Finnish anti-immigration sound bites + near-silence of society = peril

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Some soap operas are so sweet and melodramatic that they form cavities in your brain. In the same way, the message of anti-immigration and xenophobic parties is so outrageous that they leave a whole in your head.

 

Timo Soini and the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* which became Finland’s third-largest parliamentary bloc in 2011, are appealing to voters on two crucial issues in next April’s elections: migration and development aid, which they claim are costing Finland 2.7 billion euros, according to the PS

While it’s not surprising that a party that promotes xenophobia and has its roots in far-right ideology is targeting migrants and development aid, what is a continuing mystery is how they arrived at such calculations.

The figures were given at a press conference on Friday where PS’ chairman Soini, party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo and Matti Putkonen were present.

While there were other topics discussed at the press conference by the PS members, it is surprising that not one journalist asked how they arrived at such costs (1.5 billion euros for migration and 1.2 billion euros for development aid). The latter figures were given as a solution on how to cut Finland’s budget deficit and spur economic growth.

Näyttökuva 2014-10-25 kello 9.52.24
Read full story here. Eastern European migrants in Britain added 5 billion pounds to the economy, according to another BBC story.

 

With such figures and with such a xenophobic message, the PS is back to its favorite political fix: scapegoating.

What remains unclear is how attacking and scapegoating migrants is going to actually help Finland raise itself from its present economic slump. Some economist claim that it would do just the opposite: deepen our economic woes.

Certainly it’s difficult for a party that still believes in Social Darwinism to see migration and cultural diversity in a positive light. If i would have been present at the press conference, I would have asked Soini or Slunga-Poutsalo to name one country where migration has failed and been costly.

Just like adding 1 + 1 = 2, it’s clear that migration fuels growth as this BBC article shows. There was also a recent study by the OECD that revealed that migration had boosted growth in 2011 by 0.16% including pensions.

So why is the PS saying that migration is a burden for Finland? While in a different historical context, their aim is no different to what the Nazis did in the 1920s. They saw great potential in capitalizing on racial anti-Semitism as a mass political force.

When the PS scapegoats migrants, development aid, the public sector, the Greens and environmental policy, it not only shows its anti-Keynes side, but its similarity to parties like the ultra-conservative Tea Party as well as Thatcherism and Reaganomics.

John Maynard Keynes, who was one of the most influential economists in the past and even the present century, believed that during economic slumps it was the government that should step in and restore confidence in markets even if it meant increasing  budget deficits.  Austerity would only worsen matters.

It’s clear that the PS proposal to lower the cost of migration and development aid is meant for populist public consumption but also to help maintain a climate of suspicion and mistrust of  migrants and minorities. Certainly sensible Finns, who are the majority in this country, don’t want to follow the PS’s xenophobic path.

Finns and especially migrants and minorities should not stand idle in the face of such xenophobic sound bytes by parties like the PS but openly challenge them.

Certainly if we want to go down a ruinous path that will cause extreme hardships on Finland, the PS may be the party you are seeking to vote for in the April 2015 elections.

* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.

 

 

  1. Yossie

    “Just like adding 1 + 1 = 2, it’s clear that migration fuels growth as this BBC article shows.”

    Except the article says: “experts agree it’s hard to capture the true picture, without making a lot of assumptions. ”

    So no, its not like adding 1+1. But if we are to follow the article, they also say:

    “Non-EEA immigrants each took out about £21,000 more than they put in during that period.”

    That is exactly the immigration PS is against. The one that brings us uneducated people that don’t have much to contribute to the finnish job markets.

    But all this does not matter for Enrique. It does not matter if immigrant cost money or not. All that matters is that you get as many immigrants to Finland as possible in order to undermine native finns. You seek to destroy our traditions and way of life by having immigrants that don’t want to adapt and forcing us to abandon our own culture. You want to replace finnish culture, language and way of life with your own multicultural utopia.

