Swedish Social Democratic Party

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Swedish Social Democratic Party
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetarepartiet
Red rose
Party Chair Mona Sahlin
Party Secretary Marita Ulvskog
Leader of the Riksdag group Britt Bohlin Olsson
Founded April 23, 1889
Headquarters Sveavägen 68, Stockholm
Membership (2006) 120,091[1]
Official ideology Social democracy
International affiliation Socialist International,
Party of European Socialists,
SAMAK
European Parliament group Party of European Socialists
Official color(s) Red
Number of seats in the Riksdag 130 out of 349
Number of seats in the European Parliament 5 out of 732
Website www.socialdemokraterna.se

The Swedish Social Democratic Party, (Swedish: Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti, 'Social Democratic Workers' Party of Sweden'), contests elections as 'Workers' Party - Social Democrats' (Arbetarepartiet-Socialdemokraterna), commonly referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' (Socialdemokraterna); is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1888. (In 1917, a schism occurred when the communists and revolutionaries left to form what is now the Left Party). The symbol of the party is traditionally a red rose, which is believed to have been Fredrik Ström's idea.[citation needed]

The Social Democratic Party's position is in theory a revision of Marxism. Its party program calls their ideology democratic socialism, or social democracy. Their intention is to fund a general welfare policy based on taxes. In recent times they have become strong supporters of feminism, equality of all kinds, and in strong opposition to all forms of discrimination and racism.

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[edit] Current status

Currently, the Social Democratic Party has about 125,000 members, with about 2540 local party associations and 500 workplace associations[citation needed]. The member base is diverse, but prominently features organized blue-collar workers and public sector employees.[citations needed] The party has a close, historical relationship with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Sverige commonly referred to as LO); but as a corporatist organ, the Social Democratic Party has formed policy in compromise mediation with the employers' federations (primarily Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and its predecessors) as well as the union federations. The party is a member of Socialist International, the Party of European Socialists and SAMAK.[citations needed]

Organisations within the Swedish social democratic movement:

[edit] Voter base

The Swedish Social Democratic Party got between 40%-50% of the votes in all elections between 1940 and 1988 making it one of the most successful political parties in the world. The voter base consists of a diverse swath of people throughout society, although it is particularly strong amongst organized blue-collar workers.[2]

[edit] 2006 election results

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In the election 2006, the party's support was the worst result for the Social Democrats ever in a general election with universal suffrage. In the 2006 elections the party received 34.99% of the votes resulting in the loss of office to the opposition, the centre-right Alliance for Sweden.[citation needed]

[edit] Political impact

Since the party has held power of office for a majority of terms after its founding, the ideology and policies of the party have had strong influence on Swedish politics.[3][citations needed] The Swedish social democratic ideology is influenced by the strong and well-organized 1880s and 1890s folkrorelser (folk movements), by which peasant and workers' organizations penetrated state structures early on and paved the way for electoral politics. These movements had influence on political formation in Sweden, at least in part because they experienced less state repression than workers' organizations have, for example, in the United States. In this way, Swedish social democratic ideology is inflected by a socialist tradition foregrounding widespread and individual human development. [4] Liberalism has also infused social democratic ideology, orienting its goals to security for the middle class. [5] Some observers have argued that, in this liberal vein, the party has articulated increasingly neoliberal ideology and policies, maximizing the latitude of powerful market actors.[6]

The Social Democratic Party is generally recognized as the main architect of the progressive taxation, free trade, low-unemployment, Active Labor Market Policies (ALMP)-based Swedish welfare state that was developed in the years after World War II and a brief Keynesian period. The social democratic labor market policies (ALMPs) were developed in the 1940s and 1950s by LO economists Gosta Rehn and Rudolf Meidner. [7] Social Democratic policy has traditionally emphasized a state spending structure whereby public services are supplied via local government, as opposed to emphasizing social insurance program transfers. [8][citation needed]

