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An emigrant letter from an emigrant hälsing, read by another hälsing now more than 100 years later. Plus, a message to those of you who participated in the slanderous attack on me and Project Allmogen the other week.
In today's episode, you will hear an old emigrant letter from the very early years of the 20th century, written by one hälsing and read by another hälsing now over 100 years later. And he doesn't mince words about Sweden's rulers.
I'm also talking about the slander attack I was subjected to the other week, where someone tried to smear my name and this project and simply hung me out to dry in front of thousands of people as a xenophobic racist because of my involvement in this libertarian public education project, Allmogen, and because I'm critical of this country's rulers. Extremely critical.
To all of you who participated in slandering me, I would like to dedicate this stanza from a song in the Norbergsmagasinets songbook #19 from 1919:
It's been more than two years since I started this project. More than once during these years I have been told by people that I am fishing in murky waters, that I am flirting with evil forces, that I am even a "racist", "nazi" or "fascist". This time was no different.
So why am I a racist and worthy of being hanged according to this person? Well, the slanderer thought the flow you can see on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter contains too much "pale northern nostalgia" and is too "white".
There was too much focus on Nordic and Swedish culture, which he even said did not exist at all. This is a clearly left-wing extremist view, which is constantly recurring in postmodern and neo-Marxist groups.
He claimed that there must be a "secret agenda" behind Allmogen and that the whole purpose of bringing to life the beautiful life work of previous generations through Allmogen was that it was a "classic cover" for spreading "masked racism". Whatever that means. Sounds pretty fanciful if you ask me.
When he then saw on my completely public pages on social media that I had been critical, to say the least, of both the current and previous government's migration policies, and did not hold this country's rulers in such high regard, to put it mildly, it was clear as sausage meat, I guess. I was one of those "racists".
And it is true that I am critical of the country's rulers on both the right and the left. I sincerely believe, from the bottom of my heart, that many of those in power are directly unfit to have any power whatsoever over other people's lives or wallets. And the fact that I happen to be a fair-skinned, blond and blue-eyed man who shows an interest in my own history and my native German and Swedish culture makes all the warning bells ring for these left-wing extremists.
It got worse when this person read Allmogens libertarian values, which he thought contained "crude" words and ideas such as the right of all people to liberty, property, and self-defense. Feel free to go and read the Allmogens values yourself, and see if you find them "muddy".
Others quickly caught on to the smear campaign and there was discussion about how to shut down Allmogens social media accounts through mass notifications. People all the way up to the European Commission liked and shared, and suddenly Allmogen was also a "Russian" site helping Putin to destabilise Sweden and "secretly" engaging in defamation of ethnic groups. How he now thinks that Swedish folk songs, wood stoves and Vilhelm Moberg books can destabilize a country, or how one can slander ethnic groups "in secret" by not talking about them at all.
To make a long story short, I threatened the person with using my right to initiate legal proceedings for defamation if this person didn't delete his criminal defamation, because after all, it's no fun being framed as something you're not. Lies can quickly become truth on the internet. But the truth is that I have neither the money nor the energy to pursue such a lawsuit. With a long-term sick and long-insured wife, we may struggle to deal with the bureaucracy of welfare. So you are free to continue to label me a "racist". I don't care. The only one whose opinion I care about is my wife, and she knows my heart is in the right place.
The goal of this attack is of course to both scare me into silence and to scare you who follow me into distancing yourself, to stop following me, and to make you think that I am one of those "evil" people you should stay away from.
If only it were so simple that there were good people and bad people. As Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in his great work The Gulag Archipelago about the Soviet Union's widespread system of death camps:
If only it were that simple! If only there were evil people out there committing evil acts, and it was only necessary to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the dividing line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a part of their own heart?
The really dangerous people, as we learned from the devastating wars of the 20th century, the ones capable of murdering hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, are the ones who divide people into "good guys" and "bad guys".
The truth is, of course, that there is a Swedish culture. I know, because I'm Swedish and I've lived in it all my life. Those of you who are hoping that I will abandon this project will unfortunately be disappointed. Swedish folk, and the memory of them, have managed to survive through the centuries a constant stream of crop failures, starvation, death by poisoning, wolf winters, oppression, poverty and countless wars and hardships. They have survived more suffering than we living today can ever imagine. Their memory will outlive you too.
But back to the emigration letter.
It was written by the emigrant A. G., who emigrated to America in 1903, at the age of 18, the same year that 35,000 other Swedes left their homeland - a record number for emigration from Sweden. Now, a few years later, he writes home to Sweden from Canada.
It is emigration letter no. 280 in the great Emigration Investigation carried out by the Swedish state between 1907-1913, led by the famous statistician Gustav Sundbärg, to find out why so many of the state's subjects abandoned their homeland for America.
