Neo-Nazis and the Perussuomalaiset: Where do they and we draw the line?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A year has elapsed after a Moroccan went on the rampage on August 18 and started attacking people indiscriminately with a knife in the southwestern city of Turku. Two people were killed and 10 were wounded. 

On the anniversary of the stabbing, which is seen by the authorities as Finland’s first modern terrorist attack, three far-right and neo-Nazi groups organized a march to commemorate the anniversary. Another group called Turku Without Nazis (Turku ilman natseja) organized a countermarch to protest the presence of the three far-right groups: Nordic Resistance Movement (Pohjoismainen vastarintaliike, PVL), Soldiers of Odin, and “188” or Nationalist Alliance (Kansallismielisten liittouma).

What went largely unnoticed by most of the Finnish media was the participation of an anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP, Kike Elomaa, and two members of her party. All three took part in the demonstration organized by the far-right and neo-Nazi groups.

Some may rightfully ask why far-right groups have grown in this country and elsewhere. The answer to that question is simple: Far-right- and neo-Nazi-leaning parties like the PS have allowed them in places like parliament. 

PS MP Kike Elomaa and two party members taking part in the far-right and neo-Nazi demonstration in Turku on Saturday. Source: Ilta-Sanomat.

At the heart of the problem is also Finland’s difficulty in seeing and condemning far-right and neo-Nazi groups. 

As US political scientists Steven Levisky and Daniel Ziblatt stated in their analysis of President Trump’s administration, “The erosion of democracy takes place piecemeal, often in baby steps.”

Our blindness to the threat posed by far-right and neo-Nazi groups in Finland is a good example of how the erosion of our democracy is happening before our eyes and in baby steps.  

 

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The silence of the politicians to such threats, especially that of the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, is another problem promoting extremist groups. 

Even if far-right groups like to talk about free speech, their aim could not be further from the truth. Their aim is not more democracy but less of it. 

It is up to us to stand up and draw the line between us and far-right groups and neo-Nazis. If we do not do it, nobody else will do it for us. 

* 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.

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