nr 3/2013






























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I got to know Rose-Marie Nordqvist while waiting at our busstop Dals Långed Centrum the years I lectured in Borås 180 kilometers to the south. We were both early and while we waited for the 6.10-bus we talked a little. Sometimes about the weather, other times about more important things. She always laughed when I took the photos in this project. And she is the only one who is on all photos but one.


Rose-Marie has since 1964 raised at 4.30 to go to work, as she do not like stress in the mornings. And this despite constant pain in arms and shoulders since she worked in a textile company sewing pockets.  She got sick pension halftime 1992. Now she has retired completely.


- You can't do anything about looking old, but you don't have to wear boring clothes, says Rose-Marie and shows me shoes with skulls and the tattooed roses. She has glued glittering butterflies on her plastic slippers.



Rose-Marie's parents and greatparents was "statare", that is agricultural labourer receiving allowance (payment) in kind near Lidköping. The system with "statare" was used at big farms in southern and middle Sweden, a system that nearly meant slavery and is something to be ashamed of for Swedes. It was not abolished until 1944 after a long struggle by the workers union and as a result of novels written by authors having been born into this way of living: Ivar Lo-Johansson, Moa Martinsson and Jan Fridegård. According to Julius Ejdenstam some masters did abuse the female workes and the young girls sexually and that without any real fear of punishment.


As these workers did not get payed with money they very often were in debt in the local shop which normally was owned by the master. This meant that they could not move to a better working place; the Swedish Wikipedia states that they nearly lived in bondage. In the Swedish farming areas shops were far between and the spare time non existent for agricultural workers.


If this kind of agricultural workers (statare) joined the Labour Movement their masters often evicted the whole family, as their dwelling was part of the payment.


This system with "statare" was never used in the northern part (Norrland), but the conditions was not much better for workers in the metal- och paperindustries that flourished in Norrland.

*De fattigas Sverige. Julius Ejdenstam. Raben & Sjögren, Stockholm 1969.



Rose-Marie crotches a lot. She has for instance crotched this big round carpet made of a long chain of trebles sewn together. The carpet is thick and warm and beautiful. It must have taken her long time to crotch all those trebles and have been very difficult to sew the carpet together.