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Democrats Abroad Western Sweden at West Pride!

Cheryl and Rick holding the American Democrats Abroad banner

Our local chapter of Democrats Abroad Sweden proudly marched for LGBTQ pride at West Pride, Saturday 18 June. Remember the ongoing struggles of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters around the world, and remember to vote in the primaries and the November election for LGBTQ-friendly candidates! If you haven't requested your ballots yet, please do so today at http://votefromabroad.org.

Shown in the pictures are chapter members Cheryl and Rick.

Rick with the Pride flagRick and Cheryl smiling


Protect kids not guns! Anti-gun-violence meetup 4 June

The attendees at the anti-gun-violence meetup.

We had another fun meet-up – unfortunately in response to the repeated (unending?) mass shootings in the States. Rick, Diane, Cheryl, and Nan were at Condeco on Fredsgatan in Göteborg where we had our recent abortion-rights meetup. Nan made another wonderful poster (see picture) and buttons! We enjoyed meeting two new members, helping them request their ballots, and sharing our back stories and current life situations. Conversation went on for three hours (!) beyond the planned three-hour event! We expect to have another get-out-the-vote (GOTV) event in a month or so.


May immigration afterwork with advokat Barney Fyman

Advokat Barry Fyman
At our May Last-Tuesday Afterwork, DA Western Sweden member Barney Fyman – a Swedish advokat and US lawyer – described the myriad ways of getting temporary or permanent visas for the US (amazingly more complex than one might have realized) and answered questions. In keeping with our recent practice, it was a hybrid event: in-person – upstairs in the back room of John Scott’s Linné near Järntorget in Göteborg – and online. Barney promised to come back another time to talk about immigration to Sweden. He has a long-time interest in constitutional law, so a talk about Roe v. Wade is in the works as well.


Bans Off Our Bodies GOTV event at Condeco Saturday 14 May

In response to the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overriding Roe v. Wade threatening not only the right to abortion but the right to privacy more broadly, Democrats Abroad – Western Sweden organized a get-out-the-vote meetup at Condeco-Fredsgatan in downtown Göteborg Saturday afternoon 14 May. New volunteer Nan Albertson inspired the meetup and created a wonderfully big sign (see below) as well as small pins that she gave out freely, especially to children waiting in line with their families for the toilets (since, conveniently, we were located near the toilet queue in Condeco’s wonderful upstairs “living room”).

Steering committee members Diane, Cheryl, and Rick had a great time meeting Nan and a few Americans who wandered by, sitting down long enough to get help requesting their ballots.

The location seems perfect for such events so we expect to have many more there.

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2018: A Great Year for Democrats in Western Sweden

Democrats in Western Sweden had an event-filled year while increasing our membership by about 25% and inspiring even many non-members (other Americans in Sweden) to vote in the very successful Mid-Term Elections. A few events are already highlighted with stories and pictures below: March for Our Lives gun-control demonstration, two Tax Events & Protests, and a very full Euro-Pride Week.

Early in the year we had several fun phone-banking parties at Frank & Gunilla Beal's home.

In May we attended the John Steinbeck play The Moon is Down -- about Nazi tyranny in Norway -- and starring our fantastic chair Kim MacKay.

We had five voter registration events including ones in Halmstad and Borås and a Sunday brunch.

In June went out to the ballgame (baseball) -- complete with Franks's wonderful crackerjacks! -- with the Göteborg Sharks (Hajarna)!

                                     Photo credit: The Local

In August we toured Nordens Ark and met new members in Bohuslän!

In December we attended the new Glenn Close movie The Wife --- about the Nobel Prize in Literature -- and heard inside stories from our member Fredrik Gildea who has a part in the movie!

Throughout the year we had monthly Last-Tuesday Afterworks (and one special one, after the election), many with special themes -- bilingualism, problems with our democracy, varieties of democracy, U.S. taxes, food waste, bicycling across North America -- as well as several focused on the election and results.

Naturally all these events required at least seven Steering Committee and Event Planning meetings -- most if not all magnificently hosted by Carry Cooper and Bill Collier -- as well as a constant stream of communications.

Thanks to all our Steering Committee and other volunteers for helping with this wonderfully successful year!

Within a few months we need to elect (or re-elect) our officers and other Steering Committee members. If you'd like to get involved, please get in touch!

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EuroPride-Göteborg: Human Rights Panel, DNC Reception, Literature/Information Table, & Parade!

We had a WONDERFUL experience with EuroPride Week in Göteborg this year! Besides a panel discussion on Friday with Martha McDevitt-Pugh (chair of DA's Global LGBT Caucus) and Ian Higham (DA-Sweden member and political researcher) during the Human Rights Conference (with moderator Maria Sjödin, former chair of RFSL)

and that evening a "DNC reception" with Martha and our own Adrianne George (both are elected DNC members representing Democrats Abroad),

 we had a literature/information booth several days where we gave out hundreds of Elect a Clown/Democrats Believe cards, 

and then we marched in the parade on Saturday and gave out at least a thousand more! 

