Photo of pristine Copenhagen. [Source:]

Regardless of what Bernie Sanders says, Denmark is not a socialist country: it does not refrain from imperialistic wars; it fails to subject its bankers and billionaires to the same laws that “ordinary” citizens must obey; and it decreases social welfare benefits.

Bernie Sanders has apparently convinced much of the American leftwing that Denmark is a socialist model for how the United States should look. Sanders has publicly extolled Denmark’s socio-political structure for many years and in 2013 published an article in The Huffington Post—“What We Can Learn From Denmark”—lauding Denmark’s “solidarity system” in which no one is “allowed to fall into despair” or “be poor.”[1]

While Denmark certainly has a better system of social welfare than in the U.S., the solidarity system advanced in the 1970s under the leadership of Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen (1972-1973; 1975-1982) has begun to breakdown. The country has experienced widening social inequalities, dislocations and poverty approaching levels of other countries that have adopted a neoliberal economic model emphasizing deregulation, privatization, and cuts to public services. Denmark has also supported U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya as a NATO member state and, as CAM previously reported, spied massively on its own citizens, sharing that information with the National Security Agency (NSA) which helped build a facility for data collection on Danish soil.[2] Given all this, Sanders’ references to Denmark as a model country are not only misleading, but also dangerous; they set limits for the left and leave out the possibility of genuinely radical and progressive socialist transformation.

Ironically, Sanders isn’t the only one to consider Denmark as a model country. A British delegation to Washington in 2013 was told by a top official of the Obama administration that the United Kingdom ought to be more like Denmark, “a model to follow.”[3] The reason it was a model had nothing to do with Denmark’s supposedly progressive social policies, but rather its close alignment with U.S. imperialism, and enthusiastic support for American wars of aggression in the Middle East.

Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen (foreground left) meets Danish soldier-mercenary, occupiers of Afghanistan (foreground right). (February, 2109) [Source: Defense Ministry website photo]

From Left to Right

Denmark fits with the broader pattern by which the social democratic framework of government, which predominated after World War II, was gradually eroded due to the increasing power of corporate interests combined with anticommunist propaganda, which infected the middle and working classes. In the 1970s, Chicago Economics (neo-liberalism) replaced the more social welfare-oriented economics, or Keynesian model, which was adopted to bail out capitalism’s depression in the 1930s—the New Deal. This occurred as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) states demanded and received a greater share of oil profits, and the Nixon administration adopted neo-liberal tactics that required cutbacks for workers and welfare. Weakened unions caved-in to the greater profiteering and conservative economic course by Ronald Reagan’s time. The conservative Danish government of Poul Schlüter, 1982-93, followed the U.S.’s instructions as did all of capitalist Europe. Left-of-center Social Democrats and Peoples Socialists (SF), followed suit, in order to compete for centrist voters, and as the apolitical new generation entered the job market.

Since then, loopholes in the tax system for wealthy individuals and corporations, as well as tax havens (see Panama Papers), make it relatively easy to cheat on taxes. Danish bankers have been exposed for swindling, and laundering money for drug dealers and weapons smugglers. These matters have been a media story for the past two to three years. However, no bankers or corporate heads are sentenced to jail. At best, they pay fines out of illegal profits, leaving them richer for their crimes. Bankers have swindled billions of dollars. Individuals, however, who defraud the state are often jailed. As I write, the radio news reported that one lone criminal was just sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for falsifying government documents for which he received a mere $70,000 fine. Not much different here in Denmark than in the United States.

The Last Real Social Democratic Prime Minister

I first met Denmark’s last truly Social Democratic (SD) Prime Minister, Anker Jørgensen , in his state office, unannounced, in late 1980. I had just come to Denmark to marry Grethe. Sometimes I covered official politics and attended discussions at the parliament. The six-story building is a labyrinth of wooden stairs, long hallways and hundreds of offices. On my second trip, I ambled about unable to find the stairs that led to the balcony reserved for journalists. There were no guards, no signs on doors. I stopped before a high door and turned the bronze polished handle.

A small man sat behind a large desk. He turned to look at me, a smile on his face. I flushed and spurted an apology for disturbing what I realized was the nation’s political leader. “That’s quite alright. No problem,” replied the prime minister unperturbed. His face wrinkled cozily through a white mustache and goatee. Thinning black hair brushed back revealed a partially bald scalp. No guards or assistants appeared as I quietly closed the big door.

