Is Hanna Mäntylä qualified to advise the European Council on youth radicalization?

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Are you ready for the following news? New Reform MP and former Perussuomalaiset* social and health minister, Hanna Mäntylä, is going to be named as a special advisor to the European Council. Her expertise will be used to challenge youth radicalization and marginalization. 

Yes, right. I too fell on my back when I read the news on YLE.

If we look at Mäntylä’s past record as minister and her former statements on cultural diversity, it’s clear that they fuel inequality and radicalization and don’t lessen them.

Should we be surprised that Mäntylä will form part of such a European Council committee? I wonder what former New Reform Foreign Minister Timo Soini had to do with Mäntylä’s naming?

One of her plans as social and health minister was to pass new legislation that would grant migrants less social welfare than native Finns. Fortunately, such a law did not see the light of day since it was unconstitutional. This was part of an 80-point government plan to tighten immigration laws.

Migrant Tales wrote in 2015:

“The government now hopes with the 80-point plan to not only make life difficult for asylum seekers, and in turn for all migrants and minorities in this country but introduce policy changes that are unconstitutional. PS Social Welfare Minister Hanna Mäntylä has been eager to lower subsidies to asylum seekers that get a residence permit.

 


Read the full story (in Finnish)  here. Subsitute MP Visa Riskilä will replace Mäntylä.

Another important question we should ask if Mäntylä qualified for the job?

Spreading anti-immigration rhetoric and polarizing Finnish society don’t make you an “expert” on how to stop youth radicalization.

Moreover, Mäntylä was a suspect in a social welfare fraud case. but was saved from going to court thanks to statute of limitations, which had expired.

 Mäntylä resigned as minister in 2016 due to “family problems.”

She has been largely absent from politics in her northern Lapland province.

* After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both are hostile to cultural diversity, one is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.

 

How systemic racism and discrimination work in the Finnish workplace

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There are a number of studies that show that Finnish labor markets suffer from racialization and discriminate against migrant women. See box story with key figures on migrants in the Finnish labor market here

Migrant Tales spoke to three practical nurses that work for a large company in Helsinki.  The name of the company will not be published in order to not reveal the identity of the practical nurses, who are all of African origin and who spoke on condition of anonymity.


If a representative of the Finnish media would like to expand on this story, they can get in touch with us at editor@migranttales.net.


There is overwhelming evidence through numerous studies, surveys even word of mouth that Finnish labor markets suffer from racialization and where especially migrant women face an uphill battle in finding work even if they have the same qualifications as their male counterparts.


The table above shows the educational background of 15-64-year-old migrants (ulkomaalaistaustainen) and Finns (suomalaistaustainen) who have completed tertiary education (korkea aste), upper secondary school (toinen aste) or comprehensive school (peruskoulu). Source: Survey on work and well-being among people of foreign origin.

One of the biggest challenges that visible migrants face in general, and women of African and Middle Eastern origin in particular, is whom to turn to if you are a victim of racism and discrimination at work. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman doesn’t handle discrimination cases at work but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Finland (Työsuojelu)  and union do. Even so, it doesn’t guarantee anything because you are explaining your case to white people as one of the practical nurses, called Maryan, said.

Another factor that doesn’t encourage Finland to take a more effective approach in tackling discrimination at the workplace is the political climate against migrants and cultural diversity.

New Alternative* speaker of parliament, Maria Lohela, is one such example of how politicians, who should know better, fuel such a hostile environment against people like Maryan Last year she blamed migrants for high unemployment rates.

Despite the fact that Lohela made a political career with her Islamophobic rhetoric, her disingenuous claim about the causes of high migrant unemployment highlights how some politicians wash their hands of the problem: It’s all the migrants’ fault.

One of the findings of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR)  2012-2013 shadow report on discrimination in employment in Finland was startling:

Data on labor market discrimination in Finland is sketchy and difficult to obtain. Although it is known and has been discussed in public that employers from both the public and private sectors are reluctant to hire immigrants, solid evidence is difficult to obtain.


