The causes of war, and how to stop it 18. Big business and the struggle for socialism

War and Resistance is a translation of the Swedish book Draksådd, originally published in 2004 and in the light of current events is as relevant as ever. It analyzes the most important wars of the past hundred years. It examines the role of the United Nations, civil disobedience and many other failed attempts to stop war. And as a contrast explains why other forms of resistance to war have been successful. This is the final chapter, all the others are available here as previous posts.

We did not conquer India for the benefit of the Indians.

We conquered India as the outlet for the goods of Great Britain.

We conquered India by the sword, and by the sword we should hold it.1

Lord Brentford, former British government minister, speaking in 1930

It must be clear from everything that we have written in this book that we think that imperialism is the fundamental cause of war in the 20th and 21th century. Of course, there are many different factors behind every individual war, but imperialism underlies them all. Yet, so far we have not defined what exactly we mean by the term imperialism. In this conclud­ing chapter we want explain what we mean by imperialism. And what the alternative is.

Imperialism

At the end of the 19th century capitalism entered a new stage, which it has not surpassed yet. It is this new stage that we call imperialism. Important contributions about what distinguished imperialism were made by a liberal, J A Hobson, and a social democrat, Rudolf Hilferding. In 1916, Lenin made a thorough analysis of the statistics and other evidence on the development of capitalism.2 Here we concentrate on three of the main features that he analysed. Together they are the economic driving forces behind colonisa­tion, the struggle for the division and re-division of the world by the major powers, and war.

Firstly, the development of finance capital is a defining feature of imperialism.

In the capitalist economies Marx described in the mid-19th century, there was more or less free competition between many capitalists. Most compa­nies were small. But in the Communist Manifesto, as early as 1848, Marx and Engels foresaw that competition would inevitably lead to a concentration of capital. Some businesses succeed better than others. Small businesses are swallowed up or eliminated by larger ones; companies join forces in order to maximize their impact. Mergers and acquisitions result in a few dominat­ing giant companies.

Lenin wrote about the strikingly high degree of concentration that occurred in the international electrical industry between 1900 and 1912. At the turn of the century, there were 28 electrical companies in Germany, divided among 7-8 different groups. Twelve years later, the industry was completely dominated by AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft). A similar develop­ment in the US gave General Electric total control of the American elec­tricity industry. Other key industries such as oil, coal, steel and chemicals underwent similar processes.

As large sums of money were needed for investment in the means of pro­duction – factories, machinery, raw materials – the banking system developed rapidly. Banks, too, became larger and fewer. Bank savings were lent to companies wishing to invest. Thus the capitalists who controlled the banks acquired ever greater power. In exchange for providing credit, they were able to command seats on company boards, shares, and agreements to enter into a partnership with other companies controlled by the bank. Banking capital merged with industrial capital and became finance capital.

Giant conglomerates, or syndicates as they used to be called, concentrated enormous sums of money and numerous industries in the hands of the fi­nance capitalists. In 1912, for instance, John D Rockefeller and J P Morgan dominated the entire American banking system.

Even today, big companies are constantly merging or buying one another. Volvo, for instance, the flagship of Swedish industry, has been part of the Ford group. Ericsson’s mobile phones are made by a company set up in partnership with the Japanese electronics giant, Sony. These mergers and acquisitions achieve benefits of scale and specialisation, commonly referred to nowadays as ‘synergy effects’ and ‘focusing on core activities’. The larger the company, the better it is able to dominate the market, as do Microsoft, Intel and Cisco.

Economic concentration can be seen everywhere. 51 of the 100 largest economies in the world are not nation-states but companies.3 The 500 larg­est companies control about half of world trade and about 90% of foreign investment.4 A few people at the top of these giant companies wield enor­mous economic power. They do not hesitate to use this power to influence and blackmail elected governments. If they want war, they can get it.

Secondly, the concentration of money and power meant that the national market became too small.

Competition ascended to the international level. In the Communist Mani­festo, Marx and Engels wrote: “The need of a constantly expanding mar­ket for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country.”

Competition between capitalists from different countries led to power struggles, the prize being the division of the world and the redistribution of its wealth.