Later in the 1980s, I spoke a few times with the unassuming man when he was no longer prime minister yet still the Social Democratic party leader. We attended Danish union meetings with delegates from unions in Central America, men and women under threat by death squads working with the CIA and U.S. military “advisors” backing murderous dictatorial regimes.

In 1985, I again met Anker (as he was known by all) standing beside his old-fashioned, gearless bicycle in the dead of winter. I asked him, as I had Sweden’s PM Olof Palme, if he would remain on standby when and if we might need him and his political influence during the Central American peace-solidarity march for which I was an organizer and press secretary. Anker readily agreed, and he followed through on his word when one of our marchers in El Salvador was arrested.

Anker started his working life as a bicycle messenger, later as an unskilled warehouse worker. He quickly made shop steward and worked his way up the union ladder. In the 1960s, he actively opposed the U.S. war against Vietnam. Anker participated in Denmark sessions of the Russell-Sartre Tribunal, in 1968. He was a supporter of the oppressed in many parts of the world, and of the 1968 Danish student uproar. It was therefore with sadness for many on the left, the more militant class-conscious workers and intellectuals, that he decided to support Denmark’s admission to the EU, then called the EF, in 1972. Anker often found himself in the middle of political controversies yet, as the only PM from the working class in Danish history, he stood by his class most of the time.

Anker Jørgensen formed governments five times between 1972 and 1982. In November 1990, no longer PM, he went on his own to Iraq to speak with Saddam Hussein about freeing 38 Danes jailed there during the first Gulf War. Hussein immediately released 14, who returned to Denmark with Jørgensen on November 5, 1990. The others were returned a month later. This was the first time Denmark went to war for the US. [Source: Iraq government photo]

During his terms as prime minister, he extended the social welfare system, the last state leader to do so. He got the pre-retirement benefits law passed, (at 62 years instead of waiting for old age pension at 67, which is the current age for retirement); increased paid vacations to five weeks for everyone; guaranteed pay raises for public employees; guaranteed social assistance, and more.

In Anker’s time, Denmark was known as a tolerant, peaceful, civil liberties/freedom-loving land—diplomacy was considered best.

Anker supported the so-called “footnote” foreign policy (1982-8) when Denmark opposed placing NATO nuclear missiles in Europe. The anti-war movement had already convinced the Establishment not to allow NATO military exercises and atomic weapons on its territory. There were several confrontations between the U.S. and Denmark because of this.

Anker died peacefully, March 20, 2016, at 93. A people’s man, he lived all his adult life, until he entered a senior’s home, in a moderate apartment in a working class district of Copenhagen.

Denmark was a vanguard country in sexual freedom and gender equality. Brothels were legal as far back as the 1870s. For some of the 20th century, sex for sale was illegal but allowed. Denmark was the first country to legalize same-sex sexual activity, in 1933; and to legalize same-gender marriage, June 15, 2012. Since 1977, the consent age for sex is 15. Denmark was the first country to legalize pornography in July 1969.

PM Anker Joergensen at opening of Koege Bay beach park. (Summer 1980) [Source:]

Freetown Christiania is a major tourist attraction. It belonged to the military when, on September 4, 1971, the abandoned military area of 34 hectares was occupied by neighbors who broke down the fence. They set up living quarters in abandoned barracks and some built their own housing. Youth House was a legal underground Copenhagen center for music and free lifestyle, mainly used by autonomists and leftists for two decades until the city government closed it in 2007.

Many people in the U.S. would think that socialism had arrived in Denmark. However, ownership of the economy is in private hands. And, as a member of NATO and the EU, Denmark cooperates in war games and U.S. wars.

Ironically, it was after the fall of “communism” and the end of the Cold War that Denmark decided to begin its “activist foreign policy.” It followed the U.S. by sending troops to expedite the break-up of Yugoslavia, the last European socialist state, and participated in the Middle East and Africa in dubious interventions that were largely part of grabs for oil and other natural resources.

Danish Prime Minister Disputes Sanders’ Analysis

A recent centrist prime minister, Lars Loekke Rasmussen (2009-2011; 2015-2019), told a Harvard University audience, October 30, 2015, that he rejected Bernie Sanders’ contention that Denmark is socialist.

“I know that some people in the United States associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism,” he said. “I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

In Rasmussen’s view, “The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.”

