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The 2019 award ceremony

Saturday 27 April 2019, it was once again time for an award ceremony at Varberg Theatre and many joined up to celebrate this year's laureates professor Göran Therborn and cartoonist Daria Bogdanska.

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.