite. But a Lenin Award Laureate can’t avoid questions about Lenin, often excited. Lenin was not a drawing room Bolshevik, but a devoted and ruthless revolutionary who mercilessly defended the revolution in a civil war on life and death and against simultaneous invasions by a number of foreign powers. We, who Brecht called Die Nachgeborenen, the descendants, should consider that time with reflection, without romance, without blinkers and without gullibility before the tales of the victors. Lenin was one of the few active political opponents of the First World War and its meaningless human slaughter. He cannot be equated with persons such as Harry Truman, who with the stroke of a pen eradicated the lives of 230,000 civilians, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Lenin’s criticism of Stalin is well-known, but it is still being discussed in what extent in the monstrous Stalinization of communism there were genes from Lenin. In any case, it is clear that in the communist tradition there was so much more than Stalinism that the movement after Stalin’s death produced a whole array of democratic socialists as leaders, Enrico Berlinguer, Luís Corvalán, Alexander Dubcek, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chris Hani, CH Hermansson, EMS Namboodiripad et al. Then there is another thing, that Lenin as a thinker and politician too often can remind contemporary readers about Hans Rosling, “I am right, you are wrong”.

Revolution as emancipation and dialectics

Lenin was undeniably a central figure in a revolutionary era that began with the American and French revolutions, which continued in the 20th century with the Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions, and which ended approximately at the turn of the millennium. The epoch had a central pair of concepts for the societal change sought, emancipation, liberation, concepts with roots in the Enlightenment’s goal of human authority, autonomy, liberation from cages of rightlessness. The concepts were used for religious minorities – the emancipation of Jews, Catholics (e.g. in England) – the liberation or emancipation of slaves, nations, working class, women. The emancipation/liberation did not necessarily have to be violent or even subversive, but it should be revolutionary, a clear break with previous states of oppression.

The concepts retained their centrality in progressive thinking in the 1960s, 1970s, Women’s emancipation/liberation, Black liberation, national liberation movements, liberation theology. One could also, in the Anglo-Saxon world, encounter the Gay Liberation Front. But the liberation of the working class did already not sound very convincing, and towards the end of the century the other liberations also silenced.

Why? Most likely because the sharp boundary between now and the future expressed by the image of breaking out of a cage no longer seems convincing as a realistic picture, either of the present or of a more unclear future. Positive changes had been conquered, which meant that the concept of the cage and minority could not really be recognized.

The twentieth-century revolutions and social upheavals were driven by two major dialectical processes, where the development of the system carried and strengthened its opponent. One was industrial capitalism, whose development created the industrial working class, concentrated and exploited in Petrograd. The Russian Revolution was the major revolutionary outbreak of industrial capitalist dialectics, but the same dialectic could also flow slower and wider. In Western Europe, the industrial working class reached its largest extent, its strongest position on the labour market and in workplaces and politics in the years around 1970.

The second great dialectic of the 20th century was that of modern colonialism. It stopped economic development in countries like India and China, but it also provided an educated layer of the population with insight into ideas of nation, democracy and emancipation. National liberation movements arose that came to carry out a worldwide decolonization.

Lenin’s greatest political significance was that he came to explicitly and effectively link the revolutionary part of European labour movement with the anti-colonial movements. That link eventually led to the Great Revolution in China.

Both dialectics of the 20th century are now history. The successful decolonization has ended the colonial, and in Zionist settler colonialism there is no inherent social dialectic. Indeed, capitalism does persist, but the industry is outflanked by financial capitalism, which hardly creates any antagonistic finance working class. The European industrial society will not be recreated in the Global South. Industrial employment has already begun to decline in India, China and Latin America, at a level of 12-15 per cent of those active.