Imperialists competed to acquire colonies. The French historian Driault wrote in 1907: “In recent years, all free territories in the world, with the ex­ception of China, have been occupied by the European and North Ameri­can powers. Several conflicts and shifts of influence and power have already occurred, and these presage more violent upheavals in the near future. For haste is of the essence: those nations that have not yet seized a share risk never being able to do so and thus missing out on the prodigious exploita­tion of the earth.”5

As capitalism did not develop simultaneously or equally around the globe, there was never any fair fight for markets between capitalists of various countries. Britain was the first country to be industrialised and therefore the first to become a major capitalist power. In the mid-19th century, when the British government introduced free trade, the country was seen as the ‘workshop of the world’. British capitalists imported raw materials from other countries and sold them finished industrial products at a size­able profit. However, neither the US nor other European states (especially France and Germany) was happy about this arrangement. Protected by cus­toms barriers, they built up their own industries and were soon capable of competing with Britain. By the end of the 19th century there were several major capitalist powers.

Every shift in the balance of economic strength between the great powers meant that political power had to be re-aligned globally. Some labour lead­ers, such as Karl Kautsky in Germany argued that what he termed “ultra-imperialism” could bring about stability and peace. Giant companies would enter into agreements with one another and therefore be more interested in peace than in war. Kautsky launched this theory in an article written a few weeks before the First World War.6 By the time it was published, in Septem­ber 1914, it had already been overtaken by events. Agreements on prices or the carving up of markets never last long. Changes in power relations constantly lead to new showdowns. This struggle is sometimes conducted peacefully and sometimes by violent means. Any country, anywhere in the world, can become a scene of conflict, as competition is truly global.

Thirdly, imperialism leads to and thrives on the export of capital.

In the rich countries a “surplus of capital” arose.7 This capital was export­ed. Today such exports are called foreign direct investments. Economists estimate that foreign direct investments by the most developed countries prior to the First World War were at least as extensive as they are in the modern ‘globalised’ world. The proportion of GDP exported by the de­veloped countries may even have been larger then than it was at the end of 20th century.8

Most capital was invested in other imperialist countries, thus challenging other imperialists on their home turf. But there was also a strong incentive to invest in the Third World. Wages and other costs were (and are) lower there, and companies were able to squeeze even more profit out of the workers. Af­rica, Asia and Latin America could also supply them with cheap raw materi­als. Foreign direct investments was the principal means by which imperialism exploited so called underdeveloped countries, whether they were colonies or not. The fact that most colonies became independent by the end of the Sec­ond World War did not change the basic character of imperialism.

When capital is exported from one developed industrial country to another, this contributes to trade and growth. However, export of capital to Third World countries normally leads to poverty and distress. How come it can make such a difference whether factories are built by domestic or foreign capital in the Third World?

Capitalism in the rich European countries emerged as a result of interaction between agrarian and industrial development. The agricultural revolution in 18th century Britain paved the way for the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Rural labour, food and capital was freed to build towns. The towns in turn mechanised agriculture.

A super-modern factory (that exports its products mainly to the developed countries), operating in a feudal or even more backward environment, is simply a solitary island in a sea of poverty and under-development. And actually reinforces backwardness.

The Mexican case

Mexico is a recent example of this kind of development. Since signing the NAFTA free trade agreement with the US and Canada in 1993, Mexico has seen capital flood across its borders as never before, drawn by the promise of cheap labour. Previously the fifteenth largest economy in the world, Mexico became the ninth largest by 2003. So far, it sounds good.

But 85% of all foreign investment has ended up in the six Mexican states closest to the American border. There, in what are called maquiladora in­dustries, workers assemble components made in the US or Canada, and finished products are re-exported. Only 3% of the components come from Mexican subcontractors. Infrastructure and education have hardly devel­oped at all.9

Goods followed the influx of American capital into Mexico. Mexican im­port of pork, for instance, increased by more than 700% between 1993 and 2003. Mexican agriculture suffered badly from the avalanche of imported American produce, delivered by giant farms equipped with the latest tech­nology and heavily subsidised by the US state. Mexican rural areas have been devastated. Even domestic producers of toys, shoes and other indus­trial goods have had difficulty surviving.

