Are parties like the True Finns a threat to national security?

by , under All categories, Enrique

As the April election approaches, parties like the True Finns and other ones like Muutos 2011 are going to increase their nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric to new heights. Would it be fair to ask that the land-ownership row in Russia could have a connection with the rise of the True Finns in the polls and demands by some groups that Karelia should be returned to Finland?

(I want to take the opportunity to thank JusticeDemon for bringing this story angle to my attention. After some thought, he does have a point: xenophobia and nationalism could undermine relations with Moscow.)

When Russia announced the ban on the sale of land close to the Finnish border by foreigners, the saber-rattling we heard in Finland was from the True Finns.

Do you think populist parties like the True Finns are a threat to national security?

See what the Anti-Fascist Committee of Finland thinks about the matter.

  1. Osmo

    The simple fact is that 60% of Finns don’t want more immigration, especially during a recession.
    Why can’t you understand this? What the majority wants is what the country deserves.
    Check your facts first before calling 60% of Finns xenophobic.

    • Enrique

      Hi Osmo, I agree that some Finns are against more immigrants from moving to this country. I believe, however, that they are a minority. Let’s not fall into the poll-hysteria trap.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Osmo

    Your explanation suggests that you are not responding to the question concerning national security, but to some other question of your own making.

    The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is currently seeking negotiations with Moscow on the issue of freehold land ownership rights in Russian Karelia. What will they say when the Russians point to an increase in right wing xenophobic nationalism not seen in Finland since the 1930s? Why should Russia consider this border area any less sensitive than its border with Georgia, for example?

  3. True Finns

    Just before Anti Immigration parties across Europe made there electoral breakthroughs .
    Their governments told their voters that voting for parties will bring social chaos a reduction in trade between countries in a attempt to scare their citizens exercising their right to vote for parties which the political elite don’t accept.
    Usually this would happen close to a election at the same time when rival political parties have seen the polls and realized they have failed to stop anti immigration parties through debate.
    And I don’t think there has been an occasion when this tactic was successful and their fear that social breakdown would take place never emerged.

    • Enrique

      Hello True Finns and welcome to Migrant Tales. I guess from your nickname you support the True Finns. There is, I believe, a big difference between following international agreements like on the right to asylum as opposed to making populist statments that fuel xenophobia and ethnic hatred. I understand that you guys are pissed off with the “elitist” system in Finland. Bashing immigrants and making them into scapgoats shows, in my opinion, low moral character. And you know that the anti-immigrant rhetoric of your party is 90% boloney.

  4. Hannu

    “Karelia should be returned to Finland? ”

    Isnt that what you wanted? And of course we have first and foremost think about good relations with USSR and avoid to offend them in anyway like accepting refugees from there and so on….

    • Enrique

      Yes, correct, but there are ways to proceed on this front. I don’t think sounding the charge like in June 1941 was the way to do it. We paid a huge and costly price for overestimating ourselves and backing the wrong side.

  5. JusticeDemon

    So how should Alexander Stubb respond to the argument from Moscow that land ownership restrictions are necessary because of the external security risk from Finland? How is the situation any different from the Russian point of view to the perceptions that supported the concept of a vaarallinen oikeussubjekti in Finland until 1992?

    What is it that makes the tšuhonets inherently benign, notwithstanding outbreaks of ryssäviha?

  6. Tony Garcia

    “And you know that the anti-immigrant rhetoric of your party is 90% boloney.”

    And what is your opinion about the other 10%?

    • Enrique

      –And what is your opinion about the other 10%?

      Good question. Maybe their right to state their case even though I disagree with it.

  7. Tony Garcia

    “Maybe their right to state their case even though I disagree with it.”

    Interesting… I’ll save this for further reference…

  8. Seppo

    I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what the Finnish “anti-Facist” Commitee thinks about things. I’m not sure how well you are aware of the rhetoric regarding this organization and the things it deals with but here “anti-Fascist” basically just means “pro-Russian & anti-Finnish & anti-Estonian”.

  9. StiflersDad

    “Do you think populist parties like the True Finns are a threat to national security?”

    No, I haven’t seen them make any statements of aggression against another sovereign state. I think they have raised issues of equity and fairness around land ownership, rather than threatening to attack Russia.

    You should also keep in mind that True Finns are strongly opposed to cutbacks on national defence spending. To ensure peace and security a large milatary is necessary; Switzerland being a good example of a country that likes to stay neutral but maintains a large defence capability.

    • Enrique

      –No, I haven’t seen them make any statements of aggression against another sovereign state. I think they have raised issues of equity and fairness around land ownership, rather than threatening to attack Russia.

      Hi StiflersDad, so if you are vehemently anti-Muslim, anti-immigration (all those that you don’t like) has no impact? It poisons the atmosphere, a tit-for-tat situation. Didn’t some True Finns call for the government to do the same to Russians in Finland on the land-ownership row?

      –I don’t have answers, nobody does I presume, but history counts heavily against possibility of multi-cultural societies lasting for any significant period in time (on historical time scale).

      I don’t know what you mean by “multicultural.” Are you speaking about the Canadian social policy or just that we are a society comprised of different cultures? Don’t you think it is a bit naive to think that if immigrants come to Finland they will not impact our society? Culture changes all the time and incorporates new things. It isn’t a situation were you have culture A (monolithic Finnish if it ever existed) and cultures B (of different immigrant groups). What you get is C.

      If our constitution and laws permit cultural diversity, why are you speaking that this is not possible?

