Communist Party of Sweden Issue 3

Communist Party of Sweden – Threats to peace in the Nordic region

With the Nordic one today means Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In older history the Nordic has been an almost mythical concept, built on the Viking age, common linguistic roots and magnificent hero epics. Until recently there was no place there for Finland, specifically, which was part of Sweden since the 1200s.

The cooperation between the Nordic countries in modern times was established in 1952 with the formation of the Nordic council (Finland a member since 1955), which is a cooperation between the parliaments of the countries. After some years Greenland, the Faroe islands and Åland were also given limited influence. In 1971 the Nordic council of ministers was created as a body for cooperation between the governments of the countries. It would have been logical and a positive signal to proceed according to purely geographical conditions and the proximity to the Arctic to create a cooperation on the Cap of the North which would have included the Soviet Union’s northern European part, but the anticommunism wouldn’t allow that. Only the communist parties of Sweden, Norway and Finland, whose northernmost districts under many decades have had a brotherly cooperation with the Murmansk district, had that idea.

In 1952 the countries who sought cooperation were capitalist states with different security policy situations: Denmark, Iceland (a member since 1955) and Norway, members of NATO, Iceland with a NATO-base that obviously had nuclear weapons (closed in 2006), Sweden and Finland nonaligned countries, but Finland with a cooperation treaty with the Soviet union. Among the first commitments for the member states was a passport union in 1954 that laid the foundation of a common labor market which was an advantage in postwar Europe. Ever since that time the Nordic countries have been associated with an idea of high standards of living and a peaceful disposition. Yes, there is even an idea of a “Nordic dimension” within capitalism, some “nobler” form, for example within the European union. But the Nordic council which since 2017 has an office in Brussels doesn’t differ from other actors.

The Nordic council works with technical committees, foreign and defense policy is handled only by the presidium of the council and defense matters lie completely outside the councils tasks.

The Nordic area is among the most militarized areas in Europe and therefore the peace is threatened by incidents, provocations, treaties, war exercises and confrontations which sooner or later could turn into acts of war. NATO is eager to secure its northern flank by getting Sweden and Finland as members and thus increase the proximity to the Arctic and move its eastern frontier to Russia’s border. In Sweden five right-wing parties are in favor of a NATO-membership and the social democrats, the left party and the greens against. The Sweden democrats have recently switched sides and are now in favor of a membership. In the public opinion there has for a long time been a majority against, but this has shrunk somewhat in recent years. Because Sweden has been hard work for NATO the resistance is being broken with the policy of the small steps which has been implemented by different governments, including the social democrats, who are aware that a direct decision of membership would make the party lose a large part of its voter base. Therefore the social democrats push for political and military cooperation with the equally nonaligned neighbor Finland which however could break apart, given changes in government in any of the countries.

The small steps towards NATO-membership are The partnership for peace (PFF) from 1994, recurring multinational military exercises with NATO, leasing of Swedish territory for international military tests and exercises, North European Aerospace Test Range(NEAT), adoption of NATO standards, host nation support (HNS, 2016), and the defense cooperation Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO, 2017) which Sweden has joined even though the participation was voluntary. To this threats belongs such as when the defense minister of the USA warned the defense minister of Sweden that a Swedish approval of the UNs global ban on nuclear weapons from 2017 would jeopardize NATO support in the event of a conflict. Another form of blackmail is the Swedish defense’s demand for dramatic appropriation increases for the 2020s and 2030s which in turn is to comply with both EU-PESCO and NATO’s demand for its member states to contribute to armaments with two percent of GDP.

The 9th of December 2020 turned into a historical date for the non-aligned (in name only) Swedish foreign- and defense policies when the Sweden democrats joined the proclamation of the liberal and conservative parties to turn to NATO in terms of crisis. Thus, for the first time, there is now a parliamentary majority for doing so.

The host nation treaty with NATO opens Sweden’s territory for deployment of staff, weapons, warships, planes, drones and exercises in times of peace, crisis and war. One article gives NATO permission to use Swedish territory for military activity against a third country. It is now confirmed that two new regiments in Sollefteå and Falun together with the expansion of NATO bases on the Norwegian coast will create logistical prerequisites enabling NATO troops moving east.

