Commentary from Sweden: The Left Spreads the Right’s Hatred

by Martin Klepke

Originally published in Expressen (May 10, 2017, at 2:18 pm) as “Vänstern sprider högerns hat.” Translated by Erik Olofsson.

Martin Klepke
Martin Klepke

An unpleasant consensus has emerged between right-wing populism and totalitarian tendencies within the far left. A populist left is even about to take over the extreme right’s ideas about Jewish falsification of history, writes Martin Klepke.

Two weeks ago, Arbetet [The Work] published an editorial text about the Nazi presence at the annual Book Fair[1] and at the Almedalen Week.[2] The title was “Six million Jews apparently weren’t enough,” and it aimed at the remarkable blindness of the organizers of these events to the anti-democratic intentions of the Nazis.

As expected, during the days that followed, the inbox was filled with comments—not, as expected, primarily from the right, but from the left. They all had the same general content, that not only the Jews fell victim to the Nazis.

“Why do mainstream media conceal Communism’s victims under Nazism? Why are you only mentioning Jews?,” one of the posts asked.

“You’re running errands for the Jewish and Israeli cause when you deny the communists who were killed,” another said.

And then the direct attacks:

“You contribute to the confusion of facts” … “cowardly ducking the issue” … “hypocrisy” … “infantile” … “only the Jews are of importance—you can’t handle anything else”.

The comments became so numerous and so similar that there could only be one explanation: they must be orchestrated.

With the help of a reader, the source could be located. In the April 2017 issue of FiB Kulturfront,[3] the left-wing paradigm-publication of the 1970s, diminishing for a long time and now growing again, the old ideologue Jan Myrdal writes a frustrated chronicle against the allegedly false history that the Jews succeeded in creating around the Holocaust. “The prevailing lie” is, as he says, “to falsely make the Jews the main victims.”

Several passages are similar to those that appear in the comments to the editorial in Arbetet. The past household-god of the left,[4] Jan Myrdal, thus writes a text that relativizes the Holocaust, totally in line with the historical writings of the extreme right.

The fact that the extreme right and the totalitarian left have recently found nutrition from the same sources is obvious. Today’s clear interaction between right-populism and Russian disinformation has made it easier for the friends of totalitarianism to conjure up arguments. An unpleasant consensus has thus grown between right-wing populism and totalitarian currents within the far left, a consensus that is given supportive fire from Russian propaganda.

And we see the same tendency across Europe. It was no coincidence that Mélenchon, the most left-leaning candidate in the French presidential election, was the only candidate who refused to disassociate from right-wing Marine Le Pen. Between Mélenchon and Le Pen, there are clear rhetorical points of contact.

In Sweden, the newspaper FiB Kulturfront has become a breeding ground for nationalist resistance to the EU [European Union], and both the right and the left friends of totalitarianism spread arguments from Putin-faithful Russia Today in order to support Syria’s dictator al-Assad.

The reason why we rarely hear of these left-authoritarians’ consensus with the extreme right is likely that, until the late 1980s, the left in Sweden never really dealt with the dictatorial elements that existed during the post-war period. There were factions that worshiped the USSR and those that celebrated Pol Pot’s Cambodia, far from Olof Palme’s words about the “Creatures of the Dictatorship,” which he uttered after the imprisonment of oppositionists in Czechoslovakia in 1975.

Certainly there is a difference between propaganda from the ultra-left and the violence-affirming right; and yet: left support for dictatorship is seen as a harmless reverberation from the 1970s, while the same support from Nazis is seen as a threat to society.

This can explain the perplexed helplessness of the left when these totalitarian strains of increased nationalism are now growing again in a populist left-wing that is even about to absorb extreme right ideas about a Jewish falsification of history.

Thus, in the days after April 26th, this went so far that an article in FiB Kulturfront led a mob within the dictatorship-friendly left to attack an anti-Nazi editorial in Arbetet because, in their opinion, it was too Jewish-friendly.

It is a stunning development.

Of course, the fight against totalitarian disinformation must continue, even when it comes from people who in some completely absurd way call themselves “left.”


Martin Klepke is political editor of the newspaper Arbetet (The Work)


[1] [Translator’s note: This refers to Sweden’s national book fair.]

[2] [Translator’s note: The Almedalen Week is Sweden’s largest official political event, held annually in Visby, Gotland.]

[3] [Translator’s comment: FIB Kulturfront is a well-known independent “anti-imperialist” magazine with a certain historical significance. Jan Myrdal has had a regular column in the magazine since the 1970s.]

[4] [Translator’s comment: Klepke is referring mainly to the Maoist left, and secondarly to the Stalinist left.]

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