How far to the right will the PS and Suomen Sisu take Finland?

by , under Enrique

Even if Suomen Sisu president Olli Immonen and Jussi Halla-aho, both MPs of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, tried to assure television viewers Thursday on A-Talk that the association is neither racist nor far right, nothing could be further from the truth. 

In order to keep immigrants and visible minorities disenfranchised, Suomen Sisu must come up with new arguments and sound bites to justify their intolerance.

One of the matters that Suomen Sisu does is spread stereotypes about certain immigrants. Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat paved the way for such stereotypes in the early 1990s, when Finland’s immigrant population started to grow.

Claude M. Steele’s whistling vivaldi reveals how detrimental stereotypes can be.

Whistling-Vivaldi-Steele-Claude-M-9780393339727

The provost of Columbia University writes: “But this book offers an important qualification to this creed: that by imposing on us certain conditions of life, our social identities can strongly affect things as important as our performances in the classroom and on standardized tests, our memory capacity, our athletic performance, the pressure we feel to prove ourselves, even the comfort level we have with people of different groups – all things we typically think of as being determined by individual talents, motivations, and preferences.”

If what Steele claims holds any truth, the spreading of generalizations and stereotypes about certain ethnic groups in Finland can be devastating.

The A-Talk show made one matter clear: Suomen Sisu’s new synonym for racism is its loathing for cultural diversity. Instead of attacking all immigrants, they are now pointing their guns at Muslims and non-white people from outside the EU.

As Migrant Tales wrote on Friday, Immonen’s and Halla-aho’s opposition to cultural diversity and their support for assimilation (one-way integration) was near-constantly revealed on the program while denying at the same time that Suomen Sisu wasn’t a racist and far right association.

The new Suomen Sisu president couldn’t have put his opposition to cultural diversity clearer on A-Talk: “Is there anything wrong [that an association] says that different [ethnic] groups and cultures shouldn’t mix, which I interpret as a multicultural society and what we don’t want to have in Finland?”

Even if one natural symptom of denial is convenient memory loss, Immonen disagreed that Suomen Sisu was against people of different ethnicities marrying and having children. Just like the Ku Klux Klan and the U.S. American Party, Immonen, however, believes that it is only a question of time when Christian Europe and Muslims will be at war.

He was quoted as saying right after the April 2011 election on Iltalehti: “Due to the present trend of multiculturalism, I believe we will see in the future of Europe a number of terrorist strikes and civil war in which the other warring adversary will be notably the representatives of Islam.”

It’s pretty clear what will happen in Finland if the PS’ chairman, Timo Soini, ever becomes the prime minister of Finland. It will mean greater clout for Suomen Sisu to spread its far right ideology and policies, which will not only polarize society but even threaten to put in cold storage our noble Nordic democracy and values such as social equality. Racism, xenophobia and intolerance in general will become more normal as our society strays from our present democratic values.

Halla-aho said that Suomen Sisu, which was founded in 1998, has played a crucial role in fostering anti-immigration sentiment (he calls it critiquing immigration) in Finland through platforms like Hommaforum and the PS.

Even so, there is nothing Finnish about Suomen Sisu’s ideology, which is copied from other far right groups in Europe. The only difference is that it is put in a Finnish context.

How different is the neo-Nazi party of Greece, Golden Dawn, from Suomen Sisu? One of its MPs Illias Panagiotaros claims in the video below: “[Immigrants] having a very nice life with extra good food, heating, air-conditioned [living quarters] and at the same time Greeks, millions of Greeks, don’t have foot to eat. They don’t have a place to stay, they don’t have anything.”

As far as we know, immigrants in Greece live in overcrowded apartments and detention centers. Many fear walking in public for fear of being attacked by far right mobs and the police.

Considering that Greece’s population is about 11 million, Panagiotaros claim that “millions of Greeks” are without food while the immigrants live a plush life is a gross exaggeration to put it lighly. It is, however, a common argument used by far right groups. It is used by Suomen Sisu and politicians like PS MP James Hirvisaari, who claims without proof that immigrants get more social-welfare benefits than white Finns.