  10. StiflersDad

    Enrique, thanks for your views. With regards to the second issue (multi-cultural societies), I’m referring to what you outline as “society consisting of different cultures”. I fully agree that culture changes all the time and througout history people have copied innovations, mannerisms, and styles from other regions. What is quite important in that process has, however, been that it has been highly selective – basically cherry-picking what you wanted/envied about the other society. There was hardly ever this very strong push of “you have to accept things that are different” that is much of the mantra in current western societies. Immigration was obviously also less dramatic in number of people that could mobilise due to very different transportation networks. In a world where handful of people came into a new country, that minority was almost forced to absord the cultures of their host if they wanted to survive.

    With regards to your last point, I’m not saying that multi-cultural societies are impossible to form. Rather I’m wondering what chance they have of long term stability and survival (in terms of time periods that matter ie 100 years+). As an example, consider Africa. Africa is something very close to my heart and I have lived on that continent for more than 20 years. Almost universally learned African leaders/academics blame many of the instabilities in African countries on “borders drawn by European kings” that took no account of tribal considerations. In effect they believe that the forced integration of different tribes – and in most cases the differences to an outsider seem smaller than if you forced finns to live with swedes – has resulted in cycle of conflict. These discussions have also increased my suspicion that merely assuming that you can put together large volumes of A and B and expect C to emerge is naive. Most historical evidence suggests that serious conflict is likely to take place before C is formed.

    Anyhow, we stray far from the topic of the post so I think I will drop this here. I will be back sometime to look out for new posts and comments. I find your website informative and good public platform for debate. Much appreciated.

    • Enrique

      Thank you for dropping by StiflersDad.

      –Most historical evidence suggests that serious conflict is likely to take place before C is formed.

      I believe this happens when the majority exclude the minority because of their background. Do you want to know why the US can take in millions of people and not implode into serious ethnic conflict? Because there is inclusion through the American dream. Even if it is a sort of fairy tales these days, the attitude is the correct one: You can realize yourself and become a new person irrespective of your background. Now, if we look at countries like Finland, we are still debating whether immigration is good or bad. We have a long way to go before we get to the point where we are discussing seriously inclusion.

      Here are in my opinion important words to keep in mind: acceptance (two-way) and opportunity. If the majority of the population accepts a group and if society offers opportunity (equal education and employment) you are on the right path.

      In my opinion, the True Finns are the antithesis of the above. That is why any immigration integration program they would have their say on would end up a failure.

  11. JusticeDemon

    I’m not saying that multi-cultural societies are impossible to form. Rather I’m wondering what chance they have of long term stability and survival (in terms of time periods that matter ie 100 years+).

    Oh dear. All of the countries in the New World passed that sell-by date a very long time ago. Countries like the UK (Angles, Celts, Vikings, Saxons, Normans etc.), Germany (Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, Thuringii etc.) and Italy (Sardinia-Piedmont, Papal States, Tuscany and the Two Sicilies) obviously never existed.

    Finland has also been multicultural for more than a century.

    It’s extraordinary that anyone with half an education can swallow all this Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer b/s nowadays.

  12. StiflersDad

    “All of the countries in the New World passed that sell-by date a very long time ago. Countries like the UK (Angles, Celts, Vikings, Saxons, Normans etc.), Germany (Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisians, Sicambri, Thuringii etc.) and Italy (Sardinia-Piedmont, Papal States, Tuscany and the Two Sicilies) obviously never existed.”

    Hi JusticeDemon, if you look at the examples I have raised of societies that led to the displacement of one culture by another (e.g. history of USA, Australia, large parts of South America) they deal with the meeting of very different cultures. Your examples refer to situations where the cultures that mixed started off a relatively common ground. In your examples they are all european tribes.

    To take this further from an anthropology perspective we can roughly argue that mixing of people who come from similar genetic make-up can succeed, whereas where the starting differences are vast the attempt to mix fails. In many ways it is common sense…if someone immigrates into Finland from Sweden, his/her descendents will be indistinguishable from other people. If someone immigrates from Somalia his/her descendents will not be indistinguishable from the surrounding population for probably hundreds of years (depends on marriage patterns of descendents). As sad as it is, as long as a person looks different, he is often treated (and often feels himself) somewhat differently and that inhibits 100% integration into society.

    Your reference to Nazi (I assume) slogans is, by the way, deeply insulting. If you read some of my earlier posts you might have picked up that I’m married to a lady from Africa, and also that I spent most of my adult life in Africa working as an economic adviser on investments into that continent. I certainly do not believe in superiority of nations or races, but I do feel strongly that the old adage of “good fences make good neighbours” also applies at national state level. Much of that view has actually come from debating conflict with African leaders.

  13. JusticeDemon

    StiflersDad

    Do you think that your marriage and history make you immune to racism? This suggests that you don’t know what racism is. I stand by my observation that you are preaching Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer. In particular that remark good fences make good neighbours in this context is pure Apartheid propaganda. How about “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet”?

    How can you tell when people have a similar genetic make-up? Have you got some kind of revolutionary new portable scanner that can measure the genome of people passing by in the street? Or are you merely focusing on a limited set of superficial features like skin tone, hair texture and eye colour? If so, then why not focus on other features like bumps on the cranium, lines on the hand or capacity of the lower intestinal tract (go figure)?

    The set of features that you have chosen is scientifically as arbitrary as a trend in fashion or popular music, yet you seek to argue that this must necessarily determine human social interaction. The basis for this is pure prejudice, not science.

    Educated racism is still racism. Josef Mengele held a PhD in medicine and in anthropology, but was no less a Nazi and psychopath. I’m sure he was a very persuasive public speaker, but he was still a war criminal.

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