Denmark has, as Rasmussen said, exactly the kind of single-payer health care system that Sanders favors. In Rasmussen’s view, this “doesn’t amount to socialism at all.”

Since the 1980s, the Danish government, even under social democrats, has adopted austere cuts to social welfare programs and provided periodic tax breaks for wealthy corporations and individuals. The country’s first female prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt, who was known as Gucci-Helle for her choice in handbags, enacted sweeping budget cuts and lost the 2015 election after instituting an unpopular privatization program. This program included the sale of part of the national energy company to Goldman Sachs, which netted a $2 billion profit over three years.[4]

The first female prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning Schmidt, from the social democratic party was known as Gucci-Helle for wearing expensive designer clothing while she promoted unpopular privatization measures and cut social protections. [Source:]

Gucci Helle’s defeat in 2015 led to a center-right government, which continued the neoliberal austerity policy that has been further advanced by the current SD Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Not coincidentally, Denmark’s Gini coefficient measuring inequality has increased in the last decade while union membership has declined. Growing dissatisfaction with the status quo has led to a rebirth of right-wing nativist parties who scapegoat immigrants for the country’s rising social inequality and other problems.[5]

In 2014, the right-wing Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti/DF) emerged as Denmark’s winner in European parliamentary elections with 26.7% of the vote. Subsequently, it became for a period Denmark’s second largest party: It ran its campaigns against bureaucracy and welfare cuts, which it wound up predominantly supporting; it protected national sovereignty in relations with the European Union; and it has demanded more restrictions on immigration.

Many of the right-wing Danish People’s Party supporters are working class and trade union members who have felt betrayed by the social democrats and left—like elsewhere in the Western world.[6]

The DF suffered a major defeat in the 2019 election, however, and its demise spawned even more extreme right-wing parties. Further, its anti-immigrant platform was adopted by the Social Democrats who supported a plan to stop accepting an annual quota of refugees resettled by the United Nations.

The failure of the left in Denmark has led to surging nativism and the scapegoating of immigrants—an increasingly common phenomenon seen in other European countries and the U.S. [Source:]

Social Welfare

Denmark’s welfare system was founded on the principle of human rights, influenced by codification of human rights in the United Nations Charter.

In Denmark, especially following WWII, a form of social contract was agreed upon between citizens and the state, according to which everyone should have sustainable social security.

Taxes generally range from 38% to 57% of income. The sales tax is 25% for all goods. These taxes pay for the social welfare system.  

Here are Danish welfare benefits:

  1. All citizens-permanent residents are entitled to universal health care run by the state. This covers general practice, psychologists and all specialties, home nursing care as well. Dental care is partially covered by taxes, but patients pay the major costs.
  2. All mothers have maternity leave four weeks prior to expected birth with full pay, and 14 weeks following birth. Fathers have two weeks leave following birth. Both parents can share an additional 32 weeks paid leave. They decide who takes how much leave and when. 
  3. Daytime child-care is guaranteed with up to 70% payment by the state.
  4. No tuition for Danish state colleges-universities. Students receive a small stipend. This may not be enough to live on, but it helps. Loans must be paid back with high interests.
  5. Paid sick leave from work.
  6. Unemployment insurance after being on the job one year. Unemployment was 5% before the corona pandemic.
  7. State pensions for all 67 years and older, just enough to live on.[7]
  8. If one has no income, one is entitled to a small cash assistance, not enough to cover most residential rentals. Costs of housing, rentals and ownership, is one of the highest in the world. Low income renters can obtain some state assistance. There are officially 6500 homeless people in Denmark. However, most of them do not qualify for rental assistance.
  9. Five weeks paid vacation for all.
  10. Work week is 37.5 hours.

Danes have been ranked as the first, second or third happiest people in the world since the United Nations began sponsoring “world happiness reports,” in 2012.

Happy Danes even have a political party by that name (Lykke parti in Danish). Its slogan: “Everyone can help create a society that is a little happier tomorrow than it is today, so we can all be safe when we go to bed—and free when we wake up.”

Happy young Danes, or perhaps unhappy young Danes, are also Europe’s heaviest alcohol drinkers. The current World Health Organization report shows that 82% of 15-year-old Danes drink alcohol compared with 59% of their European peers. Thirty-two percent of youth reported being drunk in the previous month when questioned during the 2017 report. The European average was 13%.[8]

Binge drinking is so popular that newspaper articles report that non-drinking students are sometimes bullied for not drinking. In fact, during the corona crisis, youths are meeting in public places with their alcohol. If they do not get too close to one another, allegedly, police allow this.  

