Donald Trump’s election victory this week has emboldened our own group of populists, racists, and bigots in Finland who pray what happened in the United States will breathe new life into a political disaster called the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. There are many reasons why copying and pasting populist rhetoric in the United States won’t work in Finland.
One important reason is that Finland is not the United States and visible migrants and minorities aren’t posing a threat to white privilege.
We are not a country made up of recent immigrants but of emigrants.
Those visible minorities targeted by parties like the PS account for about 10% of all migrants in Finland, which is small. The number of foreigners living in Finland is about 4%.
The article in the New York Times raises an important point. Read the full article here.
The whole debate, therefore, about visible migrants and minorities being a threat in Finland is in many respects a storm in a teacup fabricated by parties like the PS.
Despite the latter, the PS is determined to spread fear and hatred towards a small minority. Their efforts have been rewarded and they have gained political power. Instead of pointing the finger at themselves and the political establishment for the country’s problems, they scapegoat migrants and minorities.
The PS has created a number of #socialmediafrankensteins. The so-called old guard, which isn’t that old at all, include MEP Jussi Halla-aho, Juho Eerola, Olli Immonen, James Hirvisaari, Timo Soini and new ones like Laura Huhtasaari, Leena Meri, Tom Packalén, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Jari Ronkainen, Mika Niikko and others who are near-constantly courting the anti-immigration populist vote.
The list of such anti-immigration politicians who have declared war on Finland’s Black Other, Somali Other, Muslim Other, Roma Other, Women Other, Visible Minority Other is long and exhaustive.
It shouldn’t, therefore, come to any surprise that many PS politicians like chairman Timo Soini are overjoyed by Trump’s election victory.
Huhtasaari, a politician who wants to make a name for herself by being an Islamophobic creationist, said that Trump’s victory was a blow to political correctness.
Populists will be populists. Their clear trademark is simple answers to complex problems.
Even if the PS has profiled itself as the anti-immigration voice of Finland, the fact is that the party doesn’t have a clear strategy how it will make Finland white again. Even if the PS’ political role model is the Islamophobic Danish People’s Party (DPP), they have failed in the eyes of their voters.
Recent polls in Finland are the best example of the latter.
While the DPP has been an important player in Danish politics since 2001, the PS rendezvous as a major party in Finnish politics started 10 years later in 2011.
Even if it is surprising how the PS were able to increase the number of MPs in 2011 to 39 from 5 in 2007, it is equally surprising to see how their popularity has nosedived from 17.7% in the April parliamentary election to under 10% today.
Their desperate plight in the polls explains why the PS, with the help of its government partners, the Center Party and National Coalition Party, are so eager to target and attack asylum seekers, migrants, and minorities in Finland.
As can be seen from the above table, the fall of the PS in the polls has been dramatic, to say the least. Source: Taloustutkimus.
The road of the PS and other populist leaders like Trump is, by all means, a recipe for catastrophe. We’ve already seen the devastation caused by World War 1 and 2 and how the role racism and colonialism played in them.
How many years since Jim Crow was officially – not unofficially – abolished? How many years when box cars stopped transporting Jews and other enemies of the Nazi regime to death camps?
We’re only talking about a few generations.
The so-called western world has a lot to address and tackle if it doesn’t want to reenact a new global war that will be many times more devastating than the ones we saw in the previous century.
Our lack of resolve and denial about our own racist and colonial past are preventing us from building a more just world that isn’t prone to wars, mass destruction, environmental destruction and social exclusion of minorities and of total world regions.
I have always compared racism and bigotry with a rabid dog on a short leash. Bigots, Islamophobes, xenophobes, sexists, misogynists walk around with such a sick dog because it attracts attention and votes. However, that rabid dog is highly unpredictable and can bite back at its supposed master, and hard.
A good example of the latter was when Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway on 22/7.
What is the endgame of those that have declared war on our ever-growing culturally and ethnically diverse community?
Is their endgame the restoration of absolute power to the white majority of this country?
No matter how much parties like the PS kick and bitch and place obstacles in building an inclusive and just culturally diverse society based on our Nordic values and ideals, the stronger our resolve must be to oppose such efforts.
Neither despair nor hiding in a corner is the answers we seek.
We must never lose sight of our Nordic values and ideals because they are the only things that we have left.
* 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”