Public discussion of immigration and minority issues was accompanied by increased political activity in the same area, with an average of thirty relevant bills being introduced into the Swedish legislature each year between 1965 and 1968. By comparison, the period 1945–60 had seen an average of three bills per year.
A review of the positions taken by the various political parties in the 1960s offers some surprises. The Right Wing Party [Högerpartiet] was the most active in proposing bills related to immigration. In August 1968, the party adopted the first political program that proposed extensive support for ethnic minorities in Sweden. This party subsequently changed its name to the “Moderate Party.”
The Social Democrats—with the crucial exception of rising star Olof Palme—were at first more skeptical of the new trend than one might expect. David Schwarz once related that, shortly before initiating the first newspaper debate, he had asked the Social Democratic Foreign Minister Torsten Nilsson at a public meeting how the government sought to solve the minority problem; Nilsson had said simply: “They’ll have to become Swedes or move somewhere else.”
Hans Hagness, a Social Democratic legislator, made the following statement in parliament on December 9, 1966:
It is of course in the interests of the employers to increase cheap labor and keep wages down and this has been the motivation that has been supported by the bourgeois newspapers. They’ve also organized sob stories about deportations and how bad we should feel for them. But one cannot build a policy on sob stories featured in liberal newspapers; instead we are obliged to pursue a conscious policy in the interests of the average worker.
In short, the Swedish left still thought in terms of social class.
In 1966, David Schwarz obtained a meeting with Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlander through the latter’s speechwriter Olle Svenning. Svenning later recalled:
The old PM agreed to meet and brought his considerably younger assistant Olof Palme. [Schwarz] explained how important multiculturalism was, that Sweden already was a nation of immigrants and how the demands for linguistic and religious tolerance were growing strong. Palme, having been raised in a multicultural and multilingual environment, understood what David was talking about.
The following year Palme, now Minister of Education, announced his endorsement of multiculturalism in a speech at the Stockholm Jewish Center amid praise for Israel and the aspirations of Zionists. Yet this same man was so hostile to any display of Swedish patriotism that he expressed distaste for Sweden’s innocent Flag Day celebrations! Two years later, Palme succeeded Erlander as Sweden’s Prime Minister.
(Occidental Observer, September 23, 2017).