The Make America Gay Again posters (showing Trump in bad drag) were EXTREMELY popular. Also buttons!


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May/June Tax Events and Tax Protest

In alignment with DA globally, we have a focus on tax problems that Americans abroad face because of our U.S. citizenship. Previously we've called and written postcards to Congress expressing our displeasure with the way that FATCA and FBAR affect us, as well as the frustration and expense of having to file U.S. income taxes, only -- in most cases -- to end up not owing anything (other than, in many cases, paying tax professionals to prepare the returns!). We're not fat-cat tax cheats, we're ordinary Americans who happen to live abroad.


Our Last-Tuesday Afterwork in May featured Lisa Stefani, an American tax professional (and IRS enrolled agent) resident in Western Sweden who talked and answered questions about filing FATCA, FBAR, and income tax forms. We very much appreciate Lisa's sharing her knowledge!


Then we were joined this past Saturday by former DA-Sweden chair Deedee Gierow -- making a special visit here from Kalmar -- who updated us on DA's global efforts to lobby successive Administrations and Congress for relief from citizenship-based taxation (by changing to residence-based taxation), or -- failing that -- for a same-country safe-harbor exemption from filing FATCA and FBAR (so that neither we nor banks would have to report accounts in the country where we live), or -- failing that -- for merging FBAR and FATCA filing into a single procedure to at least relieve some of the unnecessary burden. Deedee is a member of DA's global Taxation Task Force (our volunteer research and lobbying team) and, among other things, has been door-knocking on Capitol Hill many times, attempting to persuade legislators and their staffs to take our issues seriously.

Deedee emphasized that the more votes we can turn out from overseas, the more clout our volunteer lobbyists will have when they enter those Congressional offices. One of the first questions that staffers and legislators ask is, "How many votes have you got?"

So that's one more reason -- besides saving democracy, saving the planet, etc. -- for us to get out the vote in this critical election year!

But meanwhile, tax deadline for us overseas is June 15, and we encourage all Americans abroad to contact Congress and express our unhappiness with citizenship-based taxation and with the way that FATCA and FBAR are applied. That way, when our volunteer lobbyists walk into a Congressional office and ask -- "Have you been hearing complaints from Americans abroad about the tax-reporting system?" -- they will say YES!

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March For Our Lives

In support of March for Our Lives in Göteborg today! Our chair Kim MacKay led a brief but moving memorial service for the 17 victims in Florida, Michael Czarnecki took pictures (more to come), and SR (Sveriges Radio) interviewed member Hanna Mahaffey and posted the picture below. Thanks to all Democrats Abroad members and friends who came and brought signs!

Britt-Marie Mattsson in GP: "In Göteborg DA manifested in solidarity with demonstrators in the USA."

Heartfelt thanks to Michael Czarnecki for photos! 

 #MFOL #MFOL #DAresists

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Democrats Afloat -- Paddan Tour of Göteborg's Moat, Canal, and River Harbor

On Sunday member Hanna Mahaffey -- who is an official Paddan guide -- gave us a wonderful tour in the “party boat" of Göteborg's moat, canal, and river harbor -- including under many LOW bridges! -- giving us bits of the city's history and pointing out landmarks along the way. We even had a bit of a sing-a-long (thanks Jennifer and Emma)! We had 44 members and guests, including several potential new members and some (very) young Democrats! We also offer a huge thanks to our pilot, Hanna's friend ALSO named Hanna!

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Unite Against Hate Manifestation at St. Andrew's Church

We had a very successful Unite Against Hate manifestation at St. Andrews Church to protest the white supremicists, neo-Nazis, and KKK recently spewing racism, anti-Semitism, and hate in Charlottesville, VA, and in favor of inclusiveness, diversity, and tolerance. The event on Saturday afternoon 26 August coincided with similar events in Stockholm and Malmö. It was our first event in conjunction with St. Andrews Church and we expect it won't be the last. We had 53 people in attendance including many we hadn't met before.

Photo credit: Bill Collier. Pictures below: Rick Wicks

Our chapter chair Kim MacKay led the event, with Rev. David Bruce, church pastor, speaking movingly in introduction (see pictures below). Jacques Labouchere on guitar and Alex Sharp Cole on piano each (and sometimes together) provided lovely and moving music. Actor Brian Coughlin read excerpts from Plato's Republic in which Socrates described the nature of tyranny and how it can arise even in a functioning democracy. Benjamin Gerber tied those ancient words together with lessons from the ancient Jewish tradition. We ended with a minute of silence for the victims of attacks in Charlottesville and for the countless other current victims of similar acts around the world.

Rev. David Bruce welcoming for St. Andrew's Church

Jacques Labouchere with Michael Czarnecki, chair Kim MacKay, Bill Collier, and Benjamin Gerber

Jacques and participants

Brian Coughlin reading Socrates on tyranny from Plato's Republic

Benjamin Gerber speaking on ancient Jewish tradition and how we deal with crazy times

Alex Sharp Cole providing lovely and moving closing music

More pictures courtesy of Mike Czarnecki


#DAresists #ResistanceSummer

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