Els Masturbadors Mongòlics Brought Punk to Fascist Spain
Barcelona’s Masturbadors Mongòlics are Spanish punk’s lost boys. The band were together for just a year, right around the time that democracy was making its first baby steps on the Iberian Peninsula after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The foursome liked alcohol, they liked amphetamines and they liked getting in fights; they only lasted a year and you can count their gigs on one hand, but the legacy of their antics still reverberates today.
When Franco died in 1975, Spain was sent into a state of commotion. After four decades of the dictator’s iron rod making its way into every sphere of Spanish life, it was hardly surprising that, with freedom came huge social, political, and cultural upheavals. Many people had been slightly brainwashed by his regime and the dictatorship still had a bit of bite—five political dissidents were executed in 1975, two ETA militants and three from the antifascist group FRAP—but everyone knew it was on its last legs.
This allowed for the emergence of a nascent counterculture: a belated, disoriented version of what had happened in England and America during the previous decade—prog-rock, hippies, Mao’s “little red book”, Robert Crumb, weed and, if you were lucky, LSD. It probably felt progressive to the Spanish, but it showed Spain for exactly what it was during the mid-70s: a country at least a decade behind the rest of Western Europe.
No One Wants a Nazi Body Except These Shady Catholics
On October 11, Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke died. He was 100 years old and had been under a very lax state of house arrest at his lawyer’s apartment in Rome, serving out the final days of the life sentence he was given for orchestrating and conducting the Fosse Ardeatine massacre on March 24, 1944.
The ex-SS captain never expressed any kind of remorse for the 335 civilians and soldiers who were killed that day, always maintaining that he’d simply been following orders. Even in his “testament”—a seven-page message released by his lawyer last week—Priebke denied both the Holocaust and the Nazi gas chambers, claiming they were just “very big kitchens.”
While remarks like these have turned him into a kind of spirit animal for fascism fetishists and Nazi nostalgists, unsurprisingly Priebke remains widely despised. Argentina, where he lived for 50 years after the war, wouldn’t allow Priebke’s body to be returned to the country to be buried alongside his wife, and his German hometown of Hennigsdorf also shunnedhis corpse, fearing his grave would become a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.
The Iron Pipe of Swedish Fascism
Photo by Christian Storm
Last November, the Swedish newspaper Expressen published a leaked video that showed neo-fascist members of Swedish parliament running amok through the streets of Stockholm, wielding pieces of scaffolding pipe and shouting slurs like “Paki” and “little whore” at innocent bystanders. They are members of the Sweden Democrats, a political party that was a marginal outlier ten years ago with no hope of ever getting elected to parliament. But in a 2012 opinion poll, the Sweden Dems came out with 11 percent of the vote—which would make them the third most popular party in the country.
At first glance, the upswing of fascism and racism in Sweden appears surprising. The nation has no long-lasting history of colonialism, and far-right movements played a relatively insignificant role in 20th-century Sweden. So how did this ragtag group of anti-immigrant nationalists rise to such a prominent place in Swedish politics? And what made the Swedish people vote these hooligans into parliament?
Fascism seems totally out of place in Sweden, an affluent country with a well-functioning welfare system. But in the past couple of decades, xenophobia has festered under the surface of prosperity. Starting in the early 1980s, a handful of racist groups emerged, the most notable among them Bevara Sverige Svenskt(Keep Sweden Swedish). Distributing flyers that instructed Swedish girls to “avoid unprotected sexual intercourse with Negroes with deadly AIDS” and demanding “repatriation” of non-Nordic immigrants, the BSS functioned as a breeding ground for far-right activists. In the mid-80s, fascist rallies were held in central Stockholm to commemorate the death of the 18th century’s King Karl XII, a figure they positioned as their founding father. These rallies, which included hundreds of drunk skinheads communing with sweater-wearing fascist grandfathers, often ended in street fights and wanton violence. Swastikas and Hitler salutes were common sights.
The Sweden Democrats rose from the ashes of this milieu. Formed in 1988, the party was a coalition between ex-members of the BSS and leading figures of Nazi organizations like Nordiska Rikspartiet (Nordic Nations Party). The party spent the early and mid-1990s mobilizing the far right against the Swedish political establishment.
Although sectarian Nazi parties formed in Sweden as early as the 1920s, their “national movement” never gained much traction. The country’s postwar economic boom was made possible by large-scale immigration. In the decades after WWII, the number of Swedes who immigrated from foreign countries increased from about 100,000 to almost 600,000. The Social Democrats’ ideological vision of folkhemmet (the people’s home)—an exclusively Swedish community that spanned all social classes—involved eugenics programs and oppression of the Romani and Sámi people; however, the bulwark of Swedish socialism largely kept the nationalists at bay until recent times.
In 1992, after the serial killer and bank robber John “the Laser Man” Ausonius shot 11 immigrants in Stockholm, the Sweden Democrats arranged a march during which participants screamed that he should have shot more foreigners. A year after, police arrested the leader of the party’s youth wing at a Communist May Day demonstration for possessing a hand grenade.