Every rearmament in our countries is presented as a necessity due to a changed security political situation in the near area, caused by “threats from Russia”. “The Russian threat” is like a virus that has infected the Swedish military and political establishment while the working peoples immune system, for the moment at least, seems to be stronger. A Russian attack on the Baltic states, an unlikely suicide attempt by any country, is among NATO’s scenarios for war. On the other hand the western imperialism is attracted to free access to the Russian landmass with all its resources, not the limited form that already exists. The fact that two imperialist powers like NATO and Russia share borders in Northern Europe and that the two “nonaligned” buffer states Sweden and Finland offer a fake resistance results in there being an imminent risk of military confrontation.

The Baltic Sea which once developed into a sea of peace as long as there were socialist countries at its shores has become a sea of confrontation. The western imperialism has laid hands on the Baltic states, Sweden especially on Latvia. The Nordic council has established cooperation with the Baltic assembly, a parliamentary cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and in that way expanded the Nordic. The Baltic countries and Poland have become members of NATO, have bases and participates with ever-increasing numbers of soldiers in the recurring Baltops exercises. Latvian Riga has become the site for one of NATOs “excellence centers”, StratCom (NATO Strategic Communications), which deals with cyber defense (or cyber warfare) and hunts “fake news”. German Kiel houses the NATO “center of excellence” for operations in confined and shallow waters in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s largest island Gotland has received a new regiment. NATO-maneuvers with Swedish and Finnish participation and Russian maneuvers replace one another.

Sweden has a large space-technological industry and plays a considerable role in the European Space Agency (ESA), the European space agency. In Esrange outside Kiruna Swedish space industry is conducted with weather balloons and manufacturing of mini satellites after the recently implemented expansion of the station. Apart from collecting space junk, are mini satellites being built for space war where states attack each other’s satellites? Mini satellites can rid space of orbital debris, but can also attack other satellites. China has demonstrated that this is possible by attacking one of its own satellites. By its own admission to visitors a couple of years ago Esrange works to 60 percent for Sweden and to 40 percent with foreign missions. Esrange is one of the world’s largest downloading stations for maps which go straight through the US spy base Menwith Hill in Yorkshire in Great Britain to the National Security Agency (NSA).

Another actor is the National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA), formed in 1942, with presence on Lovön near Stockholm, Lerkil south of Gothenburg and other places. The FRA-law from 2009 statutes extended possibilities for wire-taping of civilians. Moreover FRA controls the cables under the Baltic Sea. In 2013 the investigative British journalist Duncan Campbell who in the end of the 1980s had exposed Echelon, a global system for satellite surveillance which was run by Five Eyes (USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland) visited Stockholm. At the time of the visit he was analyzing sources from whistle blower Edward Snowden. According to newspaper Dagens Nyheter Campbell said that Sweden developed the FRA-law with help from the US and Great Britain and is one of about 30 countries who have third party agreements with Five Eyes, to an extent like Israel.

Where one can rightly speak of a new dimension for the Cap of the North is the development in the Arctic with warming-up and melting sea- and mainland ice and the consequences for the concerned countries. It is effects on sea routes, transport routes, deposits of gas, oil and rare metals, fishing waters, contamination, military activities and the living conditions of the coastal population. Eight countries and six bodies of indigenous peoples (one of them the Sami) formed in 1996 the Arctic Council through the Ottawa declaration which statutes protection of the arctic environment, sustainable development and improvement of the arctic inhabitants economic, social and cultural life. It is about a challenge which would need an international cooperation without national egotistical interests. Considering the strong competing interests this is not conceivable. Nobody talks about the military aspects but we experience more and more military maneuvers in arctic setting and on the Thule base on Greenland, on Norwegian Vardö and on Svalbard which according to international treaty shall be demilitarized, there exists military installations. These function firstly for satellite navigation which the Norwegian journalist Bård Wormdal has written books about. The orbit for satellites lay best from pole to pole. And note that no warfare today take place without satellite support.

The Arctic Ocean is also the access road for Russia’s nuclear powered northern fleet, stationed on the Kola Peninsula.

The Nordic council of ministers arctic cooperation was renewed through an arctic cooperation program for the time 1:st January 2018 to 31:st December 2021. The content is described as “Planet, Peoples, Prosperity and Partnership” and shall bond with the UNs 17 global goals.