Welfare Declining 

Nick Allentoft, journalist/author, expert on welfare, is chief editor of (“The Public,” a website dedicated to following the welfare system). In his April 26, 2018, piece, “Welfare state crumbles and that hits all of us,” he states that, as economic growth diminished in the early 1980s, the centrist government under Poul Schlüter (a good friend of Ronald Reagan) launched the “Modernization Program,” which started the decay.

Unemployed people are hunted down and sanctioned for mistakes, while the system gets away with miserable case processing. Patients are met with demands to get well as soon as possible—even when they are dying. People in life crises no longer find the security in the welfare state that they were brought up to expect…the social contract is lifted.

This is written by a man who is a centrist in Danish politics, well to the right of Bernie Sanders.

Allentoft offers three key reasons for the downturn:

A social crisis that has grown out of the rigid and bureaucratic social and employment system, where citizens have to submit to systems and demands that in many cases destroy more than they do good for the people who face it.

Leadership Crisis. Here we see public leaders, who for ten years have been trained to stay in so-called management spaces where they must satisfy documentation requirements and bureaucracy, while holistic solutions and respect for the social contract comes second.

Democracy crisis. In an attempt to find solutions, it will be natural to turn our attention to Christiansborg [Parliament] and the Central Administration. But there, a democratic crisis is nurtured. Large parts of the civil service, along with many politicians, have apparently forgotten the social contract and are toasting the welfare state while it is actually being weakened.

Allentoft does not criticize the capitalist system per se, just some of its cold bureaucratic consequences.

His solution is for people in important positions to realize the error of their ways. The welfare system, he says, can be revitalized by focusing on “openness,” “simplicity,” “freedom,” and “professionalism.” 

Cutbacks in social and economic welfare are adversely affecting Danes. According to European Union statistics, 17.7% of the 5.8 million Danish population live in poverty—15.7% of children, 9.9% of seniors.[9] 

The number of Danes under the poverty line has doubled in the past half-dozen years. The value of pensions decrease because there have been no real raises for many years.  Unemployment benefits have radically decreased. Real wages have also slightly decreased. Some socialist model for the U.S.! 

Copenhagen has seen a spike in the homeless rate as social protections are eroded. [Source:]

The Danish state spends less on health care than the U.S. The World Bank rates health care costs at 10.11% of GDP for Denmark, and 17.06% for the U.S.[11]

Another comparison is what is spent per capita. In 2017, Danes spent $5.800 per annum compared with $10.246 by Americans.[12]

While Denmark’s heath care system is clearly superb comparatively, declining working conditions in the vocations, as well as all other civil services—education, social workers, pedagogy, and senior homes—is causing great pressure on employees. They must work harder with fewer hands. Stress is epidemic, the major cause of work absenteeism. This hits nurses especially now in the midst of the pandemic. At least 1,000 more nurses are needed. Doctors are also hard-pressed. 

Since I first moved here 40 years ago, people now grumble more about the stress and decreasing quality of working conditions than before. Yet many civil servants are afraid to speak out at their jobs. A recent report by their union shows that 42% of employees are afraid to complain for fear of being fired. That is twice the number a decade ago. Whistleblowers are definitely not rewarded.

Although there are still solid and important benefits, cutbacks are keeping more people from attending entertainment, sports and recreation activities. Eleven percent of Danes say they cannot afford a vacation away from home.

Nevertheless, existing benefits sound like paradise to most Americans, and especially for people in the “third world.” Some degree of social welfare has existed in much of Western Europe since shortly after World War I and the Russian revolution. Many European capitalists realized that the working class might well overthrow capitalism for the advantages of socialism, in which workers could gain real power. The key difference between most European capitalists and United States capitalists was (is) that the U.S. was never truly threatened by a socialist revolution.

Fascist Coup Against FDR and Rollback of New Deal Reforms

The Business Plot (aka The White House Coup Plot) was a political conspiracy, in 1933-4, exposed by retired Marine General Smedley Darlington Butler. He was approached by a representative of J.P. Morgan to organize a military coup d´état. Butler played along enough to inform the president, who was able to stop the process. Morgan and company—Du Pont, Rockefeller, GM, GE, ITT among others—offered millions for Roosevelt’s overthrow. None went to jail.[13]  Since that time, American big business has worked insidiously to dominate the political structure and rollback many New Deal reforms, including in the realm of banking regulation. America has evolved as a highly unequal society with a declining middle-class. Denmark by comparison looks much better, though the country has also experienced a rightward shift, as we have discussed, and has many problems lurking beneath the surface.

