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Please enjoy the paper on Swedish Socialism. It is the first edition of my work.


The Early Swedish Socialists: Utopianism, Lassalleanism, Marxism, Revolutionism, Reformism
By Hal Smith

Many tourist and academic books portray Sweden as an ideal capitalist welfare state put in place and maintained by the Social Democratic Party. Yet the Social Democrats have a Marxist background, which seems quite out of place for an organization running a capitalist system. It raises the question of how the major Marxist party went from a radical revolutionary organization to a reformist one. The original ideology of the Swedish Social Democrats is also of interest simply because their later success- an achievement of 70 years of nearly unbroken power in government. A closer look at this question reveals the common interpretation about the Swedish Social Democrats. Espoused by Herbert Tingsten in the 1940's, it says that the party originated as a dedicated orthodox revolutionary Marxist party that naturally evolved along a continuous development to welfare state, reformist ideology. More recent analysis by Leif Lewin and Timothy Tilton show that this model is incorrect. It does not explain how the party chose to implement a planned economy strategy in the depression of the 1930's after promoting Monetarism in the late 1920's. Nor does it show why the party chose a radical path towards employee ownership through wage owner funds in the 1970's. Most of all, the "dedicated Marxist" hypothesis discounts the fact that the Swedish Social Democrats were mainly Lassallean in their origins, not Marxist.

Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) was the founder of the modern Socialist German workers movement. In a letter to Marx he described himself as "a revolutionary every [sic] since 1840 and a determined Socialist since 1843." Yet Lassalle is most famous for his private negotiations with the Prussian Prime Minister Bismarck on behalf of the German workers. This has been criticized because in the eyes of many political historians, a Socialist revolutionary has no place in such negotiations with the figurehead of the Prussian monarchy. The aristocratic class had a feudal character, even though Germany had progressed to a generally capitalist economy. In fact, Lassalle carried on negotiations as a temporary tactical maneuver and remained an implacable enemy of feudalism. Lassalle believed "that this would mean a separation of the monarchy from its feudal background." In his mind, an alliance with the liberals was out of the question- they were too weak politically and hostile to Socialism. Liberalism here refers to the school of thought that government should be minimalized, guarantee capitalism, and the political freedoms of propertied individuals. The workers must emerge as a force independent of the liberals, not bound into a permanent alliance with them. Instead, Lassalle believed he could get important concessions from Bismarck that would place the workers in a very powerful position. As a result of these concessions, the workers would become even more powerful than Bismarck and the liberals. As a dialectician, he believed that an increase in the authority of the Prussian nobility could even serve as a catalyst to more radical changes.

Whatever historians' opinions of these negotiations, they were not a part of Lassalleanism as an ideology. The rank and file members of Lassalle's German Workers Association were not aware of the secret discussions, and it was not until much later they became publicly revealed. This is of major importance to our discussion because August Palm, the founder of Social Democracy in Sweden, belonged to this organization.

Another special characteristic of Lassalle's revolutionism was that he placed great faith in the state's concessions to the working class. Universal voting rights was the central political demand he recommended to the labor movement. In fact, he did not see voting rights as a goal in itself. As with the concessions he demanded from the state, Lassalle believed it was a means to making the working class much stronger in its battle with the upper classes. The upper classes in 19th century Germany and Sweden were the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. It is worth noting that even though Lassalle was on friendly terms with Bismarck, he never extended this rapport to the conservative movement, and in fact continued to condemn them in his speeches. Lassalle believed that the workers could take over the state mechanisms intact to create Socialism.

Karl Marx (1818-1883), the founder of the International Socialist Movement, on the other hand, believed the revolution must destroy the Prussian government and replaced it with a new Socialist one. He supported cooperation with the liberals as long as their positions were against the monarchists and conservatives. Marx believed this to be the case in the late 1840's, when he wrote the famous Communist Manifesto. This was because the liberal's capitalism was at a higher social stage than Prussian feudalism, and the liberals were natural allies in the fight between these two outdated systems. For Marx, there could be no question of negotiations with the Prussian Prime Minister. While in 1847 and 1870 he agreed the Prussian government could play a progressive role in uniting the feudal German city states (although this did not make it progressive as a whole), he ruled out any concessions or negotiations with it. In his writings of the time, he supported universal suffrage, but did not believe it could be such a major step in bringing Socialism.

These ideologies- Marxism and Lassalleanism were maintained by the German Socialist Movement in the second half of the 19th century. Thus they also became the central elements in the ideology of the early Swedish Social Democrats. The Swedish Socialist movement began as a Utopian movement in the mid 19th century. Following repression in the 1850's it lost any central ideology and was characterized by spontaneous actions by the workers against the capitalist system, mostly consisting of strikes and walkouts. After the arrival of Social Democracy from Germany, the Swedish movement was mainly Lassallean, until it was taken over by reformists. They had brought their influences from and sympathies for the liberals when they changed to Social Democrats. The reformists' takeover marks the party's transformation from an radical Socialist movement that was orthodox, but not necessarily Marxist, to its modern reformist counterpart. In order to understand this process, one must understand not only the details of the ideology of the Swedish Socialists, but also the organizational issues involved. Because the Social Democrats were at first a small organization, the personal traits of the leading figures involved also play a major role. It must be said what we mean when we speak of an ideology and how it applies to a branch of the Socialist movement. We refer to, for purposes of this paper, that ideology as it was perceived by the different Socialists at the time in question, instead of viewing the ideology in question as an unchanging set of beliefs. Therefore, we include what the Swedish Social Democrats knew of the beliefs of Marx and Lassalle in our definition of those ideologies. We must also consider the actions and positions their followers subsequently took that were seen as definitive of those ideologies. In studying the Swedish Social Democrats, it is also important to show if their positions were a result of adhering to those ideologies. It is important because this fact was not usually stated in terms of "I hold this position because I agree with Lassalleanism," yet this was often the case. Even in cases where a person would not be considered in full agreement with the entirety of an ideology, it is important to show the ideas they took from it.

Socialism and the Labor Unions are inextricably bound in Swedish history and an understanding of Swedish Socialism demands an understanding of the experience of the labor movement. This is quite different from most other countries, where the ideology of one can be studied separately from the specifics of the other. The particular influences on leading figures, as it will be shown, plays a large role in determining the shades of ideology they accept. Organizational details and interpret disagreements are also major determinants of the acceptance of an ideology. All of these important factors will be taken into consideration.

In the mid 19th century the medieval trade-guilds disappeared as Industrialization spread to Sweden's cities from the continent. The workers needed new means of support when they were freed up from the guilds to work in manufacturing. The first such organizations with worker participation were the workers enlightenment circles. They began with the formation in 1845 of the "Stockholm Association by "doctor-for-the-poor" Johan Ellmin. It was composed of intellectuals and journeymen, with the aim of educating and defending the interests of their workers. Ellmin was "convinced through his work that capitalism conceals in itself destructive forces and that its development means poverty for the people." The number of these societies in Sweden reached 30, sometimes having an attendance of 1000 people. When the king saw the popularity of the enlightenment circles, he sent agents with donations to influence the Stockholm Association. After they gained control and made its functions less democratic, Ellmin founded the Scandinavian Society in 1847 with Per Gotrek. Per Gotrek (1798-1876) was a Stockholm bookdealer active in the Karlskrona enlightenment circle. In 1831 he had published the French utopian Saint Simon's writings, including "the religion of the future." In a 1847 brochure "On the Proletariat and its Liberation by True Communism," Per Gotrek stated an inevitable battle between the two major social classes- the bourgeoisie and proletariat- would decide "the question of society... [and] humanity." But a violent revolution would only be inevitable if there were no reforms accomplished by peaceful means. Therefore conservatives were revolutionaries, while "peaceful, progressive communists," demanded reforms. If the capitalists repress the workers and their rights and thereby force them to revolt, the communists would defend them by the same action.

