Communist\Anarchist Criticism Of Nordic Model

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Comrade
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Oct 18 2013 22:43
Communist\Anarchist Criticism Of Nordic Model

What do you think about Nordic welfare Model In General . I think there is lack of theoretical literature about this topic from radical left, it would be great if someone will give me advice what to read or post literature here. I mean criticism not only internal politics of Nordic capitalism but same time role of Nordic capitalism in the international capitalist Circulation . sorry for my bad English .

Comrade
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Oct 19 2013 21:36

its not interesting |?

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RedEd
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Oct 20 2013 00:07

I'm afraid the best I can do is give a link to the last time I remember this subject coming up, though it was a bit more generally about social democracy, but closely related I think. I hope it is at least of some use, and I agree that it is an important topic. www.libcom.org/forums/theory/im-looking-anarchist-or-marxist-critique-mo...

Comrade
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Oct 20 2013 19:25

thanks i will not delete this topic because i think its much more specific one

infektfm
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Oct 24 2013 17:18

I feel that Paul Mattick (sr)'s critique of Keynesianism is quite relevant. Read "Marx and Keynes: The Limits of the Mixed Econonomy" ( http://marxists.org/archive/mattick-paul/1969/marx-keynes/index.htm ). Also, a shorter critique of Keynesian state-capitalism is found in his critique of Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man ( http://marxists.org/archive/mattick-paul/1972/marcuse.htm ). Perhaps I'm misled though; my conception of the Nordic model is that its based off Keynesian state-capitalist economics -- I know there are particularities, but I think it is still basically founded off of the Keynesian mixed economy. correct me if I'm wrong, please!

Comrade
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Apr 22 2014 08:21

Maybe Someone Know some New marxist critics abput this top[ics

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 22 2014 09:39
Comrade wrote:
Maybe Someone Know some New marxist critics abput this top[ics

the only one I know is in German: Spontaneität und Massenaktion im Wohlfahrtsstaat. Die schwedischen Streiks im Winter 1969/70 by Ursula Schmiederer who subscribed to a kind of New Left, mildly Luxemburgist viewpoint

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Apr 23 2014 12:19

Not sure if this is really an answer to your questions, but as a Scandinavian communist with a nostalgic soft spot for social democracy I can't quite shake, I have some observations/rambles to share?

I am assuming that you are asking from the perspective that non-revolutionary friends or comrades bring up Scandinavia up as proof that capitalism can work reasonably well?

One could point out that the Nordic model is still capitalism, that the welfare state and the corporative economy emerged in part to take initiative away from rebellious workers and hand it to state bureaucracies, that the Nordic states export oil and guns and other shitty things around the world, that their prosperity is ultimately predicated on the exploitation of workers elsewhere (and migrant workers) and require racist border enforcement and detention of migrants, they participate enthusiastically in NATO wars, they behave like asshole creditors in the current European crisis, state arbitration is quite liberally used to repress strikes, and so on.

But

I think the main problems with social democrats or other apologists for capitalism holding up the "Nordic model" as an example of a humane and sustainable way to organise capitalism is a) it ignores the historically specific circumstances in which it developed (initially sort of against, rather than alongside, capitalism) and b) it reifies Scandinavian social structure as something static and more or less unchanging, rather than a site of conflict. Living abroad I notice how often Scandinavian social democracies are perceived as perfectly smooth-running societies of quirky, rich elf-people who all get along and share in a way that is unique to them because they are special. This is bullshit. I should point out that I'm writing mostly from a Norwegian perspective, Scandinavian social democracy is not homogeneous, but varies from country to country. Sweden had (and has, sort of) a large independent revolutionary syndicalist opposition, Finland suffered one of the most horrendous repressions of a labour movement in history, and so on.

