The Perussuomalaiset decade (2011-19): Finland’s rendezvous with xenophobia and nationalism

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Here’s the question we all know the answer to concerning the rise and fall of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party during this decade: We accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, polarized society, scapegoated migrants and Muslims and lied through our teeth with poker faces.

Our decade-long rendezvous with right-wing populism and xenophobia has had a negative political and economic impact on this country in many ways.

If there are two words that describe in this adverse political and social environment the actions of the police service, government and public the terms are lost and mixed.

A good example of how lost our police service is when it comes to cultural diversity is to read the string of mixed statements about street patrol gangs. First they say it’s ok but later on retrack.

Why does the police service, when it gives the green light to far-right white supremicist groups like the Soldiers of Odin, conveniently forget that such gangs are a direct threat to migrants, asylum seekers, minorities and to local residents?

Why did Prime Minister Juha Sipilä first offer his home to refugees but then claims that asylum seekers in Finland are a bigger threat than the economy?

Why are the Center Party and National Coalition Party in bed with an anti-immigration and nationalist party like the PS?

Why does President Sauli Niinistö use a catchphrase like maassa maan tavalla, In Rome do as the Romans do, when people in his own party and the government want to pass laws that are unconstituional?

Why haven’t the numerous attacks against refugee reception centers been classified as acts of terrorism?

I could go on with a very long list of grievances but the answer to all the above is the following: Our political institutions and police service have little to no idea what it means to live in a society that is culturally diverse and where migrants, asylum seekers and minorities should be treated farily.

Finland has been for too long an island near-isolated in one of Europe’s lonely corners. This is why many of our reactions appear like knee-jerks when interacting with other cultures.

We are today paying a high price for our near-isolation in the form of lost and mixed actions.

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

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