Feminist party founder quits

The well-known feminist commentator Ebba Witt-Brattström is leaving the board of the Feminist Initiative, the political group and soon-to-be party which she helped to start up. Internal disagreements are said to be behind her departure.

Witt-Brattström’s leap from Sweden’s most high-profile feminist bandwagon was due to be announced at FI’s annual general meeting in September but was leaked on Tuesday.

“I am leaving the board due to co-operation difficulties,” she said to TT.

“I do so with great sorrow.”

Witt-Brattström is disappointed with the manner in which the leadership of the organisation has operated.

“There is a democratic deficit on the board. The decisions are made elsewhere,” she said.

Witt-Brattström’s day job is as professor of literature, with a focus on gender issues, at Södertörn college.

At its annual meeting FI is planning to metamorphose into a political party capable of fighting the election next year.

“I think it’s a terrible shame that she’s leaving the board,” said the former Left Party leader Gudrun Schyman – who is the odds-on favourite to lead FI.

“She has done an incredible job with initiating and developing this.”

Schyman denied that there is any schism behind Ebba Witt-Brattström’s decision. The real reason, according to Schyman, is that she has a demanding job and is too busy.

“She has participated fully in the work with the proposal which will be put before our members at the meeting in September. There are no differences of opinion as far as our politics is concerned,” she said.

Witt-Brattström had planned to keep her departure secret until the meeting, where she was simply not going to put herself forward for re-election.

“I have no desire to bring down the party image. There is a great value in a left-leaning feminist party which gets around four percent,” she said.

But Witt-Brattström is said to have had other ambitions for the Feminist Initiative. She and several others on the board wanted to create a broader party, but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

She denies that she is leaving in a huff because she was not likely to be chosen as spokesman for the organisation. If the party had been formed well, she would have put herself at its disposal, she said.

But she made the point that this was more from duty than a desire to follow a political career. Indeed, Witt-Brattström maintains that she has always lost more than she has gained from her feminist work.

She also denied – sort of – that her departure is due to a personal conflict with Gudrun Schyman.

“It’s not as simple as that. What Gudrun Schyman and I stand for is clear and there is no problem with that,” she said.

TT/The Local