Billionaires Would Not Exist in Socialism

Contrary to the many illusions, Denmark’s political-economic system is actually to the right of America’s and more regressive in a number of ways.

The contemporary social welfare system in Denmark, for example, imposes minimal tariffs on foreign goods compared to the U.S.; businesses are only lightly regulated, and the corporate tax rate is much lower than in the United States. There is no minimum wage in Denmark, although most workers earn higher wages and salaries due to the bargaining strength of labor unions. Medium income is 20% higher than in the U.S. The country overall is far from socialist—a governing system that strives for collective ownership of major industry and resources, and high taxes on the wealthy to fund a robust public sector.

Misinformation about Denmark extends across the political spectrum in the U.S.—from Sanders heralding the country as a model socialist state to Fox News business host Chris Regan claiming that in Socialist Denmark no one wanted to work.[14]

Washington Post columnist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria wrote:

“Denmark, Sweden and Norway [are] examples of the kind of economic system [Sanders] wants to bring to the United States…Sanders has been clear on the topic: ‘Billionaires should not exist.’ But Sweden and Norway both have more billionaires per capita than the United States—Sweden almost twice as many. Not only that, these billionaires are able to pass on their wealth to their children tax-free. Inheritance taxes in Sweden and Norway are zero, and in Denmark 15 percent. The United States, by contrast, has the fourth-highest estate taxes in the industrialized world at 40 percent.”[15]

Zakaria continued:

Bringing the economic system of Denmark, Sweden and Norway to the United States would mean embracing more flexible labor markets, light regulations and a deeper commitment to free trade. It would mean a more generous set of social benefits—to be paid for by taxes on the middle class and poor. If Sanders embraced all that, it would be radical indeed.

Zakaria who is a conservative, characteristically titled his column “The Scandinavian Fantasy,” dismissing aspects of the Danish model which are genuinely progressive compared to the U.S.

Another political centrist, former Social Democrat party chairman and former chairman of the United Nations General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, spoke to journalist Amélie Reichmuth about how to correct the declining welfare system:

The Nordic countries have been hit by what one can call the ‘neoliberal bacteria,’ and our welfare system and Nordic international engagement is weaker than it was for 10-15 years ago. But our ordered society and our professional thinking is still on course with what is necessary…Those like Reagan and Thatcher, glad for cutting back on welfare, have begun to fear for the [widespread] dissatisfaction that inequality and insecurity have created, which can go towards a pre-revolutionary atmosphere among people, and can end anywhere. That is the challenge to social democracy.

Without saying so directly, characteristic of this sly politician, he refers to what occurred following the bloody, totally senseless first world war that led to the Russian Revolution  ̶namely that workers wanted benefits that capitalism wasn’t granting, and they were protesting and striking.  

Danes are generally quite conservative when it comes to protesting. They are obedient and trust their government, no matter what parties lead them. Between 80 and 90% of Danes vote in national elections compared to 50-55% of Americans. Danes simply want their tax money to function for them.

NATO’s Rock Star

Danes have been particularly docile about their government’s function in the world system as an adjunct of American imperialism.

Bernie Sanders evaded mention of Denmark’s increasingly militaristic and aggressive foreign policy in his “What We Can Learn from Denmark” piece. This is not surprising because Sanders’ has supported many of the military interventions, which they have participated in going back to the Balkans conflict of the 1990s.[16]

The Danes participated in anti-Serb operations and sent F-16 fighter jets which participated in the NATO air war over Kosovo, whose underlying purpose was to establish the giant Camp Bondsteel U.S. military base, and undermine the Serbian socialist regime of Slobodan Milosovic.[17]

In March 2003, claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Prime Minister Anders Fog Rasmussen convinced the Danish parliament to declare war on Iraq when it was never authorized by the UN, EU, or other international bodies. Denmark contributed a submarine, warship and 400 troops to the invasion and contracted with Blackwater to protect Danish soldiers, five of whom were accused of having taken ”trophy photos” of Iraqi war dead.[18]

