THIS POST WAS UPDATED
Some may believe that the big news from the weekend is that the former second vice president of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Youth, Toni Jalonen, admitted publicly to being “an ethnonationalist, traditionalist, and a fascist.”
Reaction to what Jalonen affirmed came fast and hard after it hit social media. National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) leader Petteri Orpo stated that “Halla-aho’s circus is mixed up,” and all of the parties’ youth leagues pledged not to work with PS Youth only after they renounced ethnonationalism and fascism.
Jalonen fascist affirmation was followed over the weened by other PS outbursts from MP Ano Turtainen, who wrote that civil war was inevitable if Christian Democrat MP Päivi Räsänen is charged and convicted of ethnic agitation. European MP Laura Huhtasaari sent us to the twilight zone as well when she said in an interview that Kokoomus is a Communist Party.
Jalonen and the PS Youth’s third vice president, Tomer Souranto, resigned as well on Tuesday due to the scandal. Even if the PS tries to wash its hands of what happened, there are some unanswered questions lingering: Did Jalonen represent only himself or PS Youth) Did PS Youth pay for his and Souranto’s trip to the Etnofutur IV event in Tallinn?
If we are fair, PS chairperson Halla-aho’s irritation with what happened isn’t what Jalonen said, but that he sees such statements by his followers as a challenge to his leadership.
We saw a lot of this when Timo Soni, the former chairperson of PS, led the party. The Halla-aho faction that made racism in the cornerstone of its political message finally succeeded at ousting Soini in disgrace.
There is one sentence in Tuesday’s Yle A-studio that reveals the latter when Halla-aho admitted that he was “surprised” by Jalonen’s statement and saw it as “a provocation.”
Where has Halla-aho’s stuck his head during the past years? How can he forget what he’s written and where he has published his far-right racist writings? Let’s not kid ourselves, fascism and other far-right nonsense are an integral part of the party’s message.
Usually, the message comes out in code, but now Jalonen decided to open up and spill the beans dressed with the colors of the 1930s Finnish fascist Patriotic People’s Movement (Isänmaalinen kansanliike): “Today I am an ethnonationalist, traditionalist, and a fascist [clapping].”
Jalonen’s scandalous statement isn’t the only matter that points to the PS’ liking of fascism. Check out the PS Youth logo. It also flirts with ethnonationalism and fascism. Risto Laakkonen once said that when you start to talk about Finns as a tribe, you start to flirt with racism.
What does this PS Youth logo evoke? White Finnish traditions, ethnonationalism, and racism under the guise of fascism.
If Finland is so much against racism and fascism as mainstream politicians and policy-makers want us to believe, how do you explain the popularity of the PS?
There are two explanations, in my opinion:
- About 20% of Finland’s population are hardcore racists who like or agree with fascism;
- We deny what the PS is because acknowledging it would be saying something ugly about ourselves. It’s like the story of the alcoholic who has a difficult time admitting that he has a drinking problem and must go to Alcoholics Anonymous.
There is no doubt in my mind that the PS is a threat to Finnish society and our way of life. Flirting with it or being a bedfellow will not change or tame the party.
If the PS had their way, Muslims and people of color would be treated worse than in the United States at the expense of neoliberal economic policies. The borders would be shut to non-EU asylum seekers. It would mean that Finland would ditch its international agreements and become a copy of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Welcome gross human rights abuses.
The PS is a nightmare that would become real if ever in government.