ISA – Sweden: what are the reasons for the attack on the Gothenburg organisation?

We are informed that the leadership of the Swedish section of the ISA, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna – RS (Socialist Justice Party) has launched an all-out attack on the leadership of the Gothenburg organisation. 

Based on our information they forced the resignation of the full timer of the region, Kristofer Lundberg, and attacked long standing members from the National Committee that come from Gothenburg, like Patrik Hooghwinkel and Johannes Lundberg. As a result, there is a wave of resignations from the District Committee and rank and file members who are simply leaving the party. (If our information is not accurate, we are ready to correct it if the RS brings out a statement explaining their version of events.) 

Gothenburg has been a most successful area of mass work for RS. It has some of the most prominent figures in the mass movement, particularly in the tenants’ union. Kristofer Lundberg was regional president of the tenants’ union with 77,000 members for many years. Some of the most prominent mass campaigns in Sweden, were centered around or initiated by the Gothenburg organisation of RS. Around 30% of the total membership of the Swedish organisation of the ISA are located in Gothenburg – this makes it (relative to the population) the strongest city for RS’s presence. 

A well-known characteristic of the Gothenburg organisation, historically, is that it has its own traditions of independent thinking and a lot of autonomy in its campaigns. This should have been considered as a positive element in the development of any revolutionary organisation – it allows for broader experiences, greater in-depth discussions and greater clarification of issues. But, as we raised again in previous material, disagreeing with the leadership of the ISA is not accepted and a process of clearing the lines follows. People who have differences with the leadership are pushed out (although they are not formally expelled). 

The leadership of the district organisation of Gothenburg has been raising differences with the leadership of RS and with the international leadership of the ISA. It was in agreement with the basic points of criticism raised by the Tendency for Internal Democracy and Unity (TIDU) in the ISA in the first half of 2021. Kristofer Lundberg had cosigned, among other documents and resolutions, the “Declaration of TIDU” (March 17, 2021) together with Patrik Hooghwinkel and Johannes Lundberg and the document A Balance Sheet of the Debate on Neoliberalism (October 30, 2020). 

These are the real reasons for the attack by the leadership of RS, whatever pretexts the leadership may try to use. All those who question the leadership will be driven out. This is what happened with the Greek, Turkish and Cypriot sections in June this year (and other individual comrades in other countries like Belgium, UK, Spanish State at the same time) with the Taiwan organisation and the Australian section before that, etc (read Why we disaffiliate from the ISA – Open letter by the ISA sections in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus).

As we wrote again, there is a major problem with the internal regime in the ISA. The leadership makes very serious political mistakes but is never willing to discuss and correct them. One of the major debates of the previous period was over perspectives. The majority was arguing emphatically that the Covid crisis was going to develop into a 1930s situation, with massive protectionism and a turn to Keynesianism, linking this to an unbalanced, overoptimistic perspective for revolutionary ideas and the ISA. Any voice that tried to argue for a more balanced position was attacked as “pessimistic”. Those who don’t agree with the leadership are faced with repeated attacks so that in the end it becomes a matter of survival to leave the ISA; otherwise, they will be drawn into endless poisonous debates and get completely disoriented from the real work on the ground to build revolutionary organisations. 

There are many excellent fighters in the ISA, and hopefully national and local organisations of the ISA, at some stage, will take steps to protest against such incidents, which repeat themselves. Because, it should be clear that a mass revolutionary international organisation will never be built by the use of such methods.

On November 3 the national leadership called a members’ aggregate of Gothenburg. Only 4 persons turned up – that’s around 5% of the membership of the local organisation. In other words, the national leadership is completely isolated in the city and by its practices it will destroy the Gothenburg RS. 

However, the Gothenburg organization has important support in the city and a strong political reputation and there is no indication that its members will stop their political work if they leave the ISA.

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