One important factor is the labour movement itself, which had a fairly distinct character from many others in Europe. For one, it was, for the first half-century of its existence, fairly radical in its aims. The Worker's Opposition within the movement, which was more or less syndicalist in outlook (emphasising workplace organisations and industrial action over parliamentarism) "won" at the labour party congress in 1918, and the party declared itself revolutionary. They were in the Comintern for a bit, but left in 1923, while remaining a mass-based revolutionary communist party (their youth league was initially called Left-Communist Youth Mobilization, at least presenting themselves as "left" of the Communist Youth League who stayed Comintern). I think, but am really not certain, that this is kind of unique for mass social democratic parties in northern Europe.

Neutrality during WW1 also meant that the movement wasn't brutally repressed or ate itself the way it did elsewhere in Europe, while also providing a major injection of capital (shipping for Norway, ore and whatnot for Sweden) which also gave impetus to more industrialisation and organising around wages, sort of like Spain in the same period.

By the 30's the movement was toning down the revolutionary rhetoric but retained a radical, organised, and assertive mass base. The German occupation during the war fostered a lot of nationalism and national unity type rhetoric, and the Labour governments post-war (Labour governed almost without interruption from '45-81) committed to a project of national re-construction on a corporative basis. The labour party took a fiercely pro-NATO stance. In the 80's it dropped the goal of moving beyond capitalism entirely, but again, retaining a mass base and a well-organised and (comparatively) assertive trade union confederation.

The labour movement, rather than the bourgeoisie, kind of functioned as the primary organiser of capitalism where capitalism had been relatively weak before. Then you get the oil and the sovereign wealth fund, and the result is a very particular form of class compromise and bureaucratic capitalism. Basically, when people talk about the "Nordic model", as a model which can be adopted, it sort of flattens out the historical process of struggle and specific conditions that go in to it. Social democracy is tension between base and bureaucracy, parliamentarism and industrial action, working-class autonomy and centralising, corporative leadership, as well as attacks by a resentful bourgeoisie and the imperatives of capital accumulation. It developed in Scandinavia through a combination of a radical and well-organised labour movement, which was able to extract more concessions than elsewhere because of a weaker bourgeoisie, a less-than-crucial geo-political position, and ending up on the right side of the iron curtain. It isn't the static and idyllic product of careful tinkering with capitalism by clever economists and politicians which can be straightforwardly replicated elsewhere. It's not a kind of satisfactory end point of class struggle, class struggle continues in different forms, including attacks by the ruling class and state bureaucracy on workers.

The (very real) gains made by workers during these years is under constant attack. In both Sweden and Denmark, massive restructuring has taken place which has seriously hollowed out the welfare state. Various state and municipal services are being sold-off in absurd processes involving what amounts to straight-forward bribery. Youth unemployment in Sweden is really high. Energy and water are being privatised in Denmark. Social inequality has been continually rising in all three countries. At the same time, the organisations of struggle that won these gains are thoroughly integrated into the process of capital accumulation and are putting up a fairly pathetic show of defending or expanding them and in many cases, particularly in Denmark, actively undermining them. They are also fairly blindsided by new developments like temp agencies, European expansion and migration, outsourcing, new public management, and so on.

So, while there are notable exceptions, social democracy is at the moment helping destroy the welfare state and the terms of the class compromise, leaving everyone a bit befuddled about where to go and what to do. Sweden is the only one of the Nordic countries with a large and radical independent union movement and emerging social movements outside social democracy, in Norway and I'm pretty sure Denmark there are small radical organisations and scenes, most of whom (but not all) are more or less part of the social-democratic spectrum.

As an aside, this is a fantastic film about youth organising against police brutality and social alienation in southern Sweden. They identify with the Panthers in the US while also drawing on social democratic history (at one point they listen to speeches by former prime minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated by right-wing cops in the 80's). The film has English subtitles and is amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG2LVIfBoIA

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Solan Gundersen
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Apr 23 2014 12:20

apologies for monster post.

klaus u
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Apr 24 2014 14:06

Social policy as a throwaway campaign — or: There must be an end to the troubles state and capital are having with their national sites Europe Needs “Structural Reforms”

http://gegenstandpunkt.com/english/europe-reforms.html