Expo Foundation publishes Swedish white supremacy 2010 reportMay 13, 2011 12:07 BST
The Expo Foundation publishes annual report on Swedish white supremacy 2010
In 2010, for the ﬁrst time since the 1940s, a Nazi was elected to a democratic assembly in Sweden. The leader of the Swedes’ Party (Svenskarnas parti) won a seat on the Grästorp municipal council in the south of the country, thereby making history. The news of this electoral achievement – based on 101 votes resounded
through Sweden and beyond, as far aﬁeld as the US. Most Swedish white supremacist groups, however, have no interest in general elections. The white supremacy movement in Sweden can hardly be described as a movement as such, rather as a motley array of organizations and groups anchored in a political environment that draws on both European national socialism and American white supremacy ideology.
Basic to these racist ideologies is the idea that humankind is divided into different races, each with its own deﬁned character traits and abilities. For ideologically driven white supremacist parties and organizations, groups and associations, the central issue is the supremacy of the white race and its collective struggle for survival. They are also characterized by notions of an anti-democratic, anti-Semitic, anti-liberal (in a wider sense) and pro-violence nature, often including an authoritarian attitude towards organizational and societal change.
Expo Research annually presents statistics and facts on the Swedish white supremacy movement. This report is the third in the series. The aim of the report is to provide a picture, based on extensive and systematized information, of the temporal changes and tendencies that have been observed in the white supremacy environment. At present, the only comparable report is published annually by the Swedish
National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet, Brå). The document provides statistics on reported hate crimes. The National Council does not, however, observe the white supremacy movement as such. For this, systematic collection and analysis of activities and internal processes in the movement is required.
METHOD AND SOURCES
Expo Research was founded in 2009 for the purpose of collecting information on the white supremacy movement and other racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organizations and groups, through journalistic activity. During its 15 years of existence, the Expo Foundation has built up an archive of this type of material, and the present analysis is based on it. Today, this work is pursued systematically, the aim being to publish a yearly report on the white supremacy environment, and also to produce other reports and publications.
The yearly reports are largely based on information put out by the white supremacist groups themselves. Both conﬁdential and public material has been used. Among the former are internal dispatches to members, correspondence on internet forums and reports from anonymous informants. Important public sources
are the organizations’ statements on their own websites and in their periodicals. When considering the data, source criticism is problematical. The white supremacy movement is a closed environment, and the information it presents is propagandistic in nature. This is true of both internal and external information;
organizations and parties are prone to exaggerate their size and importance, often as much for their own members’ beneﬁt as for the public’s. In some cases the information can be veriﬁed or contradicted by other sources, e.g. in the case of public actions reported by mainstream media. Observations made at manifestations and demonstrations have also been used for this report. Rulings by Swedish courts and preliminary investigations by the police are further valuable sources. Our material has been compiled using a number of different criteria, such as type of activity and regional distribution. These compilations do not purport to be complete. Not only is the white supremacy environment changing rapidly, but a group, a website or a campaign may surface only to vanish a few days later. Nor do all organizations necessarily seek publicity, although they may seek to inﬂuence the local community to a certain extent. Some activists express romanticized ideas about the establishment of secret militant cells. For obvious reasons, it is difﬁcult to ascertain whether such plans are realized. We can assume, therefore, that while the statistics are not complete they do give an idea of how white supremacy organizations are progressing.
From the outside, determining whether a particular individual is a member of an organization or not can be difﬁcult. The various organizations are surrounded by people who take part in different actions without being formal members. In this report we have chosen to name individuals who are active in the “struggle”
activists. In some cases we use the broader term supporter, which encompasses both individuals who actively support the movement and others who sympathize with white supremacist ideas, subscribe to publications or take an interest in the movement in some other way.