The 21st century’s upcoming revolutions

A revolutionary era may have ended, but a second begins. No signs suggest that the world as a whole is becoming silent and content, even less that it should have any reason for that. On the contrary, one can say. Successful urban rebellions have returned, a century after Friedrich Engels, the General of the 1848 barricades, declared them outdated. There are examples from Manila and Bangkok to Khartoum, Alger and Tunis. It can be objected that the social meaning of the rebellions, despite their regime overthrows, is unclear, ambiguous, and at least not so far socialist or anti-imperialist. Our century’s revolutions have no developmental logic, and no predetermined main actors, no secure victors, even in the long run.

But three ongoing and increasingly interconnected processes will bring about social revolutions as pervasive as the industrial revolution and will generate conflicts of power and political upheaval. Where these will lead cannot be predicted.

The clearest of the three processes is the accelerating inequality in the world, which is becoming increasingly visible, as it becomes more concentrated in the near, within the country, and more globally exposed. In the post-industrial world, these gaps will not be tackled in negotiations between capital and strong unions and in coalitions between reform parties engaged in “the social issue”. Such actors are dying, or weak from old age. The fight against the hoarding of resources and opportunities by the privileged will likely be more like the more violent campaigns of the Yellow Vests and the Global South’s IMF riots against the neo-liberal adjustment programs of the 1980s.

The second major revolutionary process is the reshaping of the entire working life with artificial intelligence, robotization and machine learning. This digital revolution has the ability to transform work, livelihood, social relations as extensively and radically as the historical agricultural and industrial revolutions. The fearsome thing is that it is driven and dominated by a handful of capitalist giant companies that control the entire world economy. Who should decide on who should get employment and who shouldn’t in the new economy? And on what terms?

The climate crisis and the continual warming of the Earth is the third transformational world process of our time, the most serious. Between apocalypse and technocratic sunshine optimism lies, mostly undiscussed, the new social issues: How much must change? How fast? Who will be doing the adaptation? Who will bear the costs? Who should be able to continue their lifestyle as before? It is around these issues that the third social revolution of our century will unfold.

We who are present are committed to the freedom, equality and opportunity for all people to live and develop on earth. We can no longer invoke the dialectics of history on our side. We are no longer sure what humanity’s liberation would mean.

What we know and feel is the inequality, insecurity, injustice and evil in today’s world. Lenin’s policy belongs to another era. But his thinking power, boldness and courage will be needed in the social upheavals of our century.

The 2019 award ceremony

2019-05-09

Despite Lasse Didings appeal to go easy with the fists, many followed Sven Wollter’s example. Photo: Olle Asp

Before the award ceremony, an excited mingle, as usual, arose in the entrance to Varberg Theatre, where both this year’s laureates were busy autographing books and receiving congratulations. Then Lenin Award laureate Göran Therborn and Robespierre Award laureate Daria Bogdanska entered a crowded theatre to receive their awards.

Also present were former award winners Mikael Nyberg, Sven Wollter and Henrik Bromander. The latter two with the important task of speaking to this year’s laureates. Jonsereds Proggorkester kicked off the award ceremony with an instrumental version of Ernst Busch’s old hit Lenin (“Er rührte an den Schlaf der Welt”), whereupon Lasse Diding held an introductory speech. He pointed out that the Lenin Award has now been given out for 10 years to people who have fought insistently for a better world and proudly read the names of the previous recipients of both the Lenin Award and the Robespierre Prize. Lasse also referred to this year’s award winners’ excellent answers to media’s questions about how they can accept awards in the names of Lenin and Robespierre. Instead of criticizing Hallands Nyheter’s use of its problem definition privilege, Lasse Diding thanked the newspaper for all the writings over the years on the news and editorial pages and for publishing letters to the editor, which has led to Varberg’s population today being the world’s most well-informed about Lenin.

