For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy!
No. 19 (235), Friday, May 8, 1953

Sweden’s Road to Socialism

Result of the XVI Congress, Communist Party of Sweden

Erik Karlsson
Secretary, Central Committee,
Communist Party of Sweden

The XVI Party Congress held in April 3-6 in Stockholm is an important milestone in the life of the Party. The Congress adopted the new programme of the Party “Sweden’s Road to Socialism”. The Report submitted by the Central Committee dealt in detail with vital questions of the present strategical and tactical line of the Party. Special attention was devoted to tactics and to methods of work among the masses. The ideological, political and organisational unity of the Party found expression in the fact that the Congress fully approved the line of the Central Committee. This is an excellent starting point for our further activity.

The Congress was attended by 329 delegates and 52 members and alternate-members of the Central Committee and the Control Commission; 94 per cent of the delegates were industrial workers and 5 per cent office employees. The tiny number of peasant-delegates testifies to one of the weakness of our Party, insufficient work among the peasants, especially when it is recalled the peasants number almost 25 percent of the population.

About one-fourth of the delegates were metal workers, about one-sixth were building workers; over 80 per cent belonged to trade unions, and of these over 30 per cent carry on leading work in their unions; 77 of the Congress delegates were members of municipal and other elected bodies; 61 per cent belonged to the cooperative movement; 26 per cent to tenants associations and 17 to sports organisations. These figures are clear testimony to the contact of the Party with the mass organisation and of its striving to extend its influence in these organisations.

Submitting the report of the Central Committee Hilding Hagberg, Chairman of the Party, stressed that the vital task facing the Swedish people is defence of peace and national sovereignty. The war incendiaries, the chiefs of the North Atlantic bloc, are feverishly building military bases on the territory of Norway and Denmark – Sweden’s neighbours. The Americans are penetrating deeper into the economic, political and cultural life of the country. The anti-national foreign policy of the ruling circles, including the Right-wing Social Democratic leaders who head the Government, seriously endangers peace and the national independence of the country. Enslaving agreements arising from the “Marshall Plan” are foisted on Sweden. In foreign trade there is now, as in the past, a one-sided orientation on the West, due to the fact that the Government gives way to the Western powers, especially to U.S. demands.

In these conditions the main task of the Party is to help in every way the development of the peace movement. The Party must help in every way to unite all freedom-loving and peace-loving Swedes in their fight against the forces of war, against sacrificing national sovereignty, for a genuine Swedish foreign policy free from aggressive alliances, aimed at safeguarding peace and national independence.

The report of the Central Committee devoted close attention to the economic situation in the country. The speaker pointed out that there are symptoms of the beginning of an economic crisis; unemployment is making itself felt.

The Congress unanimously adopted the text of an open letter to the workers of Sweden, urging them through the medium of the trade unions and by other means to demand from the Government and the authorities that effective measures be taken to avert a deepening of the crisis and growth of unemployment. With these aims in view the letter calls for the extension of trade with the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe; it demands that living conditions be improved and the purchasing power of the population raised by reducing taxes, raising wages and nationalising those enterprises which have ceased production, etc.

Comrade Hagberg dwelt in detail on work among the masses and on the tactical questions linked with this work. The outcome of the general election which took place in conditions unfavourable for the Party showed that the Party maintained its positions compared with 1950. Success has been achieved in the current elections for the trade union boards. The elimination of certain sectarian tendencies in the work among the masses will facilitate the rapid growth of the Party’s influence in the mass organisations and among the people as a whole.

We must work hard, said Comrade Hagberg, to establish the closest contact with masses of Social Democratic workers, to carry on propaganda among them, reveal to them our sincere desire for unity and for the co-operation of all workers in the struggle for their common cause. Only in this way shall we succeed in isolating the Social Democratic leaders from the masses. In this connection our work in the trade unions is of decisive significance for all our activity among the masses.

Congress also discussed the organisational side of the Party work among the masses. The Party organisations are given the task of devoting greater attention to work in the enterprises and of strengthening the Party organisationally in the enterprises. Simultaneously it stressed the need for better training of cadres, for political study by the members and for raising the ideological level of the Party. The district bodies must be strengthened and transformed into operative political organs directing the Party’s work among the masses.

