One of the things that most defined being between the ages of 16-25, for me, (and I will admit to feeling the occasional urging since then) was the ability to jump at any excuse to to grab a great big sign and protest against the government, a university president, a big evil company doing experiments on monkeys, anything.
And so when I moved to Sweden there were many times I felt – 'Man if I only had a placard, I would go to town.' I had fantasies of standing outside of Systembolaget (the state-owned liqour store) with a giant 'Stop the Madness' sign and suddenly finding myself surrounded by others who didn't want to order their foreign exotic beers 3 days in advance, chanting and eventually overturning the powers that be.
But pretty soon I learned that only very very rarely did Swedes actually protest against their own government, and only much much later did I figure out that most Swedes have a secret enduring fondness for Systembolaget.
Swedes are GREAT at protesting things that happen in other countries. Every Saturday you can usually find someone waving a sign in my local square protesting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the US occupation of Iraq/Afganistan, the current regime in Iran. When Bush came to visit there were actual shots fired in the streets. But not really anything that has a direct effect on the state in which we live.
The only issue that brings out the Swedish students with any degree of certainty is racism. This is one of the only real perks of the Swedish Democrats (the racist party – yes I said it, because I think they are) getting elected. On opening day of the new parliament, there were actually some protesters there.
In our area there have been some pretty nice student-driven 'lack-of-housing' protests, with squatters, marching and lots of sign waving. But this has been against the local government, not against the folks up top.
I have always wondered - is this because everyone is just so thrilled to bits with the performance of the Swedish government? Or is it because they feel their voice will just never be heard? I have gotten both as answers when I've posited this question to Swedes.
So there ya go, now that Apotek has fallen (the pharmacy state-run monoply), Systembolaget has to be next. Who's up for picketing?