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A-Infos interviews Arbetaren
by Manuel Baptista
02 Sep 2005
"We write about struggles and strikes in Sweden and abroad, but we are not making it in a propagandistic way. We are not adopting the style of communist oriented publications that just say "hip-hip-hurrah!". Of course, we are politically oriented in the sense we choose the subjects, but we are not giving a one-sided view. We try to write the truth about the different things. Of course, we write about actions being fought and solidarity demos with workers in Sweden or another countries. It supports and gives strength to these workers, seeing the paper talks about them."
Manuel Baptista (A-infos) interviewed Ulf Andersson (Arbetaren) the 8th Feb. 2002.
Sent out on A-Infos Thu, 7 Mar 2002 16:50:56 -0500 (EST).
A-infos: Ulf, you are not here for the first time but with a big gap between the visits. Could you tell me the differences you can perceive from twenty years ago and now?
Ulf Andersson: Actually, the first time I came to Portugal was in 1972 and it was during the fascist dictatorship, and it was both a very poor country and at the same time Portugal was much speaked in Sweden because of colonial wars.
Quite a few portuguese men were at that time in Sweden because they refused to participate in these wars.
So, my first contacts were in a demonstration against the Portuguese government and against the wars.
Some time later the sedition of portuguese military and the fall of the fascist regime made a big impression upon us.
Then, I came back in 74 and 75 cause I was following portuguese politics. And, as for all Europe, we were very much interested in the process going on in Portugal at that time. I recall seeing in the streets all these books and papers being sold and people eager to inform themselves about politics. All this liberty of expression had a powerful meaning for all of us.
I had the possibility to visit and work for a while in the sole anarcho-syndicalist oriented agricultural cooperative that existed in Alentejo at that time. And, it was really exciting.
Also, I have met the "A Batalha"[an anarchist paper]. Of course, I know about the past, about the powerful anarchosyndicalist union that existed in the 20ies and all the repression that came after 26. Portugal of that days (74 and 75) was a very exciting country with lots of hopes for the future. Every left wing group was active in Summer 75. I was around in the country side for 3 weeks -- and, from the extreme left to moderate left they had people able to speak Swedish because they had been political refugees for a while in Sweden during the dictatorship.
Now, it is a "normal" country. Maybe in a good way too, but not very much interesting politically from what what I have been reading about Portugal. This is the actual situation...
A-infos: Yes, I can understand very well your feelings about this time. But now I want to shift for another subject. How do you see the role of "Arbetaren"["The Worker"], the central organ of SAC union? How is it helping the daily fighting of the people, of the workers, in your country and worldwide?
U.A.: To explain you this it is necessary to tell first that SAC has never been an anarchosyndicalist union. It is inspired by the 1906 Amiens Declaration. It always tried to be a broad based union where you accept anybody as a member with the exception of someone declaring himself nazi [this is a crap generalisation - as.org]. And therefore it implies also a policy of it's paper. "Arbetaren" was founded in 1922 and was never meant to be an internal trade union newspaper. It was daily from 1922 until 1958. Now, it is weekly.
We are always preoccupied to make readers. Our readers are not only those that are SAC members. If one buys "Arbetaren" because he/she is from SAC and wants to know about the union position, fine. But it is not made to say "we are the best trade union".
And now it is perceived not mainly as a trade union paper but a paper from left wing. We try to be the best left wing paper in Sweden. This has the consequence that people may become members of SAC also because SAC is publishing the best left wing paper in Sweden.
This is the main mission we have as "Arbetaren" journalists and the sole control of this is the election of the redactor-in-chief in the SAC Congress or by the General Assembly of members.
Now the redactor-in-chief is Ana Klara Bratt but she is going to have a baby in a few weeks, so I was committed to be the acting redactor-in-chief and this, while she'll have her maternity leave. There is also "Syndicalisten" ["The Syndicalist"], a monthly magazine every SAC member receives. This is made by volunteers. Hannele Peltonen [she is the SAC general secretair] and me are the most frequent contributors.
Now we have about 3300 "Arbetaren" subscribers. It is 50 euro for an yearly subscription; it is not expensive for Sweden.
We write about struggles and strikes in Sweden and abroad, but we are not making it in a propagandistic way. We are not adopting the style of communist oriented publications that just say "hip-hip-hurrah!". Of course, we are politically oriented in the sense we choose the subjects, but we are not giving a one-sided view. We try to write the truth about the different things. Of course, we write about actions being fought and solidarity demos with workers in Sweden or another countries. It supports and gives strength to these workers, seeing the paper talks about them.
Take the interview with this Argentinean anarchist Syliva Moretti [he is referring to an interview that was in one January 2002 number of "Arbetaren"]: We ask questions that cannot have simplistic answers; with such questions we try to give an insight.