    One should wonder though, how are you able to build your multicultural utopia by importing people from the most intolerant areas of the world. By having people who already fighting themselves in their own countries, let alone with people from different cultures. Make no mistake, it is no wonder everyone doesn’t want Finland to be your test subject for your social experimentations. Every sensible finn would not want to follow that ruinous path.

  2. Toiset Soundit

    “When the PS scapegoats migrants, development aid, the public sector, the Greens and environmental policy, it not only shows its anti-Keynes side, but its similarity to parties like the ultra-conservative Tea Party as well as Thatcherism and Reaganomics.

    John Maynard Keynes, who was one of the most influential economists in the past and even the present century, believed that during economic slumps it was the government that should step in and restore confidence in markets even if it meant increasing budget deficits. Austerity would only worsen matters.

    Indeed,the new right-wing, say radical right parties all over Europe preach the same ideology as Reagonomics and Thatcherism, i.e. the neoliberal doctrine. This doctrine has been forced upon European societies since the fall of the wall and even before that. One of its most important ideologists was Milton Friedman (and his Chicago school), who was a staunch supporter and co-organizer of the Pinochet military dictature. This doctrine can be summarized in slogans such as greed is good (see Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand) and it really boils down to a world view in which everything and everyone is instrumentalized for the purpose of (economic) profit. In this ideology human beings are reduced to homo economici. It should therefore not surprize us that far-right parties like Persut, Front National, Wilder’s PVV, UKIP, and also right-wing parties like N-VA in Belgium, reduce the whole immigration and refugee (two different things altogether in the end) debate to an economic debate in which immigrants are dehumanized or split up into categories: “profitable” (highly educated, bla bla bla) and “non-profitable”.

    In my country this recently led to a row in national Parliament. It appeared that in 2007 the new Secretary of State for Migration and Asylum matters of the right-wing N-VA (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie) had written the following on his Facebook account in a response to an article in The Economist (‘The Magic of Diasporas’):

    “[The article states that] many western countries close their borders for immigrants by force of the economic crisis but they’d better keep them open given the economic added value of immigration. The article contains a lot of references to the United States’ immigration policy. I fully agree, but allow me to provocatively state that I can vividly picture the economic added value of Jewish, Chinese and Amerindian (sic; editorial not: he wrote “Indiaanse” which referes to native americans, but of course intended to write “Indiase”, which means Indian) diaspora, but that I have more trouble imagining the added value of the Moroccon, Congolese and Algerian diaspora. Or is that to suggestive a statement?”

    Further on in the Facebook post he also uses the term ‘Kutmarokkaantjes’ which roughly translates as “Pain-in-the-ass- young Moroccons”, which was first used in Holland by a social-democrat politician.

    Here is a link to the original article:http://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/theo-francken-wat-is-de-economische-meerwaarde-van-immigranten-uit-marokko-a2090761/

    And that man is going to represent all Belgians, is going to represent our very diverse society…???

    But what worries me most is this purely economic approach on human beings. Of course his statements about the Congolese and other diaspora contributing less in economic terms to our society are very disputable: I would like to tell him to go and ask the Congolese how much they contributed with their own blood to the economic prosperity of the newly founded Belgian State (and royal family), how much the Moroccons contributed with their sweat and hard work excavating the tunnels for the Brussels and Antwerp metro, ask the Italians, Hungarians, Spaniards, Turkish and other migrants about the mines and how Belgium prospered (especially the same plutocratic slavemasters class whom Theo Francken’s government so staunchly supports) thanks to their labour in those mines.

    It is this dehumanizing approach which transpires the whole policy of our newly elected right-wing government. Whose final aim is to destroy our welfare model, just as Thatcher and Reagan did throughout the 80’s …

    And as we all know a dire economic situation (but dire for who we may ask) is fertile ground for scapegoating… as was also one of the conclusions recently of a Finnish researcher (article in HS.fi on the changing neighbourhoods of Helsinki).

    Maybe we shoud start looking at our real enemy, the one that is f”’ing up our entire earth instead of looking down on those who are on the receiving end of things?

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