Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Juho Eerola wrote in 2010 that he was attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism. He argues that it is a model that we could learn a lot from. Such a statement not only shows his fascist political credentials, but his ignorance of Finnish history. The Restricting Act of 1939 (law 219/1939), which was in force until 1995, kept Finland closed to foreign investment.
The Restricting Act of 1939 prohibited foreigners from owning real estate and acquiring a majority stake in Finnish companies – limiting this to 20% normally and 40% under special permission. The Act stipulated that foreigners could not own shares in sectors such as forestry, securities trading, transportation, mining, real estate and shipping.
So what gives, Eerola? Didn’t you know that Finland was a near-closed country to foreign investment during most of the last century?
There were very few immigrants that moved to Finland during the cold war era as well. The country’s tiny immigrant population peaked in 1928 with 29,685 foreigners but started to retreat after the 1930s, plunging to 5,483 in 1970, according to the Migration Institute.
Why did the number of immigrants, which was small to begin with, plummet? Just like the Restricting Act of 1939, which aimed to restrict foreign investment, it was Finland’s aim as well to restrict and make it as hard as possible for immigrants to move to this country.
Finland got its first Aliens Act in 1983, sixty-five years after its independence in 1917.
Apart from not being able to own land, organize demonstrations never mind start a publication, immigrants didn’t have the right to appeal deportation decisions.
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) spied on immigrants as it does today. Even if one of their worries was finding out who were working for the KGB, they kept close tabs on many immigrants, recording things like how many demonstrations you attended.
Finland wasn’t, however, a fascist state like Mussolini’s Italy although it was a geopolitically isolated country during the cold war era.
Eerola forgets to mention the dark side of Mussolini’s fascist state. Il Duce was an autocrat that took his country to war and brought great destruction and ruin to his people.
Mussolini was executed with his mistress, Clara Petacci, on April 28, 1945.
His lifeless body was strung up by his heels with other fascists in Piazzale Loreto in Milan.
Juho Eerola Hommaforum July 6, 2010: I myself am attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and in particular the economic policy [the country] pursued. Entrepreneurship was encouraged but it was under strict government control. Vital large corporations could not be owned by foreign investors but were firmly in government hands. Italy achieved during those times full employment and strong economic growth. We could learn a lot from such a model.
Thank you Christine Bergström for providing the link where Eerola made his quote about Mussolini.