Yet, Mexico has been in a relatively privileged position compared with other countries of the Third World. It has been able to export freely to the US and to Canada, with easy access to their markets. In spite of this, only a few of the very largest Mexican companies have benefited from the situation.10 In 1999, the total number of employees in the Mexican industrial sector was slightly lower than in 1985, and after 1999 the situation deteriorated further.11 During the first few years of the new century, 850 maquiladora fac­tories closed down, and employment elsewhere in the industrial sector fell as a result of the general downturn in the world economy and the switch to factories in China.12

As large numbers of unemployed and desperate people are constantly available for employment, wages in the maquiladoras remained low. After ten years of investment, wage costs were still USD 1.47 an hour for a worker on an assembly line in a maquiladora industry, which was a tenth of the wage costs in the US.13 Other workers have fared even worse. Average pay fell by almost 70% between 1980 and 2001. And during the first two years of the pro-business Fox regime, between 2001 and 2003, wages declined further.14 The working environment and job security are in a miserable state. Almost a million Mexicans have left their homes and found work in these maqui­ladores. In the process, they have lost all legal protection.

One tragic effect is the creation of a large-scale murder industry. Since 1993, four thousand women and girls have disappeared in Ciudad Juarez, one of the new industrial towns on the American border. Many of them have been found raped, tortured and murdered. Some were as young as six. Newly arrived women have been systematically singled out because their disappearance often passes virtually unnoticed. Far from pursuing the mat­ter through the courts, their impoverished families in other parts of Mexico have usually not even had the means to collect the bodies. This is not the work of one or several serial killers. When murder is committed on such a scale, and only one person is prosecuted (despite the fact that many of the women disappeared in the town centre in broad daylight), a lot of money is clearly involved.

Journalists and independent investigators have begun to detect the outline of a cartel of rich businessmen, politicians at all levels, police officers and drug rings. They have organised themselves systemati­cally to supply those with the right amount of money with the means to vent their hatred of women without fear of reprisal.15

In order to get away from the appalling situation, many in Mexico have taken advantage of an opportunity that most people in the Third World do not have – they leave. In the 1990s, three and a half million Mexicans emi­grated legally to the US. At least a further four million moved there illegally. Thanks to these emigrants, imperialism has not proved a complete disaster for Mexico. Despite having the worst jobs in the US, the migrants managed to send home more money in 2003 than foreign investors spent in Mexico that year – USD 14 billion as against USD 10 billion.16

In India the same imperialist processes have been at work. Despite foreign investments and a relatively rapid growth rate for some time, poverty has increased. From 1981 to 2004 the number of people in abject poverty (on less than USD 2 a day) increased by 242 million.17

The picture is clear. In the Third World, imperialism creates industrial en­claves while ransacking the rest of the country. It either creates huge slum areas where jobless people try to eke out a living for themselves in one way or another – as in large parts of Latin America – or locks countless people into an ancient feudal system, as in India and Pakistan. Or both.

The domestic bourgeoisie in Third World countries is so weak that it neither can nor wants to struggle for land reform. Nor do they want to challenge foreign capital, on which they have become dependent. The imperialists themselves do not want to see progress in rural areas. Under-development is one of the reasons why they can pay low wages.

Loans, aid, and import controls as imperialism

There are others forms of capital exportation, besides direct investment, that can enslave poor countries – credit for example. In the early 20th cen­tury, it was France in particular that lent money internationally, primarily to Russia, and profited from the interest. In 1913, a banking magazine, Die Bank, wrote: “In such international business dealings, the lender always gets something back, whether it is a trade policy advantage or a coal station, the construction of a harbour, a fat concession or an order for artillery”.18 In the 1990s, the IMF and the World Bank adopted the same approach. They have lent huge sums to developing countries and then used the debt as a lever to get economic policies that benefit imperialism.

Aid is also export of capital. Economic assistance to the Third World may be tied or not tied. Tied aid programmes oblige recipient countries to spend their money on equipment and expertise from the donor countries. In prac­tice, this means giving big companies export assistance. In the 1990s, tied aid comprised about 65% of the total volume of aid.19

The industrialised countries have erected trade barriers to protect them­selves from those goods that the developing countries are able to export. At the same time as they insist that poor countries dismantle their import controls. The rich world subsidises its farmers to the tune of USD 300 bil­lion every year while charging import duty on agricultural products from developing countries. Japan, for example, has imposed a 1 000% import charge on rice. And although it is more expensive to produce cotton in the US than in Africa, it is the Americans who export most. The reason is that American cotton growers received USD 4 billion in government subsidies. Likewise, import charges on articles like shoes and textiles are high. On average, tariffs applied by rich countries on the types of goods that poor countries produce are four or five times higher than the tariffs on goods usually imported from other rich countries. 20

To sum up, the concentration and integration of industrial and banking capital into finance capital, the internationalisation of capital and the ex­port of capital – these three developments began to exert their influence at the end of the 19th century. Capitalism entered its imperialist phase, distin­guished by cut-throat international competition and the plunder of weaker countries. This was the principal cause of war during the last century.