If Finland lost its nerve by making the PS the biggest party and giving Suomen Sisu more power, it would be a slippery slope that would lead us down a slippery slope called Hungary, gripped by the same xenophobia that Suomen Sisu spreads in Finland.

  1. D4R

    I have a fear inside of me and im affraid my fear is becoming true. This whole thing that’s happening in Finland is scary thing for vicible immigrants like us, who’ve been living all their lives in Finland and still are seen as outsiders, now our rights in this country is threaten by people who do not really know nothing about our lives but just stigmatize us for something we’re not.

    • PS voter

      I think you shouldn’t feel that scared. Most people who are critical towards current mass immigration, don’t hate immigrants. Many of us have friends who are born outside Finland or who aren’t white skinned.

      I my opinion, there should be more dialogue between pro-immigration activists and anti-immigration people. At the moment, both sides tend to see only their own side, but refuse acknowledge that the opposing group has also some valid points. By coming to Migrant Tales, I have tried to support that kind of dialogue, but my time is quite limited and I feel that at least on Migrant Tales, there doesn’t seem to be pro-immigration activist, that would acknowledge that mass immigration will cause large problems. And if the problems aren’t even acknowledged, then certainly we will not be able to create working plan how to avoid or reduce those problems.

      BTW, some time ago, I tried to contact you privately. I don’t know if the administrators of Migrant Tales forwarded you my request to send e-mail.

    • Mark

      PS Voter

      but refuse acknowledge that the opposing group has also some valid points

      It is not a valid point for national politicians to scapegoat immigrants under any circumnstances.

      I feel that at least on Migrant Tales, there doesn’t seem to be pro-immigration activist, that would acknowledge that mass immigration will cause large problems

      Finland does not see mass immigration and there is very little likelihood of seeing mass immigration in the future. The conditions of large immigration influxes works differently for a country like Finland and for example, France, Britain and other countries that enabled and welcomed immigtration from former colonies.

      It has been acknowledged on Migrant Tales many times that immigration brings challenges. It is naive to think that people just arrive in Finland and everything is taken care of. Immigration and integration into Finnish society requires careful planning and support, which does take place today. There is no reason to be particularly pessimistic about how immigration currently works in Finland. None.

    • Mark

      D4R

      I have a fear inside of me and im affraid my fear is becoming true.

      I think it’s important to understand that the feeling of despair is very much a goal of the style of politics that PS practice. The effect is to turn people against immigration and it’s undertandable that the same muck raking politics can be very disheartening for immigrants to hear as well. But it’s important to remain optimistic. Very important. The situation in Finland is actually quite good in regard to immigration and how it is working. While PS can convince a few people that things are so awful, the majority understand that immigration at current levels poses absolutey no threat whatsoever to Finland’s core culture or values. Even though PS enjoys popularity above 15%, much of that support comes from those that oppose the Helsinki-focused politics (PS has a very strong and historical rural base) and also those who are sceptical about EU membership. There is no reason to think that racism accounts for anything less than a small percentage of votes.

      Without doubt, the best response to PS is to give people proper facts about the success of immigrants living and working in Finland, and those in processes of transition into normal life. Don’t despair. Maintaining your confidence in yourself and your own identity and your place and possibilities here is an important part of challenging the negative and untrue political agenda put forward by extremists! Strength be with you, D4R!

  2. D4R

    Hi PS voter. I want to ask you, how can you make sure that my rights will not get violated after we’ve witnessed over and over again that, there’re many racist politician among PS party, and that they have gained power position? i don’t you can. You seem to be nice person and concerned about me, i wonder if you knew who you really voted for? i strongly believe that, the people, the skinheads who used to attack us in the 90’s now are appearing as intellectuals dressed in suits, and people like you voted for them to the parliament giving them power, and im seriously oncerned about my rights. Now everyone of us know that, these guys believe in racial purity, that only white caucasian can be a Finn, how am i able to sleep my nights when these kind of people are in power position? im asking you how can you make sure that my rights will not be violated?

