Sweden is right, Finland wrong in its strategy against anti-immigration parties

by , under Enrique

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt reiterated to Helsingin Sanomat the government’s plans to isolate Sweden Democrats despite the latest polls in Sweden, which show the anti-EU and anti-immigration party making gains. Even if the Sweden Democrats have tried break free from their neo-Nazi and racist image, the party led by Jimmie Åkesson has suffered a number of scandals

Kuvankaappaus 2013-12-4 kello 7.43.07
Read full story (in Finnish) here.

We know from a fact that flirting with the far right, right-wing populism, isolationism and adopting a tougher anti-immigration stance can backfire badly as happened in Finland in April 2011, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) became the country’s third-largest party in parliament.

After over two and a half years of PS opposition politics, which has been strongly characterized by racism, nationalism and neo-liberal economic ideology, what should mainstream parties have learned?

The answer to that question can be found in neighboring Sweden where mainstream parties there have isolated politically the Sweden Democrats.

Is this an effective strategy?

Yes, despite gains by the Sweden Democrats in the polls.

Time will prove Sweden did the right thing while Finland failed in the task in challenging intolerance.

If the government of Prime Minister Jyrki Kaatainen has taken an ambivalent stance on intolerance, why would PS head Timo Soini want to renounce racism in his party if it attracts votes?

It’s like asking a junkie to give up drugs.

  1. Jssk

    So, is this how you think democracy works? When part of people want change, you will isolate the presentatives of a large portion of people from political power. All while you preach about tolerance.

    Its crude, against the basics of democracy but ultimately effective. I honestly dont think you give a single fuck about how this will affect the situation of political freedom.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –So, is this how you think democracy works? When part of people want change, you will isolate the presentatives of a large portion of people from political power.

      Exactly, Jssk. If a party is racist, sexist, chauvinistic and intolerant, certainly society has the right to defend itself from such a menace. No matter how you cut it, the Sweden Democrats are a menace to Sweden. They are a menace, like the PS, because they promote discrimination, social inequality and racism in the worst of cases.

    • D4R

      we shouldn*t give any political power to racist, even giving voice to them is a big mistake. What good does it do for giving them any space to view their destructive ideologies? racist people don’t bring peace, they bring destruction and division.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –racist people don’t bring peace, they bring destruction and division.

      D4R, I couldn’t agree more with you. As a political force they are a threat to our values. That is why we must oppose and challenge them.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      When part of people want change, you will isolate the presentatives of a large portion of people from political power.

      By definition, all small groups are ‘isolated’ in politics unless they play some kind of ‘kingmaker’ role, in which case they may get a few concessions. Moreover, any move further in the direction of antagonistic nationalism hardly serves society. We’ve seen where that kind of politics leads – civil war, apartheid, segregation and division – all the things they say they oppose, ironically. So, to avoid civil unrest through segregated communities they are advocating civil unrest against foreign communities. Not very smart, are they?!

      All while you preach about tolerance.

      Ah, that little chestnut again. So, ignore the obvious and vitriolic intolerance of the Sweden Democrats and instead call out those that would politically isolate them as intolerant. How does that work, ‘intolerant to towards the intolerant who advocate intolerance’? So basically you are saying that society should tolerate everything? So, a party of anarchists advocating pillage and murder would be fine, because to oppose them would be intolerant?

      There is nothing wrong with intolerance, per se, but when you start exercising intolerance towards people on the basis of skin colour, nationality, religion, or even things like education, employment status etc., then clearly that is not an intolerance that can or should be tolerated.

      Its crude, against the basics of democracy but ultimately effective. I honestly dont think you give a single fuck about how this will affect the situation of political freedom.

      Democracy is not giving free reign to fascists to come to power, especially when their particular brand of politics has historically sought to undermine democracy, to give enormous power to the state, and to oppress individuals on the basis of all sorts of prejudices. Of course, democratically, you could argue that if it is the will of the majority, then it must be okay. But by that same token, you are then saying that there was nothing wrong with Nazism, because it was elected democratically. You claim to speak for political freedom, but only a fool would claim to be free at the same time as he hands over the handcuffs to his rather unbalanced and aggressive neighbour!

      Of course, you can argue against immigration without being a racist. But surprise surprise, not a single European Far Right party is capable of creating such a political agenda without resorting to racism and prejudice, for the very simple reason that only racists and fascists are interested in making immigration such a central political issue.

  2. Jssk

    –So, is this how you think democracy works? When part of people want change, you will isolate the presentatives of a large portion of people from political power.

    Exactly, Jssk. If a party is racist, sexist, chauvinistic and intolerant, certainly society has the right to defend itself from such a menace. No matter how you cut it, the Sweden Democrats are a menace to Sweden. They are a menace, like the PS, because they promote discrimination, social inequality and racism in the worst of cases.

    To be honest i dont see anything exceptionally “extremist” in their actions. You could aswell say that immigrants and multiculturalist ideology are a menace to Sweden and Swedes should have the right to isolate such menace from political power, no matter how large the number of immigrants are. I dont think its ok.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –To be honest i dont see anything exceptionally “extremist” in their actions.

      You don’t see it this way because you think that they don’t threaten you. Cultural diversity is here to stay. There’s nothing you can do about it except join a party like the Sweden Democrats and deny it.

    • D4R

      The reason why you don’t see any extremist in their ideology is perhaps you share same extreme ideology huh?
      you can flip the coin as much as you like but the thing is that racist people need to be excluded in all political fields.Racist people dont deserve to be given any air, Racist people don’t serve nobody, not even those they claim to serve for, history proves that. You can hold your views but you can bet that there will be people who will object your extreme views. There’re different cultured people in this planet, different ethnicities, even in Finland, our job is to figure how we can cohabit peacefully, not devide or discriminate one group and favor the other, we need to figure how we can set the right politics that drives equal rights to all people, no matter what their ethnicities or culture are.

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