Sweden: May Day in Gothenburg

Bobby Seale as guest speaker

In Gothenburg, Sweden, the first of May, international workers’ day, was historic in many ways. Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS) (Socialist Justice Party, CWI in Sweden), true to its tradition, had its own march. At the front there was a 30-people-strong block with party flags, followed by demonstrators with banners and placards.

The May Day with RS went under the slogans “Down with the right-wing government!”, “For a new workers’ party!”, “Against racism, defend the right of asylum!”, “Stop the cuts!”, “Put more money into schools, health-care and the (poor) suburbs!”, “Break the dictatorship of the market; for international socialism!”.

The day started early. At 09.00am, members were assembled in the Järntorget (a Square in an old historic working class area) with two tents, and information tables.

At 11:00 the square began to fill up.

The RS information tent was well attended. During the day, over 200 copies of the socialist weekly paper, Offensiv, were sold. New subscriptions to the paper were taken out and material worth over 10,000 Swedish kronor.

13:30 RS began the rally at Järntorget with hundreds of listeners. Minela Mahmotovic introduced the speakers. First up was Bilbo Göransson, shop steward for Kommunal (the Swedish local authority workers’ union) who ‘gave a large boot to’ (blasted) the rightwing government.

The next speaker was Caroline Holmgren who pointed out the necessity of organising and unifying the struggle.

Denny Jovanovic, activist of the local ‘Panthers’ movement, made an appeal in which he clearly pointed out that austerity policies are a major issue in the suburbs. He then invited everyone to come later to the Svarte Mosse in Biskopsgården (a suburb of Gothenburg where RS and the Panthers are strong). They they would hear the famous leader of the US Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, address the gathering.

Kristofer Lundberg, chairperson of the west coast district of RS, spoke about the need for a new workers’ party in Sweden. He pointed out that those who oppose austerity measures in Gothenburg, come face to face with the Docial Democratic party. He rhetorically asked what Stefan Löfven (leader of the Social Democrats) would be talking about at Götaplatsen (another square where the Social Democrats had their rally): "Will Löfven talk about their support for the European |Union, or about how he signed the policy of pay cuts for industrial workers? Shouldn’t he say that his party is responsible for millions of kronors of cuts to Gothenburg’s different districts which has meant the closing down of schools and recreation centres? "

Marching together with the RS were representatives of a number of different organizations – the Swedish-Egyptian Friendship Association, Iranian exile groups, FNRP-Honduras and a support group for the Mapuche people of southern America.

The demonstration marched through the city centre down the avenue where thousands followed the demonstration.

Bobby Seal speaking in Gothenburg

RS members then went together to Svarte Mossen and the Panther May Day celebration. Members of RS are active in the Panthers movement and its chairman, Murat Solmas, is an RS member. For six months, Murat had been contacting Bobby Seale and for a week this famous man has spoken at meetings around the suburbs of Gothenburg. On 1st May he was a speaker at the Panther even in Biskopsgården. The ‘Panthers’ in Gothenburg today organizes hundreds of immigrant youth who are fighting the cuts and for jobs and housing in the city.

After Bobby Seale’s speech he signed books and posters in a tent where the queues grew very long.

May Day in Gothenburg in 2012 was historic in many ways.

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May 2012