At that time Swedish journeymen in Paris, the heart of revolution, and London were members of the Communist League of Marx and Engel, who were well-known in Sweden. The league ran underground groups from its headquarters in London. Gotrek's "Scandinavian Association" could be considered one such group, as several of its members brought links to it from their travels abroad. In 1848, the same year it was published in German, Gotrek translated the Communist Manifesto into Swedish. (In fact, this is probably the Danish translation Engels refers to in the introduction to the Manifesto, and therefore the Manifesto's second translation into a foreign language.) In his introduction, Gotrek describes the Communist League as "the representatives of the poor and have-nots." While his knowledge of German provided a very accurate translation, there were a few changes made: the title "Communist Manifesto" was replaced with "the Voice of Communism," the words "violent revolution" with "radical reorganization," and the famous last words, "Proletarians of the world unite!" with "the Voice of the People is the Voice of God." This was probably done to avoid confiscation or persecution by the police. But it could also have been done because of some of the Scandinavian Association's sympathy for religious-socialist Icarianism. "Voyage to Icarius" was a novel by Etienne Cabet, who led 1500 of his French followers to establish a peaceful, democratic commune in Nauvoo, Illinois. While he repeated the slogan "Forward to Icarius," Gotrek also reiterated the objection of the German socialists "that it would be unfortunate if the best and most loyal sons of the proletariat left Europe during the period of a revolutionary situation."

Indeed the 1848 revolutionary upheavals in France were felt that year in Stockholm and were expressed in an uprising in March. Sven Tradgardh, a tailor who participated in the Stockholm Association's founding, demanded general suffrage and workers' rights at one of the meetings. These were common demands for the workers in an era when voting restrictions based on income made 5% of the total population eligible to vote- even after the 1865 parliament reform that changed the 4 estate system to a 2 chamber Riksdag, or parliament. Franz Shoberg began a paper the next year called People's Voice, which called itself socialist and demanded general suffrage. But the paper also said this alone was not enough. It was necessary to fight the unequal distribution of wealth based on the capitalists taking profits from the workers. At its height, the paper had a readership of 6000, compared to its rival Aftonbladet, with 7000. At Shoberg's proposal, the educational society in Erebru called a Folkriksdag, or "People's Parliament" in 1849, 1850, and 1853. It met to discuss and demand general voting rights.

In 1850 Per Gotrek, Franz Shoberg, and some workers formed the "Workers Society for Reading," as the Scandinavian Society had been broken up by the Police. Goals of the society's work were to unite the Swedish working class, improve its social position, and participate in the legislative process. At a public meeting, Gotrek spoke in favor of religious socialism and Cabetism. Nils Person-Nurdin, another democratic editor, said "Socialism wants... freedom of conscience,... general education,... general suffrage,... the right to form unions,... military service to end expensive continuous armies, and aid for the elderly and sick." But after some time, the revolutionary tide began to ebb. The organization was broken up, and the police compelled Gotrek to retire to Karlskrona with the promise to leave political activity.

The 1840's had seen the creation of the first independent workers' organizations, beginning with the Typography Association in 1846. They were rather mixed guild-education-circle-unions than pure trade unions. With the ebb of the revolutionary tide, most of them closed and a new liberal leadership took over the enlightenment circles and isolated them from the labor movement. Bread riots in 1855 and expressions of discontent met with repression. In spite of this, strikes continued and grew with Industrialization and the number of workers. Characteristic were the Falun Copper Mine strikes in 1855 and 1857 against higher prices in the company stores, where the employees were forced to shop. From 1850-1869, the independent labor movement had a spontaneous, party-less character, which lacked clear, long term goals, strategy, or ideology.

In order to channel the dissatisfaction into a more preferable form, the liberal-bourgeoisie created Workers Associations that claimed to be "above-class" and disapproved of strikes. Its members included both employees and the same businessmen they struck against. The associations proposed cooperatives for production, distribution, and banking etc. But they could not compete with big industry without government subsidies, which the liberals rejected. More important topics than working hours or the employees' situation were "sobriety and morality." At a congress of Scandinavian Workers Associations in 1870, the leadership refused to discuss the issue of general suffrage.

In 1868, an economic crisis brought unemployment, and a rise in bread prices. Strikes had taught the workers better tactics and to organize strike committees and support funds. The Stockholm masons' strike of June, 1869 prevented their wages from being lowered in spite of the inflation. Afterwards, their first trade union was formed.

The 1870's are considered the period of the rise of industry in Sweden, which occurred later than in other western countries. The number of industrial workers increased from 20,000 in the 1840's to 50,000 in the 1860's to 100,000 by 1885. Yet the fruits of their labor were not equitably distributed and Stockholm was considered one of Europe's poorest cities. Conditions were so bad that 1.1 million people left Sweden between 1850 and 1914. Typical demands of strikers in those days were those of the tobacco factory workers of Vesteros in May 1872: a wage raise, shortening of the 11 hour workday, and freedom to change employers. The typographers succeeded in forming a union and made Sweden's first collective agreement with the publishers' association in 1872.

The most famous strike of this period was the Sundsvall lumberers' strike in the summer of 1879. That winter had been especially difficult for the woodsmen, with wages of at most 1.5- 2 kroner/day -hardly enough to feed a single person, much less a family. When a government subsidy of 3 million kroner didn't effect the wage level, the lumberers went from mill to mill. The strikers marched to the provincial capitol of Sundsvall and set up camp on its outskirts with 6,000 persons. The workers, supported by their families and the townspeople, demanded a pay raise to a minimum of 2 kroners a day. They were put down by the army without reaching any direct concessions from their employers. Yet the Sundsvall strike succeeded in showing the power and unity of the working class, as peasants gathered from many different provinces to work in the lumber mills. It also showed the need for long term labor organizations. Because these organizations were repressed, and because the belated bourgeois revolution did not allow votes for those with low income, the battle for workers' rights became the battle for democracy.

Two years later, the masons of Stockholm took the cue from the Sundsvall lumberers. Four thousand workers gathered to demand a 30% pay raise and a 10 hour workday, which they received after repeated strikes. That year, the city's smiths, painters, and foundry workers also formed their own unions. The labor movement had achieved new strength and would advance into the political arena.

The Danish section of Marx's Communist International had for a short time in 1872 printed its paper in Malmo, across the Oresund Channel from Copenhagen. The operation ceased because of political repression in Denmark during the 1870's.

When August Palm (1849-1922), a member of the International from the province of Skane, returned home in 1881, he discovered that Sweden lacked a Social Democratic movement. Palm was a witty, energetic, and entertaining speaker. He became involved with Socialism after spending many years journeying and working as a tailor in England, Germany, and Denmark. Most of the time he spent in the city of Haderslev. It was in the formerly Danish province of Schleswig, which was annexed by Germany. That was how Palm met and accepted specifically German Social Democracy, whose figurehead was Ferdinand Lassalle. In fact, he was to consider himself a Lassallean for the rest of his life. And Palm's acceptance of Socialism was immeasurably full of love and enthusiasm.

He already had practice organizing in Denmark, and now Palm would build the Social Democratic movement in Sweden. He began it by announcing the "first meeting of Socialists in Sweden," set for November 6, 1881 in Malmo's Hotel Stockholm. The date was significant, because it was "Gustav II Adolf" Day, an official holiday of the monarchy. Even in the date he scheduled we may observe Palm's sense of irony, and a challenge to the aristocracy. His speech, "What do the Socialists Want?" artfully repudiated the most widespread misrepresentations of Socialism, and showed how the accusations are more fitting for the capitalists. The speech, given to a mostly middle-class audience of over 1,000 people, was similar to the popular (and ironically named) brochure of German Marxist Wilhelm Brakke, "Down with the Social Democrats." The speech also shows influence from Marx's friend Wilhelm Liebknecht's "Attack and Defense."