Then it was time for the Robespierre Award to be given out, but first, last year’s award winner Henrik Bromander held a tribute speech to Daria Bogdanska in which he described her work so far as a cartoonist and union organizer. When Lasse Diding then gave out the award, he decided to double the prize money of 10,000 SEK since Bogdanska in an interview has revealed that she intends to give the prize money to her mother in Warsaw, who, despite being a retiree, works six days a week as a cleaning lady to make ends meet. Daria dismissed her manuscript and gave an improvised acceptance speech focusing on the situation of migrants in Sweden today, the trade union work and the importance of actually doing something by organizing rather than just talk.

After the Robespierre Award, it was time for this year’s musical entertainment. Bandleader Bosse Stenholm was very proud to be able to present Edo Bumba who along with Jonsereds Proggorkester played his own fantastic songs. Edo also spoke about his friend Denis Mukwege, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2018, and his work against sexualized violence as a weapon in war and conflict. For the last 10 years, they have done lots of concerts together to raise money for Mukwege’s work.

Following Lasse Diding’s reading of the justification for professor Göran Therborn’s Lenin Award, last year’s winner Sven Wollter took the stage with his tribute speech to this year’s Lenin Award laureate. With him he had a backpack full of books, Therborn’s and others’, which he read from during his speech. In addition to Therborn quotes, he read poems by, among others, Brecht, Dagerman and Folke Isaksson. Sven Wollter explained that during the reading of Göran Therborn’s books before the award ceremony at the age of 85, he experienced having a new, seven years younger, big brother and through the reading had learned more than ever. “Everything I have suspected and believed you have made clear. It has been fantastic, but also frightening, that knowledge exists, and the robbery is still going on”, Wollter said in his speech to Therborn.

Lasse Diding then gave out the Lenin Award to Göran Therborn, who also got flowers and a big hug from Sven Wollter. Göran Therborn gave an eloquent acceptance speech and then it was time for the traditional ending with all present laureates on stage and the sing-along number The Internationale. At the beginning of the award ceremony, Lasse Diding had called for restraint and not too aggressively clenched fists to the face of the person next to you, who may be a member of the Swedish liberal party.

In the evening, the usual Lenin Award party was held with around 200 participants at Gästis Kafé & Matsalar. After mingling, food, sing-along and cake, Ensamma Hjärtan entered the stage and showed that the epithet Sweden’s best live band is still highly valid.

A new feature for the year was that the Lenin Award weekend did not end with Saturday night’s party but continued on Sunday afternoon when Lenin Award laureate Göran Therborn discussed the injustices of our time with Aftonbladet’s head of culture Åsa Linderborg. About 100 people filled the lecture hall at Gästis Kafé & Matsalar. Afterwards, books were autographed and Therborn’s Kapitalet, överheten och alla vi andra as well as Populistiska manifestet by Linderborg and Greider sold out.

Jan Myrdal’s speech 2009

2018-12-11

About knowing the age of time

That the jury chose Mattias Gardell was a good choice. His intellectual work is part of the great liberating tradition; das grosse Erbe, that we about sixty years ago expressed ourselves in polemic against the Nazism and other reaction that marched to the beat of yesteryear’s drum.

The fact that the choice triggered an anti-intellectual gust of mud against both Mattias Gardell and me from the compliant company of everything from the newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy to the general rabble of plump bloggers was not surprising. That’s the way it usually is. For example, read my “The Full Dozen” from the early eighties or “A Fifties” about what it was like sixty years ago.

But it gives me a reason to discuss work and attitude to life apropos “knowing the age of time”. The choice of words is deliberate. It comes from Paracelsus. In a good sense an ambiguous – facing both backwards to the mysticism of the Middle Ages and forward to the social and intellectual revolutions – researcher, writer and social reformer from the early sixteenth century.

Anyone at the Stockholm City Museum browsing through street life photographs can immediately see when they are taken. That is 1948! That’s 1962! You can tell by the length of women’s skirts! The fashion reveals the year. (It is in itself overdetermined; the changes are determined by social events that can be examined.) For art and architecture, it is the same. They have been determined by time and place. Elias Cornell said of architecture: “Show me a photo of a building in Europe and I can date the building within the decade and say its location within a perimeter of ten miles.”

