Sweden’s longtime refusal to impose a general lockdown has seen it portrayed as an alternative “model” for coping with the pandemic. Yet death rates in its care homes have been appalling — and as a scandal that broke last month highlighted, much of the blame lies with the breakup and privatization of the country’s once-mighty public services.
Anton Ösgård holds an MSc in urban and economic geography from Utrecht University, with a background as a climate activist in Sweden. He lives in Copenhagen.
It’s been over three decades since Swedish prime minister Olof Palme was assassinated outside a Stockholm cinema, and Swedish police have still never found the killer. The vast array of theories explaining the killing are a reflection of Swedes’ ongoing fascination for Palme — but also highlights how many enemies he made as prime minister with his bold internationalism.
From South Africa’s ANC to Chilean socialists, in the 1970s, liberation movements around the world had few greater allies than Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. He used high office to speak out for the oppressed abroad — and to build an internationalist movement in his homeland.
Denmark’s “ghetto plan” promises harsher policing of districts with high unemployed and ethnic-minority populations and selling off the public housing where they live. The Social Democrats’ shameful policy shows that anti-immigrant chauvinism isn’t a way of defending the welfare state — it’s an instrument of privatization.