    • PS voter

      It seems one of my messages is still waiting for moderation. It might be, because it contained link to Hommaforum. I try to post it now without the link:

      There are few things in life that you can be 100 percent sure. However, you can have good estimates how likely something is.

      I have been following Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum every now and then. In my opinion, pure hatred against foreigners is quite rare even among Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum.

      For example, in a horrific case where 18 years old student who was ethnically Somalian was killed in Leppävaara by a Finn, the act was condemmed in Hommaforum and writers there said that the sentence for the killer was too short:

      “Kuusi vuotta on halpa hinta ihmishengestä.”

      “ensikertalainen ja “nuori tekijä” = 1/3 – tutkintavankeus.”

      “Aivan liian lyhyt rangaistus taposta. Nuorena ensikertalaisena tappaja istuu vankilassa vain 2 vuotta. Olisi korkea aika lopettaa nämä alennukset ensikertalaisten tuomioihin.”

      “Mihin tämän kaverin nimi on jätetty? 6 vuotta, eikös nimiä enää julkaista ollenkaan?? Vai onko se tuo alentunut syyntakeellisuus, miksi nimi on piilossa??”

      “Niin, tekijä siis suorittaa kuuden vuoden tuomiosta kaksi. Käytännössä tämäkin nuori siirretään noin vuoden (1) tuomiota suoritettuaan avolaitokseen ja viimeisen 6kk kahden vuoden tuomiosta herra viettänee kotona koevapaudessa eli 1,5v lusimisella tuostakin selviää. Tällaisella jaksotuksella näitä “baakkelseja” yleensä suoritetaan…

      On meillä hieno oikeusjärjestelmä!”

      “Mutta joo, toki JOS tyyppi tosiaankin istuu vaan kaksi vuotta, niin ei kyllä paljoa naurata. 🙁 ”

    • PS voter

      My first comment, which contained among others, an example how on Hommaforum people didn’t support a white Finnish person that had done terrible against young person who was black, is still waiting for moderation. I hope that moderators release that message, as I don’t think it contains anything inappropriate and without that message, my answer is incomplete.

  3. PS voter

    There are few things in life that you can be 100 percent sure. However, you can have good estimates how likely something is.

    I have been following Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum every now and then. In my opinion, pure hatred against foreigners is quite rare even among Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum.

    For example, in a horrific case where 18 years old student who was ethnically Somalian was killed in Leppävaara by a Finn, the act was condemmed in Hommaforum and writers there said that the sentence for the killer was too short:

    http://hommaforum.org/index.php/topic,67815.msg1069806.html#msg1069806

    “Kuusi vuotta on halpa hinta ihmishengestä.”

    “ensikertalainen ja “nuori tekijä” = 1/3 – tutkintavankeus.”

    “Aivan liian lyhyt rangaistus taposta. Nuorena ensikertalaisena tappaja istuu vankilassa vain 2 vuotta. Olisi korkea aika lopettaa nämä alennukset ensikertalaisten tuomioihin.”

    “Mihin tämän kaverin nimi on jätetty? 6 vuotta, eikös nimiä enää julkaista ollenkaan?? Vai onko se tuo alentunut syyntakeellisuus, miksi nimi on piilossa??”

    “Niin, tekijä siis suorittaa kuuden vuoden tuomiosta kaksi. Käytännössä tämäkin nuori siirretään noin vuoden (1) tuomiota suoritettuaan avolaitokseen ja viimeisen 6kk kahden vuoden tuomiosta herra viettänee kotona koevapaudessa eli 1,5v lusimisella tuostakin selviää. Tällaisella jaksotuksella näitä “baakkelseja” yleensä suoritetaan…

    On meillä hieno oikeusjärjestelmä!”

    “Mutta joo, toki JOS tyyppi tosiaankin istuu vaan kaksi vuotta, niin ei kyllä paljoa naurata. :(“

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –In my opinion, pure hatred against foreigners is quite rare even among Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum.