Who rules?

Ultimately, it might be argued, it is governments that rule, not big busi­ness. Whether governments come to power by democratic or other means, surely it is governments who make the decisions about taxes, laws, and war and peace?

The question is, however, who or what decides the decisions a government ultimately makes? Who influences whom? Who controls whom?

Rudolf Hilferding argued that as imperialism developed, the captains of industry acquired a new view of the state.21 Previously they had embraced liberalism, arguing in favour of minimal state intervention in order to en­courage competition. But now they needed state machinery to help them fight foreign competitors, protect domestic markets, and pave the way for exports. They also wanted the state to be strong enough to protect their interests abroad and intervene abroad to create investment opportunities, even at the risk of conflict.

Although most big companies operate globally nowadays, they have usually not severed their ties with their ‘own’ country. There are of course some more or less stateless companies, particularly in small countries like Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands (but also in Britain, where few large com­panies survived the Thatcher years). However, on average two thirds of the sales and assets of the largest companies in the world are to be found in their country of origin. Furthermore, almost all of them have their head of­fices, their research and development facilities and their core production ‘at home’.22 This is not due to any loyalty to their country of origin: it is useful to have a government behind one nationally as well as internationally.

That the US government acts in the interests of American big business is hardly a secret after George W. Bush’s government, but that the Swedish government also acts in the interest of imperialism may come as a surprise.

Swedish imperialism

Internationally, Sweden has a reputation of being an anti-imperialist force. Some people even believe it to be a socialist country. Although ex-Prime Minister Göran Persson supported the USA during the Afghanistan War and refused to openly criticize the Iraq War that began in 2003, the myth has survived. The truth is that Sweden is still what the Swedish Left used to call “a small but hungry imperialist nation”.

Capital is so concentrated in Sweden that one family, the Wallenbergs, own most of what is worth owning. In 1997, the Swedish business daily Dagens In­dustri explained: “The Wallenberg sphere has never had such a big influence on Swedish business as it has today. By means of multiple voting rights, con­trol over blocks of shares, and loyal managers, it has built up an impregnable power base. Just a few years ago, there were those who ventured to challenge this business empire, but today the Wallenbergs are in complete control.”23 Whatever the politics of the government, it has to come to terms with this fact – unless it is prepared to break with capitalism.

More than half of everything produced in Sweden is exported. Wallen­berg’s companies have three quarters of their sales outside Sweden. Exert­ing a decisive influence on conditions and policies in Sweden, they seek to gain the same kind of control in other countries. This is usually more difficult. Internationally they have considerably less clout than in Sweden. They may be able to exert a degree of influence on policies in small neigh­bouring countries such as the Baltic States, but their influence in countries like Germany, the US and Japan is almost negligible.

The Wallenbergs and other Swedish capitalists depend on the Swedish state to promote and defend their economic interests in the outside world. And in Sweden it is hardly a secret that the government adjusts its policies to ‘market’ demands, not only domestically but also abroad. The Social Democratic leadership helped Wallenberg by manoeuvring Sweden into the EU, despite widespread opposition from rank-and-file party members. The Wallenbergs’ most important markets are in the EU. In addition, the Wallenbergs wanted to join the EU to gain allies. Together with other Euro­pean capitalists, particularly the German capitalists, they are stronger in the global struggle over markets against American and Japanese capitalists. The Swedish bourgeoisie has traditionally had strong ties to Germany.

The previous Social Democratic government have also organised major trade-delegations to strategic markets such as Indonesia, South Africa and China. It was not by chance that Göran Persson praised Chinese ‘stability’ when he visited the country. Trade visits to China are backed up by export funding programmes and foreign aid.

In November 2003, Stockholm’s Social Democratic Finance Commis­sioner Annika Billström visited Shanghai. She was there as “an expert aide to financier Jacob Wallenberg”.24 After meeting with top executives in Shanghai, she travelled with Jacob Wallenberg to a conference in Beijing for Swedish companies with interests in China, among them Ericsson, Volvo and Investor.

