Everyone who knows me well also knows that I for many years have referred to myself as being a Social Liberal. The word “Liberal” simply means “Free”/Free thinker”, and since we are individuals there also are different kinds of Liberalism, even if there naturally also are things which unite us Liberals as well. If we should sum it up briefly one could describe it like this. According to Liberalism the individual in any society around the world is free to make one’s own choices, chose your own way of life, your profession, chose whom you want to love and/or marry, where and how to live and to earn money on your work. Within that description there are various levels and fractions. Some people might for example be “drug liberals”, i.e. pro- free drugs, something I absolutely am not. Others want to chose their own political road or their own religion, while others do not like religion. Some Liberals like the Royal dynasty and being a Kingdom, while others would prefer a Republic. Among Liberals, at least in Sweden, there are two main fractions: Social Liberals and Neo-Liberals. The Social Liberals have all the traits and ideas which I describe in the beginning, but with a strong Social pathos, with an interest for social and sometimes green issues, while the Neo-Liberals have more focus on Merchantile development. Even if there are fractions and differences between the Liberals the things which unite also are there, and that is very important. “No man is an island, entire of itself.”
A couple of nights ago I went to a meeting with Folkpartiet Liberalerna/The People’s Party the Liberals. The Party has a long tradition of working for society issues and have some strong areas which they have been working with for decades, even back to the 1830’s when the ideology developed. 1) The school, a school for everyone. It was the Liberals who already in the 1840’s worked for that idea and managed to make that suggestion real here in Sweden. Until then education had been reserved for the very rich and privileged. 2) Gender equality. Some Liberal writers like Lars Johan Hierta, Carl Jonas Love Almqvist and others brought that issue up in the very gender unequal and conservative Sweden in the mid-1800’s. As feminism developed two original forms emerged; Liberal feminism and Socialist feminism, which in later times has exploded into a great variety of feminisms. Fredrika Bremer and other early Swedish feminists have been important for that early development. When Sweden was close to a revolution in 1917, the People’s Party the Liberals and the Social Democrats gained lots of votes in that year’s election, and despite protests from Conservatives and suspicion from the extreme left and the revolutionary fractions the two parties formed a new coalition government. In 1919 the Liberals and the Social Democrats passed a law which gave all Swedish men and women the right to vote in free elections. Until 1919 about ten percent of the population had had that right. Both women and men went to the election halls for the first time in 1921. That same year the death penalty was abolished. From the late 1960’s, all through the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s until today in the early 21st century the work for gender equality has been strong among both Liberals and Socialists, sometimes they have various ideas other times they co-operate over the ideological borders. In 1999 came the sex-buying Act which made it illegal to buy sexual favours for example, even if it hasn’t disappeared, only been made more difficult. In the early 1990’s the former party leader of Folkpartiet Liberalerna, Bengt Westerberg who then was Minister of Social Issues introduced a so called Father Month, a notion which has developed even more over the last odd 20 years. Our EU-minister Birgitta Ohlsson e.g. is one Liberal who is working hard for that. 3) Work against racism. Even if there are variations here too, (we must have the right to critisize both secular ideologies and religions when and if they are unprogressive, unfair and unequal), but in general most Liberals are pro- a mix of cultures, peoples and ideas, since that is percieved as enrichening the diversity, the life styles and progressive present times as well as hopefully the future.
At the meeting this last Friday Liberals from different parts of Sweden had gathered. In the photo above you see MP Fredrik Malm who held a speech about working in and with different states, such as Russia, Iran and China. He used a language embellished with metafors from the sport arenas, and in the later discussions told us about the situation as he saw it, and the work in Parliament. During this weekend many delegates have continued the discussions to shape the politics and form new alliances. Let’s hope for good co-operations and some improvements for Sweden and the world we live in, even if we have to work against Fascism, Neo-Nazism and other totalitarian forces to make our future dignified for both ourselves and the future generations. I wish you all a good December first with love for our broad and diverse humanity, for our dear ones, lit Advent candles and maybe eating of Christmas saffron buns, such as mine below. Take good care.
Anders Moberg, December 1st 2013