Defining white Finnish privilege #22: From racist, fascist to politician without memory

by , under Enrique Tessieri

We saw a lot of white Finnish privilege during the April parliamentary elections and government talks, which include the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. If lowly things like turncoat politics and chicanery, racism and white Finnish privilege would have a smell, that stench would knock you off your feet right now. 

The new speaker of parliament, Maria Lohela, is a good example of the racist-fascist who became the politician without memory. Lohela has made Islamophobic and xenophobic statements in the past to attract voter attention and get elected. Lohela said, however, right after she was elected Friday as speaker of parliament that everything she said in the past is the past and now a new chapter begins.

Lohela can say such absurd things because she has white Finnish privilege. You can be a racist, even a fascist, and paint yourself as a politician with amnesia by simply erasing everything you said in the past that may undermine the power you enjoy today. You can do so without even apologizing to all those people you insulted with your racist statements.

Another PS MP that has a murky past in fascism is the new defense minister, Jussi Niinstö.

Niinstö’s roots in the early 1990s can be found in a far-right association called Kansallinen Kulttuuririntama. His far right credentials come as well from Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture), where he used to be board member. Suomalaisuuden liitto is an association that was founded in 1906 but is today firmly under the control of the PS. One of its former board members is Teemu Lahtinen, a PS member who belongs to IKL, a fascist party founded in the early 1930s.

Even if Niinstö takes care to not even hint about his far right ideology, it became evident in 2012 when he stated in parliament Nazi playwright Hans Johst’s Schlageter, “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning” (“Whenever I hear of culture… I release the safety-catch of my Browning”).

Niinstö substituted the word “culture” in Johst’s play for parliamentarism.

Näyttökuva 2015-5-30 kello 9.39.10
Thanks to white Finnish privilege it’s ok to be racist and fascist in Finland and profit politically.The Kansallinen Kulttuuririntama ad above of the early 1990s states what the aim of the far right association is: resist refugees and migrants; strengthen the role of Finnish language, culture and traditions in our society; to bolster democracy and a government by the people; fight against the spread of crime, usage of drugs and other foreign influences that are harmful to the Finnish people. Source: Safka.

The PS’ two other ministers, Jari Lindström and Hanna Mäntylä, are another big question mark for Finland and our culturally diverse society. Both have hostile views of migrants. How much will they do for migrants and minorities in Finland? Probably very little since their political agenda is based on nativist nationalistic rhetoric.

Lindstöm’s educational background as the new minister of employment and justice is middle school. He’s latest profession, after he got the boot from his job in the paper industry, is lab assistant.

What steps will Lindström take to lower unemployment in general, and migrant unemployment in particular, which is two- to three-times higher than the national average? I doubt he’ll do very much but fear that he’ll use his political influence to further victimize migrants in this country.

Mäntylä’s anti-immigration views became evident again at an A-studio talk show, where she said that due to rising poverty among white Finns it’s perfectly fine to be against migrants living in Finland.

“We have in effect people who live and are on the verge of suffering from hunger because they don’t have enough money to pay for food on a daily basis,” said Mäntylä on A-studio. “Yes, these kinds of stories come in loud and clear on the campaign trail like why we have this kind of immigration policy in Finland.”

Definition #22

The mastermind of this tragic-comic play where we are stoking the fires of xenophobia and fascism is none other than Timo Soini, the so-called good cop of the PS.

What do Niinstö, Lohela, Lindström, Mäntylä and Soini reveal to us about Finnish white privilege?

They tell us that as long as you are white you can victimize, exclude and spread Islamophobia and hatred of minorities with near-impunity. In other words it pays to be an Islamophobe and xenophobe in today’s Finland. Like the USAmerican dream, the new version of the Finnish dream will help you become well-off and (in)famous with the help of racism and fascism, which you can conveniently forget if needed.

See also:

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names 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. PS voter

    Enrique, you don’t seem to understand how the Finnish political system works. In Finland, the speaker of parliament is expected to rise above day to day politics, which is why Maria Lohela cannot really comment that kind of political issues in detail. It is a bit similar as the tradition of president officially resigning from the political party once (s)he is elected as the president.

    • Migrant Tales

      Hi PS voter, I understand perfectly well how the Finnish system works. Politicians have a track record and, like Maria Lohela, what she has written will follow her around for a very long time. In my opinion that is no consolation what you say. For a matter of fact it’s quite surreal: I’ll shelve my Islamophobic and xenophobic ideas and reuse them when I’m no longer speaker.

  2. PS voter

    With Jussi Niinistö, you don’t seem to find anything objective against him, so you try some kind of guilt by association and with poor success. Jussi Niinistö wrote some articles to the magazine of Kansallinen Kulttuuririntama as he knew the leader of Kansallinen Kulttuuririntama, Jukka I. Mattila, who is nowadays a member of National Coalition Party.