Swedish society as it is often depicted abroad has been a result of these social democratic policies. For example, policies comprising the Nordic model have often been depicted, in American conservative circles and the American press, as wreaking havoc upon Swedish society. At a July 27, 1960 Republican National Committee breakfast in Chicago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower claimed that "a friendly European country (commentators read this as Sweden)...has a tremendous record for socialistic operation, following a socialistic philosophy, and the record shows that their rate of suicide has gone up almost unbelievably and I think they were almost the lowest nation in the world for that. Now they have more than twice our rate. Drunkenness has gone up. Lack of ambition is discernible on all sides."[9] Unflattering depictions of Swedish society, emanating from conservative American competitive distaste for social democratic policies, have not withered over time. Arguing that the Swedish approach to Muslims is too lenient, a February 5, 2006 New York Times article claims, "(C)learly, various experiments close to the heart of Swedish democracy and Swedish socialism have gone wrong."[10][citation needed]

Under the Social Democrats' administration, Sweden retained neutrality, as a foreign policy guideline, during the wars of the twentieth century, including the Cold War. Neutrality preserved the Swedish economy and boosted Sweden's economic competitiveness in the first half of the twentieth century, as other European countries' economies were devasted by war.[11] [citations needed] Under Olof Palme's Social Democratic leadership Sweden further aggravated the hostility of United States political conservatives when Palme openly denounced US aggression in Vietnam. Nixon suspended diplomatic ties with the social democratic country.[citations needed] The neutrality policy has changed with the contemporary ascendance of the bourgeois coalition, and Sweden has committed troops to support the US and UK's interventions in Afghanistan. Sweden and its capitalists have long prospered by defense industry. Under Social Democratic governance, some of this profit was converted into relatively strong overseas humanitarian programs and a comparatively well-developed refugee program (that was and is going through reform).[12]

Decline in per capita GDP after the 1970s portrays the social democratic economy in a somewhat less favourable light, but it is important to note that this period saw rightward changes in Social Democratic ideology and policies as well as the rise of bourgeois coalition rule in place of the Social Democrats. In 1970, after years of pursuing corporatist policies that strengthened the working class while husbanding capitalism, Sweden had the second biggest GDP per capita (current US dollars), only behind that of the US; but by 1993, a time when the economy was in deep crisis, Sweden had lost its position.[citations needed] While Sweden has a generally robust economy, and the average quality of life, after government transfers, is very high, inequality is low and social mobility is high (compared to the affluent Anglo-American and Catholic countries), Social Democratic neoliberal measures (deregulating the currency; dropping corporate taxation; switching from anti-unemployment policies to anti-inflationary policies) taken during the 1980s were exacerbated by international recession, unchecked currency speculation, and a centre-right government led by Carl Bildt, creating the fiscal crisis of the early 1990s.[13] When the Social Democrats returned to power, they responded to the fiscal crisis by stabilizing the currency--and by reducing the welfare state and privatizing public services and goods, as governments did in many countries influenced by Milton Friedman, the Chicago Schools of political and economic thought, and the neoliberal movement. However, many of the aspects of the social democratic welfare state continued to function at a high level, due in no small part to the exemplary competency of the feminized public sector workforce.[14]

Social Democratic efforts to decommodify workers have declined. Decommodifying policy provided resources to working class people to help them have some independence from employer and capitalist class control.[15] Even as efforts to decommodify workers declined, the Social Democratic Party pursued feminist policies which provide more humane conditions for women and for all non-elites. Feminist policies formed and implemented by the Social Democratic Party and its coalitional partners, the Left Party and the Greens, include paid maternity and paternity leave, high employment for women in the public sector, combining flexible work with living wages and benefits, providing public support (still to an insufficient degree) for women in their traditional responsibilities for care giving, and policies to stimulate women's political participation and leadership. Reviewing policies and institutional practices for their impact on women had become common in social democratic governance.[16]

[edit] Social Democratic party leaders

Name Term
collective leadership 1889-1896
Claes Tholin 1896-1907
Hjalmar Branting 1907-1925
Per Albin Hansson 1925-1946
Tage Erlander 1946-1969
Olof Palme 1969–1986
Ingvar Carlsson 1986–1996
Göran Persson 1996–2007
Mona Sahlin 2007-