Successive Swedish governments, unlike, say, US governments, have long dressed up their foreign policies in ‘internationalist’ clothing, but that does not hide the fact that they end up acting in the interests of Swedish impe­rialism.

Transform the Labour Movement

With an enemy as mighty as imperialism, the struggle for peace is not for the feint-hearted. But the problem is not one of strength and courage.

The international working class is stronger today than ever before. It in­cludes not only those who work in factories, but also those employed in service occupations of various kinds, in both the private and public sec­tors. Countless white-collar workers are labouring under the same pressures and are paid the same low wages as traditional blue-collar groups. All are wage-earners. Industrial workers alone numbered 115 million in the rich­est countries of the world in 1994, according to the OECD definition of a worker. That is three million more than in 1973, despite the oft-cited ‘de-industrialisation’ process. In the Third World (including the former Stalinist countries), the number of industrial workers rose from 285 million in 1980 to 407 million in 1994!25

Before or during every war described in this book, the working class has shown itself prepared to take action against warmongers. In Sweden dur­ing the Union crisis, in Russia during the First World War, in Germany in the thirties, in Italy and Greece during the Second World War, in India in the struggle for independence, in the US during the Vietnam War, in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, in northern Iraq during the Gulf War, and all over the world prior to the Iraq War. But the story of the workers’ own struggle has been concealed, because it was most often betrayed by its leadership.

There is no point in hoping that the leadership of the Labour Movement will go away, if one simply ignores it and organizes the struggle for peace outside the Movement. Any successful struggle must involve the Labour Movement – the workers’ parties and the trade unions. Otherwise it will not acquire any real strength.

It is necessary to understand that despite the many betrayals, the work­ing class has consistently gone back to its organisations. Not because of its leaders but despite its leaders, and against them. Unions and workers parties are the instruments whereby the working class can change society, and a tug-of-war between right and left is constantly in progress in these organisations. Individuals cannot push the Labour Movement to the left, but a radical youth movement or a union movement can.

Those young people who were at the head of the anti-war protests in 2003 could have played a key role in the radicalisation of the Labour Movement. Just as young people did in 1905.

An independent united working class

But waging a struggle against the leadership of the Labour Movement in order to be able to unite the working class across national borders – both ideologically and organisationally – is not enough. The peace program of the working class must be completely independent for the movement to succeed. What does that mean for all those who took to the streets to demonstrate against the war on Iraq in 2003 and all those who since then want to struggle for peace?

To be independent it is necessary not to fall into the trap of choosing between evils, which have been formulated by our enemies. In a TV broadcast from the giant anti-war demonstration in February 2003, a reporter stuck a microphone in a young girl’s face and demanded that she choose between George Bush and Saddam Hussein. After some hesitation, she said “Sadd­am Hussein”. She probably chose him because he represented Iraq, and it was Iraq that was under threat from American bombs. In point of fact, however, the reporter’s question was absurd. One does not have to support Saddam Hussein (or Usama bin Ladin or the North Korean regime, for that matter) simply because one distrusts Bush.

When oppressed people fight for national and social freedom, one must of course take their side. But this does not mean supporting those in power in any way (capitalists, generals and other members of the elite), since they represent an obstacle to the liberation of the working class and landless peasants.

As it is almost always those in power who set the agenda and whose propa­ganda gets through, there is a strong pressure to take positions on artificial grounds. For or against. Good or evil.

A favourite trick of the elite in their attempts to place people in one fold or another is to mix incompatible concepts: red-and-brown, Islamic Com­munists, Trotskyite Nazis, and so on. Also, by demanding in practice that those who criticise must be prepared to take responsibility for everything that other critics stand for, they try to silence the debate.

It was perfectly possible to oppose the war in Iraq without supporting Saddam Hussein. In fact, Saddam’s dictatorship made it much easier for US imperialism to lay its hands on Iraqi oil. Resistance against the US invasion disintegrated because he was in power. In the end, nobody thought he was worth defending.

Socialism

Our goal has never been to stop just one war. Millions of people are dy­ing, still more are suffering and the environment is being destroyed on a monstrous scale. Immense sums that could be channelled into healthcare, education and food production are being squandered on weapons. But things don’t have to be this way. If the working class manages to revitalise the Labour Movement, it can take power in society, abolish imperialism and end all wars.