It’s not just the communist parties that see and worries about the increasing militarization. Peace on Earth is an ancient human longing. Capitalism stands against this longing, and drives the develoment towards war, notably fueled by the armaments industry like Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Corporation, Boeing, BAE Systems, Kongsberg, Patria Oyj, Saab and Bofors/BAE, just to name a few. The peace movements countless divided organizations, networks and initiatives also finds out what happens and acts but there is no anticapitalist inference. The communist parties who see the war as the capitalism’s/imperialism’s utmost consequence must still not take a defeatist, exhausted stance but should contribute to maturation of the popular war resistance. The peace movement rejects contact with the communists and red banners but has a presence on the internet and can be reached. Therefore our parties needs to fill their slogans No to Nato and EU with content through examples and analyses. Within the Swedish peace movement broad consensus prevails around a nuclear weapon free zone, nonalignment, peoples- and territorial defense and the military’s environmental impact. The communists should struggle against rampant defense spending. The billions are created by the working class and should rightfully be returned to it.

Communist Party of Sweden Issue 2

Communist Party of Sweden – The European Union and the national question.

What is the European Union?

Fundamentally, the European Union is an expression of capitalism at its current stage of imperialism. The union is an expression of the needs of capital of western Europe, mainly, at this time and age. It is an imperialist union that primarily has three purposes:

  • To coordinate the offensive of European capital against the European peoples and workers. For example, this is seen in the coordinated attacks on the right to strike in various member states like Sweden, France, Belgium and Greece, where ongoing campaigns to limit the right to strike are waged.
  • To coordinate capitalists of Europe in competition with the rest of the world. The capital of European countries have joined forces to better compete on the world market and to increase efficiency of exploitation of the peoples of the world for the sake of profit maximization. This does not imply that there are no contradictions within European capital.
  • To coordinate the struggle of European capitalists against socialism. An important purpose of the predecessors of EU has been to coordinate the struggle against socialism. This battle is waged partly on an ideological level through repeated attempts to equate communism with fascism, and partly by economic means through blockades against socialist countries. A number of communist parties within EU have been banned or are in the process of being banned. In Poland, for example, there are ongoing attempts to criminalize communism itself.

Like all imperialist unions, the EU is a temporary one. In his pamphlet ”On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” Lenin argues that any inter-imperialist alliance must be temporary by nature. Apart from mutual interests, participating capital also has contradictory such, which could be seen clearly with the advent of Brexit. However, this does not preclude an extent of cooperation in dividing the world. As a result of the eastern expansion, the former socialist countries have been split between the imperialists of western Europe, where primarily German and French capital has had the opportunity to expand, but where also Swedish capital has been able to tap into and subsume the Baltic states, which would not have been possible without the EU and the coordinated actions to repel Russian capital.

Waging wars for new markets, resources and their transport routes has been and is an ongoing activity of all member states to the benefit of their own monopolies, with Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine as recent examples. While officially a so called peace project, the EU is being increasingly militarized through recent initiatives like PESCO. In this respect, tensions between emerging inter-imperialist alliances sharpen on all fronts as well as within.

Mechanisms that support anti-people measures in support of EU capital are being increasingly implemented, giving it new privileges in terms of tax subsidies and exemptions in the international competition with the US, China and Russia. Taking all this and the increasing military expenditures into consideration, the EU is a driving force, not for peace, but for escalated tensions and for greater risk of generalized military conflict.

This is what the European Union is today. An imperialist alliance, the purpose of which is to benefit participating monopolies. As such, we are opponents of the European Union in the same way we are opponents of any imperialist alliance.

Leaving the European Union

The view of the Communist Party of Sweden is that the peoples must have the right to decide their own path, which also includes the right to leave the European Union.

At the same time it must be noted that the imperialist system is subject to fundamental laws of development that cannot be avoided. These laws exist within the framework of the entire system, both within and outside the European Union. To stay competitive, capital of each country needs to act accordingly, notwithstanding membership or non-membership of any imperialist alliance. In times of sharpening inter-imperialist competition, each capitalist needs to improve their competitiveness, which naturally also implies worsening conditions for the workers of their respective countries. In order to survive, at any given moment, capital forms the alliances it requires. The dynamics and the conditions the working class faces will be the same no matter if our exploiters are a formal part of the European Union or not.

For that reason, we want to make it clear that a secession to the benefit of the working class cannot be made without emancipating the working class at the same time. Within the current system, as ruling class, capital will simply realign itself according to what configuration that momentarily benefits it the most, whether as part of the European Union or not. In the same way that the struggle for peace, against racism or against fascism cannot be made separate from the question of battling capitalism itself, the struggle against the European Union or any imperialist alliance cannot be made separate from the struggle against the ruling class and for socialism.