 

Read the full shadow report here.

If this is true four years later since ENAR’s shadow report was published, the question we should ask is why such information continues to be so sketchy and difficult to obtain? Why hasn’t the media written more stories on the topic?

According to the practical nurses,  migrants are a part of the problem as well since some are fearful of speaking out never mind know their rights. If the company treats its migrant and minority workers with contempt it will not encourage them to speak out and to learn what their rights are.

“That is why companies like ours hire them [migrants] because they are donkeys who don’t complain,” said one of the practical nurses.

Structural racism at the workplace

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BOX STORY: Key figures on migrants in the Finnish labor market

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If there is discrimination in the Finnish labor market, how can we measure it? What do the facts below about migrants in the Finnish labor market tell us? This box story is part of a larger feature on migrant employment called, How systemic racism and discrimination works in the Finnish workplace.

  • Total number of people of foreign origin ages 18-64: 73,685 persons (43,858 males and 29,827 females);
  • Entrepreneurs of foreign origin: 8,131 people (5,361 males, 2,770 females);
  • Unemployed foreigners 30,281 (15,391 males, 14,891 females), or 27% of the workforce, according to the latest figures from 2014.
  • Migrant unemployment in 2014 (latest figures) was 27% versus 13.61% during the same period under review for the whole country;
  • Finland’s labor markets are racialized;
  • Language per se isn’t the key factor that will ensure success in the Finnish labor market although it helps;
  • Finland’s labor markets are racialized;  
  • Migrant women, especially from Africa and the Middle East suffer the greatest unemployment;
  • Higher unemployment among women of foreign origin cannot be explained by educational level. Both men and women of foreign origin have roughly the same educational level;
  • The Finnish labor market is extremely segmented: 60% of all men working in the cleaning business and about 50% as kitchen or food workers are migrant males;
  • The employment level of people with foreign and Finnish origin differ slightly, or 71.2% and 73.8%, respectively;
  • Among women with foreign and Finnish background the difference is much higher at 56.1% and 73.5, respectively;
  • Wage disparity was 25% compared with people of  Finnish origin, who made annually an average of 36,000 euros versus 27,500 euros made by migrants;
  • If a male of Finnish origin makes 1 euro and a female of Finnish origin 0.80 euros, for migrants it totals 0.50 euros, according to Statistics Finland researcher Pekka Myrskylä;
  • The gap in unemployment benefits is even higher, totaling 39% (15,000 euros versus 9,400 euros) and up to 59% for those who are outside the labor force (7,500 euros versus 3,100 euros);
  • Certain professions in Finland such as cleaners, cooks and waters attract only foreigners because the wages they pay are unacceptable to white Finns.

The most comprehensive study on migrants above,”Survey on work and well-being among people of foreign origin,” was published in 2015. Published by Statistics Finland, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, it reveals conclusively that migrant participation in the labor market is disproportional when it comes to nationality and gender. 

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Why Migrant Tales will continue to call the “Finns Party” the Perussuomalaiset

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At the end of our stories we have published a short footnote explaining why we don’t call the Perussuomalaiset (PS) its official English-language name. We have changed the footnote to take into account that the PS comprises of two factions. Are these blocs any different from the old PS? If so, how?

An overriding matter that Tuesday’s implosion revealed and reinforced is that both blocs are a huge like. The “old” PS exploited racism, anti-EU and nationalist sentiment to grab and maintain political power.

Fortunately, their political power and credibility has diminished considerably since early this week.


The new logo of Uusi Vaihtoehto, or New Alternative, seen by Kasper Diem. The joke is in the V, which suggests v***u, or c**t.
The logo of the Perussuomalaiset party.

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Old or new Perussuomalaiset or new or old Perussuomlaiset – it’s a new Cadillac model!

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Racism is like a Cadillac. They bring a new model every year.