Palm's first point was that Socialists don't want to divide up all the property. While that might work for land, it could hardly be possible to divide up a train. Instead, it is the capitalists who use division to take revenues from the workers. He gives an example in a capitalist production where a worker gets 50 ore and a capitalist gets 50 ore. But after dividing the revenues this way with 50 workers, the capitalist has made himself well-off. But the workers and their families stay at poverty level. As a result of the system of division, "while the magazines and barns are filled with grain, there are many people suffering from hunger." The only way for the workers to get the surplus of their labor (that is, the 50 ore taken away from them) is by abolishing capitalism. The State must either take over production and provide for labor or subsidize worker associations. This statement reflects the ideas of both Marx and Lassalle. Marx developed the theory of surplus value and would agree that the means of production should be nationalized. But he would make it clear that the state should be run by the workers first. Lassalle, on the other hand, believed that the government should subsidize producer cooperatives, regardless of who controlled the state and whether the cooperatives would have to compete with capitalist businesses. Palm, like Lassalle, would later say that the producer cooperatives were meant for a temporary period before complete Socialism. The agitator's second point is that Socialists don't want to abolish property rights. They want to get rid of property when it is an obstacle. Even in capitalist society, the state takes away property whenever it likes and repays the owner. Socialists want to protect the only property of the worker- his labor. Palm next disproves the common slander of the time, that Socialists want to abolish marriage and introduce free love. In fact, it is the rich bourgeoisie that has an extra house where he can hire an expensive prostitute and live away from his wife. But a poor man must share everything with his wife, and if they don'╥t respect each other, they should be allowed to divorce. So Socialists want marriage to be founded on love, and end without it. Another accusation Palm repudiates is that Socialists are unpatriotic. While Socialists love their fatherland, they place their love for the world, their internationalism, above the nation. Nationalism divides people, causes hatred and wars, which the king fights to "solidify his staggering throne." Instead, we must seek peace and become "one community" as Christian scholars preach. "For isn't it more noble and beautiful to love the whole world than to restrict love to a small parcel, which the state authorities, by their own wishes, can increase or decrease. Next, Palm repudiates the claim that Socialists deny and want to get rid of religion. Instead, Socialists seek the separation of church and state and the right of every person to believe as they want. Only that way can religion become what it is supposed to be- a matter of conscience. Then the clergy won't "live at the state's and our expense." "They won'╥t do a priestly act, so to say, without ringing coins- nice shepherds for the Christian flock." Socialists respect the beliefs of others and want the state to do the same. "Only then will religion be able to fulfill its purpose- to comfort the misery, to console the grieved." Palm states the main foundation of Socialism is Labor organizing and directing the state to abolish capitalism and protect the worker and his rights. Being a Socialist is something to be proud of because it means "Society Improver." Socialism isn't a strange movement created by an agitator, but a popular movement created by the progress of culture that cannot be turned back. To change the oppressive and unjust capitalist society, to protect the workers' labor and their life in old age, the Socialists must: unite and organize, participate in politics, create a newspaper, and agitate for general suffrage. He then quotes the French Social Democrat and scientist Dr. Johan Jakoby, that "the formation of the smallest worker's organization will for the history writers of the future be more important than the battle of Sadova."

Palm's speech at the Hotel Stockholm became the basis for many of his innumerable speeches, which he gave while traveling and agitating. They were often unprepared and he used his quick wit to take advantage of differing circumstances and audiences. Even his adversaries acknowledged Palm's oratorical talent. He had adapted Danish expressions and way of speaking from his time abroad. This would not be so odd to the Skanians, who have a strong Danish influence themselves. They found his grammar errors from Danish amusing. Palm was pleasantly surprised to find the newspapers were favorable, and only mildly if ever critical (in contrast to the hostile attitude of the authorities in Denmark), during his initial activities in Sweden.

The more Palm spoke, the more workers came to his meetings. At one of them, he formed an agitation committee to coordinate trips to Stockholm and Goteborg. Pressure from the authorities often prevented owners from renting space for the meetings, and the liberal workers' associations refused to house them. So Palm, who always draw large crowds, held his first speech in Stockholm on December 26th in the Lillensietten woods. His well attended speech went on for more than two hours, even though it was below freezing. At one of his meetings in the summer of 1882, 6,000 people attended. His meetings were democratic and served as the basis for organizing and collecting money for these activities. This trend was to be the norm for the style of agitation performed by Palm's Social Democrats for the next decade. The meetings brought on the emergence of Socialism and the organized workers' movement.

In accordance with the need to set up a newspaper, Palm created Folkviljan, the People's Will, which came out on March 4, 1882. The paper was supposed to be a weekly, but was published irregularly. He also recognized the need for a central organization. At first a congress was supposed to be convened to create a Universal Swedish Workers Union (SAP). But the congress never met. Then that autumn, the proposed party's name was changed to the Social Democratic Workers Party, and Folkviljian became its official organ. The change of name from the German Lassallean party to that of the Marxist Eisenacher party doesn't show a change in ideology. Rather, it shows that the young party was small and unstable, closely grouped around Palm. Although sections of ten persons each were planned, there were not enough dedicated members to realize this. "Connections with other regions of the country were at first restricted to only personal contacts."

The first program of the Socialist movement was printed in Folkviljian on November 11, 1882. It was basically a translation of the Danish Gimle program, which was itself a copy of the German Gotha program of 1875. The Gotha program was a compromise program worked out when the Marxist "Eisenacher" workers party united with the Lassallean workers union. While it mixed the beliefs of both parties, Marx still found the draft copy sent to him to contain flaws. He exposed them in his famous Critique of the Gotha Program. The latter is considered the most important document by Marx in relation to Lassalleanism.

The Gotha Program begins with the words that were famous to workers demonstrating in the 19th century: "Labor is the source of all wealth and all culture..." Marx criticized this statement by saying that not only labor, but nature too, is the source of material wealth. The program continues that the capitalists have a monopoly of the means of production and they must become society's common property, with the fruits of labor fairly distributed. Marx's criticism was that landowners also participate in the monopoly of instruments of production (here land), but might only rent the land to the capitalist producers. In addition even with Socialism not all the fruits of labor should be given out directly- society might find it more desirable to use the benefits of labor to build more equipment or social programs. The important difference of Socialism is that the distribution "fruits of labor" will be determined by society, with none of them being taken by the capitalists. Another contentious statement is that "The emancipation of labor must be the work of the working class, relatively to which all other classes are only one reactionary mass." While the first part was true, Marx argued that the bourgeoisie and their interests were revolutionary in regard to the feudal classes. And besides, capitalism transfers the lower middle class into the ranks of the proletariat. The program also mentions the need to abolish the wage system and the "iron law of wages." Marx criticized this phrase because his theory of surplus value was a better explanation of how the capitalists kept wages at rates that were less than the value of labor the workers contributed. Lassalle's "iron law" says capitalists always lower wages to a level that only provides for one's base needs. Marx's surplus theory states that whether wages are at subsistence level (which they are necessarily under capitalism, according to Lassalle) or not, the position of the workers will worsen in proportion to the surplus the capitalists extract from their labor. The Gotha Program also demanded "producer cooperative societies with state aid under the democratic control of the toiling masses," which Marx criticized as outlined in the summary of Palm's Hotel Stockholm speech. The program declares "the working class strives for its emancipation first of all within the framework of the national state" and this would result in "the international brotherhood of peoples." This would be natural for the German Social Democrats and Lassalle whose main concern was the German working class. But Marx focused on the international arena and believed the program should discuss the party's international functions. After all, the national state existed within the framework of the world economy too. The program ended with a list of practical short term goals, such as universal suffrage to achieve democratization.

The Swedish translation, and especially the political demands at the program's end, were worked out carefully. Palm also introduced some small but important changes. He dropped the words "all other classes [besides the working class] are only one reactionary mass," because he wanted the unity of all laboring classes, including the peasantry and small manufacturers. Palm also dropped the phrase "the iron law of wages," because the workers can organize and fight to get their wages above subsistence level. In later editions, more political demands were also added- the abolition of the laws against vagrancy that prevented the workers from traveling freely without papers, the separation of political prisoners from criminals, the right to form unions, the disbandment of the standing army in favor of a general "militia army" etc. The Gotha program would, with slight variations, remain the program of the Swedish Social Democrats until 1897.

