Moderate Youth League

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Swedish Young Conservatives
"Moderate Youth League"

Moderata ungdomsförbundet
Chairperson Rasmus Törnblom
Secretary General Dennis Wedin
Founded 1934
Headquarters Stora Nygatan 30, Stockholm
Membership 12 624[1]
Ideology Liberal conservatism
Mother party Moderate Party
European affiliation Youth of the European People's Party (YEPP)
Nordic affiliation Nordic Young Conservative Union (NUU)
Website www.muf.se

The Moderate Youth League (Swedish: Moderata ungdomsförbundet, MUF), officially known in English as the Swedish Young Conservatives, is the youth wing of the Swedish Moderate Party. It had 12 624 members by the end of 2012.[2] Of the political youth organizations that received financial support from the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs in 2009, it had the highest number of members.[3]

The Moderate Youth League is more libertarian-leaning and more radical than the mother party. It is generally pro-market, pro-American, pro-Israeli and liberal in social issues such as abortion, gay rights and supports legalization of illegal file sharing and alcohol manufacturing for private, nonprofit purposes.[4] Its official ideologies are liberalism and conservatism.[5]

History[edit]

The Moderate Youth League was formed in 1934 as the Young Swedes (Swedish: Ungsvenskarna) as a consequence of the split between the Moderate Party (then the General Electoral Union) and its youth organization, the National Youth League of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges nationella ungdomsförbund) which had turned into an openly pro-Nazi organization. In 1946 the organization changed its name to the Youth Association of the Right (Swedish: Högerns ungdomsförbund). The current name was adopted in 1969.

Organization[edit]

The Moderate Youth League is led by a national executive committee, elected every two years at the national congress. The President is supported by two vice-chairmen. Normally, members of the national executive have served at district level first. The current chairman, for example, used to be chairman of the Stockholm district. The national chairman also sits on the national board of the Moderate Party.

Districts follow county borders. The largest one is Stockholm, followed by Skåne. They maintain a rivalry, sometimes staging competitions on who can recruit the most members.[citation needed] Other large districts include Uppsala and Östergötland.

Young Conservative Moderates[edit]

The Young Conservative Moderates (Unga konservativa moderater) are an internal faction of the Moderate Youth League. It was founded in 2004 as Mörkblått värn (literally Dark-Blue Defence), but changed to its current name after the founder left to join the Christian Democrats. Young Conservative Moderates seek to promote a conservative alternative to the current dominance of liberalism within the organisation. The organisation compromises both traditionalists and neoconservatives.

Moderate School Youth[edit]

The Moderate School Youth (Moderat skolungdom, MSU) is a part of the organisation and includes all MUF members between 12 and 20 years of age.

At the annual conference, a national executive is elected. They are not decision-makers but more of an elite campaigning team which travel around Sweden. The national chairman has a place on the national executive of the Youth League. The current chairman is Klas Vestergren.

Moderate Students[edit]

Main article: Moderate Students

In 2008, the Moderate Students was founded as a student network within the Moderate Youth League and it has since then grown to become the largest student political organization in Sweden.

Current and former members[edit]

Under many years the Moderate Party did not have any official student organisation. The Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students (Fria moderata studentförbundet, FMSF) was dislodged from the party because of its radical neoliberalism. Therefore many students join the Youth League instead. This results in the age of members spanning the whole age-spectrum from roughly 15 to 30. There is, however, widespread cross-membership between the youth and student leagues. In Uppsala, a traditional student town, the radicalism of the Student League has also spread to the local MUF district due to almost all local leaders also being active in the Confederation of Swedish Conservative and Liberal Students.[citation needed]

Naturally many current politicians of the Moderate Party, started their careers in the Youth League. The most famous being the current leader of the party, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who is a former chairman. The last chairman, Christofer Fjellner, was elected to the European Parliament before resigning from his Youth League position. The Moderate Youth League played a great part in this, lobbying for him inside the party and campaigning for him in the election. In 2002, Tove Lifvendahl became the first Youth League chairman to be elected to the national board of the party directly after resigning from the Moderate Youth League. Many former leaders left politics but gained prominence in other spheres of society, most of all in business.

The Moderate Youth League has around 9,500 members (2004/2005).

Ideology[edit]

The Moderate Youth League defines its ideology in four statements. Apart from these, the Youth League publishes no manifestos or political programmes of any sort. These are:

  • For the freedom of the individual. Against political oppression and coercion.
  • For every human's responsibility for his/her own future. Against paternalism and the nanny state (förmynderi och politisk klåfingrighet).
  • For diversity and respect for differences. Against intolerance and conformity.
  • For a free market and a world without borders. Against walls and regulations.

The modern Moderate Youth League are staunch supporters of capitalism, deregulation and lower taxes. They also adhere to individualism, which extends to wide-reaching support for gay rights. The League supports free trade, free immigration[6] and wants to abolish foreign aid.[7]

Like its opponents in the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League, the Moderate Youth League has suffered from divisions between different factions. The 1990s saw many battles between modernising neoliberals and conservatives. At the congress in Lycksele in 1992, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the current leader of the Moderate Party, was elected chairman, defeating the neoliberal Ulf Kristersson. In recent years, however, the division have largely disappeared. With the Moderates becoming more cosmopolitan, the traditionalist Conservatives have all but disappeared. Gay rights was a source of division, but now almost all of the Moderate Youth League supports equal rights of marriage and adoption for homosexuals. A conservative fringe group, however, was formed – Young Conservative Moderates (Unga konservativa moderater) – but did not gain widespread membership.

In foreign policy, MUF tends to support the United States, including the 2003 Iraq War and Swedish NATO membership. Chairwoman Tove Lifvendahl proudly wore an "I love Bush" shirt after George W. Bush's election in 2000, although she was quick to criticise him for the steel tariffs he later imposed. It is also strongly supportive of Israel.[8][9] Though generally supportive of the European Union, the Youth League does not support Sweden adopting the euro.[10]

Chairpersons[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Moderata Ungdomsförbundet ökar!, muf.se
  2. ^ Moderata Ungdomsförbundet ökar!, muf.se
  3. ^ "Organisationsstöd 2009"
  4. ^ sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUF
  5. ^ "Moderata Ungdomsförbundets strävan är att vinna unga människor för den samhällsåskådning som Moderata Samlingspartiet företräder, vilken är en syntes av liberala och konservativa idéer." §1 in the bylaws
  6. ^ "MUF för fri invandring efter Skellefteåförslag", Västerbottens Folkblad
  7. ^ "Muf i Skåne fick igenom krav på slopat bistånd", Helsingborgs Dagblad
  8. ^ "Israel tar nu sitt ansvar och angriper terroristerna som bedrar, hjärntvättar och förstör livet för ett helt folk. Ingen demokrati kan acceptera att leva granne med en terrororganisation som högst upp på sin dagordning har att utrota." Niklas Wykman's blog 20 June 2007
  9. ^ Niklas Wykman, "Stöd till människorna i Israel och Palestina"
  10. ^ Aftonbladet Dagens Nyheter Expressen Svenska Dagbladet

External links[edit]