In his report devoted to the Party press Comrade Gunnar Ohman pointed to the need for better circulation of the Party press among the masses of workers. He also dwelt on many aspects of the content of the Communist press. Perseveringly educating the members in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism the Party newspapers must, at the same time, be mass newspapers elucidating everyday problems of the life of the working people, must help the Party in mobilising the masses in the struggle for their demands.

On behalf of the Central Committee, Comrade P.O. Zennstrom submitted a report on the significance of the world-historic service rendered by J.V. Stalin. The speaker pointed to the need for the members to study J.V. Stalin’s works. Comrade Zennstrom announced that the Central Committee had decided to publish J.V. Stalin’s works in Swedish translation.

Set Persson, formerly a member of the Central Committee, opposed the political line of the Party and advanced a sectarian, inimical “platform”. In connection with the striving of the Party to establish unity with the masses of Social Democratic workers Set Persson opposed the leadership insolently charging it with “opportunism” and “liquidation tendencies”.

In his view “real unity” is possible only with those workers who have already broken with the Right-wing leaders, as for those who have not done so, they, he claimed, must be fought by all means of propaganda.

The Congress resolutely rejected this opportunism wrapped in “left” cloaking. After thorough discussion in which many delegates from the enterprises and trade unions took part, the Congress approved – each delegate voting by name – the political line and practical activity of the Central Committee. All present, with the exception of Set Persson, voted for this decision.

The complete failure of Set Persson’s attempts to take the Party onto a false path marked the end of the activity directed against the leadership of the Party, activity which he and a tiny group of associates had carried on for years. The resolute condemnation of this “platform” and of Persson’s anti-Party action testify to the maturity of the Party cadres. The “left-radical” phrase-mongering found no support. The Congress unanimously supported the Party leadership in its endeavour to strengthen the contact with the masses, to wage a decisive struggle against the Social Democratic leaders and to isolate them.

Over a period of two months discussion took place both inside and outside the Party of the draft of the new Party programme, submitted by the Central Committee,

C.H. Hermanssons, who delivered the report on this question, stated that valuable suggestions had been made during the discussion. On behalf of the Political Bureau the speaker proposed that, on the basis of these suggestions, some changes be made in the text. The basic points of the programme contain an analysis of the capitalist system in Sweden; they characterise the danger to the cause of peace and independence of the country emanating from the policy conducted by the ruling circles, including the Right-wing Social-Democratic leaders; they recognise the path of people’s democracy as being suitable for the workers and all working people of Sweden for establishing people’s rule and for building Socialism.

The speaker stressed that “correct application of this programme will help our Party, step by step, to develop the activity of popular masses. Today this activity must contribute above all to the fight for peace, national independence and democracy, for ensuring jobs for the working people and raising their standard of living; and tomorrow it must contribute to the struggle for establishing people’s rule, for Socialism”.

After through discussion the Congress unanimously adopted the programme as amended.

The XVI Congress of the Communist Party of Sweden demonstrated the ideological, political and organisational unity of the Party. It put an end to the left-opportunist grouping. In his statement Sven Linderot, Secretary of the Central Committee, stressed the need for struggle against all “Left” and Right opportunist elements. Unity of the Party is essential to us as air. Therefore, all Communists must persistently carry out the correct line of the Party.

Hilding Hagberg was re-elected Chairman of the Party by the congress. Those present gave the Party leader a great ovation. A number of new, younger comrades, who won distinction in Party work in recent years, were elected to the Central Committee.

Of exceptional significance for the participants of the XVI Congress and for the entire Party were the attention and the solidarity of the fraternal parties in other countries. Especially inspiring was the welcome accorded the greetings from the glorious Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With feelings of wholehearted gratitude the delegates heard the greetings from the Communist Party of China and the Korean Party of Labour, from the fraternal Communist Parties of Great Britain, U.S.A., Italy, India, from the Hungarian Working People’s Party and many others. The participants of the Congress warmly greeted the guest from Poland, Bulgaria, France, the German Democratic Republic, Western Germany, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

The XVI Congress of the Communist Party of Sweden will, undoubtedly, be of great importance for extending and intensifying the activity of the Party. The Party is now united and consolidated, it has a correct political line for the present situation and aims formulated in the programme for a longer period.

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