The chapter headed “Swedish white supremacy” describes the number of active white supremacist groups and organizations, their geographical spread and their level of activism. In all, 29 white supremacist organizations were active in 2010, which is a dramatic decline on the 2009 ﬁgure of 40. Consequently, it is clear that the white supremacy movement has not recovered from the stagnation of previous
years, despite the fact that 2010 was election year in Sweden. The number of activities fell slightly from 1 507 in 2009 to 1 469 in 2010. This may be compared with the record ﬁgure of 1 947 activities in 2008. It would seem, therefore, that the movement has established a lower level of activity. The fact that the Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen, SMR) is now the organization with the widest geographical spread in terms of activities represents a break in the trend. In 2010, the organization registered ac- tivities in 17 of the country’s 21 counties. The greatest increase in activism was found in the counties of Jönköping and Värmland, where both the Swedes’ Party and the Swedish Resistance Movement operated.
The chapter headed “The white supremacy environment on the internet” seeks to describe how the white supremacist groups use cyberspace to market themselves and disseminate propaganda. The net is also used by mail order ﬁrms selling white supremacist music, racist literature and clothing. In addition, there are digital forums such as Facebook where white supremacy supporters discuss and construct social networks.
In 2010, there were 121 websites containing white supremacy-related material, which is an increase on the 2009 ﬁgure of 108 and the 2008 ﬁgure of 96. The number of organization websites remained unchanged at 34, while bloggers increased from 26 to 35. During the year, some websites were launched solely for the purpose of spreading information about a demonstration and a concert in Western Sweden.
Several organizations have channels of their own on YouTube, where ﬁlm clips are posted in edited form. Another trend is more ﬂexible use of the internet, for instance in the form of Facebook groups or websites and forums that the organizations set up themselves in connection with major campaigns.
The only websites to have presented any kind of user statistics in recent years
have been the forums Nordisk.nu, Frihet.nu and Folkstorm. At the end of the year, these had just over 22 000 users all told. In 2010, most Swedish organizations were still using servers in the US. A total
of 83 websites were on US servers, but the number of Nordic servers was increasing. Twenty-two of the websites were using servers in Sweden in 2010, eleven were using Danish servers and a further ﬁve were to be found in other countries.
The chapters headed “The three largest active white supremacist groups” and “Other active white supremacist groups” chart how the organizations developed in 2010, and also describe their backgrounds, structures, ideological statements and important events.
The Swedes’ Party is Sweden’s largest Nazi organization. It was founded in 1994 but changed its name to the People’s Front (Folkfronten) in 2008 and adopted its present name the following year. Its activities have largely centered on general elections and organization-building. The party won a seat on the Grästorp mu-
nicipal council, which from an internal viewpoint represented conﬁrmation that the change of name had been a correct tactic. The name changes had previously caused members to drop out. The Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) is a Nazi organization founded in 1997. Its ideological stance is characterized by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and a desire to overthrow democracy. The SMR has undergone certain structural
changes. New leaders have been presented and activities have expanded in purely geographical terms. A number of prominent ﬁgures have chosen to become passive members, however, or to leave the organization altogether. The Free Nationalists (Fria nationalister) are a network of activists built up around the Nazi news site Info14.com. Together with Info14, the network has traditionally initiated a number of important events in the white supremacy movement.
In the course of 2010, however, the Free Nationalists collapsed. Much of their activity involved supporting the National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna) and the Swedes’ Party in the election campaign. They also focused their work in recent years on an annual march in Salem outside Stockholm in memory of a 17-year-old youth who was murdered there in 2000.
The Nordic Association (Nordiska förbundet) is still absent from the activist scene but pursues extensive web-based efforts, such as maintaining the white supremacy movement’s largest forum, a digital encyclopedia along the lines of Wikipedia, and blog portals etc.
Nordic Youth (Nordisk ungdom) was the newcomer of the year, and was responsible for a number of spectacular actions and campaigns in 2010. At the same time, it has sought to develop efﬁcient organizational machinery. Nordic Youth describes itself as a “nationalistic youth organization”.
For more information, contact:
David Lagerlöf, Expo Research
Telnr: 070-742 25 27/08-652 62 08