The most pressing problem of the newspaper Folkviljan, and that which caused it to be published irregularly, was a shortage of funds. In March 1884, Danish and Swedish Socialists in Copenhagen founded the Society of Assistance to Socialism in Sweden. Its donations allowed Palm to continue his agitation and newspaper, which was sometimes printed in Copenhagen. So the Danish Socialists provided not only experience and ideological background, but organizational support as well. That May, the newspaper began to be published by the Scandinavian Union of Tobacco Industry Workers. But the union was as inexperienced in publishing as Palm was in the beginning. Fights arose over the paper's organization, printing, and expenses. The union wanted to have the legal rights to the paper, but Palm insisted this would only be given to the SAP after it had been officially constituted. A new expense was the hiring of a secretary and cashier, Palm's friend Henrik Menander, who had been the chairman of the Goteborg Social Democratic Association. Menander (1853-1917), a cork cutter, was one of Sweden's first proletarian poets and writers. He translated the Internationale, the hymn of the world socialist movement, in 1902.

Menander's most famous work was the song "Sons of the Workers," written in 1885. It became the hymn of the Swedish Social Democrats. The music has a monotonous, repeating style, as if it was the sound of a crowd marching. The song's theme is the solidarity of the workers Liberty is calling the oppressed and starving "serfs"- under the yoke inscribed with "pray and forsake" to "a noble exploit." "We demand back our dignity as humans and fight for justice, liberty, and bread." They must destroy the "gold calf" (which means capitalism) and the brutal between the poor and the rich, who steal their "bounties." If the workers from all the parts of Sweden unite, they will be victorious.

There were problems with printing too, until in the beginning of 1885, Palm procured his own small printer. But when it was stolen, a meeting of the Society of Assistance to Socialism in Sweden decided that Palm should eventually move the center of his activity, and therefore of the growing Socialist movement to Stockholm. He moved there with his family in the in the summer of 1885. This was a difficult step for Palm, though, because of the deep love he had for his newspaper. The newspaper was especially important for him because although the social conditions were present for the growth of Socialism, Palm was not a determinist. He understood that it was necessary for Socialism to raise peoples' awareness through his agitation.

The liberal leaders opposed the Socialist movement in its early stage. They were against the Socialists' urging that the workers should independently assert themselves in the political sphere. They counter-posed this with their own doctrine of "self-help" and that the workers should engage in a "moral struggle." This meant that people should only clean their houses, save their money, receive education and leave welfare in the hands of private charities, instead of fighting for the right to unionize, strike, and other "disorderly" activities. When the liberal leaders came to Palm's meetings to attack him, he turned them away quickly with his sharp wit and humor. Usually they avoided the meetings. The anti-Socialist speeches of one leading figure in the liberal workers movement, Anton Nystrom, led to a mutiny in Palm's agitation committee in Malmo, not long after it was founded. This event brought about Palm's open fight against liberalism. The creation of a Social Democratic paper in Stockholm, where Nystrom worked, gave Palm the ability to successfully repel Nystrom's attacks.

The Stockholm Social Democratic Club was the Socialists' section in the capitol, formed in 1883 by the new carpenters' union. Consequently the carpenters' union was the first to use a red flag as its standard. The Stockholm Social Democratic Club has been characterized before Palm's arrival as similar in structure to the liberal Workers Associations. The workers formed the majority, but were politically "dependent and confused," while a group from "educated society" had entered and led the club. These members included those from the liberal milieu: Gotfried Peterson and Gunnar Peterson were from the "worker friendly" liberal paper Tiden, George Lundstrom from the tabloid (translated "gutter paper") Figaro, and Doctor A. F. Akerberg, whose views were close to religious Utopianism, the actor Emil Hillberg, and Fredrik Sterky. Palm described the club as such: "Every Monday evening 20-30 people gathered in the club and enlightened eachother." After arranging two open mass meetings- against the new required military service and liberalism- he left to agitate in the Far North, Norland. Returning, he found the group hadn't progressed and decided to create a Socialist paper. But the former liberals didn't want there to be another newspaper for the workers besides Tiden, which had already been accepted by the unions. Palm cleverly proposed that the club ask Hjalmar Branting, the editor of Tiden, if it might be officially considered a Socialist paper. Karl Hjalmar Branting (1860-1925) had studied astronomy in Stockholm and Uppsala University, where he helped found the radical Verdandi student circle. It is said that the state's failure to take care of his father, Dr. Lars Branting, who became disabled made a strong impression on Branting and led him to more radical positions. Otherwise, he may have remained a liberal, like his friend in the Verdandi circle, future prime minister Karl Staaff. Branting began to work at the radical liberal paper Tiden in 1883. He joined the Social Democratic club briefly in the winter of 1884-1885, before he became editor and owner of Tiden. Whatever his personal beliefs, Branting had not ended his connections to liberalism. As a liberal, Branting sympathized and desired cooperation with the Socialists. As a Socialist, he sympathized and desired close collaboration with the liberals. When Branting became editor, he announced that Tiden would not change its tone and rejected the Social Democrats' proposal that it be officially Socialist. Therefore the club agreed with Palm to form their own paper and published the first issue of Social Demokraten on the 25th of September 1885. Palm was the paper's main editor. His close friend Axel Danielsson (1863 - 1899) was a student of literature from the University of Uppsala. He artfully formulated, corrected and edited Palm's thoughts. Fredrik Sterky was also on the editing board. Social Demokraten would play a major role in the fight against liberalism in the workers movement.

The first issue of Social Demokraten introduced the new paper to its readers. The "present state of society" and its economic and political development were characterized by the injustice of a small privileged class living in abundance at the expense of the working class, who found it difficult to survive. The task of the working class and its "forceful and uncompromising spokesman" and organ Social Demokraten was to protect and achieve a healthier, happier, more humanly dignified existence for the workers. The paper addressed itself to "the most numerous class in society- the working estate, to whose class also the small businessmen and professionals must be counted into." They were bound by common interests and their dependence on Capital. The paper would show them the way and bravely work for their collective goal of liberation from "the power of capital" and the "chains that restrain its social, political, and religious development." The workers must achieve consciousness and participate in political life for its own social and economic benefit. Next, Social Demokraten explained how it was organizing itself and encouraged its readers to join its organization. The paper depended on the support of the public and its readers so Sweden would not be "the only civilized country in the world that lacks a Social Democratic party organ." It was necessary also to support the struggle, strengthen their hope and courage, bring in more workers, and force their opponents to make concessions and reforms.

Not long after the Stockholm Social Democratic Club was founded in August 1884, the importance of the question of what position to take in relation to the liberals became clear. Many liberals were antiSocialist and Palm believed there was hardly any difference between these and reactionaries. The Social Democrats concluded, however, that it was sometimes necessary to cooperate with the more democratic elements of the liberals in the battle against the conservatives: for example, in certain elections. But Palm always made clear his differences with the liberals when he did this, and never compromised his positions. As a result in Malmo the Social Democrats had supported two liberal candidates who had spoken one of the Socialists' meetings and sought the universal right to vote. In taking this position, Palm was not in opposition to Lassalle. The founder of German Social Democracy had asked his supporters in September 1863 to vote for the liberals, even while he was in negotiations with Bismarck. Lassalle did this to persuade the Prime Minister to give larger concessions and show the strength of democracy. The Social Democrats in Stockholm, in contrast, had unconditionally voted for Adolf Hedin, who only stood for lowering the wealth limit for voting to be 400 Kroner." Palm criticized this in Folkviljan. Branting replied in October 1884 in his paper Tiden that because Hedin belonged to the liberal's democratic wing: "Listen to the advice of a person, sincerely devoted to Socialism, who wishes every kind of success to a movement so well and effectively led by you. Don't push away from yourself without need those with whom you still can for a long time work together, and who consciously or unconsciously, prepare the way for victorious Socialism." Unlike that of Palm, Branting's position was not in agreement with Lassalleanism, and gave far more ground to the liberals than Marx, even in the 1840'╥s, would have approved of.