Malcolm X (1925-65)

We saw on Tuesday quite a political show in Finland with 22 MPs ditching the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and forming a new party called the New Alternative. But don’t hold your breath because nothing has changed. It’s just a marketing of the same thing, a new Cadillac model as Malcolm X said, right-wing populist nationalism and all the toxicity that goes with it.

There is no such thing as a new and old Perussuomalaiset party because it is basically the same thing.

But why aren’t we told this by the media? Where are those visible minority reporters and our voice in this political row? Nowhere, because our opinions don’t count.

Between Sunday and Monday, when the newly elected PS chairperson Jussi Halla-aho was shown the door by Sipilä and Orpo, the government had a unique opportunity to step out of its harsh and hostile economic and immigration policies and put itself briefly on a moral pedestal.


Read the full story here.

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Nuiva manifesto – now you see it, now you don’t! We won’t, however, forget

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The Nuiva manifesto is a far right proposal on how to tighten immigration policy and make life more difficult for migrants and minorities in Finland. Those who signed the manifesto in 2010, all in all 13 people, cannot be found anymore on the net. 

Why do they apparently want us to forget what they endorsed seven years ago?

Six of the 13 were or are MPs. One of them, Maria Lohela, is speaker of parliament, while Jussi Halla-aho was elected chairman Saturday of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. All of the 13 persons below were or still are members of the PS. Two of them, Veli-Matti Saarakkala and Lohela are now members of Timo Soini’s new bloc, Uusi Vaihtoehto, or New Alternative.

Three, Halla-aho James Hirvisaari and Freddy Van Wonterghem, were convicted for ethnic agitation.


From left to right (standing): Freddy Van Wonterghem, James Hirvisaari, Juho Eerola, Olli Immonen, Pasi Salonen, Heikki Luoto and Maria Lohela. Sitting left to right: Veli-Matti Saarakkala, Teemu Lahtinen, Jussi Hallo-aho, Heta Lahteenaro, Johannes Nieminen and Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo.

If you go the the website and click on allekirjoittajat, or the thirteen that endorsed the manifesto, you’ll find a blank page like below.    (more…)

The PS splits into two factions – chairperson Jussi Halla-aho faces unprecedented mutiny

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The former chairperson of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, Timo Soini, has struck back at the newly elected head of the PS, Jussi Halla-aho, by joining 20-MPs to dith the PS and form a new parliamentary bloc called Uusi vaihtoehto, or New Alternative, according to Helsingin Sanomat.  The new bloc stated that it wants to remain in government.

The news confirms that the PS are in total disarray and that its chairperson Halla-aho faces a revolt that has caused the party to implode.

If the new bloc succeeds at rejoining government it will be a big blow for migrants and minorities in Finland.


 

Read the full story here.

The PS has a total of 37 MPs, which means that the two factions will comprise of 20 and 17 MPs.

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Is there such a thing as a “new” and “old” Perussuomalaiset party?

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Is there such a thing as a “new” and “old” Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party? If you ask Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Minister Petteri Orpo there is. But if you are a migrant, asylum seeker or minority in Finland, it’s doubtful that you would make such a difference. 

Here’s the question: Why was Sampo Terho, who holds the same ideas about migrants like Jussi Halla-aho, is more “acceptable?” Why Soini versus Halla-aho?

We have called this phenomenon at Migrant Tales the good-cop, bad-cop syndrome.

If we are candid with ourselves, Halla-aho, Soini and Terho are bonded by the same goal: To keep Finland white and Christian. Migration and cultural diversity, especially from non-EU countries, are seen as threats.

 


From left to right: Jussi Halla-aho, Timo Soini and Sampo Terho. Source: YLE.

If their brand of politics is toxic especially towards migrants and cultural diversity, does it come down to how you market yourself as a populist politician and how the media interprets and wants to see you?

It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges of countries like Finland is challenging its denial of racism, bigotry and discrimination. The fine balance of being an “acceptable” anti-immigration politician in Finland is by mastering code.

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