The only alternative to the EU and all imperialist alliances, therefore, is to organize society in a completely different manner, where monopoly capital is replaced by people’s power. It requires the abolition of the institutions of capitalism, including the state, and the foundation of a workers’ state. Only this way, the dynamics of capitalism can be replaced, and genuine international cooperation on equal terms, and in peace, can be fostered. Only this way, the inherent mass unemployment of capitalism can be eradicated and good living conditions for all working people established. For this reason, the struggle for leaving the European Union must at the same time be a struggle for socialism. Leaving the European Union without socialism is not a step toward socialism, but simply a step sideways to another configuration of capitalism.

The European Union and Sweden

In Sweden there are parties and organizations on the left and on the right who claim that if Sweden just withdrew from the EU then everything would be better. This is false. We note that Brexit, above all else, was a struggle between factions of British capital, where some positioned themselves toward a withdrawal while others did the opposite, and engaged themselves for continued membership in the union. From these two fundamental positions the campaigns for and against were organized. This also meant that the two standpoints were limited to continued participation in the imperialist system, but by different means. Thus, taking side for either, meant taking sides for both.

Slogans such as “Let’s take back control”, “We want our country back!” and “Believe in Britain” clearly show the ideological utilization of nationalism that characterized the leave-campaign. All seemingly classless slogans in one way or another aimed at strengthening the ”own nation”, which under capitalism by necessity becomes the strengthening of the existing capitalist nation. Thus, the nationalist slogans promote illusions. What control do the workers have in capitalist Britain, whether within or outside of the EU? The meaning of their ”independence” remains the same in either configuration, because their oppressors and the purpose of the oppression remain the same.

In fact, for the entire duration, Britain retained its independence as a voluntary member of the EU. A status which was not changed, but further validated by the Brexit process. In this context, the nations of Britain were never subject to the oppression of any new or external nations, only its own capital, which still remains the case. The same applies to Sweden, which is why the Communist Party of Sweden rejects any opposition to the EU founded in nationalism or the national question.

We find the same problem with a withdrawal from the “left”, the purpose of which would be to advance the peoples’ and workers’ positions in a capitalist Sweden outside of the EU. The rhetoric and the promises remain false.

The “left” that advocate an unconditional withdrawal create illusions about imperialism and about the possibilities that are at hand for the workers outside of the union. They mean that a withdrawal will improve the situation of working class in the individual country, as if the capitalists existed outside the context of imperialism, and were subject to a different set of rules outside the union than within. It is a dangerous game, because in the end the hopes will turn out to be the illusions they always were and all the promises that were given will turn out to be false.

Therefore it is crucial that the communists do not let themselves be used as tools for one capitalist faction or the other. It is of crucial importance that communists clearly present the only possible alternative to capitalism, the EU, and to all other imperialist congregations, which is socialism.

No to the EU and to capitalism, yes to socialism!

Communist Party of Sweden Issue 1

Communist Party of Sweden – What will socialism look like?

In his book Poverty of Philosophy, Marx states that

“The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; (and) the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist.”

To know what socialism must look like, we have to identify the defining features of capitalism and how it produces its inherent and unavoidable contradictions, since socialism is their implied and only possible logical resolution, and contrast the differences.

In capitalism the vital need for profit maximization requires capitalists to constantly pursue greater efficiency in production. Mechanization and automation have increased industrial output, while increasing the share of constant capital (c) and reducing the need of human labor within their businesses, reducing the socially necessary labor time and thus the value of the products. A breakthrough in technology that reduces the human element initially provides a competitive advantage, but as other surviving producers adopt new or equivalent methods, the profit levels fall. The fraction of variable capital (v) diminishes throughout the production process, and thus the amount of labor available for exploitation falls, while simultaneously lowering purchasing power in society as a whole. With the tendency toward full automation, at which point no surplus value and thus no profits can be generated, capitalism gradually undermines itself. The prospect of further automation, e.g. through robots and new software that controls them, poses a challenge to the capitalist system, causes the average rate of profit to fall (r= m/(c+v)), and provides a seed for and an increasingly stronger material case for socialism.

Furthermore, the nature of information, as patterns in spacetime, is such that it can be easily copied and distributed with insignificant marginal cost, unlike matter itself. Innovation toward optimization of production to temporarily gain competitive advantages has grown increasingly important for the realization of profits and is reflected in the advent of patents and intellectual property that limit the spread of knowledge. Monopolization, or private appropriation, of information is the only measure that can keep its value from approaching zero. It is a clear example of how capitalist legislation through artificial means has come at odds with the progress of technology itself by attempting to limit it.

Marx famously wrote ”At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.”