      PS voter, you don’t think Jussi Halla-aho’s writings on Scripta have anything to do with hate? He was sentenced by the Supreme Court for ethnic agitation. There are other ones as well: James Hirvisaari (sentenced for hate speech), Freddy Van Wonterghem (sentenced for hate speech), and many others who insult immigrants near-constantly because it is the only way they can get attention.

      Here are some links on what Migrant Tales has written on the matter:

      http://www.migranttales.net/ethnic-agitation-charges-will-be-brought-against-another-ps-politician/
      http://www.migranttales.net/holocaust-toll-was-much-higher-than-believed-what-will-the-deniers-and-counterjihadists-now-say/
      http://www.migranttales.net/far-right-and-anti-immigration-quotes-by-the-ps/

      and so on…

      Just search on MT for these types of stories and you will find many of them.

      No hate? No tolerance? How would you interpret these stories?

    • D4R

      OMG are you kidding me? Hommaforum ais where people get brainwashed to hate Somalis and muslims, your either trying to sugar coatng or badly deceived. Hommaforum is where all the rumors being circulated also Iltalehti comment section follows. Ive been following those pages and the racism and false rumors that’s taking place on these pages you can’t imagine. This what you wrote above is just contradictory to me, they can’t one second hate and another second be something else, they need to make their mind. Im sorry ps voter but you’re doing a lausy job for sugar coating PS party and their many racist followers.

  4. PS voter

    I didn’t vote for Halla-aho, because he says some things too polemically/harshly and and there are persons in Perussuomalaiset that are closer to my values than Halla-aho. However, I think that there is lot of truth in his arguments and because of that, his opposers hate him and try to do ad hominem attacks against him, because they aren’t able to to present good counterarguments.

    And I think that race issues aren’t that important issue among Hommaforum. And for me and for many persons who have been accused of racism, skin colour or “racial purity” has little value.

    For example, Tatu Vanhanen, who has studied IQ differencies between races (and who has been of racism because onle because of scientific his scientific studies), has advocated interracial marriages as means to combat racism. After few generations, it would be difficult to be racist, because everybody would be more or less mixed race and with similar skin colour.

  5. PS voter

    And you aren’t the only one who is scared. As a gay, I feel gays have much more to fear for than immigrants. It is well known how gays are treated in Muslim countries and how even in European countries where there is large Muslim population, gays are violently attacked. Religions tend to change slowly and new generations tend to adobt the faith of their parents, whereas polical beliefs tend to change much more easily.

    However, if immigration from third world countries, is kept at manageable level, I think that that almost all the problems associated with (mass)immigration from third world countries, will be much smaller than what they are with fast immigration rate.

    I don’t want (and I doubt many other persons who are critical towards mass immigration) that there will be large group of persons (with or without immigrant background) who have more or less dropped out of normal society, in ghettoes and have huge social problems. However, with mass immigration, I feel that that kind of development is unavoidable.

    And I think that people that support immigration as well as people who oppose mass immigration, should start talking together and honestly about specific problems that are caused by immigration and see if something could be done to them.

    And I feel that for immigrant population (as well as quite large percentage of native Finns) syrjäytyminen/dropping out of society/living on wellfare is serious problem. And one especially worrying possible development might be that black immigrant youth from poor families start to imitate the gansta/thug lifestyle from USA, which is very poor role model for them and something which Bill Cosby has strongly opposed (which has also made many people hate him).

    • D4R

      How come you didn’t answer my question. Read above and get back to me.

  6. PS voter

    How come you didn’t answer my question. Read above and get back to me.

    My first message was at that time still waiting for moderation. Now as it is published, I hope that it gave at least a partial answer to your question.

  7. PS voter

    OMG are you kidding me? Hommaforum ais where people get brainwashed to hate Somalis and muslims, your either trying to sugar coatng or badly deceived. Hommaforum is where all the rumors being circulated also Iltalehti comment section follows. Ive been following those pages and the racism and false rumors that’s taking place on these pages you can’t imagine. This what you wrote above is just contradictory to me, they can’t one second hate and another second be something else, they need to make their mind. Im sorry ps voter but you’re doing a lausy job for sugar coating PS party and their many racist followers.

