• 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

He’s an unreconstructed communist, who would choose Fidel Castro over George Bush and who once wrote that restrictions on democracy could be used in the interests of the working class. That was the picture that critics were painting of Left Party leader Lars Ohly this week, prompting a crisis of confidence among ‘modernisers’ in the party.

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

771
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