It is the same with texts. Give me a reasonably coherent text from the last centuries. (Correct the spelling etc. so it does not immediately let itself be decided.) I should be able to say when, where and in what context it was written.

Vision is also time-bound. It has surprised me that those interested in art do not ask simple questions such as: When did early Romanesque become visible again as art? and why the new visibility? Or made simple experiments. Goethe was fascinated by the art of antiquity. But he saw with the eyes of his time (those of Winckelmann) and those who visit his home and see what he brought with him from Italy can see which ones are forgeries. Not because we are more knowledgeable but because our view has changed from his then to our now. The originals themselves endure, but that´s why the replicas now stand out as sore thumbs.

Hegel expressed this in 1820 in the foreword to the ”Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts”:

“Everyone is a son of his time, just as philosophy is its time summarized in thinking. It is just as foolish to imagine that any philosophy goes beyond its own time as that an individual takes the leap out of his time, takes the leap over Rhodes. If his theory really goes beyond that, then he builds himself a world as it should be, of course it exists but only in his own sense – a soft matter, which lets itself imagine everything desirable.”

This quote also explains what ordinary members of the Swedish Academy and bloggers are unable to grasp that neither Marx nor Lenin (both Hegel readers) ever engaged in utopias. (That most critics in their writing also fail to understand that Marx – as Hegel and anyone who works in that tradition – does not define but develop, is also a part of their general lack of education.)

But while it is not possible to take the leap out of one’s own time, one can – like Hegel himself – act with words far beyond one’s own time and its limits.

In addition, it is possible not only to find out the determining social reasons for variations in skirt length (and the use of bra) without seeing one´s own time and not be condemned to its limits. To go into other times as well – 1820s or 1930s, for example – and analyse them intellectually honest. Thus, also in a way other than through the counterpropaganda of the time to understand what gave the reaction of the 1820s and the 1930s fascist great (even underclass popular) support.

That this does not belong to the usual has to do with the determining, that the ruling thoughts in all times are the thoughts of the rulers; thoughts serve.

Twenty years ago, I was responsible for France’s official exhibition in Sweden for the bicentenary of the Great Revolution. The exhibition that then went around the country (and also in Iceland) was the only official which, like the French exhibitions in 1889 and 1939, clearly took a stand for the Revolution. Yes, in the catalogue I also discussed the Terror much like Mark Twain in his time and pointed out that Robespierre’s human rights from 1794 formed the theoretical basis for both Folkhem (the People´s Home) and Sozialstaat. It became the only exhibition with that focus – for after that the towards profitable anti-communism turned Furet had become determining and the official intellectuals faithfully sang his tune.

Thus, from the general to the concrete. The political scandal and the pitifully serving judicial racket around the so-called Enbom gang sixty-seven years ago are no longer of political interest today. So, the truth is allowed to creep out. Not only journalists such as Tomas Bresky, but also a professional military officer like lieutenant colonel Stellan Bojerud have once again gone through the affair in which six people were sentenced to prison in 1952 – two of them to life imprisonment and forced labour.

In “Army Museum Yearbook 2005” as well as SvD, Norrbottenskuriren and the book “The Lifetime Lie”, lieutenant colonel Bojerud has presented his material. He has had access to everything. As acting head of the Department of War History, he was commissioned by the head of the Swedish Defence University General Major Karlis Neretnieks through acting head of department Lars Ericson to conduct an investigation (FHS: 21952: 61314) which would then be approved by him and supplemented by professors Gunnar Artéus and Kent Zetterberg and the department director at the intelligence and security department, Major Lars Ulfving. In this investigation, Bojerud had access to the previously classified appendices to the verdicts, material from the Military Intelligence and Security Service and the secret archives of the military staffs concerned.

His conclusion is clear. There was no espionage. The convicted were convicted of crimes that were never committed. His writing becomes very hard. About the evidence cited in the secret appendices, he writes:

“If state prosecutor Werner Ryhninger himself believed in this nonsense, I do not know, but apparently, he did, because he called for life imprisonment – for some completely useless newspaper clippings and a broken water pump!
The alternative that SÄPO and Ryhninger realized that Fritjof Enbom was a phony, but deliberately sacrificed him and his comrades as pawns in the ‘Cold War’ is almost unbearable to imagine.” (“The Lifetime Lie” p. 119)

“I believe that state prosecutor Werner Rhyninger misled the court when he claimed that experts asserted that Fritjof Enbom with his radio could reach all over Europe, when in reality it was completely unusable. /…/ Werner Rhyinger’s voice vibrated with indignant pathos of a kind that characterized Joe McCarthy’s speeches at the Senate hearings in Washington. Both were children of their time – the era of communist scare.” (p. 172)

I have written about the Enbom affair before. I was there. Lilian Ceder became pregnant in my bed in the summer of 1944 (though not with me). I was good friends with Arthur Karlsson. “The revealer”, Jan Lodin, I knew ever since 1949. He had then tried a coup in Clarté. He was so dangerously false and scheming that Gunnar Heyman and I, on behalf of SKU in Gothenburg, travelled up to Stockholm to try to convince the party to quickly break all contacts with the “peace friend” Lodin before he could do any damage.

We, on our edge, did not have access to the then classified “evidence”, but we knew it was an organized show trial. (At the National Library of Sweden, order: Knut Olsson. “The Enbom process. Facts of the case.” Arbetarkultur 1952, Clarté No. 1-2 1953 “The Documents of the Enbom affair”.) The corrupt state powers sought to prevent discussion. Newspapers that questioned the false legal process were convicted of breaching the press law and when Gustav Johansson in Parliament sought to raise the issues surrounding Enbom, the serving politicians immediately intervened:

“Here, for the sake of their political opinions, lots of citizens have been singled out in the press as spies and serious criminals without even having reason to take them into police interrogation.
At this point the speaker was interrupted by Mr SPEAKER who remarked. Now, Mr Johansson has to end his speech. You are once again returning to the same thing I previously warned you about.
Mr. ANDERSSON in Dunker. Mr Speaker, I have no reason to say anything about the previous speaker’s speech other than that here in the Chamber we all know on whose orders he stands here and speaks, and apart from his own party comrades, there probably won’t be anyone who believes what he says…
PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE. No. 70 SECOND CHAMBER 1952. Thursday, November 6, 10 am P. 7-8 ”

That spring of the Enbom trial, Sven Danvik and I discussed if the Workers’ Magazine, in plain text, should write what we learned directly from the source about the shootdown in the Baltic Sea. That is, what lieutenant colonel Bojerud in his book expresses as follows:

The shootdown of a Swedish Signals Intelligence plane type DC3, with which the Defence Radio Agency (FRA), in collaboration with NATO, conducted interception across the Baltic Sea directed at the Soviet Union.” (P. 145)

We concluded that the newspaper would then be prosecuted and convicted – something it would not pull through with its weak economy.

And what is it like today?

Well, that the official Werner Rhyninger deliberately committed a crime in the office – the serious crime known in Germany as Rechtsbeugung – in order to, in what he considered to be the politically higher interest, sentence innocents to prison, yes to life imprisonment, and that Dagens Nyheter’s political editor dr. Leif Kihlberg (who – as I have written before – was deeply involved in the campaign) succeeded in moving his mission as juryman so he could sit and, for reasons of domestic political expediency, convict innocents to life imprisonment and forced labour while writing his misleading editorials to deceive the public who had not been allowed to see the unsustainability of the evidence, belongs to the same bourgeois state normality as that the high ranking jurists in the United States recently wrote guidelines in order for subordinates to be able to torture opponents without punishment.