    • Migrant Tales

      Like Lohela, Jussi Niinstö has a track record. Remember what we wrote about racism and far right ideology in one of our stories? This is not an issue about Jussi Niinistö but what he wrote. That’s the evidence.

    • PS voter

      You seem to be logged on to your blog and monitoring replying comments actively. Why don’t you let though proper comment that have been stuck in the comment censoring system even though the messages don’t contain anything inappropriate? Do you lack the necessary skills now that Mark has left your team or what is the problem? Perhaps I could help you.

  3. PS voter

    Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture), that sounds really scary, I mean are Finns really entitled to have a association for Finnish culture in the age of multiculturalism (when all other ethnic groups seem to have cultural associations for their culture) or is it already some kind of crime? And at least two Finnish presidents have been members of Suomalaisuuden liitto, among many other important Finnish persons. And even if all the members of the board of Suomalaisuuden liitto were members of Perussuomalaiset (which is not the case), so what?

    • Migrant Tales

      Suomalaisuuden liitto has been taken over by the PS. It’s not the same association that it was before. How many visible minorities does the association have?

    • PS voter

      While Perussuomalaiset have heavy presence in Suomalaisuuden liitto, not all the board members are members of Perussuomalaiset. At least one of the is a member of National Coalition Party. And even if all of them were members of Perussuomalaiset, why do you think it would be so outrageous? And why should Suomalaisuuden liitto have some persons with immigrant background? Many associations don’t have any persons with immigrant background and this is is not association for immigration but for Finnish culture. How many native Finns for example all the Somali associations in Finland have?

  4. PS voter

    And even if some former board member had been also a member some of fasXcist party, what does it have to do with Jussi Niinistö?

    • Migrant Tales

      –And even if some former board member had been also a member some of fasXcist party, what does it have to do with Jussi Niinistö?

      It shows many things like that he doesn’t mind being in the same association as Teemu Lahtinen. Your reasoning is embedded in Finnish consensus politics. It’s a bit like our debate on racism in this country. Why do I have to debate with a person who wants to turn me into a second-class citizen? Certainly you can because you are a white Finn but others don’t have that privilege.

      For me it’s enough that I know where everyone is coming from, what their arguments, red herrings and code words are and mean.

  5. PS voter

    If Jussi Niinistö were veg etarian, would you try to defXame him by saying that HitXler was also a vegXetarian, or what is the logic in your muXdslinging?

  6. PS voter

    Your mudslinging Jussi Niinistö for using adapted form of the famous line by Hanns Johst is also laughable. For example Stephen Hawking has said “When I hear of Schrödinger’s cat, I reach for my pistol” and by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard in 1963’s film Le Mépris, when a producer says to Fritz Lang: “Whenever I hear the word culture, I bring out my checkbook.” Is it a sign that they too have far right ideology, or is your logic perhaps quite faulty?

    BTW, one quite good way of reducing unemployment, especially migrant unemployment, is stop taking immigrants to this country, who lack the necessary education on the few fields where there are new jobs available. The government cannot do much else to improve the situation, as it is not the purpose of government to create new jobs, but to maintain steady and functioning society where it is possible to create new companies and expand existing companies.

  7. PS voter

    BTW, you should either fix your censoring system or start accepting perfectly proper comments which have opinion which is opposite to your opinion. It is a bit difficult struggle to try get through some of the important facts.

    • Marshall Niles

      Ps Voter, unless a comment advertizes a product, is a marketting comment, or contains a link to an external website aimed at buying something, all comments are approved and automatically posted. Just an FYI.

  8. PS voter

    While Perussuomalaiset have heavy presence in Suomalaisuuden liitto, not all the board members are members of Perussuomalaiset. At least one of the is a member of National Coalition Party. And even if all of them were members of Perussuomalaiset, why do you think it would be so outrageous?

  9. PS voter

    And why should Suomalaisuuden liitto have some persons with immigrant background? Many associations don’t have any persons with immigrant background and this is is not association for immigration but for Finnish culture. How many native Finns for example all the SomXali associations in Finland have?

    • Migrant Tales

      Diversity is good for you, especially when you aim to hog and monopolize a thing like “Finnish culture.”

  10. PS voter

    Marshal Niles, you said “Ps Voter, unless a comment advertizes a product, is a marketting comment, or contains a link to an external website aimed at buying something, all comments are approved and automatically posted. Just an FYI.” However, this is not true. My message didn’t contain anything like that, as you can see, but still it was blocked. There were few words that I had to leave out because of the blocking.

    • Marshall Niles

      I’m not sure who blocked you or what. However, I can assure you on my part that actual persons are never blocked on this blog, when they are commenting into the thread. The only no approvals go to marketting members, who post ads for viagra and home based work and such:)

    • PS voter

      On my part, I can assure that my messages are often blocked. In this case I tried to mention the official registration numbers of different associations which seemed to cause the blocking of the message. I have also noticed that some other words, like the official name for a certain ethnic group, seems to cause blocking of my messages.

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