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Paramedics on the scene of the Nazi attack. Photo: Left Party Facebook page

After Nazi attack, Swedish anarchist publisher says he will not be silenced

On Wednesday, a meeting about antifascism in Stockholm was attacked by a group of Nazis. The Green and Left parties organised the meeting, and Mattias Wåg, publisher of the anarchist magazine Brand and veteran antifascist, was one of the participants. The Nazi attackers singled him out. He describes what happened in this article, originally published in Aftonbladet a few hours after the attack.

It wasn’t hard to predict that a Nazi attack on the meeting. The local branches of the Left and Green parties had wallpapered the whole of southern Stockholm with posters and handed out fliers, inviting people to a talk by the magazine Expo at the theatre Moment in Gubbängen. It was a meeting that was impossible to miss.

Afterwards, I was invited to participate in a discussion as a writer and antifascist activist. The organisers had been in contact with the police because so many of the extreme right’s bugbears were going to be in one place, and officers were in the area.

The foyer of the theatre smelled of newly baked buns and muffins. The local Left Party activists had been baking to offer refreshments. It was a very pleasant scene. The average age of the audience was advanced, mostly pensioners who sat and drank their coffee and chatted—when a group of five masked-up people rushed in.

The Nazis caused chaos in the foyer in the space of a few minutes.

This was a model example of what the new Nazi violence looks like. Everything is theatrical and carefully staged. The pensioners in the doorway who tried to eject the Nazis were sprayed with red-coloured mace. A smoke bomb was thrown in and plunged the room into a red cloud. Some of the Nazis picked up chairs and threw them around while two of the attackers ploughed their way deliberately towards the refreshments stall.

They came directly at me and started to throw punches at my face. At the same time, one of the attackers was standing by and filming.

This is how the new young Nazi groupings operate. It is violence as propaganda. Attacks were filmed for the internet and sent to the underground jungle of chats on platforms like Telegram, Twitter, and Discord. This is a new generation of Nazis who are tired of the extreme-right handing out leaflets and holding demonstrations. The politics of the Sweden Democrats [the far-right coalition partner, LC] is going too slowly.

That was exactly what Expo was going to talk about. About how this kind of staged violence to make “content” has become a central component of the violent extreme right. They film their attacks against Pride marches and against Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. In small short films, “edits”, they show the trophies they have conquered. School attacks are streamed online. They film how they search for and beat up paedophiles.

It is just a few weeks since the Nazi “Nordic Resistance Movement” attacked a camp in the forest for homeless EU migrants in Hjulsta in northern Stockholm. It took place after the right-wing activist who calls himself the “Defamation Ombudsman” had filmed the camp and uploaded GPS details for how to get there.

And now they have violently attacked local political party public meetings.

It is these new groupings that I’ve written several articles about on Aftonbladet’s culture pages. About the Nazi fight clubs that have grown up. A way to try to get at my articles was to report me for defamation because I had called a Nazi a Nazi. After I was acquitted last year I’ve been a trophy for them to chase. A feather in the hat for someone to get a film of me being beaten.

It’s not the first time Nazis have attacked me. This time, like before, I must have had a guardian angel. Despite about ten punches to my face and body, I suffered no injuries. The attack was quickly over. Three of the older Left Party activists were taken to hospital after being doused in mace spray and suffering breathing difficulties because of the smoke bomb.

Afterwards, we all gathered at the Gubbängen square. We were determined not to allow a Nazi attack to interrupt a political meeting. So, as soon as the fire brigade and police gave us the all-clear, we went back into the theatre and held our panel discussion.

The Nazis could never stop the meeting. And we have already announced more.

On Saturday 27th April, at 12 noon, we will hold an antifascist demonstration together at Gubbängen Square.

They will not silence us. And they will not get me to stop writing.

~ Translated by Loukas Christodoulou

Image: Vänsterpartiet Farsta

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