Sweden, International Labour Day and class-politics
- The working class, in general, is smaller in numbers and percentage as compared to the 1980s and 1990s. This is mainly to do with post-industrial developments as automation, digitalisation, robotisation. Sweden today is one of the most globalised, open and service-based economics in the world.
- In politics, there is still much rhetoric about the working class. However, the historical working-class parties as Social-Democrats and Left Party (former communists) are today managerial and service-sector class parties in the first place. This is also a part of the post-industrial change.
- With around 120 benefits, the Swedish welfare state is often more beneficial for middle-class and economically wealthy individuals than for working-class individuals, especially for those living in rural areas and towns. From an electoral and democratic perspective, the welfare state is more dependent on support from voters in larger urban areas as Stockholm.
- Certain ideas that could reform Sweden, such as basic income and economic demoracy in workplaces, are often more popular among more educated, urban and wealthy individuals than among “traditional” working-class individuals who, for different reasons, want to preserve the current status and less interested in changes and reforms.
- The working-class in general has changed since the 1990s. Parts of the working-class are nationalist and nativist by voting for the far-right populists while others are more cosmopolitan and voting for progressive parties. Also, many working-class individuals have a history as immigrants. They often feel neglected by political parties in general, who do not see them as working-class but as immigrants in the first place.
- Despite all rhetoric around racism, injustice, privileges and structures, the labour market in Sweden is still more beneficial and supportive for those who are “insiders” and already have good economic status. While there are problems of workers as from Asia and Africa being mistreated and caused by certain employees, a bigger problem is that political stakeholders such as The Swedish Trade Union Confederation are conducting protectionist behaviours famous for “Swedish jobs for Swedish workers” and “labour-union border policy” despite all (fake) rhetoric about borderless solidarity and human rights.
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RE No. 12: Why No Economic Democracy in Sweden? - Social Europe
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