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Socialdemokraterna tappar medlemmar", Svenska Dagbladet, 2007-03-19. Retrieved on 2007-03-27. (in Swedish)
  2. ^ Hur röstade LO-medlemmar?, Social bakgrund - sysselsättning relaterat till partiröst SVT Valu (Parliamentary election exit poll)
  3. ^ Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  4. ^ Alapuro, Risto. 1999. "On the repertoires of collective action in France and the Nordic countries." TBD.
  5. ^ Abrahamson, Peter. "The Scandinavian model of welfare." TBD
  6. ^ Korpi, Walter and Stern. 2004. "Women's employment in Sweden: Globalization, deindustrialization, and the labor market experiences of Swedish Women 1950-2000." Globalife Working Pape No. 51. Korpi, Walter and Joakim Palme. 2003. "New politics and class politics in the conext of austerity and globalization: Welfare state regress in 18 countries 1975-1995." Stockholm: Stockholm University. Korpi, Walter. 2003. "Welfare state regress in Western Europe: Politics, Institutions, Globalization, and Europeanization." Annual Review of Sociology 29: 589-609. Korpi, Walter. 1996. "Eurosclerosis and the sclerosis of objectivity: On the role of velues among economic policy experts." Economic Journal 106: 1727-1746. Notermans, Ton. 1997. "Social democracy and external constraints." Pp. 201-239 in Spaces of globalization: Reasserting the power of the local, edited by K.R. Cox. New York: The Guildord Press. Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pred, Alan. 2000. Even in Sweden: Racisms, racialized spaces, and the popular geographical imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ryner, Magnus. TBD. SAF. 1993. The Swedish Employers' Confederation: An Influential Voice in Public Affairs. Stockholm: SAF. Stephens, John D. 1996. "The Scandinavian welfare states: Achievements, crisis, and prospects." Pp. 32-65 in Welfare states in transition: National adaptations in global economies, edited by Gosta Esping-Anderson. Wennerberg, Tor. 1995. "Undermining the welfare state in Sweden." ZMagazine, June. Accessed at www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/june95wennerberg.htm.
  7. ^ Carroll, Eero. 2003. "International organisations and welfare states at odds? The case of Sweden." Pp.75-88 in The OECD and European welfare states, edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1985. Politics against markets: The social-democratic road to power. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Korpi, Walter. 1992. Halkar Sverige efter? Sveriges ekonomiska tillväxt 1820-1990 i jämförande belysning., Stockholm: Carlssons. Olsen, Gregg M. 1999. "Half empty or half full? The Swedish welfare state in transition." Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 36 (2): 241-268. Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  8. ^ Abrahamson, Peter. 1999. "The Scandinavian model of welfare." TBD.
  9. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1960. From Public Papers of the President. Dwight D. Eisenhower Library. Available online at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=11891&st=&st1=
  10. ^ Caudwell, Christopher. 2006. "Islam on the outskirts of the welfare state." The New York Times.
  11. ^ Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1985. Politics against markets: The social-democratic road to power. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Samuelsson, Kurt. 1968. From great power to welfare state: 300 years of Swedish social development. London: George Allen and Unwin.
  12. ^ Integrationsverket website TBD; Alund, Aleksandra & Carl-Ulrik Schierup TBD; ; TBD...
  13. ^ Englund, P. 1990. "Financial deregulation in Sweden." European Economic Review 34 (2-3): 385-393. Korpi TBD. Meidner, R. 1997. "The Swedish model in an era of mass unemployment." Economic and Industrial Democracy 18 (1): 87-97. Olsen, Gregg M. 1999. "Half empty or half full? The Swedish welfare state in transition." Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 36 (2): 241-268.
  14. ^ Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The politics of the welfare state: Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Acker, Joan. TBD.
  15. ^ Esping-Anderson, Gosta. 1990. The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Esping-Anderson, Gosta. "Three political economies." Accessed at http://micro5.mscc.huji.ac.il/~inequality/Esping-Andersen_Three_Political_Economies.htm. Therborn, Goran, TBD.
  16. ^ Acker, Joan. Hobson, Barbara. Sainsbury, Diane. 1999. "Gender and the making of the Norwegian and Swedish welfare states." Pp. 153-168 in Comparing social welfare systems in Nordic Europe and France. Nantes: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Ange-Guepin. Älund, Aleksandra and Carl-Ulrik Schierup. 1991. Paradoxes of multiculturalism. Aldershot: Avebury.

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