A danger to democracy

by , under Enrique Tessieri

If there is one matter that US President Donald Trump’s self-coup has evidenced, it is the fragility of our democracy. This is also the case in Finland with the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, a pro-Trump radical right party that openly supports Trump.

Some factors unite Finland with the United States. Finns have – incorrectly – said in the past that they are the most USAmerican country in Europe.

Last Friday, we got a taste of how radical- and far-right populism have emboldened such groups to plan attacks against anti-racism activists.

Even if we don’t have Republicans in power, we do have the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, which openly supports Trump and his divisive policies. We have a copy of the Proud Boys as well called the Soldiers of Odin, a far-right vigilante group with neo-Nazi ties that has threatened to use – and uses – violence to drive home its point.

The message coming out of PS leader Jussi Halla-aho and Trump are strikingly based on similar worldviews. Both politicians and parties are trying to claw on to their white privilege by disenfranchising other goups.

In the United States, they are black and brown USAmericans. In Finland, too, we have an ever-growing number of black and brown Finns.

I am sometimes amazed by the racism of both of our societies. The fastest way to gain power and attention is to spread racism and incredulous alternative truths.

Even if the grip of Halla-aho’s Finland and Trump’s USAmerica is loosening, they will do anything – even destroying our democracy – to retain power.

I have no doubt that, like Trump in the US now, the PS would be ready to water down our Nordic welfare state democracy and turn Finland into a Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.

Disagree? Why does the PS leadership admire and is a cheerleader of Orbán’s policies to dismantle the rule of law? Didn’t Halla-aho tweet that Trump was the best thing that could happen to the US and the Western world=

When the PS won the 2011 election, it gained thirty-nine seats from five seats in the previous parliamentary election, I knew that Finland is in hot and uncharted water. It was a perilous watershed, a beachhead that has spread since then.

Remember how people played down the 2011 PS victory? Some believed that the PS would implode, like the Rural Party, in the 1970s. The PS victory was only a hiccup that would correct itself in time.

During the last decade, the PS neither imploded nor disappeared. On the contrary, it became the most successful party in the 2015 and 2019 parliamentary elections.

You may ask how is this possible? The answer: The media and politicians from other parties, especially the National Coalition Party, have enabled it.

Instead of questioning the PS as the new dangerous kid on the political block, most – if not all – of the mainstream media and politicians preferred to remain silent.

A decade after that the 2011 election, the media, and politicians are starting to stand up to the PS’ racist and bullying tactics. But is it enough?

This is a positive sign. Hopefully, it still isn’t too late.