Two other movements the Social Democrats opposed, and indeed were in opposition to each other, were the "Smith worker circles" and the Temperance movement. As with the liberals, Palm was for cooperating with them only if they would accept universal voting rights and progressive taxation. Lars Smith, Sweden's "Vodka King," set up a workers cooperative movement in liquor production. Also called the "circle movement," it was very popular among the workers. It engaged in beneficial measures and free lunches using steam powered kitchens. As a consumer cooperative movement, it sold consumer products much cheaper than could be found elsewhere. The Social Democrat's criticism, published in Folkviljian was that of the consumer cooperative movement in general. If the cooperatives sold their products at below market prices, to help the other workers who were poor, then they were just lowering the revenues that would go to the cooperative's employees by the amount that the consumers saved. Saving, the supposed advantage of buying from the cooperative, wasn't the main goal, which was abolishing the Iron Law of Wages. The consumers wages would go down by the same amount that they had saved because their subsistence level had decreased. Here Palm used Lassalle's argument against the kind of cooperative movement endorsed by German liberal economist Shultze-Delitsch. The Swedish liberals also used Shultze-Delitsch's models.

The Temperance movement and its main organization the International Order of Good Templars, were brought to Sweden by religious revivalist missionaries from England and America in 1879. The anti-alcohol movement was therefore imbued with fanatical Calvinism. It used "feelings of personal guilt" and condemnation to "save" people from "the liquor devil" and seducer of "moral degeneration." This was in contrast to that of the Swedes' Lutheran Church where "the saving blood of Christ" was the alcohol in the Last Supper, and the Socialists who saw mankind's material betterment in rationalism and progress, instead of the prohibition of alcohol. A correlating tenet of the sobriety movement was that alcohol was the main cause of society's problems and interest in other concerns such as raising living standards was slight. The temperance movement was anti Socialist and conservative. Carl Hurtig, one of its leading spokesman and told the workers in his paper "Reform" they would be successful through diligence, meekness, sobriety, and being afraid of God. The antiSemitic and socially conservative Christian Social Party in Germany was presented as a model while stating Good Templars stand apart from all political activity. Outside of the official temperance movement itself, anti-alcoholism was part of the liberals' doctrine of the workers' betterment through "self help."

The Social Democratic leaders held temperance and other kinds of Puritanism in contempt. Most of them- Palm, Danielsson, Sterky, and Branting hardly abstained from alcohol, and their optimistic, socially active personalities clashed sharply with those of the Good Templars. The Socialists' theoretical criticism was that Social Revolution and universal voting rights were far more important than the sobriety movement's "moralistic" demands on its members. Not alcohol, but Capitalism was the source of society's problems. They saw alcoholism as a physical, as opposed to a moral disease that was a product of Capitalism and would go away with the abolition of oppressive conditions and introduction of better healthcare. The Good Templars was not a democratic organization. It required of its members total abstinence from alcohol and (nonconservative) political activity, and accepting religious doctrines, enforced by expulsions. They also fought with the Socialists over the workers' loyalty. Palm held a meeting around 1885 in Stockholm that was attended by many members of the Good Templars. It was decided after some debates that because the Socialists represented the interests of the workers and the temperance movement had many workers, it was the duty of the temperance movements to support Socialism. This led to the expulsions of many workers from the temperance organizations. Two years later, another meeting in Malmo with more workers from the Good Templars denounced the organization's reactionary political leadership and secret religious-like ceremonies. These are the reasons why Palm and the Social Democrats fought against the leaderships and doctrines of the Liberal political movement, the Smith Circle movement, and the Sobriety movement. Yet they accepted members from and cooperation with these organizations on the condition of acceptance of well-defined platforms. Erik Nordman from the Smith Circle movement would become one of Palm's close friends and a leader in bringing the labor unions to Socialism.

The Stockholm Social Democratic club worked with the Stockholm trade unions, which had formed the national Central Committee of Trade Unions (FCK) in 1883. The liberally minded workers who formed the leadership wanted the unions to be calm, apolitical, and limited to certain professions. But the acceptance of the radical paper Tiden in the spring of 1885 as the official organ of the FCK reflected a radical activization of the union membership. Branting at this time hoped to win over the leadership to more radical positions. The Social Democrats, on the other hand, wanted to turn the unions into a mass organization. This struck a chord with the workers, of whom only 20% were unionized. On September 9, 1885 a meeting of the FCK welcomed the proposal of the tobacco worker S.A. Junsson for a new, more radical program. Junsson was the founder of the Stockholm Social Democratic Club. He as well as the Socialists Erik Nordman and KGT Vikman were chosen to write the new program. The shoemaker Nordman had been the chairman of the Social Democrats' organization since the beginning of 1886. This led to lively debates in the unions and a fight between the Liberals and the Socialists. Engstrom was elected Chairman and Nordman and Vikman were elected to the leadership. By May 1886 it was clear that the Socialists had won. They drew up a program in agreement with that of the Social Democrats. The program declared "the profit of work belongs to those who work." The unions would cooperate to defend the workers from their employers' despotism and seek the full rights of a citizen for all in society. The new program also demanded a maximum 10 hour working day, social insurance, arbitration for labor disputes, and universal suffrage. The Riksdag should become unicameral, instead of the two tiered system that favored the wealthy upper house. The Social Democratic Association became the new name of the Social Democratic club in October 1885, now with Palm's leadership. This reflected a change to a mass organization with a leading role in the working class. Lassalle had not encouraged the trade union movement because the Iron Law of Wages showed any small concession unions achieved was only temporary. He believed only a political party could overthrow capitalism. But years after his tragic death, Germany's legal restrictions on labor organizing were lifted in 1869. The German workers saw the success of the trade union movement in England. Both the Lassalleans and the Marxists organized labor unions. That is why the Social Democrats' interest in the unions was in harmony with the Lassalleanism and Marxism that Palm had become familiar with, although trade unionism was not a major tenet of Lassalle per se. Yet as shown by his experience with the Malmo tobacco union in 1884, Palm's Lassalleanism would not allow him to give control over the party to the unions.

Another issue that the Social Democrats devoted their attention to was protectionism. Axel Danielsson declared that tariffs were not a question of principle that Socialists could always be for or against. In the 1880's they stood against the tariffs on grain and pork that the rich landowners wished to impose. The tariffs were advantageous for the landowners because they raised consumers' prices by "protecting" the products from the competition of cheaper grain from America and Russia. But this was harmful to the mass of workers living in poverty. When the industrialists desired tariffs on their products too, the danger of general inflation presented itself. The slogan of the Social Democrats was "Down with starvation tariffs!" in their first mass mobilization. On February 7 1886 Palm led 10,000-15,000 people on a demonstration through Stockholm, demanding of the more democratic politicians to fight the tariffs. Two weeks later there was a demonstration of 20,000 in Malmo. The "free-traders," led by the liberals were elected to a majority in the Riksdag, but the powerful protectionists there annulled their mandates and replaced them with protectionists, allowing the tariffs to be introduced. This action showed the workers not to rely on parliamentary procedures. Social Democrats' leadership of the major united fight of the workers- that against the starvation tariffs- brought them the loyalty of the workers. That is how the Social Democrats and their paper Social Demokraten (which had achieved a readership of 3,000-5,000) came to lead the labor movement.

Social Demokraten became the only paper written by the workers as Tiden had closed down in January 1886 because of a lack of readers. This was in spite of Tiden being the official organ of the FCK. The workers were attracted to Social Demokraten's optimistic tone and especially the literary talent of Axel Danielsson. He was very knowledgeable as a theoretician, propagandist, and organizer.

