Exposing white Finnish privilege #44: Defending Nazis’ rights to march is ok as long we agree on the common enemy

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Jan Vapaavuori is the mayor of Helsinki who wrote the following on his Facebook wall below about Nazis marching in Helsinki on Independence Day:

“I strongly disagree with the ideologies and practices of the far right and far left. Even these groups have rights in a free country (fatherland). The rule of law is the most important foundation of our society. Tolerance means that you also tolerate those you strongly disagree with, even if you hoped that this types of movements didn’t exist.”

Visit Jan Vapaavuori’s Facebook wall here.

Fine. Helsinki Mayor Vapaavuori, who is a member of the conservative National Coalition Party, claims that even Nazis have in our “free” society the right to express themselves. Christian Thibault, a long-time anti-racism activist, responds to the mayor’s statement below:

Read Christian Thibault’s original post here.

Gavan Titley has a few words to say as well.

Visit Gavan Titley’s Facebook wall here.


White Finnish privilege #43

How is it possible that the mayor of Helsinki openly approves Nazis marching in Helsinki? His arguments are highly selective and expose his problematic views and lame leadership on the topic.

Even if Vapaavuori may claim that Nazis have civil rights in our society, the private and not-so-private fascination and giving the benefit of the doubt to such far-right groups is nothing new. As long as we agree that we have the same enemy, we can give Nazi marches the benefit of the doubt.

What we are seeing is white Finnish privilege and power, which permits politicians like Vapaavuori and too many in society to give growing space to far-right groups. Didn’t the anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset* grow in the same way? Didn’t it become one of the largest parties in Finland in the 2011 parliamentary elections?

Disagree? What about if pro-Putin Finns marched on Independence Day and demanded that Finland “rejoin” Russia? What about if you had thousands of Muslims marching on December 6 to speed up the building of a grand mosque in Helsinki?

Would Vapaanvuori be so eager in defending the rights of such groups to march on Independence Day?

I doubt it.

Finland has a serious fascism problem and its roots are in our history and relations with Russia. Believing that neo-Nazis, who openly want to overthrow our form of government, will see the light and reform is naïve. It is the same wishful thinking that characterizes the two-extremes view on racism.

There will never be a Hollywood-happily-ever-after ending for fascism and racism in this country or elsewhere. Fascism and racism will always exist but what you can do is show leadership and openly challenge these types of social ills from growing and spreading.

Vapaavuori’s lame statements about Nazis marching in Helsinki on December 6 is unfortunate and reveals his denial and inaction of the growing problem.

See also:

After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.