The Danish government also enthusiastically supported the war in Afghanistan, where Danish forces suffered the highest number of casualties among participating nations per capita.[19] During the Operation Odyssey Dawn that destroyed Libya, only the U.S. dropped more precision guided munitions than Denmark. Prime Mnister Løkke Rasmussen sanctioned the deployment of F-16 fighter jets, which Major-General Margaret H. Woodward called the ”rock stars” of Odyssey Dawn. They dropped 821 bombs, or 11 percent of the NATO total, killing numbers of civilians including allegedly Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s youngest son and three of his grandchildren in an attack on May 1, 2011.[20]

Danish soldiers in Iraq. [Source:]

In 2014, the Danish parliament overwhelmingly approved an F-16 squadron to fight ISIS that flew 547 missions and dropped an estimated 500 bombs over northern Iraq.[21] The Danish government was also first to support the U.S. efforts to overthrow the Bashir al Assad government in Syria, sending Special Forces troops and operating a frigate that operated jointly with a U.S. aircraft carrier. Denmark further provided over $20 million kroner ($2.143 million U.S. dollars) annually in support of the “white helmets,” a front organization for Islamic jihadists opposing Assad that masqueraded as humanitarian aid workers.[22]

Twenty-thousand Danish soldier-mercenaries have generally fought in a dozen aggressive wars waged by the U.S., with 68 of them having been killed since 1991.

This commitment to war has eroded democratic principles in Denmark, with war critics and whistleblowers being treated very harshly. Frank Gervil, for example, was sentenced to four months in prison and was shunned by colleagues after leaking classified documents which showed that Anders Fogh Rasmussen had lied to the public when he stated he was “absolutely certain” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.[23] An intelligence officer, Anders Koustrup Kaergaard also received death threats, was fined, and couldn’t get a job after he exposed that Danish officers had filmed handing Iraqi civilians over to pro-U.S. Iraqi troops who then tortured them.[24]

During the Cold War, the Defense Intelligence Service (FE) spied on leftists and included members of the CIA equipped and trained clandestine Gladio army, headed by an extreme anticommunist E.J. Harder, who was given the nickname ”Bispen” after a medieval Bishop who had defeated the Russians in the Middle Ages.[25] The Gladio army had been formed to prevent a leftist takeover and, under Harder’s direction, were engaged in sensitive covert operations to try and sabotage pro-Soviet governments in Eastern Europe.[26]

The Danish government this year has appropriated $160 million for the FE (Defense Intelligence Service), which operates with neither sufficient nor effective oversight. In 2018, the Danish parliament agreed to increase the defense budget by 20 percent over the next six years in order to help ward off the alleged threat from Russia. The terms of the deal included creation of a 4,000-member army brigade focused on countering Russia in the Baltic Sea.[27]

Sanders’ model socialist country has thus placed itself on the front-lines of the new Cold War while serving as a spearcarrier of an empire that is hostile towards socialism wherever it springs up.

Given all this, it would behoove leftists to drop the idea of the kind of “socialism” practiced in Denmark, as well as any reference to Denmark as a model socialist-democracy. Instead, they should work to eradicate all forms of capitalism, and shape strategies and tactics to create a working class-led socialist economy and society that does not support foreign aggression. At this time, such a society does not exist in Denmark and is unlikely to develop there in the near-future.

Ron Ridenour is a U.S.-born author and journalist, anti-war and civil rights activist since 1961. After working for Cuba national media (1988-96), he now lives in Denmark. CAM co-founder Phil Agee wrote commentaries to two of his dozen books: “Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans Living and Working in the New Nicaragua”, and “Backfire: CIA’s Biggest Burn”. See:  “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert” and “Winding Brook Stories” at Amazon and Lulu.  Other work can be found at;

[1] Senator Bernie Sanders, “What Can We Learn from Denmark,” The Huffington Post, May 26, 2013,

[2] Ron Ridenour, “Huge Intelligence Agency Scandal Rocks Denmark and Puts its ‘Deep State’ on Trial,” CovertAction Magazine, August 27, 2020,

[3] Peter Viggo Jakobsen & Jens Ringsmose, ‘Size and Reputation – Why the USA Has Valued its “Special Relationship” with Denmark and the UK differently since 9/11’, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, vol. 13. no. 2, 135–53; Kristian Søby Kristensen & Kristian Knus Larsen, ”Denmark’s Fight Against Irrelevance, or the Alliance Politics of ‘Punching Above Your Weight’”

[4] Bjarne Corydon, the Social Democratic finance minister who pushed through the sale in the face of large popular protests, eventually left office only to take up a lucrative position at consulting firm McKinsey. Today he is chief editor at Børsen — the Danish equivalent of the Wall Street Journal.

