• Sweden edition
 

Ohly?s communist admission causes Left Party rumpus

Published: 06 Oct 2004 13:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2004 13:35 GMT+02:00

The row broke out on Tuesday after Uppdrag Granskning, a Swedish television documentary, exposed doubts about Ohly’s commitment to democracy. The producers were certainly able to bring out quite a few skeletons from his cupboard to prove the point. They cited an interview with a British paper in 1999 where he called himself a Leninist, a point that seemed to contrast with his insistence in the programme that “few people could question my commitment to democracy.”

The Left Party’s views on Cuba also came under close scrutiny. SVT had revealed that a submission to an international policy document had praised the Castro regime, and that the offending paper had been available on the party’s website.

When questioned by Expressen, Ohly said he still called himself a communist, but said that the Left Party was not itself a communist party. He admitted that Cuba was a dictatorship and that Fidel Castro was a dictator. He criticised the Castro-praising document on the website, saying that it “lacked feminist analysis and is unclear on questions of democracy: it is lousy.”

To add to Ohly’s woes, it also emerged that in 2000, when he was on the board of the party, he had blocked an apology from leading party members to Swedes who had ended up in Stalin’s labour camps in the 1930s.

Many had been encouraged to go to work for the Soviet Union by the Swedish Communist Party, as the Left Party used to be known. The council in Kiruna even paid for unemployed residents to get to Russia. Many of the labourers were murdered by the NKVD, the predecessor of the KGB, and those that made it back to Sweden were often shunned or abused. On Wednesday, after the documentary, the party issued an apology to relatives.

“We admit our mistake, loud and clear,” an embattled Ohly told Expressen, adding “We should have apologised four years ago.”

What the revelations will mean for the future of the Left Party’s partnership with the ruling Social Democrats is unclear, although Prime Minister Göran Persson didn’t seem too impressed. Sydsvenska Dagbladet reported that he challenged Ohly to deal with his past:

“He has a chance now. If he doesn’t take it then his credibility will be destroyed, not only in my eyes but in the eyes of Swedish voters,” said Persson, adding that if the problems weren’t tackled, “the Left Party and Lars Ohly will be very isolated.”

The threat from inside the party was even more serious. Leftist MP Karin Svensson Smith told Svenska Dagbladet that “tolerance is being stretched,” and questioned how those members of the party who were “true democrats in their souls,” would feel going into an election “where we have to explain why Lars Ohly is a communist.”

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines

Malmö beat Olympiakos at home

Malmö became the first Swedish side to win a Champions League match in 14 years after thumping Olympiakos 2-0 on Wednesday night. READ  

Education
Three Swedish unis in world's top 100
One of the buildings at the Karolinska Institute. Photo: TT

Three Swedish unis in world's top 100

Three Swedish universities were ranked among the top 100 in the world in the new Times Higher Education ranking, with another two featured in the top 200. READ  

Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

Business
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

Society
Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old
Pensioners in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old

Sweden has dropped to second place in an annual index measuring the quality of life of elderly people in 96 countries around the world. READ  

National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Andreas Fransson, left. Photo: Markus Alatalo

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs

UPDATED: The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment payments and promised to create more jobs in the construction industry, The Local has learned. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Blog updates

01 October

Future tense – ska or kommer att? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Karen had a question the following question on that about future tense: Explain when you use “komma att ” and “ska”. I’m running along forever here using “ska” and realize suddenly everyone uses “komma att” this and that all the time! In Swedish there are three different ways to express future tense and they are not..." READ »

 

01 October

Academy-Award Winning Actor Geena Davis on Changing the Way We View Women in Media (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"There are two moments in Geena Davis’s life that molded her into the powerful women’s advocate and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media she is today: living in Sweden and starring in Thelma & Louise. The first part of her personal journey took flight in Sandviken, a small rocky town east of..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN