The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) 2020 report laid bear how ethnic replacement claims are the usual mix of far-right conspiracy theories and the smoking gun of terrorism from this fringe group. Should we be surprised that the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, which leads in opinion polls, is spreading this malarkey?
If we look at the PS leadership, there are three prominent members who are pushing this conspiracy theory: its chairperson Jussi Halla-aho, its first vice-president Riikka Purra and party secretary Simo Grönroos.
Most recently, PS MP Olli Immonen, who was a security guard before being elected as MP and who proposed an ethnic register for Finland, defended the racist lie of ethnonationalists.
“Finland is changing,” he was quoted as saying in Suomen Uutiset, the PS’s mouthpiece, “the pace is rapid. Population becomes ethnicized, multilingual, multilingual and religiously divided.”
Those who spread replacement claims have deep roots to white nationalism and are also called ethnonationalists.
Here are some points to expose that their conspiracy theory is something piled high and deep:
- Finland’s ethnic makeup becomes less white. This is true, but the great lie in this claim is that as our ethnic diversity changes, so do the people who comprise the new group. These are Finns. Not accepting them as such goes to the heart of racism and white privilege.
- Whine, whine, and tar socially Other Finns. Instead of talking about Other Finns as a threat to our country, we should shift the conversation to how our society is inclusive to such groups. Social exclusion is costly for society and the taxpayer.
- A fact: society changes. There was a period about 40 years ago when Finland was so white that anyone who diverged from the norm was a novelty or attracted many gazes. In those four decades, matters have changed for the better, but there is still a lot of hard work that must be done to combat institutional racism.
- Institutional racism and denial of it are the biggest threat to the wellbeing of Other Finns. Even if our ethnic and cultural makeup becomes more diverse in Finland, institutional racism continues to fuel the denial and exceptionalism of white Finns. Changing these structures is happening now, but it is going to be a long struggle. The more Other Finns demand equality and equity, the more racism will surface in society.
- Muslims will take over Finnish society, and Other groups are defamatory, lies, and false. It’s not skin color that changes society but what is between people’s ears and hearts. Fostering attachment to the larger national society is crucial should be our goal.
- Ethnic replacement conspiracy theories promote polarization and engulf society in permanent social strife.