And how about Tage Erlander – a prime minister who, as Gunnar Adler-Karlsson revealed, unconstitutionally had tied up Sweden in a trade war against the Soviet Union – did he let the cat out of the bag when he claimed in the United States that Enbom had harmed the Swedish Communists more than he had damaged the Swedish defence?

Consequently:

We are shaped and bound by our time, but we are not necessarily bound to participate in its great public lies!

Jan Myrdal’s speech 2010

2018-12-11

A translation of Jan Myrdal’s speech is coming shortly.

Jan Myrdal’s speech 2011

2018-12-11

A translation of Jan Myrdal’s speech is coming shortly.

Roy Andersson’s speech to Maj Wechselmann

2018-12-11

The fight against shamelessness

The Jan Myrdal Society’s big prize – The Lenin Award has been awarded the film director Maj Wechselmann this year. It is gratifying. A more worthy recipient of this fine award is hard to find.

The Swedish film life is basically multifaceted, rich and dynamic. However, a large part of the works created in this area do not receive the attention they deserve. The harmless, what is not offensive, difficult and above all not urgent but easily digested and easily sold has for a long time completely occupied the public space.

I often get the question from the media which Swedish film I think has been the best of the year or even the decade. I have then answered that I do not want to name any film as the best but that I can say which film I consider to be the most important and most urgent. It’s the thirty-minute documentary “Agent Orange” by filmmaker Maj Wechselmann. Not once has it happened that the medium that asked the question, TV, radio, or newspaper, has reproduced my choice and my justification.

“Agent Orange” is a horrible film, or more accurately a film about something horrible. And this horror is not caused by overpowering natural forces such as earthquakes and tsunamis. This horror is the result of human hand.

In some Vietnamese farmers’ kitchens, we face something that should be worse than hell itself. Children with terrible, incurable eczema, children without eyes, children with all possible physical malformations and children with severe mental retardation. They are children of parents sprayed from American aircrafts with the defoliant “Agent Orange” which causes genetic damage to future generations.

What makes the film almost unbearable to watch is the lack of outrage in both Maj Wechselmann’s speaker voice and in the parents’ low-key, laconic stories. We get to meet people who have walked to hell and back past the pain. The silence has followed. And we spectators are left alone with the chilling shame.

Just as Nazi Germany did before the attack on Poland, the United States staged a fraud, in the Tonkin Bay, to get an excuse to drop over 7 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, fire thousands of tons of 12 cm projectiles from offshore ships, burn off 557 kilograms of ammunition per Vietnamese, torture, violate and murder between 2 and 3 million people and spray 72,354 million litres of plant poison over the Vietnamese soil. (Numbers from the Memorial War Museum, Hanoi).

After witnessing the trial of SS officer Adolf Eichman, one of the chiefs responsible for the deportations of Jews to extermination camps, the philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote the book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”. In it she claims that Eichman was no eviller than any other man. That he was only a dutiful bureaucrat who did what was imposed on him. Her thesis is that evil is simply banal.

It may be that evil is banal, but in my opinion it is shameless. I want to say that it is shamelessness that paves the way for the banal evil. With the help of shamelessness, the colonial powers’ plundering of the natural resources and labour of the colonies has not been and is no moral problem. Nor is inflicting genetic damage to future generations.

To forge an excuse in the Tonkin Bay for bombing and poisoning a poor country of farmers that did not want to be colonized is a shameful act. But not for the shameless, at first. He understands it only when he realizes that the shameful act became an infamous act.

Not only “Agent Orange” but virtually the whole of Maj Wechselmann’s production, I see as a tireless fight against shamelessness. Her truth-seeking and revelations in a number of areas have made many shameless people deservedly infamous. That is a honourable act if anything is!