[5] Inger V. Johansen, “The Danish People’s Party and the ‘Pragmatic Far Right,’” in The Far Right in Government: Six Cases From Across Europe (New York: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2018), 39-46.

[6] Johansen, “The Danish People’s Party and the ‘Pragmatic Far Right,’” in The Far Right in Government, 39-46.

[7] As I write, PM Mette Frederiksen announced that her minority government proposes to allow early pensions for workers 61+ years of age who have worked for 42+ years. This unusual benefit is to be financed by a special tax of high profiteering banks, and some industries. The amount for early pensions will be less than full pension. It is estimated to cost half a billion U.S. dollars equivalent annually. (Bank CEOs state they will refuse to pay this from profits of ca. $15 billion dollars. They say customers will pay for the special tax. Clearly a capitalist response.






[13] See chapter eight of my book, “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert”–rr.htm. See also, Trading with the Enemy: An exposé of the Nazi American Money Plot by Charles Higham.

[14] Adam Forrest, “Fox News Host Ridiculed For Comparing Denmark to Venezuela,” The Independent, August 17, 2018,; Chris Moody, “Bernie Sanders’ American Dream is in Denmark,” CNN, February 17, 2016,

While the US has the greatest number of billionaires in the world (614 out of 2,095, according to Forbes, in 2020 their percentage of the population (1.8 of one million) is less than that of Sweden (3.2 with 31), and Norway (2.8 with 12). Denmark has 8 billionaires for a percentage of 1.4 per million.

[16] For a review of Sanders’ record in supporting many wars when waged by Democratic Party presidents, see Jeffrey St. Clair, Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes from a Failed Revolution (Petrolia, CA: Counterpunch Press, 2016).

[17] Karsten Jakob Møller & Peter Viggo Jakobsen, ”‘Good News: Libya and the Danish Way of War’”, in Nanna Hvidt & Hans Mouritzen (eds), Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2012, Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, 2012, 106, For review of the Kosovo war and its purposes, see David Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009).

[18] ”Denmark Defends Decision to Back Iraq War,” The Irish Times, July 14, 2003,; “Denmark’s Role in Iraq War Faces New Scrutiny,” The Local, July 6, 2015,

[19] Moller and Jakobsen, ”Good News Libya and the Danish Way of War,” 106.

[20] Møller & Jakobsen, ‘Good News: Libya and the Danish Way of War’,”, 114, 118; Kristensen & Larsen, ”Denmark’s Fight Against Irrelevance, or the Alliance Politics of ‘Punching Above Your Weight’”

[21] “Denmark to Reinforce Military Fight Against ISIS,” Defense News, April 21, 2016,; Gary Schaub Jr. and André Ken Jakobson, ”Denmark in NATO,” War on the Rocks, July 17, 2018,

[22] Denmark says deploying special forces to Syria against Islamic State,” Reuters, January 20, 2017,; “Denmark Donates DKK 20 Million to White Helmets in Syria,” On the white helmets and deception about them in Western media, see Max Blumenthal, The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (London: Verso, 2019), 208-219.

[23] Ridenour, ”Huge Intelligence Agency Scandal Rocks Denmark and Puts its “Deep State” on Trial.”

[24] Peter, Stanners, ”War Crimes, Lies and a Videotape,” The Murmur, October 6, 2016,

[25] Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, foreword by Dr. John Prados (London: Frank Cass, 2005), 168, 169, 170. The aim of the Gladio army was to prevent the left from taking power in Denmark.

[26] Ganser, NATOs Secret Armies, 171.

[27] Joanne Stocker, “Danish Lawmakers Approve 20 Percent Defense Spending Increase,” The Defense Post, January 29, 2018,

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About the Author

About the Author


  1. Most enlightening! Well done and thank you. Were it not for indy journalists like you, I’d probably be goose-stepping along in the ranks of the marching dead. Got a microscopic glimpse of Danish politics via Netflix’s “Borgen,” and it appeared (on the screen) to be little different than any other “western” style gov’t, with its fascists, communists, and fence sitters.
    Have always considered Sanders, like all the rest, a fraud.

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