• Sweden edition
 
'Neo-Nazis are lost young boys who want to shock'
Criminology professor Jerzy Sarnecki. File photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

'Neo-Nazis are lost young boys who want to shock'

Published: 22 Dec 2013 07:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Dec 2013 07:25 GMT+01:00

Ahead of Sunday's protest rally against the attack by neo-Nazis on a peaceful demo last weekend, Stockholm University criminology professor Jerzy Sarnecki explains the allure of extreme-right organizations.

"An authorized demonstration was attacked by some 30 people, who even attacked the police on site," Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said last Sunday. "Two people were injured and taken to hospital and a policeman was also taken to hospital."

To find out whether the incident is likely a one-off, or if Sweden indeed has a problem with fringe far-right groups, we turned to Jerzy Sarnecki to find out who joins an organization such as the Swedish Resistance Movement, which took responsibility for last weekend's attack.

What kind of people join these types of organizations?

That’s not a very easy question to answer, as they attract many different types of people, but the very young ones, like we saw in Kärrtorp, are lost young boys who haven’t had a very easy time in life, but through joining find some kind of identity.

I’d say they aren’t much different from other angry young men who give themselves over to extreme opinions. They have the same assortment of problems that we see among young men who commit crimes in general, and they are found both on the extreme right and the extreme left.

What does the situation look like today compared to twenty, thirty years ago?

In the recent past, violent individuals with political ideas were more often found on the extreme-left. Young people in my generation were more inclined to the left.

But Sweden had a (Nazi) problem before, but what we had thirty years ago was the old generation that were Nazi sympathizers during the war. Today, we are talking about young neo-Nazis. We’re talking about a third generation, as neither they nor their parents experienced the war, and they have an ideology that’s not anchored in experience.

This is about shocking people, about wanting to do something that is very provocative. It really is a very dramatic step to come out and say you are a Nazi, you really want to be an enemy of society.

Why are they so often young men?

Ha! It is always young men. Just think of a really bad idea and it is always a young man who’d do it. Young women are more mature, they are more empathetic, and they rely more on social relations.

Is it likely they have been in touch with Swedish child and youth psychology services (Barn och ungdomspsyckologi – BUP)?

My guess is that’s the case, but that is based on my general experience of angry young men. They’ve had a number of problems growing up, and in school… you name it.

Swedish police talk about certain crimes that act as warning signals when young people are slipping into a life of crime.

They’re called “strategic crimes”, and include robbery and car theft, but I think most of these people have committed their strategic crimes a long time ago. Not all, but many of them.

The problem is that when you have a criminal record and belong to an ideological organization, the risk of relapse increases.

But in organized crime the reward is making a living, what makes these people stay?

Not all crime is about money, not even organized crime. You need to get some kind of reward, but it doesn’t have to be financial. Money isn’t everything in life; there’s status, a sense of belonging.

There are very few among these young men who are fully fledged extreme-right soldiers, so to speak. These are young people who right now have found some kind of community.

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

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 () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
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
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
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
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 »

729
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