50 years ago Carl Johan De Geer created a poster of a burning Swedish flag on which he wrote “the cock”, and the attached message “Soil the flag, refuse all arms”. Now the picture is once again topical, and is being seld as support for the newspaper “Expo” [a far left Swedish newspaper].
Carl Johan De Geer, why do you relaunch the picture?
– I think the thesis “Betray your motherland, be anti-nationalistic”, which I got convicted for in Svea Court of Appeal 1967, is still relevant. In 1967, I showcased the posters at Karlsson’s gallery in Stockholm, but to my great grief the police arrived the next day and confiscated everything.
What were you convicted for?
– I was sentenced to 75 fines for “insulting the state symbol and incitement.” The funny thing is that I just now have begun hearing from people who think I should be put to jail, or be punished once again. But this already happened once, and these people seem to not know Swedish law, which states that you cannot be punished for the same crime twice.
Are you taking a stand against the same nationalism now as you did in 1967?
– No. Today’s nationalism is xenophobic and racist, it wasn’t in the sixties. At that time no xenophobic movement counteracted the refugees and deserters who took refuge in Sweden. But then again, that time was a lot closer to the second world war, and movements of Nazi nature weren’t considered normal at that time; people thought they had seen it for the last time.
– Today both the world and nationalism are different. In Europe, as well as in Sweden, manipulative politicians have given nationalism a terrifying new grasp. Today people flee Syria in masses, and many want to open all borders while others build barbed wire fences. It’s hard to say what should be done about this nationalism and xenophobia that’s now showing it’s face, and therefore it once again feels topical to urge people to soil the flag. Nationalism leads to dictatorship, I believe.
Some try to reclaim the flag as a symbol, what’s your opinion on that?
– For decades now people have said that we have to reclaim the flag from the extreme right. I do not think so. Besides it’s use in sporting events, I think the flag is a destructive symbol which can lead to war and terror. It’s the nationalists that are the terrorists of today.
Should we make an updated flag with an EU-flag?
– No, I do not think so. The EU will dissolve as a result of it’s own inner disharmony. In 30 years it will probably no longer exist. But I do not work as an artist in the sensational way anymore, now I work more with humor. I used to be young and angry, now I am old and mild.
The 11th of October  will everyone who bought a t-shirt gather at Nytorget in Stockholm to take part of a manifestation.