Time and again, working class people in different countries have joined together to throw off the yoke of capitalist oppression and exploitation. Often, young people have been the most enthusiastic and most active par­ticipants in the struggle for a better and fairer world.

But outbreaks of struggle occur suddenly and do not last for ever. As a rule, most people consider themselves fairly powerless in society. For how much power does an individual citizen have compared with the business leaders, media magnates and elite politicians of this world? In everyday life, it is difficult to feel that one is part of a wider collective or that work­ers together have enormous power. But that power is always present, and sometimes, when strikes or large demonstrations take place, those who are involved come into contact with it. When groups of workers begin to move in a certain direction, defying all obstacles placed in their way, things begin to happen – fast.

A socialist revolution in one country could count on an enormous amount of support from the working classes in other countries. It would awaken hope and inspire others to join the struggle and bring about a similar de­velopment in country after country. It would pave the way for a democratic federation of socialist countries throughout the world. This would put an end to imperialism and to war. For there is no reason why workers around the world should come into conflict with one another when they have the opportunity to make use of all the technological gains and all the fantastic resources that the earth has to offer to satisfy all human needs in harmony with nature.

An International Labour Movement which engages in active struggle, which is democratic, and which pursues a socialist course can provide the answer in humanity’s search for justice, peace and a better life.

THE PROLETARIANS HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT THEIR CHAINS. THEY HAVE A WORLD TO WIN.

PROLETARIANS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!

Concluding words of the Communist Manifesto 1848

______________________________

1 Michael Nicholson: Mahatma Gandhi, 1991

2 Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916

3 Joseph J. Savitsky and Shahid Javed Burki: Globalization and the Multinational Corporation,

2001

4 Dr Graham Lister: Global Health and Development, 2000. This is a UK government review

commissioned by the Department of Health.

5 Quoted in V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916

6 Karl Kautsky, Ultra-imperialism, 1914, http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1914/

09/ultra-imp.htm

7 V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916

8 Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson, Globalisation in Question, 1996

9 Business Week, 22 December 2003

10 ibid

11 www.macroscan.com/fet/apr02/chart/Continuing_Paradox/chart4.gif

12 Business Week, 22 December 2003

13 ibid

14 According to a study by Universidad Obrera de México (UOM).

15 Norma Edith Ramírez: Ciudad Juarez: Rich, Corrupt and Murderers, 2003

16 ibid

17 World Bank: Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion: Absolute Poverty Measure for the

Developing World 1981-2004, 2007

18 Quoted in V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916

19 E. Childers: Demokratisera FN, 1998

20 The Economist ,4 September 2003

21 Das Finanzkapital, 1910

22 Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson: Globalisation in Question, 1996

23 Dagens Industri, 5 February 1997

24 Dagens Nyheter, 2 November 2003

25 Kim Moody: Workers in a Lean World, 1997

About the authors

Kerstin Alfredsson joined the Young Social Democrats (SSU) in Jämtland, northern Sweden, in 1970, at the age of 14. She has been active in the Swe­dish Labour Movement ever since. Today, she belongs to the local branch of the Social Democratic party in Gubbängen, Stockholm. She has worked for many years as a librarian and has two children.

Jonathan Clyne became politically active at the age of 15, in the Italian mo­vement against the Vietnam War. After moving to England in 1975, he joined the Labour Party Young Socialists. In 1980, he moved to Sweden and joined the Young Social Democrats. Today, he is a member of the Social Democratic Party in Stockholm. He worked as a chef for ten years before becoming the editor of the Marxist paper Socialisten. He has three children.

Lena Ericson Höijer joined the Young Social Democrats in Stockholm in 1972, at the age of 16. She began working as a home help and became a lo­cal shop steward with the General and Municipal Workers Union in 1979. She has since held a number of union posts including editor of MT, the union journal in Stockholm with a circulation of 90 000. She is an active member of her local Social Democratic branch and also of the local Social Democratic Women’s Association. She has one child.

As the authors of this book, we welcome a dialogue with our readers. Please send us your views, whether favourable or unfavourable. We would also be happy to help organise study circles based on the book’s theme, or to give talks, or to put you in touch with others who share the ideas in the book.

kerstin@zbok.se

jonathan@zbok.se

lena@zbok.se

Or phone Jonathan Clyne at +46 707 600508

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