    Those were true comments on Hommaforum. You can check my link, if you don’t believe me. I haven’t followed Iltalehti discussions that much, so I don’t comment them.

    And I made a test and searched for word “somali”, on Hommaforum and then checked some of the discussions where it was mentioned. Many of the comments were at least somewhat negative, but large percentage were also neutral or even positive towards Somalians. I think that people on Migrant Tales tend to have too simplistic idea of the kind of values people on Hommaforum hold, what motivates us etc.

    Of course, there are some writers there that seem to find it unlikely that any Somalian (or person from other poor/Muslim country) is good in any way, but there are also writers that defend them when they feel that is right thing to do. And I noticed at least one Somalian writer there. Some seemed to be negative towards him, some showed curiosity and tried to start some sort dialogue.

    And I would like to remind that for example Mika Niikko (which I don’t particularly like myself) who has been accused of racism and who is a member of Perussuomalaiset and a member parliament, defended the right to stay in Finland for the Afghan men, who were on hunger strike after being denied asylum. He said that initially he opposed them staying in Finland, but after talking with them, he changed his opinion.

  8. PS voter

    –In my opinion, pure hatred against foreigners is quite rare even among Perussuomalaiset and Hommaforum.

    PS voter, you don’t think Jussi Halla-aho’s writings on Scripta have anything to do with hate? He was sentenced by the Supreme Court for ethnic agitation. There are other ones as well: James Hirvisaari (sentenced for hate speech), Freddy Van Wonterghem (sentenced for hate speech), and many others who insult immigrants near-constantly because it is the only way they can get attention.

    No hate? No tolerance? How would you interpret these stories?

    I didn’t said that there is no hate. Is said that in my opinion “pure hatred against foreigners is quite rare”.

    And as I previously mentioned, one reason why I didn’t vote for Halla-aho, was because he often uses a bit too harsh language, although I think there is lot of truth in many things he says. However, I and quite many persons who don’t even support Perussuomalaiset, felt that sentencing of Halla-aho was miscarriage of justice. I think that even in Helsingin Sanomat, which has traditionally fiercely opposed Perussuomalaiset, had a column where the writer felt that way.

    In my opinion, the limits for freedom of speech have gone far too small. Freedom of speech, like many other things, has more or less been sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism or political correctness, which is very sad thing. If freedom of speech and multiculturalism/political correctness cannot coexist, I would rather choose freedom of speech.

    • Mark

      PS Voter

      Freedom of speech, like many other things, has more or less been sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism or political correctness, which is very sad thing.

      Absolute bollocks! If J-Ha wanted to discuss traditions of child marriage or even modern day opinions, he is perfectly at liberty to do so. What he isn’t allowed to do is to use that discussion as a cover for defaming either the religion or Muslims, which is precisely what he did. Likewise, if he wants to discuss crime rates by ethnicity in Finland, he’s perfectly free to do so, just as long as he doesn’t start using that discussion to defame ethnic groups, which is exactly what he did. He went beyond the normal and perfectly adequate limits of civilised discussion to commit race hate crimes.

      There is no loss of freedom, only a protection of minorities against the abuses of the majority who would try to generate hatred on the basis of a spurious pretence at real discussion!

      Blaming that on PC or multiculturalism suggests to me that you are not thinking critically about this, but regurgutating generalisations, typical of someone who has been brainwashed by propoganda!

  9. PS voter

    Finland does not see mass immigration and there is very little likelihood of seeing mass immigration in the future.

    I disagree.

    It has been acknowledged on Migrant Tales many times that immigration brings challenges. It is naive to think that people just arrive in Finland and everything is taken care of. Immigration and integration into Finnish society requires careful planning and support, which does take place today. There is no reason to be particularly pessimistic about how immigration currently works in Finland. None.

