SD's cultural view under scrutiny at the Book Fair

Less money for contemporary art, cultural choices controlled by politicians, a slimmed-down public service and scrapped support for translated literature – these are parts of a Sweden Democratic cultural policy. Due to the party’s success in the election, the publisher Bite the bullet press organized an extra seminar during the Book Fair.

The journalist and author Anna-Lena Lodenius, current with the book “Black on white: About the Swedish Democrats”, emphasizes that culture is a core issue for SD.

— They have an image that the right people should own the country and the culture is what should pay tribute, manifest and give expression to that people. Then cultural issues become more important than for some other parties. The risk is that SD will switch away other policy areas in order to get the culture.

Powerful weapon

Contemporary art is one of the cultural expressions that the Sweden Democrats want to cut down on. Anders Rydell, editor-in-chief of Författaren, believes that the party follows the same tradition as the German Nazi Party: SD does not accept modernism, and tries to turn back the clock by clearing out abstract art, such as expressionism and cubism.

— For the Sweden Democrats, culture is central, and it has almost become more important after the Second World War. In the past, you could talk about culture and race, but now you talk about culture instead – that’s what separates people, he says.

The party wants to use cultural life and the free media for nationalist purposes, says Björn Wiman, head of culture at Dagens Nyheter. He claims that the Sweden Democrats do not share the consensus that existed in Swedish democracy that free independent media is an important constituent institution in a liberal democracy. Instead, artists are used as punching bags and journalists are portrayed as enemies of the nation.

— If leading representatives of the Sweden Democrats say that, then it should probably be assumed that they mean what they say.

“You can use culture not only as a symbolic opponent to the healthy society and the real people, but also an economic opponent. ‘Why should we have a sanctuary writer from Långtbortistan when people are suffering in the health care’. That’s the kind of populist opposition that you set up “, says Björn Wiman.

Destroy cultural ecosystem

Several on the panel emphasize that the principle of arm’s length distance will become even more important in the future – the principle that will prevent politicians from controlling the culture in detail. But much of cultural policy is decided at regional and municipal level. Sofia Lenninger, former culture and library director in the Sweden Democrats’ Sölvesborg, noticed a big difference in her mission under SD.

“My experience of working as a civil servant with cultural policy when it suddenly got a different purpose is that it went faster than I thought,” she says.

Anders Rydell fears that SD in a position of power will tear down the structures of culture, in order to then be able to build more long-term content. The really destructive thing for cultural life would be if the party destroys the cultural ecosystem, he believes.

— It is so difficult to rebuild. What is so tragic right now is that cultural policy is in an extremely sensitive situation, major structural changes are taking place. SD can sabotage a lot by doing nothing at all.

“In the authoritarian lies a self-confidence that one knows what is right and wrong, ugly and beautiful, There is an attitude in that. And it can probably be contagious,” says Anna-Lena Lodenius, who participates in the panel discussion “Culture under nationalism “.

Source: Then24

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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