EDITORIAL: Has racism inflicted Finland?

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Taking into account the underwhelming size of the immigrant and refugee community, what have we done wrong and why are we the target of daily insults, racism and abuse by opportunistic politicians and their parties? Even the Social Democrats, the party that has championed for the rights of the working man, appears to have aligned itself close to the True Finns on immigration.

I recently asked in a Kokoomus blog two questions: Is Finland a multicultural society and if Kokoomus had an official immigration policy? I never got a response for the first question. For the second one, Kokoomus gave me a link to a report published in November. When I asked them the second question again, if the party had an official immigration policy, I got no response.

The truth is that no political party in Finland has an official policy on immigration. Without such an official stance, it leaves the political playing field inside a party to a wide range of contradicting views: from xenophobic to pro-immigration.

In this sense, the immigration policy, “in Rome do as the Romans do,” suggested by Social Democratic Party chairwoman Jutta Urpilainen, is novel since the SDP will become the first party in Finland with an official immigration policy.  Whether the party’s stance on immigration is the right one or if it will be successful is another question, however. Many countries have suggested this nationalistic approach by forcing immigrants to sign contracts that they will follow the laws of their new homeland.

SDP’s immigration policy will fail not only because it is ethnocentric, but because it is unconstitutional. How can you force people to comply to a narrow view of Finnishness (whatever that is) if the Constitution and Non-Discrimination Act permit diversity and other matters such as freedom of worship?

The one-sided ongoing immigration debate has turned into a farce and an insult to all immigrants and refugees living in Finland.

It would not be a bad idea if immigrants went on strike like thousands did in Italy and France to drive home the point that we are not anyone’s pet political fodder.

  1. Justin

    In Britain the equivalent of SDP, the Labour Party who are in government currently, have been using the vague and ill-defined idea of “Britishness” to force “integration” and immigrant citizenship “ceremonies”. Migrants wishing to seek citizenship must pass a test on British History and English literacy.

    The irony is that when a radio program asked a random selection of British born citizens to do the test 60% failed it!

    • Enrique

      Hi Justin, it is sad how intolerance and nationalism is raising its ugly head. I’m not surprised that 60% failed the test you spoke of. In Finland, the Social Democrats, our version of your Labor Party, have aligned themselves with the populist right in immigration matters. Even though they are supposed to speak up for the “common working man and woman,” they have very narrow-minded views on immigration. The reason why the Social Democrats like the True Finns’ immigration stance is that they hope to get their votes in next year’s parliamentary elections. That is why they have jumped on the populist-bash-immigration-and-diversity bandwagon.

  2. Tiwaz

    Ah yes, racism “I WIN”-card played again.

    Failures of immigrants are never their own fault but fault of Finns.

    And now Finns do not even have right, in Enrique’s mind, to want to preserve their own society and culture!

    Is it any wonder that globally opinions are firmly AGAINST immigrants in every goddamn nation when arrogance like this presented by Enrique is so widespread?

    It is ok to be racist if you are immigrant and target of your racism are Finns! In fact then it is not racism at all but admirable criticism!

    This racism against natives and everything native is cancer in society which must be cut off.
    Same with multiculturalism.

    I applaud the SDP for having the balls to stand up for the people who put them up into parliament in the first place.

    As for foreigners going to strike. I would love to see it myself too. It would once and for all drive home to immigrants how irrelevant you are. Pathetic 2-3% assuming it has right to dictate terms to 97% of population!

    • Enrique

      Hannu, what would you do if, to make the poll more exciting, immigrants commissioned a new one from Taloustutkimus. They would formulate the questions that they think is important.
      It would be something novel.