So they started the investigation after more than 50 years of mass emigration, at a time when one fifth of all Swedes, more than a million, had already settled in America. A bit late, it may seem, but the Swedish bureaucracy is not known for being quick either. Or rather, they are quick to push through their policies when they get the chance, but slow to realise and admit their mistakes. Here comes the emigrant letter:
N:r 280. A. G., Canada. From Gäfleborg County.
I was born in Hälsingland in 1885 of poor parents. My father was in the service of the Crown for 33 years. I also had a brother alive. I remember well the day when my brother was to be conscripted, although I was not then so old, but I heard that he would be a soldier, and I have always been afraid of that. Since I grew up and was confirmed, I always disliked the exercise, so at the age of eighteen I came to America with my father, for I could see then that there was no future for me working in sawmills in the country forests. It was also expensive to hire for the day and such high taxes to pay, although I was not old enough to pay taxes then, but I knew the time would come even for me. So I began to think that at the age of 21 I would go out and defend king and country. For what reason would I go out? I had not so much as a handful of land. Well, I understood that I was doomed to fight and die for those, who only pressed me to pay taxes to them. To pay them for daring my life for them; for it is terrible to think that the poor man, who has nothing, shall, whether he will or no, go out to defend the lives and wealth of his tormentors. Nay, away! Let every man go out to defend what he has, and take away the distinction of rank, and I think it will be different. Let the poor vote with the rich, and
tread him not under your feet. This is not the case in this country. Here all are equal, high and low, rich and poor. I need not lift my hat to the consul, if I meet him, or if I enter his house, I need not even then move my hat. Nay, create an America in Sweden, and I think your sons and daughters will stay at home, or else not. Shorten the long period of conscription, give the people universal suffrage, divide the land that lies fallow, take away even a part of all these wage-earners, who live only on the labourer and what he earns.
If you listen to the audio version, you can hear the musician Thomas von Wachenfeldt from Bergsjö in Hälsingland reading the letter, and in the background a "Polska från Gränsfors efter soldaten Erik Forss" was heard, also played by Thomas.
If you want to learn more about traditional fiddle music and hear more of his fiddle, I recommend listening to Thomas' podcast, Trad-Podden, which you can find where podcasts are. You can also find many of his works at Spotify and Soundcloud.
It was also from Hälsingland that the first large group migration from Sweden began in 1846. Up to 1000 members of Erik Janson's religious sect, the so-called Erik Jansarna, who were regarded as criminals by the Swedish authorities of the time and forbidden to practice their religion, set off across the Atlantic.
This is the fourth emigrant letter read in this podcast. More to come, because this is a part of our history that is largely forgotten but I think is worth telling.
It is the story of Swedes who were forced to flee their homeland. They fled from a poverty that we can hardly imagine today. But they were also fleeing oppression and over-formality, from both church and state, a state that saw its people as its subjects, as tax cattle, whose only function was to generate tax revenue for the crown and, if you happened to be born a man, also to serve as cannon fodder in the army.
People existed at that time to serve the state, not the other way around. And you might ask whether it's any different today.
Still in the 1940s, Swedes were emigrating to America, and when Vilhelm Moberg met some of them during his stay there, he realised that the same reason was at the root of nine out of ten cases. Moberg writes in his book The unknown family:
Dissatisfaction with the authorities, with all the laws and regulations that restrict freedom, with the rule of officials at home. In the Sweden of the four states there was a personal patriarchal oppression, in Social Democratic Sweden the oppression is exercised by an impersonal, mechanically functioning state apparatus - that is the difference.
If you are a Swedish listener in the historical sense, with roots in Sweden dating back to the 19th century, then you most likely also have living relatives in America.
I myself have found some of my relatives through my genealogy. They are in Florida, in Ohio, in Minnesota. A few years ago, I also did one of those DNA testing where you send in your saliva and find out your genetic origin. You are also matched with distant relatives who have also taken the test, and I have found 8 four-men and 413 more distant relatives - many of them in America.
The unknown family - that's what Moberg calls the Swedes living in North America, descendants of the emigrants who left Sweden for the great country to the west in the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll be hearing more about the unknown family in the future.
The aim of this project, called Allmogen for short, has always been to highlight and preserve our Nordic and Swedish heritage of freedom, as reflected in our history, our culture, our traditions, and the life's work of our ancestors.
If you would like me to spend more time on this work, please feel free to supporting member.
Of course, you already contribute through your taxes to countless cultural projects and special interests that you never asked for and would never have supported voluntarily. I, on the other hand, work only for you, for our common interest - our history.
I would like to thank all current supporting members and all of you who have donated recently. Without you, this project would not be what it is today. It is thanks to you that I can continue to shine a light on the life's work of previous generations.
And have a nice weekend, everyone.
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