In the late 90s, however, the leaders of the Sweden Democrats began to methodically sever their far-right connections. Skinheads were excluded, explicit anti-Semitism was dropped, and references to race were discouraged. By cutting its umbilical cord to Nazism, this violent party whitewashed itself into a softer, more respectable opponent of multiculturalism. In 2001, the party split in two, with the anti-Semitic and more militant factions founding the ultranationalist Nationaldemokraterna (National Democrats). The Sweden Democrats strategically presented themselves as invandringskritisk (immigration critical) and socially conservative rather than explicitly fascist. Led by Jimmie Åkesson, a respectable and smartly dressed young man with a self-proclaimed interest in “history,” the party received 160,000 votes in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
Aware of the increasingly anti-Islamic sentiments in Europe, the Sweden Democrats shifted their demonization to Muslim immigrants and scapegoated them for what the party alleged to be social decay in Sweden. They went so far as to appoint Jewish members to top positions and began to aggressively push a pro-Israel foreign policy. As Åkesson put it, Islam was the “biggest foreign threat [to Sweden] since the Second World War.”
With their carefully calibrated underdog image, the Sweden Democrats gained significant support over the next few years. Some former Social Democrats, discouraged by their party’s involvement in dismantling the welfare state, found the Sweden Democrats to be a source of stability, community, and tradition. The party appropriated the Social Democratic vision of folkhemmet and turned it against its designers, accusing the Social Democrats of having betrayed the Swedish people by submitting to multiculturalism, feminism, and “mass immigration.”
Hey, you know what’s a big re-emerging trend in Europe at the moment, besides the Cosby sweater and poverty? Fascism! I mean, it’s only the middle of July and so far we’ve seen nationalists playing football with anarchists’ heads in Poland, slapping women on Greek TV and crashing May Day and Gay Pride parties in Sweden and Bristol respectively.
The hacking/general mischief collective Anonymous is pretty ahead of the curve when it comes to scary fashions. Completely unfazed by the hotness of fascist women, a few months ago the group declared war against the many Nazi-loving websites that have begun to flood the internet, with something they calledOperation Blitzkrieg and later with a website dedicated to leaking fascists’ personal data called Nazileaks.
Finally, do you know who is very good friends with Anonymous? Alec Empire, of Atari Teenage Riot fame. And so, he interviewed one of the members of Anonymous involved in Nazileaks for us.
What Is the Most Racist Country in Europe?
The BBC’s Panorama programbroke the news that Poles are all massively racist. What were we even thinking of letting those bigots host the Euro 2012 soccer tournament? In response, the British press has been rumbling and wrangling away at people about it in that way the press does when it has nothing else to talk about. What the BBC have willfully ignored, however, is whether any other country in Europe is actually any better.
We at VICE are more scientific than that, so we cast a quick glance around the continent for racists.
If you’d like to see a bunch of Swedish fascists in action you should watch our film Teenage Riot: May Day in Eskilstuna.
The home of enlightened progressive thought and bending-over-backwards cultural deference.
Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce a research center for racial biology—in the town of Upsalla. It was there that the idea of forced sterilization of the mentally ill, the physically disabled, the gay, or people suffering from ethnic minority-ness first found scientific credibility. Incredibly, this tactic was approved by the government and was still technically legal under Swedish law until fairly recently. Before 1975, if you were caught with a red hot pair of scissors in the vicinity of a gay Somali’s testes, legally-speaking, there was nothing the police could do.
A recent survey showed that job-seekers in Sweden have a 50 percent higher chance of being called up for an interview if they have a Swedish-sounding name rather than an Arab-sounding one.
Earlier this year, Swedish Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth decided that she should do more to promote cultural harmony for World Art Day. So she ceremonially cut open a cake. This was the cake:
That’s her with the plate, by the way. Not the one lying down. Note all the people in the background going, “Go on, Lena, keep grinning, that’s it, yeah, God, this pic is gonna look great on Facebook when I do a witty caption about the end of your career.”
Swedes are a nasty bunch of CV-binning cake-baking race haters, for whom tying the tubes of anyone who doesn’t fulfill their eugenicized national ideal is as natural as tying their shoelaces (though we have to admit that all that eugenics has left them extremely good looking).
Avoid if you are anything up to and including a Norweigan, have one tooth a little bit twisted or suffer from occasional eczema: you will be taking a Zyklon B power-shower within minutes of landing.
“Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don’t even risk it… because you could end up coming back in a coffin.” - Sol “Factually Accurate” Campbell
In mid-2011, a large group of Polish football supporters unfurled a banner proclaiming: “Death to the Hooked-Nosed Ones,” illustrated with a picture of a Jew with a large crooked nose, at a stadium in Rzesow. The game was not televised. There were no players of Jewish origin on the pitch at the time. And, given that Poland’s Jewish population is vanishingly small, it is not particularly likely there were even any Jews in the stadium at all.
Which doesn’t make it any better, obviously, but it does, in fact, make the Poles in question seem even more unnecessarily pathetic.
In a country which is 98 percent ethnically Polish, Poles have had to resort to being racist against people who don’t exist. They probably maintain a sort of internal fantasy football league of race-hate, acting out this pitiful shadow-boxing in the absence of genuine targets. It is likely that, when no one else is around, Polish neo-Nazis force each other to dress up as Arabs in crude tea-towel and bath-sheet costumes, then beat each other with sticks just for the release.
In terms of race-hate, wet-behind-the-ears Poles have never even taken off the training-wheels. Safe for travel, so long as you are not an Invisible Imaginary Jew.