From its founding, there was a group with a different orientation than that of Palm inside the Stockholm Social Democratic Association. It was led by Fredrik Sterky, who in January 1886 declared that Social Democrats are nonrevolutionary and "always maintain a legal path." Palm was suspicious of Sterky because he came from a rich landowning family. Palm and the workers also referred derisively to Sterky's faction as "the intelligences," which was the peasants' slang for "educated society." Many in the faction came from liberal circles and these influences remained when they became Social Democrats. The faction criticized Palm's editorship for "rough language," by which they meant his hostility to the upper classes and his revolutionary sentiments. Sterky, Akerberg, and Hinke Bergegren set up a "committee for supervision over the press" to express their criticisms of the editorship. Elections on April 27 confirmed Palm as editor of Social Demokraten. Engstrom, who belonged to the faction, was chosen as the Social Democratic Association's chairman. Sterky's faction was dissatisfied with the results because the editorship was the most important post in the organization. They demanded that Engstrom become editor and offered that the surveillance committee become unpaid employees of the paper along with a gift of 500 kroner. The Social Democratic Association refused these demands and so Sterky's faction formed the Social Democratic Fraternity on May 25. They set up their own paper called Nua Samhallet, or New Community, with Akerberg as editor.

Social Demokraten grew in popularity among the workers in spite of the split. On June 18th, Danielsson published an "Organizational Plan For the Working Class of Sweden." It said that "an organization gives the workers strength" and "oppression may be broken only by force." Of the two forms of organization, Danielsson wrote that the unions must be independent of other classes and claim all the workers in a given profession, even the unemployed. In this way they should unite according to profession, in a central organization. The unions also participate in the struggle against Capital and care for the daily needs of their members. But the function of achieving long term goals belongs to a party, that is, a socio-political organization, with a wider base and more power than a union. It will have regional sections and belong to a larger international Socialist organization. It will be the leader of the workers' struggle for their liberation.

In contrast to the nonrevolutionary position of Nua Samhallet, Danielsson asserted that Social Demokraten would bring its ideas to the masses on a revolutionary and scientific basis. A social revolution would end class differences and the slavery to machines under Capitalism by bringing machines and land under the ownership of the people. In this struggle the bourgeoisie were the enemy, with interests opposite to those of the workers. As a scholar, Danielsson became familiar with Marx's work, especially the Communist Manifesto, and this had a great effect on his thinking. It was clear to Danielsson that the revolution shouldn't take the form of a coup, but as said in the Communist Manifesto, it must be done by the workers themselves and lead to "communist self-rule." He believed a revolutionary crisis was developing in the most advanced capitalist countries and that Sweden must participate in this revolution. Like other Marxists on the continent, he predicted it would occur simultaneously in the different advanced capitalist countries and therefore be solid and lasting.

Another major event that brought the unions to Socialism was the Congress of Scandinavian Unions from 27-29 of August 1886. The union leaders in the FCK with liberal tendencies did not share the idea of the congress, proposed by the Socialist lumber union leader Vikman. So it was held by the section of the FCK in Goteberg, where the unions were sympathetic. The city had been the scene of a successful strike against a lockout of 400 dye workers that year. Palm represented the Social Democratic Association, which had set up 11 unions in Stockholm. The congress resolved to demand the 8 hour workday, declared itself Socialist because "the private-capitalist mode of production always will prevent the achievement of happiness and satisfaction in society." It announced the official organ of the FCK to be Social Demokraten.

This was a great blow to Nua Samhallet which hoped to become the organ of the unions in the same manner as Tiden. Instead it became more and more isolated from the workers and only held one public meeting, which was a failure. Nua Samhallet didn't take class positions in its writings and distanced itself from the other Social Democrats. Sterky's group didn't even send a representative to the Congress of Scandinavian Unions. These factors made it less and less attractive to its diminishing audience. The Social Democratic Fraternity therefore sought to reunite with the other Social Democrats.

The reunification took place at a meeting on August 28, 1886. At the negotiations, Hjalmar Branting represented the Social Democratic Fraternity. He had joined it from the failed paper Tiden. Branting was a minor figure in the Fraternity and had not been part of the split in May. Axel Danielsson entered the negotiations on the side of the Social Democratic Association. It was agreed to form the Social Democratic Union with Social Demokraten as its daily organ and to close Nua Samhallet. At the elections for Social Demokraten's editorial board, Danielsson became the chief editor with 108 votes, Palm was next with 76 votes, and Branting received 56 votes. It was clear that the Fraternity had capitulated. According to Palm, Sterky recognized that the Fraternity was one of the stupidest things he had ever done. One weakness of the reunification was that it lacked a document that would hold its signers to future obligations in respect of this capitulation, such as to avoid intra-party intrigues. The Gotha program remained the program of the Social Democratic Union.

The reunification was a major event for Branting. He not only had been the editor of Tiden but also a figure in the liberal workers movement. He desired close cooperation with the liberals and sympathized with the views of the liberal figures and Neomalthusians Nystrom and Knut Wicksell. Branting's entrance into the main Socialist organization, the Social Democratic Union, brought him to accept their central ideas. Instead of the reunification bringing about cooperation with the liberals, Branting came into conflict with them by belonging to a stronger, more united Socialist movement. Thus when the liberals' organization the "Worker Union" proclaimed that Socialism was harmful for the workers, Branting and others declared at a large meeting on November 1, 1886 that cooperation with the leaders of that organization was excluded. In a debate, the Social Democrat Vermelin refuted Wicksell who said the program's statement that labor creates all wealth was wrong and capitalism wasn't exploitative. " In his speech "the Theory of Value of Karl Marx," Vermelin showed that Marx said nature also created wealth. But Vermelin also said that the program must be interpreted in spirit. Its point was that capitalists take part of the wealth created by labor, and this is the basis for exploitation and class conflict. Nystrom and Pontus Falbeck were NeoMalthusians. This 19th century school of thought analyzed society based on population growth. Nystrom hypothesized the "ruined families" of Socialism would overpopulate themselves and starve, while Falbeck thought they would underpopulate themselves and die out. Danielsson quipped that such thought provoking questions should be left to the Socialist Society itself. Therefore by joining the Social Democratic Union Branting accepted its basic ideas and separated himself from the liberal movement, although not from its influences. While he came into conflict with the liberals, he did not end his sympathies for them.