    Well, I don’t remember seeing many discussion on Migrant Tales on the kind problems highlighted on Hommaforum, which immigration brings nor real ideas how to prevent or solve them. I hope you give examples of this kind of discussion on Migrant Tales, as I might be interested in joining them.

    And I find that the immigration is not working that well far many ethnic groups. For example, just few days ago, there was news on YLE (Puolet maahanmuuttajista ei pääse lukioon tai ammattikouluun), which said that half of immigrants don’t go to high school or vocational school, which is quite scary. Even for a native Finn, that don’t go to high school or vocational school, face bleak future. It is very difficult to get a job with so little education. And the unemployment rates for some ethnic groups are alarmingly high. And there are many other serious issues as well.

  10. Farang

    And I would like to remind that for example Mika Niikko (which I don’t particularly like myself) who has been accused of racism and who is a member of Perussuomalaiset and a member parliament, defended the right to stay in Finland for the Afghan men, who were on hunger strike after being denied asylum. He said that initially he opposed them staying in Finland, but after talking with them, he changed his opinion.

    Exactly. Seems that people in MT just have prejudice against PS and Homma people. I have never been into Hommaforum, but I also checked it now as you mentioned it and was surprised to see that it was very decent discussion there. Much more dignified than in the forums of Iltalehti, HS, Uusisuomi, etc.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Seems that people in MT just have prejudice against PS and Homma people.

      Show me one example of prejudice against PS or Homma that I have expressed.

    • Farang

      Mark

      Show me one example of prejudice against PS or Homma that I have expressed.

      Here’s two:

      1:

      The reason is that like PS, they condemn racism in one breath, and then choose to talk not about racism, but about ‘positive discrimination’ in the labour market, as if they were ever the same!

      2:

      The Far Right have traditionally monopolised the ‘politics of despair’, so it is certainly counter-productive of opponents to get lost in despair themselves. It really is important to realise the successes that Finland has achieved and how turning to a party like PS would undermine those successes, in all sorts of areas.

    • Farang

      There it was written in plain English, your own words. Your comments about PS condemning racism in one breath, etc in nothing but prejudice. You make claims that just because person is member of PS he acts in certain way. If that is not prejudism, then you propably have some own personal definition of prejudice.

    • Mark

      That’s not evidence of prejudice. I described the argument that was put forward in the PS statement on racism, in which they condemned racism and proceeded in the very next sentence to talk about ‘racism’ only in terms of positive discrimination, which is actually NOT recognised as ‘racism’ by anyone except the Far Right and rednecks!

      I did not make a claim that because a person is a member of PS, they act a certain way. That is just a plain old fucking lie! Show me the words where I say that?

      Farang, you dodged the main question again, so let’s remind you: do you think that police statistics can be influenced by institutional racism?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Farang: and the prejudices?

      I agree. We’re not prejudiced against anyone because we research all of our stories. We don’t have prejudiced (pre-judge) views of the PS we are openly against their policies and especially their views on immigration and cultural diversity. This is an editorial line, an opinion, NOT a prejudice.

  11. Farang

    Farang, you dodged the main question again, so let’s remind you: do you think that police statistics can be influenced by institutional racism?

    No.

  12. PS voter

    BTW, there is a new discussion thread on Hommaforum called “Kysy maahanmuuttajalta!” (=”Ask an immigrant”) which is started by person who uses nickname Maanmurtaja and who claims to be originally from Iran. I recommend that other foreign born persons register on Hommaforum too and join the discussion. I am not sure, if I can give a direct link to the discussion, because I am afraid that then my message will get stuck on the moderation system. But once you have registered, you can easily find the discussion by using search functionality on Hommaforum.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      PS voter, thanks for the heads-up but, no thanks. Hommaforum is a pernicious forum that is only an extension of the PS and Jussi Halla-aho.

      If you look at the stuff they have written about Migrant Tales never mind me, there’s nothing to be gained by going there.

      As more people understand and get used to diversity in Finland, the more it will undermine Hommaforum. In sum, there’s nothing to be gained by going there except to be insulted.

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