Sweden: New CWI councillors

CWI online spoke to two of the CWI’s (Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna, RS) new councillors, elected on 15 September in the Swedish town of Luleå.

Liv Gustavsson Rhodin, 21, unemployed:

Q. How was the election campaign?

A. Intensive, but also fun. We’ve all learnt a lot.

Q. What’s the first thing RS is going to do in the council?

A. One of the things we’ve discussed is to demnad more money for education, to reinstate the youth support staff (kamratstödjarna – not sure if any equivalent exists in British schools) and stop closures. At the same time Jonas and I speak on this in the city council, school students and parents will be demonstrating outside.

Q. In the election campaign the party’s candidates won a lot of respect for your firm, principled defence of workers’ rights. Where does your determination come from?

A. Probably because I’m convinced that struggle is inevitable, against oppression and suffering in the world, a struggle which must ultimately do away with capitalism. You get a lot of confidence and feel very encouraged when you get so much support from workers in the health service for example.

Jonas Brännberg, 27, is also district chairman for RS in Luleå:

Q. Are you satisfied with the election campaign?

A. Yes! All the other parties have been forced to confess that we had the best campaign. We ran rings round the other parties as far as the number of election workers was concerned. One example was on polling day when our ten newest recruits stood for a combined 90 hours at polling stations.

Q. What kind of reactions have you met?

A. We’re congratulated by people in the streets. People come forward to wish us well, "you fought well" they say. Some are anxious too, after all the betrayals by other parties. They tell us we’ve got to stand for what we said.

Q. What happens next?

A. We’re going to continue with what we’ve been doing, that is, campaign against cuts in services. During the election campaign it was clear to us just how angry the mood is among health service workers with their wages and conditions. This is something we’ll pay more attention to.

Q. It’s emerged that you’re not the first member of your family to sit in the council in Luleå, actually the fourth…

A. (Laughs) Yes, my father, grandfather and great grandfather all sat in the council for the Communist Party (Left Party’s forerunner). They weren’t bureaucrats, they led struggles from the council chamber. My grandfather built the electricians’ union into one of the most militant unions in northern Sweden.

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