A comprehensive report published recently by the Institute for Strategic Studies in Sweden not only exposes far-right or right-wing extremism in ten European Union countries, but its historical roots as well. While these extremist groups may have different names in different countries, they are all bonded by one overriding factor: intolerance.
“Multiculturalism is hazardous to your children and grandchildren,” reads a flyer of the Neo-Nazi Suomen Kansalinen Vastarintaliike. They have become so bold that they openly spread their far-rght ideology in public and in people’s mail boxes. This is possible thanks to the rise of parties like the Perussuomalaiset, which are the birthsite for right-wing extremism.
How is it possible that a region like the European Union, never mind a country like Finland which has one of the best educational systems in the world, can become the breeding ground for right-wing extremism and intolerance?
Some culprits could be our own national myths and the global recession, which has caused unemployment to soar.
If anything, the present threat by extremist parties to Europe and Finland should be a wake up call for us on how little work we have done in the past to challenge intolerance.
Setting aside countries like Hungary, where anti-Semitism and racism are the order of the day, Finland is probably a good candidate that could follow the same route if we don’t react soon enough.
The 19.1% victory of the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in 2011 is a good example of how extremists have regrouped and organized effectively within existing political parties that enjoy popular legitimacy.
What should be clear is that their brand of popular legitimacy is far from mainstream or anything that is close to our way of life and values. It is a Trojan Horse with a politically volatile and hostile brew packed with intolerance, populism, extremism, fascism, racism and Counterjihadism.
The deception of intolerance to its avid and silent followers is that you can control it by keeping it on a short leash. Apart from impoverishing our society in many ways, nobody can control racism because it knows no master.
If you disagree, why not ask Anders Breivik.