Another of Branting's achievements within the Socialist movement was his speech given to the workers' club in Gavle on October 24, 1886. "Why the Workers' Movement Must Become Socialistic" is the declaration of independence of Swedish Social Democracy, that is, of Social Democracy specific to Sweden. Branting shows that the conditions for Socialism are developing in Sweden and that the workers must become conscious of and accept their task to bring on Socialism. He begins the speech by declaring that the issue of labor is the most important of the time. The labor movement has been created by conditions and developments totally different from other movements and struggles of the lower classes in "fundamentally different historical periods"- the ancient slave revolts, the medieval peasants' uprisings, and the revolutions of the bourgeois class against the aristocracy, such as the French Revolution of 1789. The industrial worker is the product of large scale production with its technical tools and factories. It is a new kind of production that is replacing the outdated feudal guild system. In the small handicraft system, the workers were tied to a guild and served its master. They did this out of necessity, not out of ignorance. The small handicraft system- not free competition in the labor market- was appropriate for the conditions of medieval times. Therefore, economic conditions evolve and new systems develop in accordance with them. Capitalism too is becoming outdated. It was necessary to create large scale production. But as it develops further, so does its hopeless disadvantage in the distribution of profits. Therefore, large scale production must become ordered, unified, and social, instead of remaining on the basis of capitalism. While the free competition of capitalism created large scale production after abolishing the closed guild system, it is the same large scale production which will ruin free competition. Small producers are not able to compete with factories that could produce 100 times the number of products at much lower costs in the same amount of time. The small producer must either make the changeover to industry, or close his business and become a worker. The process of the build up of large scale production was much farther in America and England, but was just as surely occurring in Sweden. In the same way as the build up of large production was changing the nature of production it was also changing the worker's situation. No longer did he have the patriarchal protection of the guildmaster and a small group of coworkers. Instead he was organized with others in a mass army of labor, totally disassociated from his employer. The stock exchange system even more destroys any personal bond between the worker and the owner of his work. This is the basis for class antagonisms. The owner desired the highest profits and the lowest costs possible. That means the owner wants to lower the workers' wages as low as they will work for. With no land to farm or subsistence of their own, the workers will sell their labor for the lowest price that will sustain their lives and allow them to give birth to other wage slaves. These conditions and the sharpening of class antagonisms lead the workers to greater class consciousness. They understand that their problems are not due to a bad employer, an individual, but to a system that forces the employers to keep profits as high as possible in order to outdo the other businesses. This competition leads to another cause of raising the worker's consciousness. Not only does free competition lead to the creation of superior large scale production it also concentrates wealth and production more and more into the hands of a few privileged individuals. Branting gives an example of 20 bakeries that are based on small scale production. The profits are divided equally among them and some of the workers may even be able to start their own bakery. Then a new bakery comes in, based on large scale production with the newest inventions and a large supply of capital. The owner uses free competition, lowers the price at first, and has a large output with low costs. The town buys its bread from the powerful new bakery and the other bakeries can't continue business. All their profits will go to it instead, and the owner can raise his prices much higher than the older bakeries did, certain none of them will return. The result is that the capitalist achieves much greater wealth, while 20 bakers from the middle class are pushed down to poverty, reflecting the process occurring in society in general, where multimillionaires are made at the expense of increasing property-less masses. Branting cites some statistics over the last ten years that contrast with the claims of the liberals that the common wealth is increasing. Their proof is that some needs of the poor are better fulfilled now, such as linen. Branting says that this occurs at the expense of other needs, such as the quality of food. He says that poverty is a relative term and the increasing gap between the growing poor and the rich shows the dissolution of the middle class is unquestionable. As a result of this process the millionaires will stand alone against the hungry masses and the next social development will be easier and simpler than the replacement of the guilds with large scale production. Just as private property was appropriate for the feudal guilds, it will be impossible for the highest levels of development of large scale production. The capitalist owners and stockholders do not profit because they are good managers, but because they own capital. They unnecessary parasites on society under the condition of intense large scale production and their unfair profits should fall off. Instead of their living in mad luxury with capital as private property, society should take possession of this capital, "comfort everybody's necessary burden of work" and "make life happier for the mass of people." (In the bakery example, the bread price would be lowered and the workers would receive better pay and working hours.) Then will class antagonisms be broken and equality be real, instead of a beautiful phrase. There will be no more competitive fighting in society. Rather society will collectively fight for its existence against the natural elements. This is the historical task of the working class, a product of large scale production. It must enact this development and become the grave-digger of private capitalism in its most developed stage. The workers movement must become Socialist. It must become conscious of and accept this task, which conditions have provided. This is different from seeking small momentary reforms, being scared and confused, listening to unimportant leaders, which are the traits of the nonSocialist worker movement and English Trade Unionism. Even with their solid organization that has achieved improvements, they do not desire political powers- only raising wages. Their leaders look after their own personal interests and their unions only have a limited part of the whole working class. The successes they have achieved are attributable to the good position of English industry. But they cannot resist competition from industrialization on the continent, and this is bringing them to Socialism. When the Swedish workers accept Socialism, they must understand the superiority of large scale production over small production. They must understand that to cure the exploitative tendencies of large scale capitalist production, they must expropriate the millionaire's capital and "make capital also legally what it has already economically been, society's collective property." Branting here is referring to the increasingly social nature of mass production. While small production have the "free competition" of market chaos, inside of large production, the organization is unified, orderly, and purposeful, with huge armies of workers. He proposes two forms of organization that work together for the struggle for Socialism: the union and the party. The purpose of the union is to resist and relieve the effects of the Iron Law of Wages, which pushes wages down to subsistence level. The union leads the workers in the daily economical struggle for bread and butter. It organizes the workers according to their profession. The union must contain all of the workers in the country, irrespective of their political or religious beliefs. They engage in a collective fight against the outrages of Capital by influencing their wages and working conditions. The union collects funds to support its activities, such as support for its members when they are on strike. All the workers in an industry must belong to the union so the employers will negotiate with them, and to bring the freedom of the workers sooner. Because they contain workers irrespective of their political beliefs, the unions can't become "fires of political agitation." This is the role of a social-political organization- the party. The party creates legal reforms for the workers, conquers political power, and arranges the transition to Socialism. The party is necessary because the unions alone cannot prevent the concentration of capital, or the workers' ultimate dependence on it. Besides, the employers form their own organizations to fight the unions, and have much more funs to do so. The political party will consist of class conscious workers and their independent organizations, such as the Gavle Workers' Club and Stockholm Social Democratic Union. These two forms of organization- the party and the union must be equally strong. Through them the workers' movement develops itself and fights for its final goal: "the complete freedom for the working class from all slavery- political, economical, social, and spiritual." This goal would be accomplished through a social revolution. Socialism is revolutionary in that it builds society on a new principle- one of brotherhood, solidarity, and progress. It is better than the principle of the liberals "that everyone should try to fight his way though; if he fails, the worse for him!" Socialism recognizes that it is not certain individuals who are responsible for bad conditions. It is a system that is the source of social problems and must be abolished. "This will not happen by killing some single capitalists." Therefore in accepting revolution, the Social Democrats rejected these methods of the Anarchists. Yet this does not limit the Socialists to following whatever laws their opponents make. They could hardly do so if not only the upper classes refused to listen to demands for universal suffrage, but destroyed every trace of the workers' rights to free speech, printing, and assembly. If trials were held as in Russia and Germany, the Swedish monarch's "ideal states," then it would be the duty of all democrats to break such a tyranny and its laws. The bourgeoisie has led many revolutions in the past and has little grounds therefore to criticize the Socialists for being revolutionary. Branting then says "the ruling class will never give up its power voluntarily, and the people will have to support the demands of their Riksdag representatives with guns in the end." He calls this paraphrase from Marx, "an all too possible assumption." Nevertheless, the Socialists cannot be satisfied with only cooperating with the other democrats to fight the monarchy, and afterwards push for Socialism. The workers' movement must not become the liberals' radical "tail." The liberals' political reforms, are inadequate for the workers' needs. With the "freedom to work," the laborer still receives subsistence wages. Although the liberals want to end the despotism of individuals, it won't change the despotism of circumstances. Abolishing the oppression of the king and the state church is not enough. Neither do the liberals give an explanation for social developments or show how the workers may escape their bad conditions. The liberals present thrift and sobriety as the way to raise the working class out of all social problems. Thrift won't do that because the employers will see their workers are able to save more and work for less. It is "nonsense, there is nothing worse, disgusting hypocrisy, to come to those who have least in society and tell them to save more." The Temperance movement is a failure too. Even if the workers gave up a small amusement, a pleasure like drinking, they couldn't keep the money they would have "wasted" otherwise. The employers would lower wages by the same amount thereby saved. The other workers would be forced to compete for jobs, taken by the temperance workers, at the "same price as before, minus the now withdrawn pennies for liquor." As a result, the employers would receive greater profits from the cheaper labor. Lassalle's Iron Law of wages is used against the Temperance movement- that wages are maintained at subsistence level, which includes inelastic goods such as alcohol. The iron law would certainly take effect by following the Temperance movement's advice against forming unions, the natural organizations workers use to raise their wages. Therefore Branting's speech, on the whole, was an orthodox Social Democratic text in that its major ideas came from Lassalle and Marx. Both of their writings feature a review of historical processes- the replacement of the guilds' small scale production by the capitalists' large scale production. Like Branting, they both saw the workers as the class that would create Socialism. Social Demokraten stated in early 1886 that the class consciousness and solidarity of the workers during a process of concentration of capital and sharpening class antagonism would bring developments in the direction of Socialization. These were major points in Marxism, Lassalleanism, and Branting's speech. Lassalle's Iron Law of Wages is mentioned many times in the document. Branting refers to Marx's Communist Manifesto and quotes it several times. Historians suggest it provided much of the speech's basis and theme. Yet Branting's Gavle Speech also reflects his reformism. He says that if the upper class "respects the will of the people," then violence will be unnecessary. The price the bourgeoisie must pay for this is universal suffrage. This contradicts Branting's statement that the upper class won't give up its power with out force, because in showing the inadequacy of liberalism, he also points out that France and the United States have universal suffrage, and "the main question, the unequal distribution of wealth," remains "as unsolved as anywhere else." He has given an example where universal suffrage has been achieved and yet capitalism remains solidly entrenched. To say that universal suffrage makes force unnecessary therefore contradicts his earlier statement that the capitalists won't give up their power without its use. He sees the establishment of universal suffrage as a guarantee that there will be no violence between the upper class and the workers. Lassalle universal suffrage to be an important achievement in strengthening the working class. But he also said that the workers should not be satisfied after it was granted, but continue with more demands. In addition, Branting disavows the "planless violence" of street riots. They are "meaningless" and "of no use against the bourgeoisie's disciplined army." In fact, this would reject famous spontaneous revolts: the storming of the Bastille, riots of the Swedish workers from 1855-1880, and the 1848 anti-monarchist uprisings in Sweden in 1848 described above that occurred simultaneously with revolts in France and Germany. The latter were very important for both Marx and Lassalle. (Lassalle served in a citizens' militia.) In contrast to Danielsson's belief in a ripening revolutionary crisis in Sweden, Branting stated that the final goal of Socialism was a long way off. Although they would never see its "day of triumph," it is the Social Democrats' obligation to work towards Socialism for those they hold dear in the next generation who would achieve it. The Social Democrats must in the "small fights of today" hold before them the "sure, proven hope" of the ideal society. Therefore, the worker must enter the Social Democratic movement with "rapture and patience" to be worthy of his task of founding the society of equality. A criticism that could be made of the speech is that these two attitudes conflict with each other if the worker is never to see the day of Socialism's triumph. Instead of coming from the evidence he presented that class conflict and consciousness were quickly sharpening, Branting's belief he would never see a revolutionary crisis originated in his liberal background and experience in the reformist Social Democratic Fraternity.

