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Vilhelm Moberg as politician and peasant anarchist

Vilhelm Moberg as a politician
Vilhelm Moberg, 1958.

"Honesty and integrity, healthy self-confidence and hard work are the cornerstones of Vilhelm Moberg's life, poetry and outlook on society. Or in short: to do right by oneself."

I stumbled across an interesting editorial about Vilhelm Moberg from 1997 written by Svante Nycander, former editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter from 1979-1994:
"If you don't know more about an author than that he writes about poor peasants and wants to abolish the monarchy, you automatically count him as a socialist in Sweden. And many people today know no more than that about the social debater Vilhelm Moberg. This is not just because time is running out. Moberg's political ideas were inopportune; he went directly against the dominant ways of thinking. He was courageous and independent, his message was clear and easy to understand, and he had a coarse-grained polemical style that was very effective. That's why his voice reached across the country. But his words did not catch on. From the mid-seventies onwards, it is as if the rebel Vilhelm Moberg, the peasant anarchist, the number one enemy of the state and the officials, had never existed. Only the poet remained. [...] Throughout all his shifts, he had the same basic attitude, both as a poet and as an opinion leader: he was for individual freedom, against state paternalism and all forms of collectivism."
The editorial seems to have recently been purged from DN. Possibly it got caught in the values filter as ideologically deviant, alternatively some intern has screwed up. But the article can still be read in full in Google's cache. The peasant anarchism mentioned by Svante Nycander, and which I will explore further, is also captured by Mikael Löwegren in en article in the magazine Kulturen 2011:
Honesty and integrity, healthy self-confidence and hard work are the cornerstones of Vilhelm Moberg's life, poetry and outlook on society. Or in short: to do right by oneself. Peasant anarchism, I think, is the at once accurate and fuzzy description of this way of life. Moberg reacts violently against any restriction on individual freedom. His ideal is the engaged citizen who "meddles in his own affairs".
Vilhelm Moberg's own daughter, Eva Moberg, also gave her views on her father's political views in an SVT documentary on Vilhelm Moberg in 1998:

It is absurd to think that today he would belong to the neoliberals or something like that. One has to remember that during his entire working life, the government was social democratic. It was social democratic rule all the time. The upper class became social democracy and much of what he wrote was directed against it in that way. Then it can appear that he was more bourgeois than he was. If you imagine that there had been bourgeois rule during this time, then of course his social criticism would have appeared to be entirely socialist. You have to put it in context. He did not belong to any party or ideology, you cannot say that at all. He was more and more almost anarchist.

Peasant anarchists of all countries, unite!

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One thought on “Vilhelm Moberg som politiker och bondeanarkist

  1. Pingback: Does it matter that Olle Wästberg met Wilhelm Moberg or met Lassie? | Peter Harold - Skrivarens blogg

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