Utopian Carnival in Stockholm 2011

Leftists, environmentalists and anarchists make an annual parade in Stockholm


The Utopian Carnival of Stockholm 2010 sucked big time

Last year it was all cops and rain. I saw riding policemen, a helicopter, massive numbers of patrolling officers and loads of police vehicles. The cop-vans drove slowly beside the carnival train like a moving wall to protect shops from potentially violent anarchists. The massive number of policemen made the protesters look like criminals in the eyes of the public. The Utopian Carnival of Stockholm 2010 was in reality a massive police parade – which must have cost milions of crowns to organise and pull off.


The Utopian carnival of Stockholm 2011 was a huge success

The weather was wonderful and the streets lined with curious pedestrians as the young, vibrant, happy and slightly chaotic parade went the long way from Fridhemsplan to Slussen. There were three big percussion bands and a lot of participants with masks and costumes. The public could not help to notice, and like, the parade – even though they waved revolutionary banners and shouted anti-royalist chants as they walked by the royal palace.The cops were present, of course, but for some reason chose not to be seen or intervene.

There is a lack of carnivals in Stockholm. It is hard to get fundings and permission from the local government. It is nice that the anarchists pulled off what many fail to do and made the city come alive for one day. Gabriel Widing has written about carnival culture in Sweden.

When I was an environmental activist in the nineties my impression was that the anarchists of Stockholm were depressed and violent. It seems some of them have realised that you get more friends if you’re open and kind. Kulturkampanjen have been going on for many years now: an anarchist organisation promoting culture. They eventually built their own house for alternative culture in Högdalen which were burned down by nazis …

Tittie revolution

Some women shed their tops and walked semi-nude. I believe it was a protest against the fact that women are not allowed to show their breats in public baths or on facebook. They don’t like the fact that the female body is automatically seen as sexual. I think they made a brave manifestation and I support their struggle.

I like to linger on the topic and supply some theories of mine. Some attractive young men shed their t-shirts in support of the women. I am sure many found these guys sexy – just as the topless women were sexy, whether they wanted it or not. Topless guys in public baths and on facebook also have sex appeal, but they rarely realise it. One reason for this is that men seldom get compliments for their looks and therefore are quite clueless whether they are sexy or not. Muscular and masculine men are considered powerful and cool, not automatically sexy. Men are sometimes scared being considered sexy because it might make them seem gay.

In my Utopia everyone is allowed to be sexy all the time – and it’s ok. I hope, that one day, the feeling of lust will not be considered a shameful nuisance.

I believe that the beautiful topless women in the carnival evoked feelings of lust – but that it was not a problem because the carnvival had it’s own, utopic, rules and norms.

Our society is obsessed by sex, everything evolves around it – but it is all hints and teasing which leave us unfulfilled. We all have a great need for physical contact and love but often fail when we try to fulfull it. This makes us jumpy and insecure; we freak out if we see a nude person in the street. But for us in the carnival it was possible to be cool about the nutidity thing; we created a small pocket of another, utopian, reality.

Sex has traditionally been a part of carnivals, rituals and pagan feasts. The element of sex is one of the reasons why carnivals have been banned by the christian church. Bachtin wrote on this, check out some quotes (in swedish)

If we look a long way back in human history it seems mankind were more likely to worship mothers and women. Female power and female sexuality is a dangerous thing indeed …

A final thought

People think about sex all the time. The first reflection, which is often made subconsciously, when we meet a new person is: ”Do I want to, and is it possible to, have sex with her?” The second reflection, also mostly made in our subconscious minds, is: ”Is she dangerous?”. I’m grateful Mother nature wired us to deem reproduction more important than violence.

This behaviour explains why heterosexuals, like me, get unnerved when we can’t decide which sex a person belong to. If we don’t know which gender they have we can’t decide if we can copulate with them or not. This unease is strengthened if we find the other person attractive – what if we would miss judge their gender and have sex with them, that would make us bisexual!

These pictures were taken later in the evening in Vitabergsparken, a garden, at Södermalm in Stockholm.

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