As a result of the Gavle speech, Branting's authority rose greatly in the Social Democratic Union. The number of its reformists had increased both with reunification and with the recent entrance of the unions' upper layers which had been previously imbued with liberal ideas. Palm was hardly a master of interpret intrigues nor did he desire to be. Besides, his struggles had been with Sterky, not Branting. His friend Danielsson had since become an excellent scholar and coeditor, wielding great literary talent. With Danielsson now as primary editor, Palm went on another of his agitation journeys in early November. In his place as junior editor came Branting. The reformists became much more powerful in Palm's absence. Instead of the Social Democratic Union, they made the unions the owners of Social Demokraten in the beginning of 1887. While the FCK had accepted the Social Democratic Union, that fact did not necessitate which faction the FCK's entrance would favor; the more so because its first Socialist chairman was Engstrom, a founder of the Social Democratic Fraternity. While the rank and file union members had favored the Social Democratic Association, it was the reformist upper layers of the unions that were delegated to the new directing committee of Social Demokraten. The committee replaced Danielsson with Branting as chief editor. Danielsson wrote of this incident that to "fatally wound a brave officer, the committee lowered his rank." Danielsson left for Malmo with Nordman. There in the summer of 1887, Danielsson began a successful newspaper Arbetet and led the Social Democratic movement in the south of Sweden. Branting emerged from the interpret struggle as the chief editor of Social Demokraten, the leader of the Stockholm Social Democratic Union, and consequently of the Swedish Social Democratic movement.

Therefore, the Swedish Social Democrats began as an organization that took its ideology mainly from Lassalleanism, and to a lesser extent Marxism, as the ideologies were conceived of by the Social Democrats at the time. Their organization was taken over by reformists who began with a similar ideology. But even at this early stage they differed with the more radical founders on the issues of cooperation with the liberals, revolution and its imminence, the trade unions, and the nature of the leadership. The founders were influenced by Lassalleanism and Marxism to reject compromise with the liberals, saw revolution as a forceful transformation of society, saw Sweden as entering a time of social crisis, wanted the unions to be mass organizations subordinate to Social Democratic goals. In harmony with their agitator natures, Palm and Danielsson wanted the party leadership to be democratic and based on the workers. The faction headed by Sterky, and later Branting, wanted close cooperation and sometimes compromise with the liberals, rejected a violent social revolution in favor of political revolution only in the case of an absolute rejection of political rights, and saw Socialism as an ideal far off in the future. Sterky's faction also sympathized with the more limited role of the trade unions, as shown by the failure of both Nua Samhallet and Tiden. Its members also preferred a leadership that reflected their "academic" (in their opinion perhaps thereby better informed) and reformist interests, not mass participation by the workers in decision making. This was reflected in the way they used official procedures to remove Danielsson from the editorship in Palm's absence.

 

Bibliography arranged by order of use. The server does not allow endnotes or Swedish letters.

# Timothy Tilton, The Political Theory of Swedish Social Democracy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990).

# Carl Landauer, European Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959).

# Knut Backstrom, Istoriya Rabochego Dvizheniya v Shvetsii (Moscow: Izdatelstvo Inostrannoy Literatury, 1961).

# Hakan Blomqvist, Den Roden Traden: Arbetarrorelsens Historia, en Alternativ Oversikt (Stockholm: Roda Rummet, 1989).

# Ken Polsson, "Chronology of Sweden." http://www.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/swedhis/swed1850.htm (last accessed 20 December 2003).

# Kerstin Wallin, The Origins of Trade Unions in Sweden (Stockholm: LO/TCO Bistamnd, 1994).

# Yngve Palmgren, Fodd Till Agitator. En Studie i August Palms Politiska Utveckling och Verksamhet (Stockholm: Raban & Sjogren, 1971).

# Berndt Angman, The Early Ideological Development of The Social Democratic Workers' Party of Sweden, 1889-1920 (Maryville: Northwest Missouri State College, 1960).

# August Palm, "What do the Socialists Want?" in John Waldemar Lindgren, in August Palm. Den Svenska Socialdemokratins Banbrytare (Stockholm: Tidens forlag, 1931).

# Palm "What do the Socialists Want?"

# Gotha Congress, "The Gotha Program" in Robert Tucker, ed., The Marx Engels Reader (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1978).

# Herbert Tingsten, The Swedish Social Democrats: Their Ideological Development (Totowa: Bedminster press, 1973).

# Henrik Menander, "Arbetets Soner," http://home.planet.nl/~elder180/strijdlied/arbetetssoner.htm (last accessed 20 December 2003).

# Hans Akesson, "Branting Mot Palm- 1880-Talets Politiska Strid Igen Idag," Socialisten (14 March 1996). http://home.swipnet.se/~w-22615/palm.htm (last accessed 20 December 2003).

# Jan Lindhagen, Bilden av Branting : En Antologi (Stockholm: Tiden, 1975).

# August Palm, "To the Public!," Social Demokraten (25 September 1885).

# August Palm, "To the Social Democrats of Sweden!" Social Demokraten (25 September 1885).

# Larry Hufford, Sweden: the Myth of Socialism (London: Fabian Society, 1973).

# Karl Hjalmar Branting, "Why the Workers' Movement Must Become Socialistic," in Jan Lindhagen, ed., Bilden av Branting : En Antologi (Stockholm: Tiden, 1975).


The Symbol of Swedish Social Democracy

 

The Red Banner of Labor.

She lights the way to Arbetets Soner.


Axel Danielsson

(Click the pictures on this page to travel somewhere!)

 

The artists Annelie Nilsson and Cecilia Wendt have created "A tour in swedish socialism by August Palm."

See their work at http://www.rollon.net/annelie/


August Palm, our pioneer agitator!