Sweden Dems Seek Quick Fix to Complex Problems

Over the past year, eleven individuals were killed in the southern Swedish city of Malmö. These victims were seemingly targeted due to the darkness of their skin. For long-term residents of Sweden, these attacks were alarming, but not new.

In the 1990s, John “Laserman” Ausonius carried out a similar slew of attacks. The same year, the anti-immigrant political party, New Democracy (Ny Demokrati), gained entrance into parliament. Over the past year, eleven individuals were killed in the southern Swedish city of Malmö. These victims were seemingly targeted due to the darkness of their skin. For long-term residents of Sweden, these attacks were alarming, but not new.

In the 1990s, John “Laserman” Ausonius carried out a similar slew of attacks. The same year, the anti-immigrant political party, New Democracy (Ny Demokrati), gained entrance into parliament. (Ny Demokrati)

Similarly, these attacks have tailed the Sweden Democrat’s (Sverige Demokraterna) official entrance onto the national scene, with their election to the parliament. The Sweden Democrats have largely campaigned on the need to cut immigration to Sweden and reinvigorate a sense of Swedish identity. Taking a step back, these developments can be seen as the culmination of many failed integration policies, a reinforcement of immigrant stereotypes through the media, and a recent politicization of the implication of immigration.

Among provisions that the Sweden Democrats have put forth in parliament is legislation that would curb the reception of immigrants and refugees by 95% as well as policies that would make it exceedingly difficult for immigrants to be reunited with their families. Additionally, Sweden Democrats are pushing for forcible repatriation of refugees, much like Denmark’s stringent refugee policies.

The Sweden Democrats have succeeded in simplifying and condensing societal problems that challenge each nation, creating a one-dimensional party line that works on the basis of a delineated in-group and out-group. Working off of the immigrant stereotype promulgated by the media, the party has opportunistically crafted a platform that appeals to a small but significant portion of the Swedish population. Their success can perhaps be attributed to the unique state of both Swedish and global affairs via the current wave of Islamophobia, fear of home-grown terrorism, the state of the Swedish job market, and the deteriorating welfare state. For this reason, they have been seen as an alternative—a party that provides a new and radical change to timeless problems.

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