Swedish libertarian socialist murdered by fascists


SWEDISH FASCISTS murdered a long time trade unionist last October. Björn Söderberg was an activist of the 'libertarian socialist' Swedish Workers Central Organisation (SAC) union. He was shot three times outside his apartment in the Stockholm suburb of Satra. He was shot in the head.

The murder has direct connections to the world of violent organised Swedish fascism. Bjorn worked at the Svanstroems warehouse. Robert Vesterlund, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, also worked there. Vesterlund had managed to get elected as a shop steward in the Commercial Employees Union. Björn Söderberg then did what anyone with civil courage would have done, he reacted. Björn made Vesterlund's nazi sympathies known to his workmates and to the press. Vesterlund was expelled from his union.

In Sweden anyone can buy a copy of a person's photo from the passport office. The same day that Vesterlund's nazi sympathies were made public, a copy of Björn Söderberg's passport photo was ordered and sent to the nazi magazine INFO 14's postbox. The publisher of INFO 14 is Robert Vesterlund.

Four weeks later Bjorn was assassinated. The three fascists charged with the murder - Hampus Hellekant, Bjorn Lindberg Hernlund and Jimmy Niklasson - all have direct connections with Vesterlund.

The SAC called for workers to take to the streets against racism and fascism on October 23rd. At approximately 1 am that morning a powerful explosion rocked Gävle, a middle-sized town in central Sweden. The SAC local offices were the target. The building housed not only their local unions' offices but was also the birthplace of the famous syndicalist organiser, Joe Hill.

Joe Hill left Sweden and emigrated to the United States where he earned a name for himself within the ranks of American syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World. Today he is best known through the words of the song "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night..."

The red and black banners of the SAC and anarchist flags led the biggest anti-fascist march through Stockholm since the 1930s. Over 30,000 people turned out to mourn Soderburg and to tell the nazis that their terrorism would not intimidate anti-fascists. Marches also took place in Gävle, Borås, Hedemora, Hudiksvall, Hofors, Halmstad, Gislaved, Skellefteå, Luleå, Umeå, Östersund, Sundsvall, Sandviken, Uppsala, Fagersta, Karlstad, Köping, Örebro, Stockholm, Jönköping, Visby, Trollhättan, Göteborg, Lund and Malmö.


This article from
Workers Solidarity No59 Published Spring 2000