Cecilia Cervin’s speech to Sven Lindqvist

2018-12-11

Thanks to a resistance fighter, an inconvenient, a refractory

You have been in life almost as long as Jan Myrdal; you have just recently turned 80 and for that you should receive tributes and congratulations. Let me start with heartfelt congratulations and wish you many good years of work to come.

But now it is your work that it is about. Like Myrdal’s, it stretches over a long period of time and, like his, it extends over many subjects and across several continents. Together with Myrdal and a couple of others, you belong to the great teachers for my generation, those who made us look up from the narrow domestic perspectives and look out over a world full of injustices. It was not just new continents but above all new political perspectives you offered us unenlightened in my generation.

Presenting your work in detail would take far too long. Therefore, let me connect to what Lasse Diding just talked about and use a passage in one of your books, An Underground Starry Sky from 1984. It has the subtitle A Personal Calendar. In it you follow the days of the year and give for each day a one short page story with a personal comment about what happened that very day in the year… yes, there you swing resiliently and scholarly between different centuries.

Some examples at random:
on January 8, 1842, the Afghans annihilate the British occupation army.
on March 29, 1772, Emanuel Swedenborg died

and so:

on January 4, 1909, Shackleton (on his way to the South Pole) notes in his diary: “The end is imminent. We can only go a maximum of three more days, because our forces are rapidly declining.” They leave a depot of necessities behind them and the writer. comments.

Alas, these depots that you leave behind in life! They look touchingly insignificant when you turn around and look back and soon you have lost sight of them.

The depot Ekelund – the scholarly dissertation.

The depot Hesse.

The China depot.

The India depot.

The South American depot.

The advertising depot.

“Touchingly insignificant” – yes, you, Sven Lindqvist, could modestly say that about Your work then in 1984: Ekelund – the scholarly dissertation. China – just a year or so from Jan Myrdal’s Report from a Chinese Village came China in Crisis about China during “the Great Leap Forward” and under the difficult conditions you yourself experienced.

Jan Myrdal stayed in the village of Liu Ling and you at the University of Beijing. It gave slightly different perspectives, both informative.

The South America depot was the reasoning and analysing travel reports that included so much of both observed and read material, about current robbery policies of American corporations and old domestic injustices: The Shadow, Land and Power in South America and the Dawn of the Land. (It did not get worse from a parallel book by Cecilia Lindqvist, your wife and travel companion, the book Journey with Aaron) which provided guidance in true intellectual parenting.)

The advertising depot – the book Advertising is deadly dangerous came in 1957 early in your authorship and it could almost have ended it as you in the book were considered to have damaged or at least threatened such vital commercial interests that you were shut down from the forums you could previously use. Refractory! You saw the dangers of the relatively innocent advertising of the time (if we compare with its now dominant position). Could you even in your wildest imagination have imagined advertising as its very own art form, with great artistic prizes from institutions established for the purpose? Time for a further update, then.

You mentioned these depots in 1984, but since then you have achieved much more. The exploration of more or less unknown areas, deserts and continents has given you reason to explore both the inside of man and the outer causes of desolation, namely the so-called white world’s hubris and greed, the one that has led to ethnic cleansing long before Hitler. In Terra Nullius, on Australia and the deliberately ruthless treatment of Aboriginal Australians, in Exterminate All the Brutes about racial biology and the “scientific” right, even duty to exterminate “inferior” people, and in A History of Bombing on the history of the arms industry and on the use of weapons in the service of Western greed and cruelty, you have shown dark depths – and for that you have received much criticism – what else could be expected against one who reveals as much of what one would like to forget and awakens so many sleeping consciences?

Have you taken offence by the criticism? Probably – you are human – but you have through all this remained a resistance fighter, an uncomfortable and as Jan Myrdal calls it: a refractory. For this you now get thanks from us all and Jan Myrdal’s big prize – the Lenin Award.

Cecilia Cervin’s speech to Jenny Wrangborg

2018-12-11

Thanks for that promise!

