Oct 5, 2014

Swedish governing in historic limbo/Part 3

- The new government is a feministic government.

Those words are Stefan Löfven’s, the new Swedish Prime Minister. Expressed in the Statement of Government Policy. Is the new Swedish government the first official feministic government in the world?

Three weeks after the election Sweden has a new government! The exclamation mark might be an overstatement, because it’s a minority and in reality a very weak government, but it’s a government expressing the same values as I have, and it’s like a heavy rock is lifted from my chest.

The new government is formed by the Social Democrats and the Green Party (Miljöpartiet), 24 cabinet ministers: 12 women and 12 men. The actual change of government took place on October 3 at a Council of State at the Royal Palace. Earlier the same day, Stefan Löfven presented the Statement of Government Policy.
I was lying on my couch, doing only that. Not checking emails, not being on the phone, not working on some text, not scrolling Facebook, mind not wondering around. No, being totally focused and present in the fact that Sweden is presented a new government and a new Statement of Government Policy.
For eight years we have been living under a right wing yoke. In the Swedish political history of social democratic values we have never been governed by right wing rhetoric for such a long period before. I was terrified they had been so successful drumming their message in (eight years is, as you Americans know, a long time, a first time voter becomes a grown up during a double government term) there was no way back and Sweden would be forever a country lost in the cold where only strong people contributing to GDP (BNP) are included as human beings.
So, I was focused. I was present. It was a historic moment hearing the word solidarity from a Prime Minister again. I am a bit embarrassed here, but I had tears on my cheek while listening to the declaration. A giant rock was lifted from my compressed chest. I wasn’t even aware it had been there. You can get used to almost everything. Political abuse, in words and in practice too. Every system can turn into a normality.
The giant rock was gone and I could breath again. That’s why the tears.
Now, I am not naive. And I am not stupid. I know this new government is historically weak and I know every ideology and value has a rhetoric vocabulary. But there are intentions. Very different from the last eight years that was forced on me.
I agree on most things in the Statement of Government Policy of October 3. I know though that it will be extremely difficult for this government to make the declaration a reality. We might very well have a situation similar to the one in the U.S where only a few bills actually are passing. But even if it will be only a few, it’s still better than living in a country where most every bill passing feels like a violation on a nation.
So, is the new Swedish government a feministic government? Well, it’s up to the evidence. 50/50 when it comes to cabinet ministers doesn't prove anything although it looks a lot better then 80/20. And words are just words. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is led by four women, fronted by Margot Wallström as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. So that’s a start.
I could shortlist the Statement of Government Policy to tell what this new Swedish government wants for change, but instead I will quote one sentence from Prime Minister Stefan Löfven:
- We will work for a global order of capital and labor that secures an international economy that benefits all and subjugate no one. 

Those words, I find beautiful.

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