Technology can and must be designed and applied to further the interests of the working class, and not be monopolized to benefit the interests of a minority of capitalists. Given the increased productivity and stagnating real wages in large parts of the capitalist world, reducing daily work hours, lowering retirement ages while maintaining a high or higher standard of living is a real possibility of automation, if done at the expense of the evermore concentrating and accumulating profits of the current economic system. It can all become, and will become, a reality, in a socialist system, but remains an impossibility under capitalism. Waging wars for new markets is another defining activity of imperialism, that will be made redundant by socialism for the same reasons.

The difference between the liberating potential of the new technologies and its actual subjugating appliance under capitalism widens. Despite all advances in productivity, automation forces capitalist governments all over the world to constantly attempt to increase the rate of exploitation by e.g. increasing retirement ages and loosening legislation concerning working hours in an attempt to gain new or additional labor to exploit, that is momentarily cheaper than applying new labor saving technologies. So, while new technologies and automation have brought higher standards of living, class struggle remains the engine of prosperity, without which it would make less sense to employ new labor saving technologies such as machinery and automation in the first place.

Socialism, on the other hand, allows the economy and technology to be geared to channel resources to cover any priority of the working class. Furthermore, economic planning is the only viable and only organized resolution to the ”tragedy of the commons”-problem, i.e. the social and environmental crises of capitalism that have grown to threaten the conditions of life itself.

However, the viability of socialism in an imperialist world ultimately relies on it being able to advance technology and increase living standards in a more efficient way than the crisis ridden capitalist world does. And not only to withstand economic warfare and pressure by threats of military interventions, but also to simultaneously provide a rate of improving standards of living for its people that surpass that of the imperialist world. The specific planned economy of the USSR demonstrated that this was possible in practice, but ultimately was not enough. The current state of planned economies is likely not good enough for long term isolated survival of any kind of socialism in existing socialist style countries like Cuba. While the tendency to encourage private economic incentives may be an attractive short term solution to patch economic underdevelopment or shortages, relying on such solutions pose a great risk of reintroducing and strengthening petit bourgeois forces and plants the seed for the gradual material undoing of socialism. Market reforms that at some point reintroduce the profit maximization dynamics into the economy, simultaneously reintroduce the forces and the survival dynamics that presuppose participation in the imperialist system. They contribute to bringing back the inherent class struggle of capitalism, but this time with new private property relations protected by a supposed workers’ state diluted into a so called people’s state.

Any lingering market mechanics in early socialism, or reintroduction of short term market reforms, for whatever reason, should be compensated with advances in optimizing the planned economy itself, that make said market reforms redundant in the long term.

Experiments with planned control systems like Cybersyn, in Chile, were already carried out in the 70ies, but were cut short by forces of reaction. On a recent trip to China, while visiting the Alibaba company, foreign delegations were introduced to a map where all economic flows, down to the level of an individual, were displayed and could be monitored in real time. Modern technology, especially in terms of computing power and communications technology allows for dynamic planning that could widely surpass that of the USSR, and gather live feedback and adapt to changes in production and consumption alike.

The crucial task of our time is producing a socialism that is irreversible through consolidating the fundamental technological and economic incentives of its agents, at the base, that make it immune to capitalist rollbacks and counter-revolutionary tendencies, much like capitalism today no longer can be reversed to feudalism. Such an economy consolidates the genuine support of the working class, by letting the working class have a direct stake in the survival of socialism. For this to become a reality there has to be an existing framework for a planned economy that in all aspects, and on all time scales, is clearly superior to our current dangerous economic system.

All in all, socialism will imply that all currently available technology will be used to liberate and realize the full potential of man rather than to limit or ensnare it to serve a few. All super structures of socialism will reflect the newly attained and endless possibilities that science and technology brings.

In Grundrisse ”The Fragment on Machines” (p 692) Marx states:

“Once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the… automatic system of machinery… set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages.”

And in Capital vol 1. Ch 15: Machinery and Modern Industry Marx delves further into robotics

”An organised system of machines, to which motion is communicated by the transmitting mechanism from a central automaton, is the most developed form of production by machinery. Here we have, in the place of the isolated machine, a mechanical monster whose body fills whole factories, and whose demon power, at first veiled under the slow and measured motions of his giant limbs, at length breaks out into the fast and furious whirl of his countless working organs. ”

Just like the hand mill gave society with the feudal lord, and just like the steam mill unlocked capitalism, it looks like Marx’ automaton will be the key that fits the lock of developed socialism.