“You may not hear us yet
you may not see us
but we are here
and we are preparing to take over”

That is how your collection of poems Kallskänken ends and we the elderly can only say: Thank you for that promise!

Today you receive Jan Myrdal’s small prize – the Robespierre Prize, and you really deserve it. When I went to school, Robespierre was introduced as an ugly, murderous revolutionary, who liked to execute as many as possible. But from Jan Myrdal, among others, we have learned better. It was Robespierre who first formulated what later became Human Rights – the ones we must continue to fight for.

The fact that after a couple of hundred years they still exist only as a hope or something to demand with uncertain results, the right to work, including the right to a non-life-threatening work environment, you show with frightening clarity in your poems.

It’s something terrible You write about: the risky, hard work, slippery floors, sharp and dull knives, burns that you cannot bear to think about… and many other horrors. There you stand in an old tradition of Swedish proletarian literature, a tradition to be proud of. You enter it as a supreme innovator.

Your language is elegant, with a humour that in no way detracts from the clarity of your message you describe the most absurd and frightening situations, and you manage to convey a hope. You find this hope in socialism – a word that has been taken from us, but which you continue to blow life into and use. You talk about and show the solidarity that overcomes the fear of the employer’s opportunities for oppression:

”And the greatest of all
was when they marched in a united troop into the boss’s office
asked why I was not allowed to continue my employment”

It is far from the world revolution and it is far from the thousand-year reign, but it is a very good start.

Welcome to take over and welcome to the award you so well deserve!

Let us not forget the two laureates who are not here today. I think they would have liked to be here, and it is certainly not their fault that they are not.

Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye.

Had they been here we would have greeted them with applause and cheers.

Now I suggest that our tribute may consist of us buying every single copy of their magazine that is for sale at the exit, preferably in connection with Advertising is fatal with a refractory use of the advertising slogan for socks and underwear:

That is: Buy one, pay for two, three, four!

Cecilia Cervin’s speech to Jenny Wrangborg

2018-12-11

Thanks for that promise!

“You may not hear us yet
you may not see us
but we are here
and we are preparing to take over”

That is how your collection of poems Kallskänken ends and we the elderly can only say: Thank you for that promise!

Today you receive Jan Myrdal’s small prize – the Robespierre Prize, and you really deserve it. When I went to school, Robespierre was introduced as an ugly, murderous revolutionary, who liked to execute as many as possible. But from Jan Myrdal, among others, we have learned better. It was Robespierre who first formulated what later became Human Rights – the ones we must continue to fight for.

The fact that after a couple of hundred years they still exist only as a hope or something to demand with uncertain results, the right to work, including the right to a non-life-threatening work environment, you show with frightening clarity in your poems.

It’s something terrible You write about: the risky, hard work, slippery floors, sharp and dull knives, burns that you cannot bear to think about… and many other horrors. There you stand in an old tradition of Swedish proletarian literature, a tradition to be proud of. You enter it as a supreme innovator.

Your language is elegant, with a humour that in no way detracts from the clarity of your message you describe the most absurd and frightening situations, and you manage to convey a hope. You find this hope in socialism – a word that has been taken from us, but which you continue to blow life into and use. You talk about and show the solidarity that overcomes the fear of the employer’s opportunities for oppression:

”And the greatest of all
was when they marched in a united troop into the boss’s office
asked why I was not allowed to continue my employment”

It is far from the world revolution and it is far from the thousand-year reign, but it is a very good start.

Welcome to take over and welcome to the award you so well deserve!

Let us not forget the two laureates who are not here today. I think they would have liked to be here, and it is certainly not their fault that they are not.

Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye.

Had they been here we would have greeted them with applause and cheers.

Now I suggest that our tribute may consist of us buying every single copy of their magazine that is for sale at the exit, preferably in connection with Advertising is fatal with a refractory use of the advertising slogan for socks and underwear:

That is: Buy one, pay for two, three, four!