The Iron Pipe of Swedish Neo-Fascism
The Sweden Democrats Show Their True Face
The Sweden Democrats rally in 1991 to commemorate the death of 18th-century King Karl XVII, a figure they considered to be their founding father. These rallies, made up of hundreds of drunk skinheads mixed with older fascists, often ended in street brawls and police violence. Swastikas and Hitler salutes were common. Photo courtesy of Expo
Just before the September 2010 elections, Swedish-Kurdish comedian Soran Ismail posted a YouTube video in which he claimed that three high-level members of the Sweden Democrats aggressively confronted him outside a McDonald’s in central Stockholm. A cell-phone video showed the press secretary of the Sweden Dems, Erik Almqvist, and parliamentary candidates Kent Ekeroth and Christian Westling attacking and kicking an anonymous man on the street outside the fast-food restaurant.
A couple of days later, Almqvist published a response on YouTube in which he claimed that he had been the one being attacked, allegedly by “a member of the criminal network Original Gangsters.” According to Almqvist, Ismail’s video was just another example of the never-ending smear campaign against the Sweden Democrats. The following week, Almqvist and Ekeroth were elected to parliament—the former becoming the Sweden Democrats’ spokesperson of economic policy, the latter its spokesperson of justice.
The whole episode would have been forgotten and superseded by the next big media story had it not been discovered that Ekeroth had also filmed the attack on his cell-phone camera. Somehow this video was leaked to the Swedish newspaper Expressen, which published it on November 13, 2012—more than two years after the incident took place.
In the video, a drunken Erik Almqvist is seen having a heated discussion with Soran Ismail outside the McDonald’s. Almqvist tells Ismail that he “behaves like a Paki”; becomes increasingly aggressive, warning him “not to fuck with the Swedes”; and goes on to say that Sweden “is not your country, it’s my country.” When Ismail protests, Almqvist claims that he “has no reason to be [in Sweden].”
The three Sweden Democrats then start a fight with a random man on the street who questions their treatment of Ismail. When the guy tries to snap Ekeroth’s phone, the trio of Sweden Dems attack him. Almqvist then attempts to kick the guy and calls him a blatteälskare (Paki lover).
In the next video sequence, a young woman outside the McDonald’s asks the Sweden Dems why they are assaulting an innocent man on the street. Almqvist—who recently complained in parliament that immigrants were calling Swedish girls “whores”—turns to his friend and says, “Don’t mind this little whore.” Ekeroth then confronts another girl on the street, saying, “I can do what the fuck I want to,” before shoving her into a car.
The Sweden Democrats are then seen picking up three pieces of scaffolding from a nearby construction site and walking back toward the McDonald’s in a threatening way. Ekeroth explains, “We are just defending ourselves.” When they go back and see that the police have arrested the man who they were accosting, they drop the scaffolding, and Almqvist starts chatting up the cops. Having spent the past 30 minutes screaming racist and sexist obscenities, he suddenly begins to act sober and speaks respectfully, telling the officers that the man had attacked him. Afterward, Almqvist turns to his friends and says, “It’s always good to be an eye servant [one who does the right thing only when being watched],” and the three walk away into the glow of a beautiful Stockholm morning. Almqvist laughs, commenting that they’ve had “such a nice night.” Ekeroth, still filming, says that it “is great to see that none of us back off.” The third member of the group, Sweden Democrat Christian Westling, says, “Shit, that was fun! What a fucking little wigger!”
Top: Erik Almqvist, the Sweden Democrats’ former spokesperson of economic policy, calls an unknown man “Paki lover.” Kent Ekeroth, former spokesperson of justice, films the event on his cell phone. Bottom: Almqvist, with former Sweden Democratic candidate for parliament Christian Westling to his right, tells Swedish-Kurdish comedian Soran Ismail to “not fuck with the Swedes.” Right: Almqvist and Westling brandish pieces of scaffolding to “defend” themselves.
Expressen’s publication of the leaked videos coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimovic´, Sweden’s biggest soccer star, scoring four goals against England during an inaugural match at Stockholm’s new national stadium. Ibrahimovic´ was born and raised in Rosengård, a mostly immigrant neighborhood in Malmö that the Sweden Democrats have used as a prime example of the alleged social decay caused by immigration. While Ibrahimovic´ single-handedly scored four goals, closing the game out with one of the most impressive bicycle kicks in the history of soccer, the Sweden Democrats called an emergency meeting, deciding to relieve Erik Almqvist of his duties as economic spokesperson and member of the party’s executive council. Kent Ekeroth, however, was only reprimanded with a temporary “timeout.” None of the three involved in the incident were expelled from the party or removed from their seats in parliament.
They will be back soon. With hundreds of local groups, 6,000 members, and dozens of influential web publications, in the long run the Sweden Democrats will probably not be affected by this thuggish scandal. Still, the affair provided a much-needed reminder for the Swedish people of the party’s flirtations with fascism.
Unfortunately, this problem is not limited to Sweden. The story of the Sweden Democrats is the story of contemporary Europe. In Hungary, the Hungarian Guard of the Jobbik party continues to persecute Jews and Romani people. In Greece, Golden Dawn assaults parliamentary politicians and destroys businesses owned by immigrants. In Coccaglio, Italy, the Lega Nord alliance announced a “White Christmas” during which police comb through neighborhoods in order to find immigrants without documents. In Norway, an outspoken supporter of the Sweden Democrats killed 77 people for their alleged “multiculturalism.” If the United States is progressing toward confronting its racist past, Europe seems to be spiraling deeper into the hideous pre-WWII cocktail of xenophobia and fascism.
Check out more from our Imposters Issue:
Epicly Later'd: Ed Templeton - Part 3
Meeting Earth's Strongest Men at the Top of the World
Welcome to the Bananapocalypse
The Return of Radioactive Man
The VICE Guide to Travel: Miss Camel Beauty Contest
Yakiri Rubio Killed Her Rapist in Self-Defense—Now She May Go to Prison
The VICE Podcast - Akhil Sharma and His New Novel, 'Family Life'
Fire Walk with Me
The Creator of the Greatest Criminal Defense Attorney YouTube Ad Is Also a Battle Rapper
VICE News: Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine - Part 5